Toxic Schools Are Killing Children

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Imagine that you've lived in the quaint one-stoplight town of Somerville, Texas, population 1,700 your entire life. Imagine a town full of multi-generational families just northwest of Houston. Imagine the schools, full of happy go lucky kids that just want to learn and play. Imagine that you are a Somerville parent, sick with an aggressive cancer, and you send your child to these schools in Somerville. Imagine how these parents feel when they knowingly have to send their children, if the children are even healthy enough to go to school, to a school they know is TOXIC because it's the only option they have.

A July 2007 study performed with dust samples taken from the attics of 14 Summerville homes and 5 school buildings concluded that the samples contain extremely elevated levels of dioxin and arsenic -- two known carcinogens that have been linked to birth defects and developmental problems. Results from the 13-page report included the following statements: "Levels of benzo(a)pyrene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon found in coal-tar creosote and linked to various cancers, were as much as 15,000 times higher than protective health levels deemed acceptable by the US EPA. Levels of dioxin, a known carcinogen found in the defoliant Agent Orange and linked to severe birth defects and developmental problems, were as much as 76 times higher." Paul Rosenfeld, the environmental scientist who conducted this sampling states, "that the cancer risk is tripled for children, ages 2 to 16, exposed to carcinogens." WOULD YOU SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOLS LIKE THIS?

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The town of Somerville, Texas has been poisoned for more than 100 years by a Texas Railroad wood treatment facility. This wood treatment facility used extremely high levels of arsenic, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- all known cancer-causing chemicals -- to manufacture their telephone poles and bridge supports, as well as treat the railroad ties they manufactured. These chemicals, that are highly toxic even in low doses, have been released into the air, released into the town's water supply, and were brought home on clothes worn by factory workers. These contaminated clothes were then washed in the same washing machines as the rest of the clothes for their unsuspecting families. These chemicals are killing the residents of Somerville, Texas and their children -- because of corporate negligence and all for the sake of corporate greed. Today, the plant continues to use heavy-duty pesticides and wood preservatives including CREOSOTE -- a chemical known as a carcinogen and banned in more than two-dozen countries.

Several weeks ago the first of 200 cases against BNSF, who's largest share holder happens to be Mr. Warren Buffett, one of our nation's most philanthropic individuals, went to trial.

So perhaps the townspeople should send Mr. Buffett and the entire management team at BNSF a letter and tell them this: THE CHILDREN OF SOMERVILLE TEXAS ARE PLANNING A FAMILY PICNIC AT THEIR SCHOOLS THIS SPRING -- why don't you bring your families and come?

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