Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why I Failed Typing Class

Having grown up in Akron, Ohio in the 50s & 60s gives me some “cred” about air pollution. 

Back then, with a bazillion rubber factories pumping noxious fumes into the air and toxic chemicals into the local streams, every Akronite was intimately aware of that burning coal and curing rubber fragrance. We were all experts then and we became even smarter later on as we began to understand that pollution was dangerous to our health.

Of course, today, there are no rubber or coal smells in Akron. The factories are long gone and thousands of jobs along with them.

Still we have pollution everywhere. 

Even on the beautiful island of Grosse Ile, MI, in the center of the International Detroit River Wildlife Refuge* we are showered with pollution every day. A vast assortment of toxic chemicals are still with us, including mercury from local power plants, dioxins, PCBs, human waste and much more. 
As Dr. Hartig explains, there is no doubt that considerable progress has been made, eliminating and / or mitigating pollution..

Yet the ill effects of pollution are still being uncovered.

For instance, did you know that breathing pollution can make your children dumber? Consider this from a recent Mother Jones article - Kids Who Breathe More Pollution Have Lower Grades, motherjones.com, Gabrielle Canon, 5 Sep.2015:

“A growing body of evidence suggests pollution can do a number on the brain. The July/August Mother Jones cover story chronicled the research connecting neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to the dirty air we breathe; studies have found that pollution may also age the brain prematurely. And according to new research from the University of Texas-El Paso, pollution's damage to the brain may start even sooner than was previously thought: Fourth and fifth graders exposed to exhaust emissions, researchers found, don't do as well in school as their peers who breathe cleaner air.”

Now I know why I failed my typing class… not because I kept falling asleep... it was the pollution.

*Please read Dr. John H. Hartig’s outstanding article about the ecological recovery success story of the Detroit River and the rise of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge: The Return of Detroit River’s CharismaticMegafauna, Center for Humans and Nature.org. 7 Nov 2014 

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