One of my strongest happy childhood memories was made when my dad took us kids fishing. As you see in the photo below, My brother and I caught a bunch of fish. Dad taught us to clean the scales off of them so the fish could be fried. As I handed my mom the results of my first attempt at cleaning fish, after she inspected them carefully, I remember her hugging me and saying “You are growing up.”
Because of new alarms now sounding about scary levels of a well-known category of pollution being found the flesh of freshwater fish, she would not eat my catch today.
According to a January report from Duke University and The Environmental Working Group, eating a single serving of freshwater fish is equivalent to consuming a month’s worth of contaminated drinking water.
This class of pollutants called PFAS, has been around for decades, but this new research reveals that they are more harmful than previously understood. And because of political interference in the regulation of these pollutants, North Carolina has higher concentrations of PFAs than almost every other state.
Decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women.
Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty.
Increased risk of prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers.
Interference with the body’s natural hormones.
Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity
Reduced male child’s sperm potency when they become 18-21 years old 
These chemicals are now found in the blood of 97% of all Americans. Including you and your kids. Other studies
examined 30,000 newborn’s belly button tissue found nearly all contained these chemicals.
How did we get in this mess? Politics and greed.
Once confidential studies done in the 1950’s conducted by 3M showed that PFAS chemicals could build up in our blood. By the 1960s, other secret studies conducted by 3M and DuPont revealed that PFAS chemicals posed health risks. Unknown to most until 2017, chemical manufacturers Chemours knowingly polluted the Cape Fear River with PFA’s for more than 30 years during which time dangerously high levels of the chemicals flowed into the river, which serves as the drinking water source to more than 300,000 people.
All this time Chemours made billions in profit annually while the taxpayers of The City of Wilmington N.C. had to spend $43 million in to fix their public water supply so that contamination of customers water supplies stopped.
Where were the government agencies that are supposed to protect us? Underfunded.
When the Environmental Protection Agency was established under President Nixon in 1970, it cost each American citizen $5.00 every year. Over 40 years, as the doctors became more educated about the danger of pollution to human health, the case for much stronger environmental protection became obvious. Stories like Flint Michigan’s lead in drinking water, contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune which led to high numbers of military children born with birth defects, Love Canal chemical pollution, discover of very high cancer rates due to air pollution near oil refineries in Louisiana – I could go on and on.
In response, over the next 40 years the funding was gradually increased until it peaked at $33.00 per citizen in 2010 during President Obama’s time in office.
During President Trump’s presidency the funding was cut to $24.00 in 2017. (Fifty cents a week per citizen is all that congress would authorize to protect us from all forms of air, water, and chemical pollution!
By the end of his presidency the inflation adjusted budget was half of what it was 40 years ago. Who have our elected officials been working for?
There are several steps we can all take to protect our families. First, go on line and look for water filters that remove PFA’s. Secondly, talk to your church or schools and make sure they have them installed for those buildings. And then reach out to your local water system and find out if they are planning on upgrading their system using new federal funding (better hurry – many politicians are trying to cut those funds). And if you want to eat freshwater fish, the fish raised in fish farms are much safer than those caught in polluted lakes.
In our current politically polarized culture, people who favor regulations of pollution are accused of all sorts of “un-American” behavior, like interfering with free markets, and attacking capitalism. Follow the money….these self-described “patriots” are allowing slow murder to be committed for their own benefit.
We need the current generation of parents to step into the powerful parent role my mother left.
Authored by Francis Koster Ed. D