Monday, December 14, 2009

Athens, GA - Home to Toxic Chemicals that Will Be Around Forever

Agencies Deny Equal Protection Granted Under Law to Environmental Justice Communities

Micah's Mission (Ministry to Improve Childhood & Adolescent Health) met with Governor Sonny Perdue and requested a commissioned study on high volume chemicals in Georgia to determine their impact on the state's children. Micah's Mission proposed to the Governor that funding for this study be obtained through tobacco settlement money which would be at his discretion to award. [Rural Roads Magazine, Volume 2, No. 2, Summer 2004, pg 12] Governor Perdue chose however to award the tobacco settlement money to a top air polluter in Athens, Georgia to build a public warehouse road for a proposed expansion.[,2668,78006749_79688147_93278236,00.html]

The proposed expansion was met with fierce opposition from the community concerned about the continuing deterioration of Athens' airshed, and the health impacts associated with increases in air toxic emissions on children. []
Combined with the economic downturn of 2008, the expansion permit was withdrawn by the industry.[] It was not reported whether or not the tobacco settlement money awarded to this company by Governor Perdue was indeed utilized to build their warehouse road after the proposed expansion failed.

In his denial to commission a study on the high volume chemicals impacting Georgia children, Governor Perdue overlooked a group of chemicals known as perfluorochemicals (PFCs) which have been prevalent in the manufacturing of carpets and textiles, food wrappers, teflon cookware, and other consumer goods. []

Known in the 1970's to be toxic, ubiquitous, bioaccumulative, and resistant to biodegradation, the title Georgia holds as Carpet Capital of the World has come with a high price. In essence, PFCs behave like no other persistent man-made chemicals before them, and continued to be used for decades knowing damage was occurring to human health and the environment. []

Micah's Mission, after a confidential consultation with a top environmental health official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, petitioned the state of Georgia to investigate the exposures of local poisoned communities in Athens. These two neighborhoods are well defined as environmental justice communities according to the EPA definition. [] The following information has been thoroughly documented, and any records will be made available upon request:

Pittard Road is bordered by an industrial facility that for two decades knowingly manufactured perfluorochemicals in spite of its knowledge of detrimental health and ecosystem impacts emanating from its operations worldwide. The facility was shielded from the public health investigation of Pittard Road from 2003-2006 although it was in violation of local, state, and federal laws at the time of the public health investigation. Residents were not disclosed any information about the violations or chemical releases of this facility to air, soil, surface, or groundwater. The list of agencies which withheld information about historical perfluorochemical use of the owners of this facility include:

U.S. EPA Headquarters - Washington, DC
U.S. Department of Justice
EPA Region IV - Atlanta, Georgia
EPA, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Ecosystems Research Division
U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Georgia Chemical Hazards Program
Northeast Georgia Health District
Athens-Clarke County Health Department

Air testing from a Canadian pilot project in 2004-2005, while the public health investigation of Pittard Road was underway, revealed levels in Athens, Georgia of volatile perfluorochemical precursors. Scientific interpretation of these results attributed perfluorochemical levels in Athens to a local manufacturing facility. Pittard Road is due a comprehensive and truthful evaluation with no more protection of this industry. While we hope it is not true, was Pittard Road a sacrificial lamb for EPA to negotiate cooperation with this industry on the harm of perfluorochemicals? It is now clear that all residents of Athens, including University of Georgia students, should rightfully be informed of just how contaminated Athens Clarke County is with perfluorochemicals, and what is being done to mitigate this exposure.

Additionally, our Dunlap Road community, is currently saddled with a landfill expansion which was promised in an agreement with government in 1992 never to occur. This treaty has been willfully and defiantly broken by current elected leaders. A permit application to continue to unethically dump toxic consumer products laden with perfluorochemicals (which will never biodegrade) awaits approval by Georgia Environmental Protection Division. What quantity of perfluorochemicals have already made its way into the landfill from three decades of operations? To what degree has it contaminated the groundwater? Has our infamous Poop on the Loop wastewater treatment facility near the University of Georgia been tested for perfluorochemicals which are hauled constantly to the landfill in sewage sludge? Has this historically problematic wastewater treatment facility which receives numerous complaints of odors been tested for perfluorochemicals that can attach themselves to airborne biological contaminants? Are perfluorochemicals lurking in local compost material? Now that air testing has identified Athens, GA as a perfluorochemical hotspot, what are the exposures to students, landfill residents, Pittard Road, and the population at large? How have these persistent chemicals entered into our food chain and impacted organic farmers in Athens?

Will our environmental justice communities be given equal protection under the law? Or will EPA continue to deny that a perfluorochemical problem even exists in Athens?

We hope to hear promptly from our elected leaders given the urgency of this issue.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Terrorisms

It was the best of times in Spring 2009:

DuPont managed to dodge another tetraethyl lead bullet from their stunning thirty years of stealthy operations in Athens, Georgia. Selling off this illegally operating facility to InVista in 2004, along with eleven others in seven states totaling 680 law breaking acts, it may surpass in genius the infamous blood money DuPont stole from unleashing tetraethyl lead on the world. In any case, the 2004 DuPont/InVista deal of forty facilities worldwide proved DuPont hadn't lost its Midas touch of generating poisoned profits.

InVista, in an outcry that a professional con artist took unfair advantage of them, reached a record breaking audit agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Justice providing cushy bottom line benefits and legal immunity.

Dr. Richard Besser, in his final days as reigning CDC Interim Director, sat on the front row of a bioterrorism preparedness lecture at the University of Georgia receiving praise from keynote speaker, Dr. Isaac Ashkenazi.

American Cancer Society, in spite of the global economic downturn, restocked their treasure chests once again from a tried and true marketing strategy of heartstring pulling at Relay for Life fundraisers all across cancer stricken communities in Northeast Georgia.

And on Pittard Road, the neighborhood behind DuPont/InVista, only a few miles from the University where Dr. Ashkenazi gave his terrorism lecture this week, and students raised money for the coffers of American Cancer Society, LIFE GOES ON . . .

It was the worst of times in Spring 2009:

Under Dr. Besser's leadership, CDC Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry was charged by Congress in an astounding hearing on Capitol Hill with ongoing and extensive public health failures to protect American citizens from toxic trespasses of hazardous waste.

Stephen Dent, married heir to the DuPont one hundred million dollar ($100,000,000) fortune, made the news of his sugar daddy escapes with three women who attempted to extort his global InVista sell-off.

American Cancer Society in their own trysts with environmental health movers and shakers released details of a secret meeting which questions the foundational truth of whether it perpetuates or prevents cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice in entering into a consent decree with DuPont/InVista did not consider that these corporations deliberately misled, withheld, and falsified statements in an official three year cancer cluster public health investigation by federal, state, and local authorities.

And on Pittard Road, the community behind DuPont/InVista, only a few miles from the University where Dr. Ashkenazi gave his terrorism lecture this week, and students raised money for the coffers of American Cancer Society, DEATH GOES ON. . .

I sat listening to Dr. Ashkenazi on Tuesday define terrorism as an attack on innocence.

He stressed the importance of getting inside the head of a terrorist to better understand such a violent worldview. Showing graphic videos that revealed terrorists don't think twice about brutalizing their own; muchless, carrying out mass casualties on their sworn enemies, I let my mind wonder. . .

If I was offered $4000.00 for my oldest son in college to carry out a terrorist act, what depths of despair and brainwashing would take me there? That's the cheap price tag Dr. Ashkenazi placed on a militant indoctrinated mind who comes to believe a sacrificial act of killing oneself to eliminate others has eternal rewards.

I recognized the trademark on these attacks of innocence. A spirit that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy leaves fingerprints at the scene of the crime beyond the chaos and confusion the media captures.

Terrorists are victims themselves of the evil master they serve. Coming as an angel of light but leaving total darkness, they become just another meal for a blood thirsty lion.

Sitting on the front row at the lecture was Dr. Richard Besser, Interim Director of the CDC, who smiled quite a bit perhaps out of relief because the swine flu crisis was apparently under control for the time being. His injury prevention staff joined him. Dr. Ashkenazi was not short of praise for CDC, and informed the audience our U.S. anti-terrorist systems were in place and working well.

But that was not an entirely true statement. An attack on innocence happened just a few miles away from this UGA lecture hall gathering of mass casualty experts. In a neighborhood known as Pittard Road, a toxic assault by DuPont on this community went unchecked for three decades.

In March 2003, an elected Georgia leader, a Pittard Road resident, and a children's environmental health ministry, all petitioned Georgia Public Health to investigate a large number of cancer cases on Pittard Road.

An initial investigation resulted in a mixed messages report released in August 2004 by the local Northeast Health District which concluded that data examined of high cancer cases among young women "indicated that this was likely due to a familial disposition and not linked to environmental pollutants or toxins."

This conclusion was based upon an interview with DuPont/InVista in which the facility was asked about their operations and emissions given their close proximity to Pittard Road homes.

DuPont/InVista responded that "we do not emit anything but vegetable oil." No effort was made to double check the validity of this statement.

Now we know it was false from eighteen violations that are defined in a consent decree confirmed by Counselor Bernadette Rappold, Director, Special Litigation and Projects Division (MC 2248), Office of Civil Enforcement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Records obtain through EPA Region IV FOIA on October 2004 indicated hazardous waste played a role in the operations of DuPont dating back as early as 1980 in their polymer-based fiber manufacturing.

A suspiciously large absence of permits and records for twenty five years indicates a regulatory breakdown in overseeing the compliance of DuPont's operations in Athens, Georgia. A simple internet search will prove that nylon and fiber manufacturing of this nature require permits to operate.

Why were these permits missing? Why did the public health agencies refuse to interface with the regulatory agencies on this illegally operating facility? Why were facility monitoring wells not reviewed given the historical background problems with private wells reported by the Pittard Road residents?

Ms. Carolyn Callihan, EPA Region IV, in a phone conversation during the investigation, reported to me that DuPont was not actually in their databases which she found quite odd. Why didn't Ms. Callihan follow up to this omission knowing a public health investigation was underway?

Ms. Cynthia Peurifoy and Mr. Elvie Barlow, EPA Region IV, in a phone conference with me, stated there was nothing Environmental Justice could do for Pittard Road residents. They, too, failed to check this facility who was in noncompliance status during the cancer cluster investigation. They suggested we form a relationship with the industry.

Why didn't Ms. Peurifoy, Mr. Barlow, & Ms. Callihan follow up with this facility during these inquiries? Upon doing so, they would have discovered it was not being tracked by the regulatory agencies thus altering the outcome of the public health investigative reports.

It is evident from the violations outlined in this consent decree that DuPont has a long and extensive history of corporate abuse of the environment. This abuse was occurring at the time of the cancer cluster investigation.

What irony and insensitivity that Mayor Heidi Davison would agree to speak at a DuPont/InVista celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King in January 2004 as the predominantly African American community of Pittard Road was being duped of a fair health investigation.

Why didn't Mayor Davison have her newly appointed Environmental Coordinator perform a background check on the facility externalizing their waste onto Pittard Road given their knowledge of the highly publicized cancer investigation underway at the time?

This facility was also in violation of local ordinances at the time. Bringing to light these violations would have potentially changed the local direction of the Northeast Health District's Investigations into Occurrence of Cancer in the Pittard Road Community in August 2004. Why was this knowledge concealed?

The health investigators avoided ambient air and soil sampling citing lack of funding although residents had referenced these concerns. The contaminants that tested in residential well water were dismissed with unfounded assumptions of their harm, origin, and duration.

Withholding of these eighteen violations maliciously exposed a known sick community to environmental health risks from industrial operations of DuPont/InVista thus invalidating the local public health investigation.

The responsible regulatory agencies with authority failed in their duties to properly investigate the community concerns of this facility, but instead showed partiality to DuPont/InVista.

In 2006, CDC Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry issued a Health Consultation in collaboration with the state of Georgia on the cancer cluster investigation of Pittard Road. This report is not released until an CDC/EPA senior regional representing liaison signs off on approval.

Again, DuPont/InVista remained under the radar in this report although the facility was knowingly compromising the quality of the environment at the time of the investigation with estrogenic compounds and carcinogenic emissions.

There was no effort made by InVista to report their discoveries of DuPont's illegal activities in order that these numerous violations be included in the public health investigation underway at the time.

In fact, the authors of the Health Consultation, stamped with the approval of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, attempted to downplay any role chemical trespassing as a causation in the reported cancers from any nearby industrial source. This suggests that public health investigators were deliberately covering up involuntary exposures to Pittard Road residents.

Were agencies aware of these violations taking place under their noses as they falsely assured the community it was safe? The violations of this consent decree include ambient air, water, and soil mediums.

Were the agencies' conclusions predetermined, and a hunt to locate external sources to support their position?

In one inaccurate statement inserted into the Health Consultation and attributed to the American Cancer Society, it claimed: "studies have not been able to identify any chemical in the environment or in our diets that is likely to cause breast cancer."

Not only is this a false statement, the reliability of American Cancer Society data in a government issued report is questionable and inappropriate due to the extensive conflicts of interest the charitable organization has to corporate funding.

A month before EPA and DOJ reached this audit settlement with DuPont/InVista, the Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee of the Science & Technology Committee charged the agencies responsible for issuing these public health reports with jackleg science and extensive public health failure.

Congressman Dr. Paul Broun, ranking member of this committee, and our elected representative, has called for reformation of the procedures and peer reviewing process to prevent this type of faulty and erroneous science resulting in unhealthy toxic assaults to millions of Americans.

We have asked that these reports on Pittard Road be rescinded, and are awaiting response from the CDC and our elected leaders as to instructions on properly filing the official documentation for this 2006 Health Consultation to be withdrawn. Sufficient evidence exists to rescind the Health Consultation based on the eighteen DuPont/InVista violations intentionally omitted from the investigation.

These comments serve as an official request to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice to notify the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, EPA Region IV, GA Public Health Chemical Hazards Program, GA Environmental Protection Division, and the Northeast Health District that these violations were occurring during their joint investigation therefore rendering their collective conclusions null and void.

These comments serve as an official request to EPA and the Department of Justice to authorize an investigation into this defrauding, and to re-open the cancer cluster investigation to correctly document the eighteen violations and their adverse health effects to Pittard Road residents.

We had also filed an EPA FOIA requesting documentation on this facility to include data on the eighteen violations of this consent decree. An expedited request was made in a timely manner to review the documents for these comments, but no notification of approval has been received by EPA before the deadline for submission of these comments.

At this time, a consent decree is not in the best interest of all parties having brought forth this new information. The Pittard Road Community deserves a fair, accurate, and comprehensive environmental public health investigation into the false statements, inadequate purview, and degradation from illegal operations by DuPont/InVista.

It is likely that the ongoing violations of this facility at the time of the cancer cluster investigation combined with three decades of dodging regulations contributed to the high cancer rates of the Pittard Road families.

We ask that EPA and the DOJ consider these comments and what is in the best interest of those violated by DuPont/InVista by terminating this consent decree.

Thank you,

Jill McElheney

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Morphing of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

Dear Governor & First Lady Perdue:

We met during your first term to discuss children's environmental health goals for the state of Georgia. See photo.

It was pouring down rain that day in Monroe with the Confederate Flag protesters not afraid to get wet.

I remember wondering: why are they so mad with the Governor? Surely he is a man of his word.

I came to find out those feelings of anger may have well been justified.

Requesting at our meeting that upcoming tobacco settlement money be rightfully designated to environmental health issues for children; shortly thereafter, you awarded CertainTeed Fiberglass Insulation that money for a warehouse road.

Traveling down the loop around Athens, you can visibly spot CertainTeed for they resemble a huge cigarette huffing and puffing tons of poisonous combustion into our deteriorating airshed.

CertainTeed is the largest air tox polluter in our area, who not long ago, had dollar signs in their eyes to increase their unfiltered dangerous emissions in spite of our high asthma and poverty rates.

Yet, recently they withdrew their controversial expansion plan permit not being spared by these economic hard times.

Your irreverence after our meeting also hurt me because I had opened up and shared with you both the painful chemical trespassing of industry responsible for my 4 year old son's leukemia whom you met that day.

Maybe you recall that I framed and brought to you as a gift a recent wedding photo of your son Jim and his bride taken at their wedding by my brother, Jim. I had hoped to appeal to your heart.

Now five years later, I am not naive enough to believe anymore a heart appeal in politics is anything more than a waste of time.

So I will appeal now in a more familiar language----picked up from these years of investigating my son's case since our meeting in Monroe:

1. The former GA Hazardous Waste site in Athens (#10728) where we lived and he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer was:

a. Wrongly delisted by GA EPD last week in a postdated letter sent to me by Mr. Mark Smith
b. Has been mistakenly approved for residential living

2. Dr. Carol Couch and EPD are being charged by me for:

a. Unsound science
b. Manipulation of data
c. Violation of hazardous waste disposal laws
d. Destroying evidence
e. Ignoring a requested moratorium on delisting #10728

3. This site can be proven that it remains:

a. A hazard to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and immune compromised

b. Increases the risk of genetic alterations associated with childhood leukemia

c. Contaminated with site related chemicals known to be genotoxic, carcinogenic, and
immune disabling

4. A Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill last week charged The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) with "jackleg science" recognizing this GA Hazardous Waste Site #10728 by ranking House member, Dr. Paul Broun:

a. As relevant in this ongoing Congressional broad investigation sparked by the FEMA/formaldehyde public health failure, and being potentially comparable given dangerous exposures of fugitive benzene emissions

b. Acknowledging the state of GA with ATSDR in a multi-agency culture generating slipshod science

c. "Deny, delay, minimize, trivialize or ignore legitimate health concerns" from hazardous waste that compromises public environmental health, safety and welfare

d. Refused to act on significantly known childhood leukemia risks withholding critical public health data from the exposed and medical personnel inquiry


5. President Barack Obama issued an internal memo to EPA last week before the postdated
delisting of this site. The President stressed:

a. The agency is to give priority to scientific integrity

6. EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, has given an agency outline which includes:

a. priority of hazardous waste sites and residents living under chemical trespassing from these operations

7. EPA Region IV, in an external/internal review group with GA EPD, of which I was denied representation, made a list of egregious errors in an attempt to quash any legal entanglements similar to the FEMA/formaldehyde exposures

8. You are being asked to reverse the delisting of this site #10728 based upon these serious charges.

9. You are being asked to reflect from that Saturday with Sonny.

10. You are being asked to respond.

Politically yours,

Micah's Mom

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Music of the Mad

Joy to the World. All you boys and girls.

I looked around on the school bus. Black faces. All of them. I wasn't afraid though because my best friends in kindergarten were twin black boys, Gary and Greg Ivey. Black was another color in the crayon box I was all too familiar with. And in secret delight, I thought God giving me two best friends that looked alike was as if He handed me two cookies instead of one. I was the first to get off the bus at my Papa & Grandma's historical house in town. I never got to see where all the black boys and girls were going. At school, Gary, Greg and I played in a wonderful cardboard cutout house. We were equal. If they'd known that a little white girl was having so much imaginary fun with two black boys, I suspected they would had stopped it. Years later when I heard of Rosa Parks and her famous bus ride that triggered a movement, I came to the conclusion that she was the big reason me, Gary, and Greg were even friends at all.

Joy to the World. The Lord has come.

The sirens shouted get out of our way for there's a fire to put out. It was the first house I ever saw burn to the ground. We stood in the yard and watched all the confusion and excitement. The row of houses across the street from my grandparent's town house fascinated me because they were crooked shacks which reminded me of the nursery rhyme about the crooked man. I would learn the crooked man was the one who rented these sub-standard houses out. And he rented them out to black families. To boys and girls who rode the bus and got off after me. I misinterpreted the sirens. They were shouting get out of our way so we can salvage this white man's real estate.

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me.

When we moved to Oakwood Mobile Home Park in 1992, exactly one year earlier an unknown but substantial amount of diesel spilled from a faulty underground pipeline. But we didn't know it. The experienced local environmental beat reporter didn't either. That hazardous waste was not cleaned up. Like toxic vomit left to saturate the soil and groundwater, this neighborhood was known in secret files as Low Target Population. But, give us credit. We did know if there was ever a fire, we should evacuate immediately because the place would ignite much quicker than the crooked row house I saw at age 5.

Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room.

Diagnosed at age 4 post-Christmas 1998, how did my son make it to age 5? We got home from the clinic that day to celebrate his birthday with a homemade banner expressing our sentiment: We thank God Micah is alive. Come celebrate for today he is five! It would soon be one year since he was rescued from death at the Low Target Population subdivision. Fitting in some strange ways that Micah wanted a Star Wars party. Being thrusted into the world of childhood leukemia resembled a galaxy far far away. I certainly felt I was in a battle like no other in all my life to keep Micah alive and remain functionally sane. I would come face to face with evil I didn't even know existed. Complete with his sister dressed as young Anakin Skywalker, and character masks of Queen Amadelia, Jar Jar Binks, and Obi Wan Kenobi, Micah challenged many of his party guests to a friendly light sabre showdown! It was all in good fun, but a foreshadow of things to come---of masks that were to come off in real life: of those that worked to cover up the truth, who kept the system running at all costs--- the Anakin Skywalkers turned Darth Vaders for a paycheck. I would learn God is not the feel good galactic force that is with you. He's in the furnace fireproofing your heart when a mad world has thrown you in there and turned up the heat.

If I was the king of the world, I'll tell you what I do. I'd throw away the cars, and the bars and war.

The war in Iraq. The cancer of children. The exploitation of indigenous people. The dirty secrets of the world were pumped in and stored next door to me at Oakwood Mobile Home Park. Hello. I would like to know the address to your home office. My son was poisoned from your operations and I am in need of an apology. He tried desperately to connect with me as much as one human being can to another on the phone. But the madness was ever present in his detached conversation reminding us both of what we knew: no human king would throw away the cars, bars, and wars. King George was living proof of that. Cars need oil. Wars determine who gets the oil. And bars anesthetize us to accomplish the unethical mission.

And heaven and nature sing. And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

Our multi-ethnic President who identifies himself as African American is pulling troops out of Iraq by August 2010. He is promising millions of green jobs in a hemorrhaging economy. He has plans to detox us from our addiction to fossil fuels. Taking bold efforts to secure our houses and protect our children from chemical trespassing, I see Gary and Greg in him. And wonder why I set up house at Oakwood Mobile Home Park where the bus stop sat right on top of an underground petroleum pipeline. God knows this white woman is tired of the madness. Rosa Parks, I understand, was tired too when she refused to give up her bus seat. Is there a movement around the corner?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On Earth As It Is in Heaven

Ten years ago I overheard of a tragedy in Woburn, Massachusetts as my 4 year old son, Micah, underwent spinal chemotherapy for leukemia. Children of this community town were exposed to contaminated groundwater during critical stages of development. Their rare bone marrow cancers would be linked to corporate abuse of the environment. Their story of suffering was shared with the world on the big screen and written about as well by author Jonathan Harr. A Civil Action became a case study in law classes around the country.

But now we have the Clean Everything Acts that insure the environmental health protection of pregnant women and their offspring from chemical stressors. Think again. From the fuel that makes our vehicles go to the drugs that make our pain stop, our love affair is as passionate ever with chemicals. We unleash them because they make our lives for the short term happier, more convenient, and there's good money in progress.

But are they safe?

What doesn't kill us will only make us stronger. Not exactly. What doesn't kill us wreaks havoc on our gene function for generations. So bottom line is, yes, real life exposure to a sea of synthetics is killing us. Survival of the fittest at work? There is no equation where survival is guaranteed when infertility and diminished IQs are factors.

When I discovered that my own son, Micah, had been poisoned the same way as the children of Woburn, I died. My heart broke of despair to learn the antiquated system in A Civil Action was alive and well in Athens, Georgia.

How can a dead mother take care of her sick child?

When a resurrection takes place, there is an unveiling of the truth. Truth shatters fear. It frees a trapped soul bound by evil. It reminds the resurrected and those who witness it that Spirit triumphs over death and disease with love. It fulfills faith and hope. And it reassures that there is a way to accomplish heavenly endeavors while experiencing hell on earth.

I got up, took off my grave clothes, and could do nothing but come forth:

Surely when I shouted from the mountain tops how Micah fell between the cracks, regulatory agencies and public health officials would come running to his rescue.

I reasoned if I called the industries on the phone and asked for an apology, they would give it.

If a defenseless child could be robbed of his constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of playing, politicians elected by free citizens would rise to the occasion in the halls of justice for him.

All would be made right.


I made trips to Washington to speak to lawmakers. I met with the Governor and First Lady of Georgia. I petitioned the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. I stood up at state public hearings to document on the official record Micah's story.

I asked for justice.

This is about what transpired in those meetings with the powerful, and the untangling of a web of politics that fuels injustice.

I called and wrote to the industry whose billion dollar product flowed into the ditch only feet from the room I slept, studied, and wrote pro-life Republican articles when I was pregnant with Micah. Their poisons seeped into the groundwater from intentional dumping, and their permit to pollute included my indoor air quality.

With bought-off laws that shielded them from proper clean up and accurate reporting, their profits trumped my baby's right to exist.

I asked for an apology.

This is about how industry responded.

I invited those being chemically trespassed against to gather so we could learn together how involuntary exposures could impact our children and for generations rob them of health, wealth, and wisdom.

I asked for their time.

This is about how those families rose up in their communities with knowledge, and granted me the gift of friendship.

I engaged a multitude of lawyers, doctors, and researchers to fit together multiple pieces of a complex puzzle.

This is what the picture looked liked once it was put together.

I asked God to heal a broken me.

This is how He did it. . .