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Houston Breakthrough 1980-04
Page 12
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Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Page 12. April 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 28, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4475.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(April 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Page 12. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4475

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1980-04 - Page 12, April 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 28, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4490/show/4475.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough 1980-04
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date April 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 32 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 12
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_559l.jpg
Transcript UNION Safety on the job: an ounce of prevention.. BY MORRIS EDELSON Morris Edelson: In your position as district health director for the Oilfield, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW), are you aware of the Houston area, industrial plants which are implicated in environmental insult? I mean, pouring filth out into the environment. Have you seen certain plants in this area which are harmful to the general public? Dr. Sharon Itaya: Well most of my experience with hazards of both pollution and toxic wastes comes from my particular experience with the South Houston workforce—the hazards they face on the job, which translate back to the community. Whatever our people are being exposed to on the job is spewing out all over the community. Yes, I think there really is a big threat to Houston, particularly to areas near the Ship Channel, from all the chemical and refining plants that exist there. The diseases caused are chronic, slow devoloping, largely incurable and expensive to treat. There was an EPA study recently that indicated that the Gulf Coast area is starting to catch up and even exceed New Jersey as a big cancer center. They felt that the large amount of petrochemical pollution in the air has caused this increased danger. ME: Do refineries produce carcinogenic wastes? SI: Yes. In fact, they are getting worse. The refineries in the past used to process crude oil by a process called thermocrack- ing, which was not as efficient as the new catalytic cracking. On the other hand, the old method did not produce as many aromatics which by and large are carcinogens. Refineries appear to be much safer now than they were 40 years ago. In terms of explosions they probably are safer. On the other hand, in terms of cancer, heart disease and long-term health problems, they're probably much worse. For example, we discovered among our work force that there does seem to be an increase in cancer and heart disease. ME: Sharon, how do you check the workers? They have certain subjective impressions of their health, right? Do you examine them, or does the union examine them? Do you have objective information to check against their apprehensions? SI: Right now we're just beginning to undertake the study of heart disease among our work force. In general, the best source of information is the workers themselves. The workers have been keeping track of their co-workers over the years. It was workers keeping records of themselves which led us to believe that there is an increase in cancer and heart disease. Just yesterday I was at the local at Broadway and 610 near the ship channel. I was talking with some Crown Petroleum workers and a group of retirees. We went over a seniority list, and they were able to pick out the people who had heart disease. In some departments 75 percent of the people had heart disease. In others, there were 45 percent with heart disease. Both figures are much higher than we think acceptable in the general population. I'm going to keep trying to refine this type of information. But the best information comes from the workers In fact, it was one of the workers who found that Amoco workers have a very shortened life span. He discovered this by taking the company-supplied magazine for the last few years, which lists all the deaths of workers and their ages at death. He merely averaged the figures and noticed that chemical workers were dying around age 55, whereas the average age of death for executives was 78. Also, one of the men at Texaco in Port Arthur noted that 45 percent of the workers in the painting unit had hypertension. ME: What about the general public? Are the workers like the canaries they used to carry into the mines? Do workers show the effects of the refineries before the environment does? SI: It's not so much that the environment gets it later. The environment gets it in a lower concentration from many sources. ME: What are some of the dangerous things in the air and water here? SI: Well, an EPA study looked at Houston, Baton Rouge and sites in New Jersey, looking specifically at carcinogens. The EPA never used to measure carcinogens—they measured irritants, like nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, and they measured ozone, hydrocarbons. The things we're talking about are things like aromatic hydrocarbons, things like benzene which causes leukemia. They looked at five known carcinogens and more suspected carcinogens. ME: Is Houston now in the cancer big leagues with New Jersey? SI: I believe so. Texas takes pride in booming and being number one in everything. It's soon going to be first in another area. It's the whole Gulf Coast area, where the petrochemical and petroleum industries are. Even conservative people like Guy Newell, who now heads the M. D. Anderson cancer branch, has said the petrochemical industry contributes to a higher intake of patients there. ME: The Medical-Industrial Complex... what is its position on the dangers to the populace? SI: The medical community has never been concerned with preventive measures. Their focus is always on disease—therapy and disease, treatment and disease, surgery for disease. But the whole Public Health focus is prevention of disease. They look at the whole problem of occupational medicine, where you might be able to prevent incurable, horrible, irreversible kinds of disease. The medical community has never focused on occupational medicine or environmental problems. ME: Why is that? SI: It goes back to the whole process of how medicine is run. I think it's a result of the way medicine has been channeled over many generations. Of course there's always the money angle. The most that's been done in cancer prevention, for instance, is anti- 12 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH