Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Governor Mitch Daniels Regarding Thimerosal and Environmental Mercury

Governor Daniels:

I have lived in the state of Indiana for seven years. There are a few questions I, as one of your constituents, would like for you to address.

First, I would like to know why Indiana, and particularly Southwestern Indiana, needs more coal burning power plants, and please do not tell me it's because it's good for our economy.

  • With the majority of counties in SW Indiana out-of-compliance with the EPA's Clean Air Act our economy and infrastructure is no doubt on the losing end due to loss of federal funding.
  • The cost of lost work days by our citizens who are too sick to work, due to the effects of heavy metal poisoning and cardiopulmonary damage from particulate matter surely cannot be good for our economy.
  • The increase in the incidence of autism, which has been shown to be related to the proximity to coal-burning power plants, cannot be good for our economy, especially when you consider that there are no daycare facilities who will accept children with "behavioral problems." Mothers of sick children frequently have no other option but to withdraw from the workforce and stay at home to care for their child. Statistics reveal an 85% divorce rate in families of children with autism - they succumb to the unrelenting stress, which encompasses EVERY aspect of EVERY hour of EVERY DAY. There are no state provisions for respite care, and no state funded programs for adolescents and adults with autism who age out of the system at eighteen. Families are left holding the bag and footing the bill. Surely this is not good for our economy in the state of Indiana.

And, speaking of sick children, I for one do not think it is coincidental that the top five agricultural crops grown in Indiana (and exported all over the world) are the same top five foods that have been demonstrated to cause intestinal problems, including colic, chronic constipation, and diarrhea in children with autism. It is also not coincidental that when these five foods (wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs) are removed from the diets of children with autism, more than 65% of those children improve significantly, some to the point where they actually LOSE their autism diagnosis. Do you really believe this is a coincidence? What is going to happen to the economy in Indiana when the rest of the world realizes that it may not just be the food that's making them sick, but the poisons that are in the food? SURELY THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE GOOD FOR OUR ECONOMY!

As I am sure you know, the heavy metals that go into our air and water also go into our soil and from there, into the food we grow. As the photographs above clearly show, there has been no effort in this state to ensure that our food supply is spared from the toxic plumes being spewed from the coal-burning power plants. There has also apparently been no concern about locating power plants within spitting distance of elementary schools where our children are required by state law to spend a certain amount of time outdoors, running, playing and practicing sports and other activities. Isn't this inconsistent with your push for Healthy Hoosiers?

With the ever-increasing frequency of Ozone and PPM days, during which "sensitive groups," including children, are advised to stay indoors, it's no wonder Indiana ranks at the top of the charts for citizens who qualify as morbidly obese. With the serious health problems associated with that condition, I can't fathom how this outcome could contribute to a strong economy for the state.

With the neurological damage caused by heavy metals, including the loss of IQ points associated with even minute exposure to lead, we are spending increasing amounts of our tax dollars on special education programs, to remediate the damage done by the power-plants and their toxins. How is that good for our economy?

In Vanderburgh County, we are currently on target to surpass last year's suicide rate, and once again reclaim our title as the county with the highest suicide rate in the nation. Two years ago, the rate was four times the national average - AND the rate in Vanderburgh County was four times the rate of the state of Indiana. Of course, many of those people who killed themselves may have been on the public assistance roles, due to physical and mental health problems, so I guess their deaths could conceivably be good for the economy on some level, but I sincerely hope this is not one of the areas you would consider a "positive" outcome of increased coal production.

A related issue is the extreme amount of Vanadium introduced into our environment as a result of coal production. With excess vanadium resulting in the depletion of lithium, this is a very likely contributor to the suicide rate, as depletion of lithium is associated with bipolar disorder. Of course, you may not be aware, or may have forgotten the outcries for more psychiatric facilities after the suicide death of 10 year-old DeTwain Barnett in May 2007. Unfortunately, until the environmental poisoning is decreased, the suicide rate is not likely to decrease, nor is the shortage of mental health providers in this area.

A second question I have is related to your former position as Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy for Eli Lily, and your subsequent position as Budget Director for the Bush White House. In my attempt to understand the Lily Rider, which was sneaked into the Homeland Security Act, I did find a newspaper article that printed your adamant denial regarding any knowledge or responsibility for this rider, which was meant to deny families of children poisoned by thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines their right to due process in a Court of Law. My understanding of this rider is that it is called "The Lily Rider" because Eli Lily was the developer of thimerosal and so by denying families their day in court, the rider protected the pharmaceutical giant, which just happened to be your former employer.

Two questions:

1. If not you, then who?

2. Do you own stock in Eli Lily?

One final question I'm pondering is this: Given the obvious health problems and associated economic costs to a state from being the "coal-burning power plant capital of the world," and, given the documented association between mercury and coal-burning power plants AND autism, WHY WOULD THE GOVERNOR OF ANY STATE WANT TO INCREASE MERCURY IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF HIS OR HER CONSTITUENTS?

Of course, I could understand why, if the governor in question had reason to confound the evidence regarding whether or not thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines had anything to do with the epidemic of autism in America's children.

If not you, then who?

Looking forward to your assistance in sorting out this confusion.

Sincerely yours,
Marcella Piper-Terry

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