Beware PFOS! A big, loud, extraverted, blonde publicity hound comes to Australia to warn us about it

Have you ever had your carpet or your uphostered chairs Scotchguarded?  If so, you are probably pleased with the results.  The stuff tended to make dirt and stains just slide off.  What you did not know is that you probably were a user of the deadly PFOS!

And Erin Brockovich is here to alarm you about it.  The big scare by which she first made her name eventually proved to be without foundation so we must be suspicious of her latest pronouncements.  She cost the company she targeted $600 million or so but that's fine because companies are evil

That the chemical underlying Scotchguard gets into people and animals one way or another has been known for decades.  But the concentrations are extremely minute -- measured in a few parts per billion. -- and, as always, the toxicity is in the dose.  So how toxic is it?  It certainly seems to be seriously toxic to a range of animals but evidence of toxicity to people is slight.  And don't forget that this has been under investigation for a long time.

Additionally, it has been estimated that there is by now some PFOS in every American, so bad effects should be pretty evident by now.  But they are not.

But the scare has been sufficient for American manufacturers to stop production of the stuff and the levels in people have gone into steady decline.  So if it is a problem, it has been dealt  with.  But publicity-seeker Brockovich is telling you none of that.  She has done very well out of her scares, so why would she?

You can still get Scotchguard but they have taken the zing out of it

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Erin Brockovich has described Oakey’s groundwater contamination crisis as worse than what she witnessed in the United States, as she called on the community to speak up for change.

Ms Brockovich, 56, flew into Brisbane this week to speak with Oakey locals about the spread of toxic PFOS and PFOA from firefighting foam used by the ­Defence Force for decades.

The activist consults on environmental pollution cases in the US and Australia, and has most recently worked as an advocate for communities, such as Oakey, poisoned by PFOS and PFOA.

Speaking exclusively to The Courier-Mail, Ms Brockovich said the same contamination crisis was unfolding in several US states but that Oakey’s critical plight had not received the urgent government attention it deserved.

“These are toxic compounds that can wreak havoc with your health, and once they’re in you, they won’t leave,” she said.

“People (in Oakey) are sick, they have been harmed, and their property values have been degraded.”

According to Ms Brockovich — who is also an ambassador for Shine Lawyers, who is working with locals — the people of Oakey deserve to be heard by authorities.

“People need to get blood tests and arm themselves with information to make choices for their families,” she said.

“The Government’s job is to listen to these people and to let them know they’re not going to be ignored.

“This is going to blow up pretty quickly, but before we see a potential health crisis, we need to wrap our arms around this.”

Ms Brockovich visited Oakey last year to hear locals’ concerns and said today’s public meeting would educate them about the problem and the best way forward.

“There are innocent children in Oakey who are four years old with blood levels 10 times higher than the national median average … what will their futures look like?” she said.

“Australia has higher blood levels than I’ve seen in the US.”


1 comment:

  1. "Could such an ideology be transplanted elsewhere? Probably not. ... and the competitive element in American culture would also rule it out."

    Really? Most people in America treat others are their moral equals ... it comes of being a member of a culture that --
    1) is so thoroughly shaped by Christianity (despite that most living Americans aren't really Christians, the culture has been shaped by Christianity)
    2) was founded almost exclusively by people of the middle classes, and never really had an aristocracy.

    It seems to me that American and Australian societis are similar and different because of our founding circumstances and founding populations. Both were frontier societies -- of primarily Englishmen -- in which land was plentiful but labor was scarce; and these facts put our cultures on similar paths. At the same time, the founding population of America was mostly from the English middle classes, whereas that of Australia was mostly of the English and Irish poor/unwanted.

    So, while of course I may be wrong, never having experienced Australian culture first hand, it seems to me that Australian egalitarian has a strong undertone of "don't get 'too big' or we'll pull you down".

    It's like Bono is reported to have said of the difference between Americans and Irish. To paraphrase: an American sees a big house on a hill and says, "Someday I'll have one of those", but an Irishman sees a big house on a hill and says, "Someday I'll get you, you bastard!"


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