Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Apopka, Florida

This morning on the train into work, I read The New Yorker. At one time The New Yorker and I had a special relationship. We went to bookstores, rode buses, and we even use to go bowling every Tuesday in Silver Spring together. Now, I'm poor and have given up my subscription and am currently leading a life of crime where I steal other people's New Yorkers. Anyway, I was reading my latest act of theft this morning and I started thinking about Florida. I grew up in Florida.

Then I found this: South Apopka Community Survives Amid a Landfill, an Incinerator and a Sewage Plant


I grew up in Fort Lauderdale. Yes there are large smokestacks all around and a port, but mostly my childhood consisted of the beach and the intercoastal, which is disgusting to wake board and ski in because of all the gasoline. As a kid I would get out of the water only to find that I my skin had a glistening film on it. Gross.

What I find so interesting about the Apopka community is that the landfill, incinerator and sewage plant are not what attracts scientists attention its the fact that the alligators in Lake Apopka have small penis'. Yup, for some reason the alligators are being more with severe reproductive abnormalities. And yes, maybe the landfill, incinerator, and sewage plant have something to do with it.

So . . . I'm a total animal lover. I pick up worms that I see on the ground and put them back into the grass and I hate to walk by the puppy mills in those gross pet shops in the malls, but what about the people? Why are there so many studies on the penis size of the alligators and none on the health effects of having an entire community surrounded by a landfill, incinerator and sewage plant.

I'm pretty sure that is has something to do that with the fact that Apopka is poor, mostly in the lower economic class, and consists mainly of people of color.

It's not ok. It's not ok to not take care of communities like this one. It's not ok to ignore the fact the girls are born with all of their eggs and when they are born into communities that are being poisoned by toxic chemicals their eggs are being poisoned too and now the next generation will grow up with birth defects, severe health problems and lowered IQs. It's not ok to ignore the environmental health issues of our children.

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