Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What you can't see can hurt you

Incinerator salesmen reassure politicians by taking them on tours of incinerators. Politicians come home and tell citizens:

"We have visited plants in Denmark and we were very impressed. They are incredibly clean. There was nothing toxic coming out at all - they were shining and spotless and you could have eat your dinner off the floor."

But what you can't see can hurt you.

Things like nanoparticles, particles so small that they penetrate living tissue in a way that larger particles can't do. Scientists, who understand uncertainty, sound the alarm.
But regulators, who are supposed to be our bulwark against uncertainty, say:

"It's possible to have a really well-controlled incinerator. I know there's a lot of scare out there just with the word incinerator in general, but it can be done right."

Those are the words of Heather Valdez, an environmental engineer with the US Environmental Protection Agency. She is quoted above in an article in a Salem, Oregon, newspaper back in April 2005, reassuring citizens worried about a medical waste burner in their county.
Heather will be speaking in Richmond on March 9th in a panel discussion hosted by the Fraser Basin Council. The event is paradoxically titled "BC Clean Air Forum 2009."

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