Accountability, not compromise
Last updated 5/10/2022 at 3:21pm
Six years ago, a major crime was discovered in our communities, a crime that had been occurring since the 1970s when the chemical companies lied to consumers about the cancer-causing chemicals of PFAS used in toxic firefighting foams (aka AFFF: Aqueous Film Forming Foam) at the Colorado Springs Airport. In the 1990s the Department of Defense sent out a memorandum to stop using AFFF at military installations; Fort Carson complied, but Peterson Air Force Base (PAFB) did not because they were sharing the COS Airport which is not DoD property but FAA and Colorado Springs city property. So, in 2016 when the news broke about the deadly intentional use of PFAS in AFFF, PAFB was forced to stop using it in training. The use of semantics to benefit the poisoning for profit pocketbooks of the trillion dollar chemical companies is an interesting thread to pull on my friends. Are you team "Compromise" and think that these companies should still be allowed to poison working families? Or, are you team "Accountability" because you fully understand the deadly consequences we have had to deal with in our communities with the use of semantics to hide past contaminations or to allow the chemical death companies to re-name their products with a "new" chemical chain?
In response to Rep. Bradfield's rebuttal in last week's paper, the majority of us are "Team Accountability" here in the Fountain Valley communities. Case in point, Willow Springs Pond, aka Polluter's Pond, which was utilized to off-gas deadly toxins from the Eagle Pitcher battery acid contamination in the 1990s, which the majority of us longtime residents know not to fish there because it is a toxic waste dump. A polluted area made "pretty" to hide contamination, a place that should never be a place of recreation, let alone fishing! Our coalition has been alerting the health departments and County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez since later part of 2016 to include this pond in the area as a known contamination. We alerted the health departments again when the "no fishing due to mercury contamination" signs were removed because we all knew this area was affected by PFAS contaminations.
And yes, it is absurd for the test to finally occur in 2020, four years after the initial alert, then it takes an additional two years for other areas to be tested and the final results to be released. Also last week in a county public health meeting (streamed online) Commissioner Gonzalez admits the county has been stocking fish in this toxic pond. Then the additional shock of hearing "but eating fish is good for you" along with a "weigh the good parts of eating fish to the possibility of the bad parts of PFAS" heard in this conversation. WHAT?? As if this is the only place in the state to get fish for one's diet? We are on year six and counting of this intentional contamination in our community, and we can't get a "let's be overly cautious" outlook in the entire Fountain Valley community?
The Midway water supply is also contaminated with PFAS chemicals. How do I know? I had to find a scientific study funded by a grant in another state to test my water. This is ridiculous as well that our own county and state health departments are so tied up in nonsense that the people working for these departments who want to test additional water sources can't because the DoD has already "determined" the boundaries of contamination. Excuse me? When will we stop allowing the criminals to dictate the areas they have destroyed? The top eight most known PFAS were tested in my water, and their combined amounts equal 172 ppts.
Back to the beginning of this column today, I am "Team Accountability," and I am also the "radical environmentalist" Rep. Bradfield is worried about silencing, and ignoring, and I am incredibly LOUD when it comes to protecting the health of the residents here in our communities and across the state.
We will be back next session for year seven to ban these cancer chemicals. She is listening to the chemists, and we are listening to the health scientists. She "compromised" with the cookware industries so pans containing PFAS / PFOA (Teflon) chemicals can still be sold in Colorado. I pushed back and said "then they need to be labeled" and as of Thursday night they will be labeled. And as Senator Pete Lee said, "It should also contain a skull and cross bones." Sen. Lee is one of the Senate sponsors of our bill like he was on the other five bills since 2019.
I will leave you with this final ask. Whose team are you on? If you are on "Team Accountability" with me, then I have a simple ask of you for the next two weeks. I will be attending the 3rd International PFAS Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina, June 15 to 18. I have received a grant to cover the costs of my hotel and conference attendance because my leadership in our state is needed to be heard by other coalition leaders across the U.S., so Toxic Action is paying for all of us coalition leaders to spend time together and educate each other on what we are doing in our own states and to talk to scientists and others. Yes, we will be talking to chemists, and we will be telling them to stop. We will not be telling them how to continue what they are doing in communities like ours. I would like for those of you who are "Team Accountability" to chip in for my airline ticket. I paid for it last week and the total cost is $1,500. It is more than what the grant from "Toxic Actions" has set aside, so I am hoping you all would like to help me out. If you can chip in any amount, it would be much appreciated. I went to the 2nd International PFAS Conference in 2019, and it was incredibly informing, and we have all benefited as a result of being able to coordinate with other communities like ours. The Newspaper office said they can do the drop-off collection for me, or if you see me around town that is fine, too. If I receive more than the $1,500, then I will donate it to Toxic Actions so the funds can be distributed with the other coalition leaders who are going to be attending. I am so grateful for your support this year.
Let's be PFAS free in 2023, my friends!
For additional updates:
Here is the link to the bill: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1345