Big Chem

Readers of these blogs will have figured out that I am no friend of large corporations. I taught business ethics for years, which involved the reading of innumerable case studies, and it became crystal clear to me that publicly owned corporations are corrupt at the core: stockholders, not stakeholders, are the only concern, and profits are the name of the game, simply. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the founders of this nation understandably failed to anticipate the immense power corporations could have and the recent Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that defines corporations as persons and grants them “free speech” in giving as much money as they want to already corrupt politicians simply puts an explanation point at the end of the sentence. And we are about to enjoy the benefits of this decision in the form of obscene amounts of money spent on political campaigns. What was already nauseating will now get worse.

In any event, Big Oil has taken the brunt of my criticism, for the most part, as I recalled such things as the way Exxon went to Prudhoe Bay after the Valdez oil spill and cleaned up a few hundred yards of shoreline and then had photos taken to show how they had cleaned up their mess — while thousands of yards of shoreline and countless damaged bird and marine species went ignored. And we are now discovering that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by British Petroleum has apparently affected marine life in that region in ways yet to be determined: mutations are already being noted. In the meantime Big Oil continues to rake in the profits, aided by $4 billion in annual tax subsidies, while the clean energy industry tries desperately to keep its head above water. So Big Oil deserves the castigations it receives from this modest blog site, and more.

But so does Big Chem it appears. A recent article in the New York Times reveals that Big Chem has been assiduously bribing Congressmen to look the other way and ignore the growing numbers of scientists who have been warning us all about the dangers of endocrine disruptors which are “everywhere. They’re in thermal receipts that come out of gas pumps, and A.T.M.s. They’re in canned foods, cosmetics, plastics, and food packaging.” What do these disruptors do? They “are hormone-mimicking chemicals that have grotesque effects.”

These chemicals have been tightly controlled in England and Canada, but they are still everywhere present in this country. The chemical companies have been successful in lobbying our lawmakers into guaranteeing that they be allowed to continue to make huge profits at the cost of genetic and health damage to humans and other animal species — such as male frogs with female organs, male fish producing eggs, male alligators with tiny penises. In humans, these chemicals cause breast cancer, infertility, low sperm counts, genital deformities, early menstruation, and even diabetes and obesity.

But these chemicals will continue to be produced unless congress acts to prohibit them, or at least strictly regulate them — a possibility that seems remote since the scientific community, led by such eminent scientists as Linda S. Birnbaum, the nation’s chief environmental scientist and toxicologist, has for several years sought government intervention, to no avail. For there is money to be made, a great deal of money; and much of it will find its way into the pockets of accommodating members of congress.

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4 thoughts on “Big Chem

  1. Plus, lots of studies have shown that chemicals — especially those from disposed pharmaceuticals, even those our bodies excretes as “waste” — end up in our groundwater. We may be reaping a sad price for a lot of convenience, alas.

  2. Ugh. So frightening. It is amazing to think how many products we use today can harm our health. And I am afraid to say that I am with you thinking that Congress is unlikely to do anything about it. Thanks for raising awareness!

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