Globalization Is The Number One Health Risk Facing Humanity
By Thom Hartmann
30 October, 2012
In the past - diseases like tuberculosis and malaria have been number one health concerns around the world. But not anymore. In today's world - globalization is the number one health risk facing humanity. A new study released this week by the Blacksmith Institute reveals, for the first time ever, the impact of industrial pollutants on communities across the planet. It found that industrial waste dump sites containing lead, mercury, chromium, pesticides, and other toxic horrors, poison more than 125 million people in 49 different low and middle income nations around the planet.
And the authors of the study say this is a very conservative estimate - and likely even more people are sickened by this rampant industrial pollution. In fact, the report says that industrial pollution is now a bigger global health problem for the world than malaria and tuberculosis. Just look at what's happening in places like Zamfara, Nigeria. It's a state without children - or very few children walking around. Why? because hundreds of children who work in gold mines are exposed to high levels of lead.
Back in March of 2010 - the organization Doctors Without Borders arrived on the scene in Zamfara - and found that hundreds of children had died from lead poisoning - and thousands more were diseased by it. Mortality rates in some villages were as high as 43%. This is a genocide carried out by transnational corporations that have no restraints on how they operate in what were once sovereign nations. That's the consequence of globalism.
Plain and simple - globalization is the empowering of transnational corporations - and the neutering of sovereign governments to keep their populations safe from these transnational corporate behemoths. Globalization tears down borders across the planet - giving corporations free rein to move about the world and set up shop in nations wherever governments are the weakest, wherever there's the least amount of regulation, and wherever workers are willing to work for practically nothing. And since most transnational corporations are far wealthier than nations in the developing world - they just move in and take over, enslaving local populations and using local communities as garbage dumps.
You see - when you leave corporations completely unrestrained - when you leave their drive for neverending profits unchecked - then they stop at nothing to satisfy their greed. If it means they'll save a few million bucks a year - then they'll dump battery acid all over a playground if you let them. They are profit making machines - without compassion. And - as Richard Fuller the President of the BlackSmith Report warned - it's only going to get worse.
He said: "Life-threatening pollution will likely increase as the global economy exerts an ever-increasing pressure on industry to meet growing demands. The damage will be greatest in many low and middle-income countries, where industrial pollution prevention regulations and measures have not kept pace." And it's not just the developing world that's being poisoned - it's the United States, too. According to that same report - there are as many as 300,000 toxic dump sites in the United States alone. And that doesn't include the over 400,000 fracking wells around the United States.
Industry funded scientists say that fracking is perfectly safe - however - study after study shows its deadly. Just last week - a study on fracking found that the closer residents live to fracking wells - the more they suffered from symptoms of throat irritation and sinus infections. Even their pets suffered from the same ailments - and in some cases died. Water and air samples in areas near fracking wells were also found to contain high levels of chemicals associated with fracking.
Americans could have been protected from these dangers of industrial fracking - unfortunately Dick Cheney - being a loyal corporate globalist - was able to carve out an exemption for the fracking industry in 2004 - that keeps the EPA from being able to regulate fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Since then - fracking has exploded - and so too have diseases associated with fracking.
Yet Republicans want this epidemic to continue. As Rick Perry so eloquently recited the mantra of the corporate globalists: American needs Freedom from "over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation and freedom from over-regulation." That means freedom for chemical companies to dump pesticides in our backyards - freedom for fracking companies to inject toxins in our drinking water - and freedom for oil companies to spew unlimited amounts of carbon into our air to accelerate global climate change.
These guys want the new Zamfara, Nigeria to be in Pennsylvania. The point of all this is - corporate globalism will kill us all. Without government protections in place to keep "we the people" safe from industrial malfeasance - then say hello to ever increasing cases of cancer, asthma, autism, you name it. This struggle is nothing new - in fact - it's as old as time. It's the struggle between organized people - or governments - and organized money - or transnational corporations.
We rebelled against transnational corporate power in the form of the East India Tea Company back in 1773, leading to our national independence a few years later. And today - almost 330 years later - we need another revolution against these transnational corporate killers.
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. http://www.thomhartmann.com
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