Sanjay Gupta’s “Toxic America”

May 21st, 2010

“Toxic America” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta will air on June 2 and 3 on CNN. Exploring how toxic chemicals in your town can make you sick isn’t the most pleasant subject, but it’s an important one.

The first night, June 2, is called “Toxic Towns USA,” and will focus on CNN’s year-long investigation into what’s happening in Mossville, Louisiana. For decades, residents there have claimed to be sick from chemicals in the air.

On June 3, CNN moves into “Toxic Childhood,” which explores the effects of unseen chemicals all around us. Gupta will focus particularly on how toxins may affect babies in the womb.

A few of the show’s findings, courtesy of CNN:

  • Exposure to car and truck exhaust in the womb has been shown to result in lower IQ at age five.
  • Babies enter the world with more than 200 dangerous chemicals in their blood, including flame retardants, dioxins, substances in non-stick coatings like Teflon and hormone-like compounds found in plastic.
  • Out of the 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States, the EPA has only tested about 200 and only banned five.

Are you going to watch?

2 Responses to “Sanjay Gupta’s “Toxic America””

  1. Anna Reid Jhirad on June 2, 2010 11:24 pm

    Mr. Gupta, Thank you for producing this program. The perspective you offer is much needed! My family has been deeply affected by another toxic town–Oak Ridge, Tennessee where my brother, Dr. William Reid, an oncologist and hematologist, discovered a large number of rare cancers and blood disorders stemming from the toxic wastes of the nuclear weapons plant. We soon learned that 2.4 million lbs of mercury leaked out of that plant into the creek running through the town past a baseball field for small children (now laced with mercury), and into the Watts Barr Lake nearby. Also 400,000 tons of radioactive uranium is stored there often in wooden buildings prone to fire. When my brother spoke publicly about it, officials at the Methodist Medical Center (the lone hospital in Oak Ridge with very strong links to the Department of Energy) targeted him for peer review and tried to blacklist him through the Data Bank. He and his staff of nurses were threatened. His nurses were told they would never get work again if they continued working with him.The tires on his car were slashed. Since that time around 1991, he has been run out of town and now works in Nashville, but still he’s pursued and harassed. His and our family’s struggles have been going on now for almost 20 years. He has almost been completely ruined as a physician and we have had to repeatedly pay for court battles to protect his career to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. That is our family’s battle. But the residents of Oak Ridge face other battles–many have died. Many others are sick. Doctors there are afraid to diagnose what they are seeing. Lawyers are afraid to take on cases because they know they will be run out of town and ruined if they do. And yet, even the gnats in Oak Ridge are radioactive and one is often warned not to go jogging. Americans need to look at the impact of nuclear wastes, especially nuclear wastes from nuclear weapons plants. The question is how far do the toxic wastes in the air (3 incinerators spewing radioactive wastes every day); in the water (where does all this mercury go?); in the land (pure mercury spewed out of the ground in the Oak Ridge area and the DOE hired EPRI to try to stem the leak that had been going on for eyars). Senator Glenn acknowledged the need to look into these dreadful weapons, because really, the only people we are killing are ourselves. And that is true for every nation (including Iran now) that develops nuclear weapons. Please expand your investigation to Oak Ridge, Tennessee and to the impact of nuclear weapons development on the lives of that community. Thank you.

  2. Peggy on June 3, 2010 1:29 am

    Thanks Anna for your comment! I know that I shudder a bit when traveling through Oak Ridge just thinking about everything that occurs there.

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