A corporation’s duty is to place profit as its number one priority. Because of the toll this is taking on the health and welfare of our citizens, action is required. Speaking up for social and economic justice, especially for our most vulnerable, is a civic responsibility. This is what occurred in the South Portland City Council chambers, when its citizens became aware of increased toxic air emissions by Global Partners.

Hazardous air pollutants vary in their disease effects, hit hardest the very young living in the vicinity of those tanks. Emission of hazardous air pollutants puts them at risk for allergies and life-threatening asthma.

They grow rapidly. Their resting metabolic rate is higher. They consume more oxygen per body weight than adults. This significantly increases their exposure to hazardous air pollutants. Their airways are narrower and mucous glands larger. Irritations that might cause only a slight response in an adult could result in dangerous obstruction for a child.

For all of us, long-term exposures have the potential to harm our organ systems, like the heart and our circulatory system; the liver, our major organ of detoxification, and, more critically, our immune system. The genetics we inherit from our parents and past generations isn’t what necessarily condemns us to the cancers, autoimmune and other diseases they struggle with. It is now understood that our inherited DNA functions as a blueprint. It is the environmental challenges that potentially change the DNA, pull the genetic trigger.

In their quest for higher profits, it would be reasonable to ask large corporations to take more responsibility for the environmental and health consequences to their neighbors. If corporations are recognized “as people,” call South Portland their home, they owe it to their neighbors not to cause them harm.

Priscilla Skerry

naturopathic physician

South Portland

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