Cancer and chemical contamination in Kentucky
By Harold McDaniel
My name is Harold McDaniel, and I’m a former employee of the
chemical industry. I’ve called western Kentucky my home for over thirty years,
and like many people who live in middle America, I’m a self-identified
This belief is one of the reasons I strongly support
chemical reform. During my years of employment as a planner and scheduler in
the chemical industry, I also served on the emergency squad for my plant,
putting my life and health on the line for others as any person who has ever
served in a similar position knows all too well.
While working at my plant, I observed and reported numerous
violations that had an egregious environmental impact. That’s why I’m calling
on Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell to allow the Safe Chemicals Act a full and
fair hearing before the U.S. Senate. This legislation is what limited
government was designed to do—to protect both workers and citizens from the
effects of toxic chemicals.
In recent years, I have found myself frustrated by the
alarming rates of cancers in my hometown of Paducah, as well as learning and
developmental disabilities, birth defects, and other chronic illnesses that so
many Americans face. Numerous scientific studies have
linked these diseases to toxic chemical exposures, and I often wonder if the
high rates in my area could be related to the sixteen plus chemical plants
surrounding Paducah and nearby Calvert City.
Last week, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation delivered a
petition to Sen. McConnell bearing hundreds of signatures from his constituents
calling for the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act. I’m proud to include my
voice in that number, and I hope you will do the same.
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