Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bombing Our Own Territory, and Making Women Sick?

Women's eNews has a piece today, "Vieques Women Claim Navy's Toxins Destroy Health," regarding the U.S. Navy's decades of bombing practice on Vieques, Puerto Rico and women's claims that this has caused health problems such as cancers. According to Dr. Cruz M. Nazario, an epidemiologist at the University of Puerto Rico quoted in the story, "Before the Navy stepped up target practice, Viequens had one third the average risk of cancer. That risk is now 30 percent higher than average. There is no industry or other source of contamination here to release carcinogens into the environment, so many scientists believe the cause must be mercury, aluminum, arsenic and other pollutants left by the military."

Debate continues over the role of the bombings in the islanders' health problems. The story states that in recent years the U.S. government's "Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct a series of studies of the island's air, soil, water and fish. All of this research, done in the early 2000s, concluded toxin levels were safe." Vieques has been designated a Superfund site deserving priority cleanup.

I haven't had a chance to do much background reading into this situation, but will post an update after I do.


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