Climate

Must-see video of coal industry witness: Go ahead and put some coal ash on your cereal!

Why regulate arsenic? “We eat it every day in our foodstuffs, we drink it every day in our water.”

You won’t believe this until you see it with your own eyes — and maybe not even then.  From the GOP witness to the December 10 hearing on “Drinking Water and Public Health Impacts of Coal Combustion Waste Disposal” — a medical doctor (!):

What does this guy tell his patients with diabetes — hey, people eat sugar every day, so go right ahead?  Oh, and I’m sure he was against requiring safety belts and air bags on cars — don’t want to go down that slippery slope of regulating things to improve public health and safety.

After all, coal ash is “completely benign.”  So go ahead, kids, sprinkle some on your Cheerios!

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16 Responses to Must-see video of coal industry witness: Go ahead and put some coal ash on your cereal!

  1. Anna Haynes says:

    He’s in the product defense industry.

    “Corporate Environmental Solutions LLC (CES) is an environmental consulting company comprised of highly experienced environmental professionals who use their expertise to develop innovative, yet practical solutions for the environmental needs of their clients. CES provides solutions in the fields of site remediation, industrial wastewater treatment and environmental compliance.”

  2. mark says:

    Very similar to the expert witness/inventor, Midgley in the twenties, re leaded gasoline:

    GM and Standard Oil created the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation in 1924, and built a new TEL plant Within the first two months of its operation, the plant was plagued by more cases of lead poisoning, hallucinations, insanity, and then five deaths in quick succession. On October 30, Midgley participated in a press conference to demonstrate the “safety” of contact with the substance. In this demonstration, he poured tetra-ethyl lead over his hands, then placed a bottle of the chemical under his nose and breathed it in for sixty seconds, declaring that he could do this every day without succumbing to any problems whatsoever.

  3. Leif says:

    What a novel way to mitigate coal ash problems. We just spike all breakfast cereals and sell it. Coal already fills the air and water and land with toxic waste. What are you waiting for J.Q. Public time to step up to the plate and eat that stuff. It is patriotic!

  4. Alan says:

    So we will soon see the new coal industry slogan:

    “Arsenic: they call it pollution; we call it life!”

  5. Richard says:

    My rant: It is my understanding the the FDA’s definition of ‘natural ingredients’ includes anything with a ‘flavor’ that is not man-made, i.e. ‘natural.’ I read that a common filler in cereals is dust from cement processing plants – it is a natural material with a flavor, therefore is represented ‘accurately’ by the term.

    The coal industry is perhaps one of many participating in the sickening of our population and poisoning our planet. And after sickening us, big pharma comes up with a medicine to help us – we pay twice! If only cancer (etc.) ‘research’ looked at the causative agents in our lives!!

  6. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    I saw it and I still don’t believe it. What won’t some people say for money.

  7. Jay Turner says:

    The full testimony is very revealing. The industry advocates seem to be trying to equate the costs of having to change jobs with the suffering and death caused by toxic waste exposure imposed by industry on innocent people. Millions of people change jobs every year–it’s a totally normal experience in American life. It’s very misleading to say that we have to somehow “balance” the harm to innocent people with the desire to make money from coal. The workers who will be affected are just like everyone else who has to change jobs–we should help them through the transition, just like anyone else who has to change jobs. There’s no excuse for continuing the injustice being done to poor communities where this toxic waste is being dumped.

  8. Brad Venner says:

    His statement about the breakfast cereal not only increadibly callous, it is also clearly incorrect. Coal fly ash has an arsenic concentration of about 43 ug/g. One teaspoon weighing 5 grams “sprinkled on breakfast cereal” would contain 215 ug. According to ATSDR “an intense exposure of several milligrams a day results in anemia, neuropathy, and hepatotoxicity within a few weeks to months.” Assuming this is a dose for adults, in a child this dose would be 1/10, or a few hundred ug. So the “breakfast cereal” exposure to a child would be considered an “intense exposure” and would lead to chronic arsenic poisoning.

    In comparison, the drinking water standard in Bangladesh is 50 ug/L, and EPA uses a water ingestion rate of 1 L/day for children, giving a total dose of 50 ug/day.

  9. Dano says:

    It is the playbook from Big Tobacco. Same one. Looks like a counter-trey left with the right tackle pulling and the right slot receiver in motion to just past the left tight end at snap. Hold your position and don’t go for the counter and hit them hard at the line.

    Best,

    D

  10. Jay Turner says:

    I can hardly believe that the industry rep actually made the argument that people die every day of something, so if a few people in rural communities die from toxic exposure from coal ash that that’s just acceptable losses.

    Granted, people do need to earn a living some way. But why does it have to cost innocent people their lives? That seems like a false choice to me.

  11. Chris Dudley says:

    Yup, Arsenic and Mercury from coal and now Cadmium in kid’s jewelry http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/chinese-made-childrens-jewey-mostly-toxic-cadmium.php But, sometimes there is good news too. We got rid of lead in gasoline: http://www3.amherst.edu/~jwreyes/papers/LeadCrimeNBERWP13097.pdf

  12. Mitchell Beer says:

    This reference is old enough that I couldn’t find it online. But in the late 1970s, I distinctly remember a news conference where one of McGraw’s predecessors drank a quantity of dioxin to ‘prove’ that it was as safe as drinking water. Same line, different substance.

  13. Robert says:

    This is a classic example of what my old Torts professor once said: “You can get an “expert” to testify that hell is an ice house if you pay them enough.”

  14. Pete says:

    Back in the 60’s when the EPA banned DDT I saw a news report where a DDT manufacturer and his wife and daughter each drank a small glass of the stuff on camera to show it was safe. I’ve always wondered what happened to them. Anybody know?

  15. Maybe we should have a formal Court where scientific findings can be debated, formally, by lawyers and a Judge, expert on Law and the specific science at issue, will judge on the merits but his decision could be appealed to a higher court, in a manner similart to our current Federal Law system.
    We need a Judge able to say: “No, you do not have to give Equal Time to that particular point of view within the following limitations…”
    We cannot rely on the Common Sense of the public to decide technical issues on the basis of a jury of our equals. We need a jury of Experts.