Well, it looks like the PBB series isn’t going to pan out right now. At least not the way I plannned. Frankly rereading the material is just too damn depressing at the moment. I’m not sure it’s an exclusively American trait to find a product we can exploit, do as quickly as possible, ask few or no questions, stonewall when the problems finally get too big to ignore and then leave the mess for our system of reverse socialism to clean up the mess.
I was shocked but not really surprised to discover that the abandoned factory site that manufactured the PBB and the nearby landfill didn’t start the clean up process until 2012. There is a book by the farmer who was the first to sound the alarm titled Bitter Harvest. I got most of my material from the book The Poisoning of Michigan by Joyce Eggington. Also, Vandana Shiva’s group Navdanya has been working to shine the light on the effects of pesticide poisoning in India.
And to the nut jobs who complain that the US is ignoring the plight of malaria ridden Africans because we don’t allow DDT to be manufactured in this country, here’s a news flash for you. The chemical is manufactured in India. I wonder how their bird populations are doing.
There’s a not bad TV movie by the same name that’s out on DVD. It was made in the eighties, packs a punch and to my knowledge hasn’t been rerun in years. The main character is a composite and really emphasizes the problems these farmers had even getting the word out to the mainstream media. If all else fails, herd your dying dreams into a pit, call the neighbors and destroy your herd in time for the five o’clock news.
In real life protesting farmers hauled cow carcasses into town and camped out in front of the Michigan capital building. The state didn’t want upset the farm lobby and the feds wouldn’t step in because the problem was pretty much confined to Michigan and hadn’t spread to other states.
In other words, at almost every step the bureaucrats and organizations that were expected to help didn’t. Either because they didn’t want to stir up trouble with interest groups in an election year or the problem was beyond their ability to handle.
To be honest it’s hard to find the needle in the haystack when you don’t know what the needle looks like. All they knew was that the Magnesium Oxide that was supposed to be there wasn’t. And identifying the PBB was almost pure serendipity. Instead of shutting off the machine that was analyzing a feed sample the tech went to lunch. When he got back there was a big pile of paper and at the end were a series of dips and peaks that he couldn’t identify. Finally, finally they found someone who could say “hey that looks familiar and boy are you in a heap of trouble.”
And for the acute poisoning cases no one knows what the PBB levels were to start with. Every time those cows were milked some of the chemical was excreted with the butterfat in the milk. What was finally realized was that because the chemical is fat soluble there was no “safe” level of exposure.
As I said at the beginning. Find something you can market and exploit it to the max before you know how dangerous it might be, Don’t monitor the process and leave the mess for somebody else to clean up. American capitalism (reverse socialism) at its finest. (sarcasm intended)