Alexandra Grabbe

I am a green innkeeper on Cape Cod. Becoming a grandmother turned me into an activist. I worry about the world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

Here on Cape Cod, the utility company plans to spray five herbicides under the power lines despite the outcry from over 2000 citizens who signed a petition against spraying. I believe traces of these toxic chemicals will end up in our drinking water, since my town sits above a single source aquifer. Most of us have private wells.

Cape Cod has a 20% higher rate of breast cancer than the rest of Massachusetts. The Silent Spring Institute has been trying to figure out why. One early finding was traces of DDT, used on cranberry bogs, prohibited for 30 years but still present in dust.

DAR Commissioner Scott Soares requested scientific facts and legal reasons why NStar should be stopped from spraying. Letters poured in. Our legislators joined citizens in requesting a moratorium of one year. Even Congressman Delahunt wrote to Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, to explain why herbicidal spraying is not always appropriate. We would like to see a more long-term, sustainable method of vegetative management, like mowing and cutting, used in the past. Now we are writing Governor Deval Patrick. Do you think we will succeed in stopping this eco-insanity?

The EPA recently released a list of priority drinking water contaminants for regulatory consideration. Many have never been examined for toxicity in the environment. These synthetic chemicals entered our lives in the past half-century, a period that corresponds to a dramatic increase in cancer.

Research has shown BPA to be an endocrine disruptor. Still, as recently as last month, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council was on NPR, declaring it safe.

I worry about the power of corporations, whose leaders can hire lawyers to defeat such grassroots movements as ours. We need to get the word out that this toxic world we have created will be tolerated no longer. What does it take to defeat these greedy people, unwilling to admit many modern chemicals are dangerous to human health???