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Silent Spring For Mother's Day

I am a motherless child.  And so today, Mother's Day 2010, I honor our collective Mother, Gaia, with a quote from Rachel Carson, who is considered by many to be the Mother of the environmental movement:
"The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—the very nature of its life."
~ Silent Spring ~
Photo credit: World's #1 son:)
My children honored me today with what I longed for most: time by the riverside, sitting on my favorite rock, listening to the rapids crash over the boulders; it is the music my soul craves.  The sun's warmth and light filled me, and tears began to fill my eyes.  But I fought them back, for they were not tears of joy. They were fueled by anger and sadness and I would not allow them to spoil the moment.

I was so grateful to be there with my 2 youngest children, yet the anger and resentment seem to consume me at times.  I look at the crystal clear water of this river I have loved for decades; and what I see now is that it too, is a victim of the lies and betrayal.  I know that hidden in this beautiful sanctuary is poison; like the poison that runs through my daughter's veins; the very poisons Rachel Carson warned us of.

A year ago, Mother's Day 2009, was lonely and terrifying.  My then 10 year old daughter and I were completely alone in a city-sized building filled with people.  Busy people, educated people who asked me to trust them with my baby's life.  And so, feeling utterly helpless and overwhelmed, I allowed them to do their 'job'.  I watched with horror and desperate hope as they injected her with toxins and called it 'treatment'.  It was her first round of chemo for stage 3 ovarian cancer; a germ cell tumor, to be exact.

A couple of weeks earlier a gentle and soft-spoken surgeon had removed what he described as a "huge" tumor, and with it, my little girl's entire reproductive system.  It was in hindsight that I understood why we couldn't see her ovaries, tubes and uterus on any of the scans:  the tumor had consumed them entirely; raped her of the motherhood she was almost too young to begin dreaming of.  But I had pictured it no other way; she has always been a nurturer, filled with compassion for the small and weak.  I had always pictured her becoming a mother, but on Mother's Day 2009, I grieved for her loss, and mine.  I was terrified and sad; I had yet to taste the anger.

I have always had a nearly primal need to know "Why?", and almost immediately I was seeking Answers.  I was told she had the same type of cancer as champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong, which made no sense at the time because I knew he had testicular cancer.  I dug deep for over a year; practically learning a new language while reading medical journals and research studies.  Not even I will ever find the direct cause of my little girl's cancer, but I found the responsible party.  And that's when anger lit the fire that burns in every fiber of my being.

Germ Cell Tumors
Childhood cancers, like many others, have steadily increased, some types dramatically, over the past 40 years.  Numerous research studies indicate an environmental connection to the increase in cancers (and many other illnesses), the only thing all agree on is that the issue 'needs to be studied further'.  In the meantime, childhood cancer kills & sickens our kids more often than any other illness or disease.

As they develop in the womb, both males and females have germ cells; in men they become sperm, in women they become eggs.
Germination cells are the very seeds of life itself.  
Germ cell tumor rates have increased dramatically since 1960's.  In my research I discovered a 1999 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (in association with the US Centers for Disease Control), reporting a 60% increase in testicular germ cell tumors between 1964-1996.  Even more disturbing, they discovered the risk is actually increasing every year.  The authors state:
"It is a reasonable hypothesis that toxins acting during the early fetal development of the gonads (ovaries and testicles) are involved in the reduction in testicular size and spermatogenesis rate (low sperm count) and the increase in the incidence of germ cell cancer."
they continue:
"The concept is that estrogen-mimicking chemicals act as hormonal disrupters transplacentally to interfere with gonadal development in utero
In plain English: chemicals damage babies before they are even born.

Research from 2008 indicates that between 1975-2004 the testicular cancer incidence rate increased 71.9% (and 95% of testicular cancers are germ cell tumors). Researchers said this:
"A possible plausible explanation comes from gestational hormonal differences, with increased risk of testicular cancer associated with elevated levels of estrogen in-utero." 
Recently, most people have become aware of BPA in plastic acting as a hormone disruptor (there are MANY more), but to read a report dated more than 10 years ago really irked me.  How can the FDA still refuse to ban this and the countless other endocrine disrupting chemicals used every day in products such as cosmetics, laundry soap and plastics?  Our government has known for at least 10 years what is happening and they continue to protect polluters.  It makes me so very angry to look at my young daughter and realize, "this didn't have to happen to her."

When my children and I left the river this Mother's Day, we stopped at the bookstore where I was treated to a 'new' book; Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, first published in 1962, but I had only recently become aware of it.  I glanced at the list of chapters, number 14, titled "One in Every Four", jumped out at me.  And there were the words that made my blood boil:
"The road to cancer may also be an indirect one.  A substance that is not a carcinogen in the ordinary sense may disturb the normal functioning of some part of the body in such a way that malignancy results.  Important examples are the cancers, especially of the reproductive system, that appear to be linked with disturbances of the balance of sex hormones"
I was stunned to read such damning words. For more than 50 years governmental policymakers have known of the damage these chemicals cause and they did NOTHING to stop it!!!  In fact, I soon learned they have forced all Americans to be lab-rats and contribute to our own poisoning.

In 1976, less than 5 years after declaring a 'War on Cancer' and creating the National Cancer Act of 1971,  Congress created the Toxic Substances Control Act which grandfathered into law more than 50,000 chemicals; the very chemicals that had been linked to cancer for decades!!  The very chemicals Rachel Carson and many others warned us of. But our government ignored the proof and ruled in favor of corporate greed over human health.

Toxic chemicals have been linked to brain cancer, breast cancer, kidney & liver cancer, lung cancer, neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer & much more.

The self-serving bastards in both industry & government, are killing and maiming human beings, our children, family & friends, and it makes me so angry I am shaking!  It didn't have to be this way!  My child, and millions of others, were (and are) allowed to suffer and DIE for the greed of polluters and politicians!  It will not stop until we change it.

The toxic madness MUST STOP!!

** Rachel Carson was a scientist, author and marine biologist for the U.S. Government.  Shortly before "Silent Spring" was completed, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Less than 2 years after its publication, she was permanently silenced, leaving a tragically ironic legacy.

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