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Letters to the Editors

Letters

Dear Editors,

As of 2017, more than half-a-million U.S. children have lead poisoning.1 For over 2,000 years humanity has documented the poisonous effects of lead.  It is a preventable environmental toxin that has no biological role in the human body.  Lead causes irreversible brain damage especially in children.  Presently the law does not require testing of all children for dangerous lead levels.  Compare this to PKU (Phenylketonuria).

PKU is a genetic disorder that causes irreversible brain damage.  It can be found in one in 10,000 white newborns and one in 50,000 Black newborns.  In 1963 a blood test for PKU was developed.  Just a few years later in the late 1960s, mandatory universal screening became the law.  (A special diet could prevent brain damage.) 

Lead poisoning causes irreversible brain damage.   It can be found in one in 40 children, and Black children have the highest lead poisoning risk.  In 1976 a blood test for lead was developed.  (A life free of lead can prevent brain damage.)  Today in 2019, over 40 years later, there is still no mandatory universal lead screening law in the U.S.

The USPSTF (The U.S. Preventative Service Task Forces), in its 2019 report to Congress stated: “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for elevated blood levels.”  The potential harms of trying to help more than half-a-million children who are disproportionally Black, are listed by the USPSTF as: cost and possible side effects of treatment for severe lead poisoning.2

 In 2012 the CDC (Center for Disease Control) stated that there is no safe level of lead in children’s blood.   What did the great believers in family values, the politicians in Congress, do with this information?  In 2012 Congress cut the CDC lead program budget by $27 million.

“Requiring industries to prove that chemicals are not toxic before they are put on the market or emitted by polluting industries is the only way to protect children.”3

We need a political economy that does just that.  The economic system we have now puts profit over people.  It’s time for change.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon, July 5, 2019

Dr. Nayvin Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.



1 https://www.aafp.org/afp/2019/0701/p24.html 

2 https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/elevated-blood-lead-levels-in-childhood-and-pregnancy-screening

3 https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/2/e20171400




Dear Editors,

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to expose women to toxic breast implants knowing that safe alternatives are available. Two types of breast implants have been available since the 1980s: textured and smooth. Some ten million women have had these implants.

In 1997 the first case of cancer associated with textured implants was reported. In 2011 a Medical Device Alert was published about the risks of textured implants and cancer. By 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) designated a new cancer associated with only textured implants.1

By February 1, 2017 the FDA knew of at least 359 cases of cancer and nine deaths, all associated with textured implants and no cases associated with smooth implants. On May 3, 2019 the New York Times article titled, “F.D.A. Won’t Ban Sales of Textured Breast Implants Linked to Cancer,”2 reported over 600 cancer cases and over 20 deaths due to textured implants, which are now banned in many countries, yet the FDA “will not prohibit its sale in the U.S.” Knowing that smooth implants are safe, the FDA says “the risk from textured breast implants linked to a cancer of the immune system, was too low to justify action.”

Let us look closely at what the FDA is saying. The risk of cancer and death for millions of women does not justify action to ban the sale and production of a toxic product.

In other words—the profits for a billion dollar pharmaceutical company is more important than the needs of millions of women. Knowingly making profits from the bodies of maimed and murdered innocent women is the quintessence of this economic system.

We should ask ourselves, could the needs of the people and the planet power society rather than profits? Would the vast majority live healthier lives? Is it time to take another road?

—Dr. Nayvin Gordon, July 23, 2019



1 https://academic.oup.com/asjopenforum/article/1/1/ojz003/5366232

2 https://academic.oup.com/asjopenforum/article/1/1/ojz003/5366232




Dear Editors,

The British government paid out 20,000,000 to compensate—not the newly freed slaves—but the 3,000 families that had owned slaves, for their loss of property. Equivalent to 16.6 billion today, which became invested in English factories, Irish farms and plantations in India. 

How is it that government can pay reparations to those who directly profited off slavery, but not even attempt to repair the relationship to the ones who’s ancestors were exploited in bondage and still live under the thumb of oppressive racism in the form of white supremacy? The U.S. Civil Rights Movement and this version of “equality” was fought for to-the-death by many, and we still don’t have acknowledgment that this country is, was, built on stolen land by kidnapped, enslaved African people—all in the name of commerce. 

Now we live in this illusion of freedom and sold a dream of the pursuit of happiness. In a time where slavery is being edited from the school books because no one wants to be reminded, yet the same tactics like racism, sexism, and poverty are being used to divide, conquer and control us so that the true minority—the capitalist ruling class—can continue to siphon wealth out of the working class into bank accounts that already have more money than can ever be spent by a family in ten lifetimes.

Those of us who are aware, have the responsibility to our children and generations to come, to continue fighting against this system that doesn’t have our interest at heart—this system that doesn’t have a heart. And to teach the full history so that our children are compelled to change today in the interest of tomorrow.

Stop telling kids that money is the most important thing to have, stop lying to our future. It’s like being in active drug addiction, turning our own children out and teaching them that drugs are the most important things to have. Sounds crazy right? I bet no adult in his or her right mind would do such a thing. But this capitalist system is just another manifestation of the character defects of humanity like ego, greed, selfishness intolerance and indifference. But, just like an addict can recover from drugs, so can today’s society begin to recover from capitalism—the ultimate manifestation of the collective character defects of humanity. We can recover. We do recover.

—John Gould, July 17, 2019