I had originally planned on Posting about Obama’s new environmental goals, but I couldn’t find the article. I had been offered a guest blogger’s article about recycling. However I had been wanting to read this article about how industry was using organized crime to dump toxic crap into the environment, so here it is.
When doctors in rural Italy began to see a surge in cancer cases, they were baffled. Then they made the link with industrial waste being dumped by local crime syndicates. Ian Birrell learns about the tragic consequences.A few days before I visited the rather scruffy Hospital of Saint Anna and Saint Sebastian in Caserta, a boy aged 11 arrived complaining of headaches. Doctors feared the worst – and sure enough, the case was rapidly diagnosed as another child with brain cancer. Some of these young patients arrive in agonising pain, others mystified by falling over all the time; they do not know lethal tumours are swelling up inside their heads. Yet more turn up with cancer in their blood, their bones, their bladders. There are so many cases not all can be treated in the hospitals of Campania, a largely rural region of southern Italy.It was too early to provide a prognosis for the boy with the brain cancer, let alone to offer real comfort to his distraught family. Yet in a town where doctors used to rarely come across a child with cancer, never mind brain cancer, they now see these traumatic cases crop up almost every month. Too many young patients are ending up dead, some barely out the womb but with bodies riddled with disease. Then there are all the women getting breast cancer unusually early, the men with lung cancer despite never smoking, the children born with Down’s syndrome despite the comparatively young age of their mothers.
So why is this happening in an area north of Naples known as the ‘Triangle of Death’? The answer, locals believe, can almost certainly be found in places such as an old quarry three miles away by the historic town of Maddaloni, which I visited with an energetic 57-year-old youth worker named Enzo Tosti. As we drove there, he told me he was having treatment to counter the high levels of dioxins found in his blood five months earlier. “My wife works for the hospital as a radiologist and she is very concerned,” he said. “I thought about leaving for my health and going to live somewhere else, but where would I go? This is my land.”
Go there and read, read, and read. More next week.