In the past, diseases like tuberculosis and malaria have been number one health concerns around the world.
But not anymore.
In today’s world, globalization is the number one health risk facing humanity.
A new study released this week by the Blacksmith Institute reveals, for the first time ever, the impact of industrial pollutants on communities across the planet. It found that industrial waste dump sites containing toxic horrors like lead, mercury, and chromium, poison more than 125 million people in 49 different low and middle income nations around the planet. And the authors of the study say this is a very conservative estimate and likely even more people are sickened by this rampant industrial pollution. In fact, the report says that industrial pollution is now a bigger global health problem for the world than malaria and tuberculosis.
Just look at what’s happening in places like Zamfara, Nigeria. It’s a state without children – or, at least, very few children walking around.
Why? Because hundreds of children who work in gold mines are exposed to high levels of lead. Back in March of 2010, the organization Doctors Without Borders arrived on the scene in Zamfara and found that hundreds of children had died from lead poisoning and thousands more were diseased by it. Mortality rates in some villages were as high as 43%.
This is a genocide carried out by transnational corporations that have no restraints on how they operate in what were once sovereign nations. And ultimately, this is a consequence of globalism.
Plain and simple, globalization is the empowering of transnational corporations and the neutering of sovereign governments to keep their populations safe from these transnational corporate behemoths.
Globalization tears down borders across the planet. It gives corporations free rein to move about the world and set up shop in nations wherever governments are the weakest, wherever there’s the least amount of regulation, and wherever workers are willing to work for practically nothing.
And since most transnational corporations are far wealthier than nations in the developing world, they just move in and take over, enslaving local populations and using local communities as garbage dumps.
It’s really simple: when you let corporations do whatever they want without regulation, when you leave their drive for never-ending profits unchecked, then they invariably will stop at nothing to satisfy their greed.
If it means they’ll save a few million bucks a year, then they’ll dump battery acid all over a playground if you let them. They are profit-making machines without compassion.
And as Richard Fuller, the President of the BlackSmith Institute, warned it’s only going to get worse. “Life-threatening pollution will likely increase as the global economy exerts an ever-increasing pressure on industry to meet growing demands,” he said. “The damage will be greatest in many low and middle-income countries, where industrial pollution prevention regulations and measures have not kept pace.”
But it’s not just the developing world that’s being poisoned – it’s the United States, too.
According to that same report, there are as many as 300,000 toxic dump sites in the United States alone. And that doesn’t include the over 400,000 fracking wells around the United States.
Industry funded scientists say that fracking is perfectly safe, however, study after study shows it’s deadly. Just last week, a new study on fracking found that the closer residents live to fracking wells the more they suffered from symptoms of throat irritation and sinus infections. Even their pets suffered from the same ailments, and in some cases died. Water and air samples in areas near fracking wells were also found to contain high levels of chemicals associated with fracking.
Americans could have been protected from these dangers of industrial fracking, but Dick Cheney – being a loyal corporate globalist – put in an exemption for the fracking industry in 2004 that keeps the EPA from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Since then, fracking has exploded and so have diseases associated with fracking. Yet Republicans want this epidemic to continue. Texas Governor Rick Perry so eloquently recited the mantra of the corporate globalists while he was running for President, “America needs to be about freedom,” he said, “freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation.”
Let me translate that for you: That means freedom for chemical companies to dump pesticides in our backyards, freedom for fracking companies to inject toxins in our drinking water, and freedom for oil companies to spew unlimited amounts of carbon into our air to accelerate global climate change.
These guys want the new Zamfara, Nigeria to be in Pennsylvania.
The point of all this is corporate globalism is killing us all. Without government regulations in place to keep “we the people” safe from industrial malfeasance, then say hello to ever increasing cases of cancer, asthma, heart disease, you name it.
This struggle is nothing new. In fact, it’s as old as time. It’s the struggle between organized people (or governments) and organized money (or transnational corporations).
We rebelled against transnational corporate power in the form of the East India Tea Company back in 1773, leading to our national independence a few years later. And today – almost 230 years later – we need another revolution against these transnational corporate killers.
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?