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Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 02:55 pm

Letters to the Editor 11/11/10


Dr. Susan Steingraber of Pekin appeared in Springfield recently with the film version of her book, Living Downstream, about the dangers of toxic chemicals. More on Steingraber’s work is at livingdownstream.com.

I enjoyed the article by Rachel Wells on biologist Susan Steingraber’s book and new documentary [See “Documentary targets toxic chemicals” by Rachel Wells, Oct. 28]. Living Downstream takes on the significant and timely issue of a “toxic trespass” against society. Steingraber focuses on PCBs, while my project, Deep Water, focuses on tetra-ethyl lead – the lead additive put in gasoline from 1922 until 1986.

DuPont Chemical Corporation (or Monsanto, which is DuPont’s agricultural trade name) manufactured both carcinogens. Like Deep Water, Steingraber tells a personal story of toxic exposure and disease, which causes both physical and mental illness (Steingraber’s work only deals with physical diseases). Living Downstream and Deep Water both deal with the problem of greenwashing.

My project puts the practice of producing carcinogens for public consumption into perspective. Last century, the public largely tolerated these practices. Currently, the same corporations that produced these carcinogens use methods also described in my Deep Water Project. Corporations developed a new model for allowing public acceptance of pollution: greenwashing. The list of greenwashers is long, a few include: tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, and nuclear power advocates. I agree with Steingraber when she says, “scientists know enough about certain chemicals to say that they are likely causing cancer, or cancer susceptibility, in some individuals. And that’s enough to eliminate them.” Her common-sense reasoning has been a long time coming and bought-science convolutes the arguments. Good luck to Dr. Susan Steingraber and her efforts to “mobilize people to take up the issue of toxic trespass as the human rights issue of the day.”

Please check out my site www.thedeepwaterproject.com.

Gretchen Ritter
The Deep Water Project

Excellent article on James U. Dodge, the Madoff of Springfield! [See “Ponzi on the prairie,” by Rachel Wells, Nov. 4.] Such a sad situation. I especially appreciated the expert comments by the psychologist. The fact that even a psychologist got suckered in just goes to show you that anyone can be taken in by a Ponzi schemer. The main factor is the talent of the con man and, in this case, the con man was clearly very talented. This is a cautionary tale to anyone considering giving money to a “friend” for investment. James Dodge is obviously a sociopath, and there are many other sociopaths in our midst waiting to take our money.

It’s interesting to see that the son is involved, or at least benefited, from the Ponzi scheme. Sociopathy is supposed to have a significant genetic component, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the son is mixed up in this whole thing.

Frank McGill

On Oct. 14, we, all retired, gathered at McDonalds at Ninth and North Grand for our daily breakfast get-together to laugh and solve world and local problems. On this day we were celebrating the birthday of one of our younger participants (65) with cake for everyone. Mr. Birthday was wearing his new joke eyeglasses, laughing loudly at his birthday cards. All who entered the restaurant shared in our fun.

One young lady of high school age came to the table with her two friends and sang “Happy Birthday” to our birthday boy. The girls were students at Lanphier. This was a real treat, and everyone at our table responded with applause. The day after this little shindig, the same young lady stopped by our table, looked at our birthday boy, and asked, “Did you have a happy birthday yesterday?” He said it was one of his very best days.

We all hear about the bad students and we see some who malinger and those who like to show us their underwear. However, the students who took the time to share some happiness with our party are the ones we’ll always remember.

Chuck Klyber

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