Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC)
Radio Lora, 10. Juli 2006
Nicht verzweifeln, sondern handeln!
Rede an der Universität von Colorado, im Mai 2001
Die in Australien geborene Kinderärztin, Helen Caldicott, war Mitbegründerin und Präsidentin von Physicians for Social Responsibility, der Vereinigung „Ärztinnen und Ärzte in sozialer Verantwortung“, der auch „Ärzte ohne Grenzen“ angehören und die 1995 mit dem Friedensnobelpreis ausgezeichnet wurde. Helen Caldicott schrieb u.a. „Atomgefahr USA“, „Missile Envy“ und „If You Love This Planet“. Ihre Autobiographie nannte sie „A Desperate Passion“ .
Herzlichen Dank für Ihre Einladung. In meinem neuen Buch „The Coming of Nuclear War: The Lockheed Martin Presidency und The Star Wars Administration“ (auf deutsch etwa: Der drohende Atomkrieg: die Lockheed Martin Präsidentschaft und die Star Wars Regierung) beschreibe ich, wie diese Regierung den Weltraum skrupellos mit Wasserstoffbomben und Atomreaktoren aufrüstet und eine Engergiepolitik betreibt, von der George W. Bush keine Ahnung hat, wohin sie führt, denn er, der kaum ein Buch gelesen hat und dem die Welt außerhalb der USA fremd blieb, ist nur eine Galionsfigur, der eigentliche Präsident ist Cheney, ein gefährlicher Mann: kalt, hart, rechts gerichtet und der Wirtschaft durch und durch hörig. Die Welt befindet sich in aller höchster Gefahr. Nur eine unblutige, friedliche Revolution des Denkens und Handelns kann uns und unseren Planeten noch retten. Dazu brauchen wir mehr weibliche Abgeordnete und am besten auch eine Präsidentin, denn Männerspielzeuge wie Sprit fressende Geländelimousinen und 1 900 neue Kraftwerke und Atomreaktoren bringen unsere Erde um. Wichtige Posten in der Naturschutzbehörde dürfen nicht weiter mit Lobbyisten der Viehzüchter, der Gen-, Atom- und Kohleindustrie besetzt werden. Schon kleine Änderungen in unserer Ernährungsweise können unsere Welt ein bißchen retten. Warum stoppen wir also nicht das Bestrahlen unserer Lebensmittel, mit dem die Atomindustrie tonnenweise ihre radioaktiven Nebenprodukte entsorgt? Mit krebserregendem Cäsium-137 werden nicht nur unsere Nahrungsmittel besprüht, sondern auch unser Trinkwasser verseucht. Muß es erst zu einer großen Kernschmelze kommen, damit Atomkraftwerke und radioaktiv bestrahlte Lebensmittel verschwinden? Die Kernschmelze von Three Mile Island wurde mit Rücksicht auf die Atomindustrie schamlos vertuscht. Keine 20 km von dort entfernt liegt die Schokoladenfabrik Hershey’s , die ihre Milch von den verstrahlten Weiden bezieht. Schützen Sie ihre Kinder, kaufen Sie keine Hershey’s Schokolade!
Rinder, Schafe, Schweine und Geflügel werden mit Antibiotika vollgestopft, damit sie größer und fetter werden und keine Infektionen bekommen. Diese Tierkrankheiten sind für den Menschen völlig ungefährlich, aber wenn wir durch den Genuß von Fleisch ständig Antibiotika zu uns nehmen, kann eine Infektion mit einem gegen Antibiotika resistenten Bakterium zum Tode führen. Als Ärztin fordere ich, dass diese Tiere keine Antibiotika bekommen dürfen.
Unsere Kühe werden gnadenlos mit Wachstumshormonen gefüttert, die aus ihnen Milchfabriken machen und bei uns Menschen möglicherweise Krebs erregen. Auch wenn diese Nachricht schlecht für McDonald‘s ist, aber auch in den USA wird der Rinderwahnsinn zunehmen, wenn man die Rinder mit Kuhmist und den Kadavern von Scrapie kranken Schafen füttert.
Düngemitteln werden Schwermetalle und andere Chemikalien beigemischt, darunter auch Plutonium, von dem ein halbes Kilo über die Welt verteilt, die ganze Menschheit an Lungenkrebs erkranken ließe. Hier in Ihrer Nachbarschaft, in der Atomwaffenfabrik von Rocky Flats, lagern Hunderte Pfund Plutonium! Düngemittel enthalten aber auch Blei, Nickel, Kadmium, Quecksilber, Arsen, Dioxin, Xylen, Chrom und Formaldehyd. Ist es nicht genial, seine giftigen Abfallprodukte zu entsorgen, indem man sie einfach unter den Dünger mischt und auf die Felder und unsere Nahrungsmittel verteilt? Und die Umweltbehörde sieht bei all dem seelenruhig zu!
- 2 -
Als Kinderärztin liegt mir natürlich besonders der Schutz der Kinder vor Chemikalien am Herzen. Krebserregende Chemikalien und Radioaktivität in der Luft und im Wasser verpesten Algen, Garnelen, Krustentieren und Fische. Je länger wir leben und diese Tiere essen, um so länger sind wir Chemikalien und Strahlungen ausgesetzt und um so häufiger erkranken wir an Krebs. Aber auch immer mehr Kinder leiden schon an Krebs. Der kindliche Organismus kann sich gegen Chemikalien und radioaktive Strahlung schlechter wehren, weil Niere und Leber noch nicht voll ausgebildet sind und die entarteten Zellen ebenso schnell wachsen wie die Kinder. Die Wirkung von Schädlingsbekämpfungsmitteln wurde bisher immer nur an Männern, nie an Frauen, Kindern oder Ungeborenen getestet. Dabei werden jährlich 1 bis 3 Millionen Menschen damit vergiftet, die meisten in den Entwicklungsländern.
Bereits 1984 gab es 8,627 Lebensmittelzusätze und 1.600 Pestizide. Wie viele mögen es erst heute sein? Und vergessen wir auch nicht die genetisch veränderten Lebensmittel. Wir sind so stolz auf unseren Goldenen Reis, der aber hat leider einen ganz gravierenden Nachteil hat, er enthält viel zu wenig an besonders für Kinder wichtigem Vitamin A.
Mir gefällt es gar nicht, dass das menschliche Genom entdeckt und patentiert wurde. Das ist so, als hätte man Gott patentiert. Ich glaube an keinen Gott, aber ich glaube, dass die Natur und die Evolution heilig sind.
Genetisch veränderte Lebensmittel sind höchst beunruhigend, besonders dann, wenn sie Pestizide enthalten, die für Bienen tödlich sind. Wenn die Bienen sterben, sterben auch die Pflanzen, die Blumen, die Bäume und das Getreide weil sie nicht mehr bestäubt werden. Aber die Leute von GATT und der Welthandelsorganisation WTO - die keine Ahnung haben von Biologie, Physiologie, Genetik, Umweltfragen oder Soziologie - entscheiden, dass Länder, wie Australien pestizidhaltige Düngemittel einführen müssen. Wenn eine Regierung ein Gesetz beschließt, das die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung eines anderen Staates behindert, dann wird dieses Gesetz von der WTO für ungültig erklärt. Bisher konnte noch kein einziges Land eine WTO-Entscheidung rückgängig zu machen. Heute privatisiert die WTO das Wasser und morgen die Luft, und bald laufen wir alle mit Sauerstoffkanistern auf dem Rücken herum.
Wie konnte es nur dazu kommen, dass die internationalen Konzerne so mächtig und die Regierungen so schwach geworden sind, dass kostenloses Gesundheitswesen Sozialismus genannt wird und das, was Jesus predigte, Kommunismus? Unser Credo lautet, die Reichen müssen reicher werden und arme Kranke darf man nicht kostenlos behandeln. Die Hälfte aller Steuergelder geht an das Pentagon, für Marschmusik und nutzlose Waffen. Dabei hat Amerika gar keine Feinde und wenn es welche hätte, dann sollte es alles daran setzen, sie zu Freunden zu machen. Auch die New York Times meint, dass Verteidigungsminister Rumsfeld ein Psychopath ist, der eigentlich kein öffentliches Amt bekleiden dürfte.
- 3 -
Keinem von Ihnen muss ich erzählen, wie gefährlich Pestizide und chemische Düngemittel sind, die unsere Äpfel und die Ananas von Dole so wunderschön aussehen lassen und Bienen, Vögel, Ameisen und Kakerlaken töten und beim Menschen Hodenkrebs verursachen. Wir bilden uns ein, dass Gott uns die Macht gab, diesen Planeten zur beherrschen und in diesem Wahn töten wir uns sogar selbst. Waschen Sie Baumwollkleidung und Windeln bevor Sie sie ihren Kindern anziehen! Trocknen Sie Ihre Wäsche an der Sonne, ohne Wäschetrockner brauchen wir keine Atomenergie! Sparen Sie Wasser und Strom, spülen Sie Ihr Geschirr von Hand! Lassen Sie Ihre Kinder ruhig gelegentlich ein Paar Läuse und Ihre Katzen und Hunde Flöhe haben – aber bewahren Sie sie vor Krebs und Leukämie erzeugenden Unkrautvernichtungsmitteln! Wir Ärzte sollten nicht länger zusehen und endlich die Schließung von Chemiefirmen wie Monsanto und Dow Chemical fordern! Es ist uns gelungen, Kinderlähmung, Cholera, Typhus und Pocken zu besiegen, warum sollten wir nicht auch Atomkriege, Rumsfeld und Atomkraftwerke besiegen können?
Wie also können wir diese unsere Welt retten? Retten vor kleinen Jungen, die im Pentagon mit Waffen spielen? Diese Frage beschäftige mich schon als Kind, aber erst die Ermordung von Robert Kennedy und Martin Luther King und der Wahl Richard Nixons zum Präsidenten machten aus mir eine Bürgerrechtlerin und ein radikales Antivietnamkrieg Blumenkind. Nach dem Tod meiner Mutter ging ich zurück nach Australien und las Germaine Greer und Bertrand Russel. Sie veränderten mein Leben. Ich wurde mutiger und es war mir egal, was die Leute von mir dachten. Nachdem ich im Fernsehen noch unbeholfen aber lautstark gegen die französischen Atomtests protestiert hatte, unterstützten mich 75 % der australischen Wähler, und wir zogen erfolgreich gegen Frankreich vor den Internationalen Gerichtshof. Verändern auch Sie ihr Leben! Informieren Sie Ihre Kongressabgeordneten und Senatoren! Gewinnen Sie sie durch Dinnerparties oder appellieren Sie an ihr religiöses Gewissen! Nutzen Sie die Macht des Fernsehens! Fallen Sie auf, tragen Sie Gasmasken, wenn es sein muss, protestieren Sie auch splitternackt! Kaum ein Politiker versteht etwas von Physik oder Physiologie, aber sie alle haben Gefühle, an denen wir sie packen können.
Bevor in Harvard „Physicians for Social Responsibility“ gegründet wurde, ging ich so lange als „Atomkraft Nein Danke“ Aktivistin hausieren, bis 23.000 Ärzte öffentlich erklärten, dass ein Atomkrieg der Gesundheit schadet und schlecht ist für Patriotismus und Nationalismus. Das führte sogar im Land des „Lieber tot als rot“ zu einer Revolution. 80% der Amerikaner lehnten einen Atomkrieg und Atomwaffen ab. Das war der Anfang vom Ende des Kalten Krieges, aber noch lange nicht das Ende der Atomwaffen. Es gibt also noch viel zu tun. Es ist uns gelungen, durch Aufklärung eine Revolution in Gang zu bringen, aber wir dürfen nicht aufhören, unser Leben zu verändern, zu informieren, zu kämpfen und unsere Botschaft auch den einfachen Menschen verständlich zu machen.
Radio Lora, 10. Juli 2006
Desperate Passions & Direct Actions
University of Colorado, Boulder, May 18, 2001
Helen Caldicott is an Australian-born pediatrician. She was the founding President of Physicians for Social Responsibility; an
organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. She is the author of Nuclear Madness, Missile Envy and If You Love
This Planet. Her latest book is her autobiography, A Desperate Passion.
Thank you very much for inviting me to be. I've just written a book called The Coming Nuclear War: The Lockheed Martin Presidency and the Star Wars Administration. They're going to militarize space and have orbiting hydrogen bombs and orbiting nuclear reactors. Rumsfeld is truly evil. Kissinger called him the most ruthless man he's ever known, so that's high praise from someone who knows ruthlessness.
Then we've just entered the energy policy of the Bush Administration. Of course, George Bush doesn't really know what he's doing. He's virtually never read a book, I would venture to say. He's virtually never been out of the U.S. He has no curiosity. He just a frontispiece, like the figurehead on the ship. The one who really is the President is Cheney, who is a most dangerous man. If you want to read a profile of him, there's a good one in the New Yorker. He's a cold, hard, totally right-wing man who totally represents the corporations.
We're in the most serious trouble the world has ever been. This is the most dangerous presidency you have ever had. What you have to have is a revolution. As Jefferson said, America needs a revolution every twenty years, and you need one now. I don't mean blood and guts and guns. I mean a peaceful revolution in thinking and action, and particularly in action and in passion. It's time that 53% of the Congress was composed of women, and maybe a woman President. France has just passed a parity law so that 50% of all elected representatives are women. It's beyond time. I think we may hold the magic key to the future of the survival of the planet.
The planet is in the intensive care unit. It's terminally ill. If we continue with these wicked SUVs and this wicked energy policy and building 1900 new energy plants and nuclear power plants and the like, the earth will die.
To start off my talk, I want to go through the problems with our food and then I'll talk about what I've done in this country and how easy it is, because this is a democratic vacuum, to actually lead a revolution. It's not difficult at all. First I want to read some parts of an article in the New York Times written by Catherine Sealey. The headline reads: Bush Picks Industry Insiders to Fill Environmental Posts.
"Bush has announced his intent to nominate a mining industry lobbyist as the number two person at the Interior Department. He's chosen a lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to be the department's chief lawyer. His choice for number two at the EPA is a lobbyist for Monsanto. He wants as chairman for the Council on Environmental Quality a lawyer who represented General Electric, which makes nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons and plutonium 238 for the satellites.
Turner Bush, a Clinton appointee, Bush has nominated J. Steven Griles, a mining industry lobbyist who once worked in the Interior Department under James Watt, Reagan's first Interior Secretary. The collective orientation of these people is clearly pro-development and pro-exploitation of public resources for the personal profit of various industries. John D. Graham is going to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the OMB. Remember that name, because you'll be seeing it in the future. He's a Harvard professor who has argued that the costs of most environmental regulations exceed their benefits. He'll be in charge of reviewing all regulations proposed by federal agencies. In a speech in 1996 at the Heritage Foundation, he said, Environmental regulation should be depicted as an incredible intervention in the operation of society. These people are evil.
Bush said he'd nominate Linda J. Fisher to be the Deputy Administrator of the EPA. Most recently, she headed the Government Affairs Office at Monsanto. Mr. Griles, a mining lobbyist picked as Deputy Interior Secretary, worked for the Reagan Interior Department in a series of jobs. Then he became an executive, it's a revolving door, in government, out of government, at the United Company, a coal, gas and oil company. Until recently he was a lobbyist for national environmental strategies, with clients including the National Mining Association, Occidental Petroleum, Edison Electric and Coalbed Methane Ad Hoc Committee.
William Geary Meyers III is Bush's choice to be Solicitor for the Interior Department. As lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, Meyers advocated pro-rancher positions. For Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Bush has picked James Connorton, a partner at Sidley Austin, a law firm that advises corporate clients and trade groups on environmental law. He's represented GE and Atlantic Richfield in fights against the EPA about cleanup of Superfund sites.
Bush's choice for Assistant Attorney General at Justice for the Environment and Natural Resources is Thomas Sansanetti, a lawyer from Wyoming who specializes in minerals and energy and is a member of the Libertarian Federalist Society. As the Solicitor Interior in the first Bush Administration, he helped negotiate the Exxon Valdez oil settlement. Other Interior nominees include Bennett William Railey, a lawyer who's represented farm interests, as Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, and Lynne Scarlett, President of the Reason Foundation, a Libertarian group, as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget.
When I was a little girl my nickname was Henny, because I'm Helen. One of the first stories my father ever told me was about Henny Penny going to tell the king the sky was falling. You call her Chicken Little. I'm Henny Penny. All my life I've been running around telling the king the sky was falling. It's really falling now.
Let's get into our food first, and then I'll tell you a little bit about how to save the world. [laughter] I kid you not.
Food irradiation. The nuclear industry is using their radioactive byproducts from nuclear power to irradiate our food with huge, huge doses of radiation. They use cesium 137, which is soluble, which has a half-life of thirty years, which is a beta and gamma emitter. You can read about cesium in Nuclear Madness. It is a potent carcinogen. It concentrates in muscle. It's a potassium analog. Muscle is rich in potassium. It's very soluble. They have it in a canister, metal, but because of the 2 intense radiation it tends to get little pinholes in the canister.
The cesium is kept underwater to prevent the gamma radiation, like x-rays, from getting out and irradiating workers. When they want to irradiate food, they put it on a conveyor belt and lift the cesium canister out of the water. Unfortunately, sometimes the water is contaminated with cesium because it's soluble and because of the pinholes, so there have been occasions where the food has been sprayed with cesium 137, not necessarily medically indicated to be eating food with cesium 137 in it. They also use cobalt 60, which isn't quite so soluble.
When you irradiate food with such huge doses of radiation you produce radiolytic byproducts, hardly any of which have been tested for carcinogenicity. There is one German study that has studied one of the byproducts of radiation, a chemical product that has increased the incidence of mutation in the colons of rats and I think increased the incidence of colonic cancer in rats. Food irradiation should never happen. The workers can be exposed to radiation as they're handling and transporting it. The nuclear industry should be closed down tomorrow. I think the only way the nuclear industry will be closed down and these nuclear scientists get a dose of what they really deserve is if there's a major meltdown. I don't want that to happen, but I think that may be the only way.
Three Mile Island did melt down. It was a major meltdown. There's a major cover-up on the results of that. General Admiral Rickover, who was Jimmy Carter's major science advisor, who filled the oceans up with nuclear submarines, squashed the report on Three Mile Island and said if people had found out about it, it would have meant the end of nuclear power in America. When he was dying, he told his daughter-in-law Jane Rickover that he rued the day he squashed the report. Hershey's is thirteen miles from Three Mile Island as the crow flies. It's a very rich dairy area. Obviously that's where you put a chocolate factory. We still don't have the ground measurements of radiation on the surface soil, but these materials bioconcentrate by orders of magnitude in the food chain at each stage, soil, grass, cows, then human breast milk.
Babies are ten to twenty times more sensitive to radiation than adults, so our children are at risks. Don't eat Hershey's chocolates. I've been saying that for twenty years. They haven't sued me yet. If I were wrong, they would have sued me.
To cattle, sheep, pigs they add antibiotics. I suppose the antibiotics help them to grow into bigger, fatter animals, because the minor infections they get are being prevented. However, the problem is that the more antibiotics the animals get, the more likely it is that bacteria will mutate to become insensitive to antibiotics. Number one. We don't tend to get infected with bacteria that infect animals. So that's not a major problem for us. But number two, we are imbibing antibiotics continuously in our meat. If you eat antibiotics, and normal bacteria that live in us, like strep in our throat and the colonic flora, we're totally inhabited by bacteria, that's normal. It's good for us, and it stimulates our immune mechanism. But taking antibiotics we encourage the growth and development of resistant bacteria within our own systems. Hence if we get sick and a staph infects us that has been exposed to antibiotics, you've got an antibiotic-resistant staph and it can kill you. So we're seeing more and more antibiotic-resistant organisms, which is serious because we're left with no armamentarium to treat our patients. All antibiotics for cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens should be banned. I'm speaking as a physician now.
They treat cattle with bovine growth hormone. There's some evidence to suggest that that could be carcinogenic when we eat the cattle. The poor old cattle, it stimulates their lactation and they pour out milk. It knocks them out and they die early.
They're just milk-producers. We're so cruel, and it's all for money.
I want to talk about what I call "mad foot disease." Mad cow disease I'm sure will develop in your country, and that will close down McDonald's, which won't be a bad thing. It has a long latency period. You feed your cows God knows what, including manure, like the British have. I'm sure you feed them cut-up sheep. Sheep have a disease called scrapie, which is the same organism, a prion, which gets transferred to the cattle as they eat parts of the sheep and then the cattle manifest it, the sheep manifest it, too, they get ataxia, they can't walk straight and they die. We only get it from eating cattle. I'm sure it's going to arise sooner or later in this country. I don't eat beef in America. I eat it in Australia because we feed our cattle on grass. But I'm finding that the fertilizer that farmers use, the chemical factories and the steel factories that have filters in the stacks and filter out chromium and mercury and lead and zinc, they send it off and mix it with the fertilizer. The fertilizers contain a lot of heavy metals and other chemicals, including, you've got a place called the Lowry landfill here and it's contaminated with plutonium, that's so toxic that one pound, if evenly distributed, hypothetically could give everyone on earth lung cancer. You've also got Rocky Flats here, and stuck in those pipes are literally hundreds of pounds of plutonium. Ten pounds is critical mass. One day you could easily have a nuclear explosion at Rocky Flats that would contaminate Denver forever. I wouldn't live here for all the tea in China. You live in an extremely dangerous place.
Broomfield Reservoir contains plutonium. There's a higher than normal incidence of testicular cancer among the Broomfield population. But these fertilizers are incredibly toxic. They contain lead. You know what lead does. In very minute amounts it damages children's IQ, particularly babies. I worked with Herb Needleman at Harvard when he did that pioneering work on lead in children and IQ. The fertilizers contain nickel, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, which George Bush is particularly fond of, dioxins, xylene, and all sorts of organic solvents, chromium and formaldehyde. Many of these materials are carcinogenic. So, look, it's a great way to get rid of your toxic waste, by mixing it with fertilizer and putting it on the crops of food that we eat! What do these people think they're up to? How dare the EPA allow that to happen? [applause]
There are 80,000 chemicals in common use, very few of which have been tested adequately in animal studies to find out if they're carcinogenic. Four or five get tested adequately per year. They're hard studies to do. You have to feed them to baby rats or older rats, watch them till they die and then do autopsies.
You have to do very careful epidemiological studies. The studies get fouled up along the way, and they don't really like doing them. The toxic chemical companies don't like doing them anyway. So the money is pulled to do them. Many of the chemicals that we are exposed to on an everyday basis are not tested to see if they cause cancer.
Being a pediatrician, I'm particularly concerned about the sensitivity of children to chemicals. Chemicals are synergistic, one chemical potentiates the effect of others. One and one doesn't equal two in cancer induction. One and one might equal 3 twenty times the potency in cancer induction. Then you add radioactive isotopes, which are being produced all over the country in nuclear power plants, which consistently pump out every second of every day radioactive materials into the air and water. They use a million gallons a minute of cooling water.
That cooling water is mildly radioactive. Then because of the bioconcentration, the isotopes reconcentrate back in the algae, the prawns, the crustaceans, the little fish, and the big fish. The big fish are the most dangerous to eat because they bioconcentrate radioactive elements and also organic chemicals in a much more highly concentrated way because they eat the little fish. And they live longer. That's why all the people get cancer, because we're exposed to radiation and chemicals for longer periods of time, although the incidence of childhood cancer is rising in an alarming fashion.
Children don't have a lot of fat, they're mostly water. When they imbibe toxic chemicals, they're exposed to the chemicals at high concentrations. Many of the chemicals we're exposed to are fat-soluble and tend to go immediately to fat deposits, like the breast, which is almost totally fat. We know that breast cancer is increasing. Gradually these chemicals leach out over time from the fat. Children have no fat, so the concentrations are higher in their bodies. Children's mitosis, cell division, is very rapid, and it's in actively dividing cells and the genes are being reproduced actively that the genes can be mutated. They're more sensitive to toxic chemicals and to radiation. You can literally see a baby growing before your very eyes. The human brain is almost normal in size at the age of two. Just look at a baby's brain.
Children metabolize a lot of the chemicals faster. Often the metabolites, most of this stuff is metabolized in the liver, that's what the liver does, break down toxic chemicals, that's what it's for, and often the metabolites are more dangerous than the actual chemical itself. Often the excretion by the kidneys and liver is decreased. They have immature kidneys and livers so that these materials hang around longer in the body before they're excreted. They have a huge intake of water and liquids and food per volume. Their surface area is much larger than ours. That's why they dehydrate very rapidly when it's hot. They take in a lot per unit volume, much more than we do, of food. If the food's contaminated, they're taking in more contaminants.
The pesticides that they do test are usually tested in sexually mature animals, not sexually immature animals and fetuses. Until very recently, they tested chemicals on adult males. It's only until very recently that women said, Hey, what about us? Our metabolism and physiology are different from men. They didn't test these chemicals in children, whose metabolism is very different from adults. Nor did they test them in fetuses.
If you saw the Bill Moyers program on toxic chemicals, which I think was a masterpiece, Bill Moyers had his blood tested. He's got 84 different chemicals in his body, organochlorines, dioxins and the like. We all do, too. No wonder the incidence of cancer is going up. Poor old Bill didn't look too happy when he was told it, either.
One to three million people a year are poisoned by pesticides, most in developing countries because they don't tell them how toxic they are. In 1973, cancer incidence was 17.7% of the population. In 1991 it had risen to 23.7%. That's an increase of 6%. I'm sure it's much higher now. They postulate that diet causes 30% of all cancers. Smoking causes 30% of all cancers. And infections like hepatitis B and C produce 30% of all cancers. And there's a genetic predisposition. Some people get colonic cancer at the age of 20 because they have a dominate gene for colonic cancer. So many of the cancers that are induced are caused by environmental problems. I read that in 1984 there were 8,627 food additives. You just have to look at any food and you see all the additives, including flavorings and colorings. There were 1,600 pesticides in the food supply in 1984. There must be many more now.
Then there are genetically modified foods. I gave the commencement at Douglas College. A man came up who runs a genetic lab at Rutgers, a really nice man, who left England because Margaret Thatcher privatized his lab. He does genetic engineering and modification. He said, We've conquered a mold that destroys the papaya in certain parts of the world. We've conquered another fungus that destroyed sweet potatoes. What about golden rice? I said, Golden rice doesn't provide enough Vitamin A for children who are Vitamin A deficient. It could almost aggravate their situation. These people are absolutely convinced that what they're doing is right. It scares the hell out of me. I don't like the fact that they've discovered and patented the human genome. It's like patenting God. I don't believe in God anyway. I'm a pantheist. I think that nature and evolution are sacred. I guess you could call that God. And we think that we can own it? We are the most aberrant, deviant species on the planet, without a doubt. I think that our neocortex evolved so fast we couldn't keep up with it.
Genetically modified foods are very worrying, especially when they put pesticides in them, which can kill the bees. When the bees die, the birds die. GATT and WTO make this situation by orders of magnitude worse because they decide that countries have to import fertilizers that are polluted, they have to import all these pesticides. It's happening in Australia. We have no law that would override the ruling of the WTO. If you haven't read about the WTO, you need to investigate it. It's composed of three men who are the world government. They are trade representatives. They don't know any biology, physiology, genetics, environmental science, sociology or anything. If a country passes an environmental law which inhibits the growth of some transnational, then the WTO rules that it's out of order. The only way that country can overcome that ruling is to have total consensus of all the countries in the world, about 130 have signed the WTO, including the country that is complaining. And no country has overruled any WTO ruling. GATT was written by the transnational lawyers. It's all legalese. It's terribly hard for me as a physician to understand, like it's hard for you to understand our medical language. We can talk over your sickbed in language you wouldn't have a clue about. Then you die the next day totally ignorant. Lawyers do the same thing.
They wrote 22,000 pages of tiny legalese language to run the whole world. They are now privatizing the water supplies of the world. I suppose they'll privatize the air and we'll all be walking around with oxygen cylinders on our back.
Who set this whole thing up, the idea of transnational corporations having all this power and big government's bad for you? You mustn't have free medical care. That's socialism. But that's what Jesus preached. Maybe it's communism. We believe in the rich getting richer and no one having free health care. But by the way, half the tax dollars you pay go to the Pentagon, which spends a third of a trillion dollars a year on weapons that no one needs and marching bands when America doesn't even have an enemy. If you have an enemy, you should work with conflict resolution so that your enemy becomes your friend. But you don't have any enemies. Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, is a sociopath. There's an article about him on the front page of the New York Times. Read it. They said to him, What about the fact that we don't have any enemies and you're trying to militarize space and put orbiting nuclear reactors in space and laser beam technologies? He said, We've got to be prepared. The guy needs therapy. Most of these people need therapy. They need to be removed from office by you. I don't know if there's any hope for them. Maybe they got so screwed up as kids that things are so set in concrete that nothing will change them. They should not be in public office.
Pesticides, I'm preaching to the converted. I wrote about it in If You Love This Planet. But what's a pest? Is an ant a pest? There are so many thousands of species of ants. They're magical things, and our lives depend upon them. Is a cockroach a pest? They've been here for millions of years longer than we have, and they're the only things that are going to survive a nuclear war, so they're good things. They don't transmit disease. But as you drive along the highway you see huge billboards with a huge cockroach on it. You have to spray everything unto death, including yourselves, to kill the roaches. They have as much right to live as do we. Is a worm a pest? They've got a third the number of genes that we do. They've got as much right to live as we have. They aerate the soil and produce fertilizer and humus.
In Hawaii they plant pineapples and cover the row with plastic and inject nematocides into the soil that cause testicular atrophy, azospermia and testicular cancers. When the pineapple is harvested, they chop it up and color it up with yellow. Dole pineapple has yellow coloring in it and nematocides that cause testicular atrophy. Don't eat pineapples.
Are bees pest? They fertilize the crops. If you put pesticides in the crops with genetically modified food and kill the bees, the birds eat the bees and then the birds die, à la Rachel Carson. I have a friend in Australia who grew up on a sheep property. She said when she was a little girl the skies were black with birds. Now you see one or two. Putting pesticides in crops is wicked. We need to say what's the definition of a pest.
There are no pests. We are part of the life cycle of creation. All of those insects are part and create the ecology upon which we depend. But we think that God gave us dominion over the planet. Does it mean God gave us dominion to kill everything else and just have it for ourselves? When we do that we'll die.
We're so stupid.
Herbicides. To kill weeds. What is a weed? I hear there's some nice land here that the government has appropriated and there's spraying herbicides all over it to make it poisonous. That leaches into the underground water, so people are drinking herbicide water. That's a great idea. The way you get rid of weeds is you all go out in the community on Saturday morning and you pull the weeds out, by hand. Actually using muscles. I love weeding my garden. I've got two and a half acres. I do it by myself. My daughter married a French count, and he just surveys the peasants doing the weeding, and that's me.
[laughter] It's meditative. My greatest intuitive leaps come when I'm weeding. Fancy spraying crops with herbicides, with poisons. What the hell do they think they're up to? Then it gets into our water and probably the crops.
All these pesticides, they spray them on everything, apples, grapes, broccoli. Then there are fungicides. You can't have fungus. You have to have perfect apples that taste like cardboard and whose skins are so thick I can hardly bite through them. I hate them. I like nice little tender, juicy apples with worms in them. I add to my protein intake. [laughter] When I was a kid we had worms in our apples. What's this about vegetables and fruit looking perfect? Nothing's perfect. We've all got pimples and moles and excrescences and cysts. Some are bald. We can eat an apple that's got a worm in it. What are they doing spraying all our food with these poisons?
I had to give a talk to the Australian cotton growers once. I didn't really know what they sprayed on cotton. They spray everything but the kitchen sink. You really should wash cotton clothes before you put them on a baby. We use cotton diapers. I washed them and hung them out in the sun to dry, which is a great bacteriocidal agent. None of you should use clothes dryers. If you do, never use them again. Hang your clothes outside in the sun in the summer and beside the furnace in the winter. About the amount of electricity you use in the clothes dryers equals the amount that nuclear power generates. Don't use dishwashers. Wash them by hand. Put some hot water in the sink. Don't have the tap running all the time so you waste water.
Wash them and drain them. There are lots of ways to save energy to prevent global warming and to save the earth.
I found out that cotton oil is used to make margarine. The cotton is drenched in pesticides and then we eat it. They spray pesticides and weedicides on lawns. My lawn is all weeds and if I mow it, it looks green. I shouldn't be mowing it because I'm pumping out more CO2. I should be using a hand mower. That's where I have to admit guilt. The lawns are navy blue. They're full of this awful fertilizer. A lawn should be sort of green.
There should be ants and spiders and maybe some snakes. Little beetles, ladybugs eat the aphids that damage the roses. Read Edward Wilson from Harvard to learn about this, a zoologist and sociobiologist. Children and dogs that play on suburban lawns in America have a higher than normal incidence of soft tissue sarcomas, which are extremely malignant muscle tumors which usually kill the kid and the dog very fast. Lawns are medically contraindicated. No one should ever use fertilizer, pesticides, weedicides ever again. You go into the hardware shops and there are these huge plastic sacks of everything you can possibly imagine, all pumped out by the chemical companies. The pesticide and chemical industry is a byproduct of petrol that we use to drive our cars.
Schools. They spray pesticides in schools. Why? What are they trying to get rid of? When I was a kid at school, we had a few flies. My grandchildren have had lice recently. You can get them out with a fine comb. But my daughter washed their hair with some awful organochlorine that can increase brain cancers and leukemia. So you have a few lice? What's wrong with that? It's not going to kill you. We put this stuff on our cats and dogs that's carcinogenic. We get a few fleas in the house and we fumigate the house with carcinogens. Then we can all get cancer later, but at least the fleas are dead. Doctors don't do anything. We stay in our consulting rooms and wait to see who comes in with cancer. If a kid comes in all bruised and we do a blood picture and there are huge numbers of white blood cells and no platelets and we say, I'm sorry, your child has leukemia. We're going to have to nearly kill the child to survive. Over a two-year period we poison that child like you can't believe. We irradiate that child. Later on they may get a second primary cancer secondary to the treatment. Instead of getting up, the doctors, and closing down Monsanto and Dow Chemical and the like, we wait till the cancers appear. We are very stupid. The medical dictum says, that if you have a disease you can't cure, the only recourse is prevention. That's how we stopped polio, cholera, typhoid, smallpox. We prevent it. So maybe we've got to start a whole new doctors' organization, as well as trying to stop nuclear war, Rumsfeld and nuclear power plants.
They fumigate offices. They put pesticides and fungicides in paint. I remember painting a wall not long ago. The next day I had eruptions, like hives, but not itchy, they were elevated areas in the skin. I had a tremendous headache. I realized I had painted a wall and there were toxic chemicals in the paint. I'll tell you an apocryphal story. A woman developed epistecsis, nosebleeds. She had just moved into a new house. You have to have tight-fitting seals in new houses so you can heat the house and the heat doesn't escape. That's energy efficient and you cause less global warming. The doctor said, You're sick, you can't go to work. She stayed at home for two years until she developed an invasive nasopharyngeal carcinoma into her brain and she died. What had happened was, formaldehyde is used in carpets, in drapes, to stick fiberboard together. She was breathing in formaldehyde, which killed her. We live with these chemicals every day.
You get in a car, put the car in the sun, the temperature goes up very high. You put the windows up and you can measure 140 volatile organic substances in that car. Formaldehyde, polyvinyl chloride, all sorts of things. You've seen vinyl chloride in the Bill Moyers thing. It's so toxic, I remember going to grand rounds at Harvard at Beth Israel once. There was a man with an angiogenic sarcoma of the liver. He was dying. He had cleaned out a vat of vinyl chloride gas once in his life. The supposed etiology was the vinyl chloride. It's polymerized into plastic wrap. Everything's wrapped in it, including my cup of tea in the motel. You go to a Holiday Inn and the whole lavatory seat is covered with it. It's an unstable polymer. It leaches vinyl chloride gas into the food, particularly cheese and meat. It's very fat-soluble, so it leaches into the food, into the fat of the meat and the cheese. Never use it in a microwave. The activation of the molecules can leach much more vinyl chloride into the food. Do we wonder that cancer is going up?
You see this PVC wrap everywhere. Then you read C.R. Caldman's work about the fact that cans, we call them tins of food, you know how they used to get rusty? You'd open it and after a few days the food would taste of rust? They line the cans now with plastic that contains estrogen mimickers in quite high concentrations. So if you've got a nodule of breast cancer cells, you could stimulate your breast cancer and die more quickly.
You know those polycarbonate bottles, I'll bet someone's got one. Do you know where this water comes from? Do you know that the Mafia tip toxic chemicals at night into aquifers and lakes and rivers? You don't know where the water's coming from. The water out of your tap is almost certainly clean and fairly potable. But this polycarbonate bottle contains estrogen mimickers, particularly when you drink Coke, which is a corrosive substance, quite acidic. It's medically contraindicated ever to drink anything out of these stupid bottles.
Babies' pacifiers, children's toys have estrogen-mimicking substances in them to make them more flexible and malleable. These chemicals and PCBs are damaging the wildlife, particularly in the Arctic. Somehow with the vortexes of the air, these materials get up there. The polar bears and seals, there's a very high concentration in the breast milk of Eskimo women. And PCBs and the like hang around forever.
There are 325 food pesticides and metabolites in over 5,000 food products. I don't even like eating in America. I don't know what I'm eating. I just had a nice salad. It's probably got alar on it, fungicides. I like it at home, where I grow heirloom vegetables in my own garden plot. We've got our own chickens, our own eggs every day. I'm scared to eat.
How to save the world. This is my book called A Desperate Passion. I couldn't call it that in Australia because Australians don't like anything that's too emotional. We're all Irish convicts. You understate things but you drink a lot of beer. I suppose I'll give you a brief summary of what I did. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. I was always different. I had no friends as a kid, I don't know why I was different. Someone called me "precocious" once. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know what it meant. When I was 15 I read On the Beach. It changed my life and branded my soul. I lived in Melbourne, where the only people left alive after the nuclear war were people in Melbourne, and then gradually the radiation came down and killed everybody. At the end of the book the beautiful wide streets of Melbourne are still there and George slaying the dragon on the steps of the public library and a blind is gently flapping in the breeze, and that's the end of life on earth.
In 1956 they couldn't do it, but soon after they could destroy life on earth. I never thereafter trusted any adult. I started medicine when I was 17. I learned about Muller and the drosophila fruit fly and the radiation and how radiation causes genetic abnormalities. I couldn't understand why Russia and America and China were testing bombs in the atmosphere. When I was 24 I had a baby and said, I'm an adult now. I've seen a lot of couples, a little boy and a little girl, come in and the little girl gets pregnant and overnight when she delivers she becomes an adult. The little boy may never become an adult. If you go to the Pentagon, it's full of little boys who compare the missiles to the family jewels. That's what they do.
Then I came to America in 1966 for three years. I wasn't active. I was a doctor. I had three babies under three. I used to weep into my ironing as I listened to George Wold speak at the moratorium at MIT against the Vietnam War. I got up one hot, humid Boston morning and there, lying bleeding to death from the head, was Bobby Kennedy. I turned the radio on one night and there was Louie Lions on NPR, weeping into the microphone. Martin Luther King had just been shot. I was here when Nixon was elected, a grey day. My ex-husband was so depressed he didn't get up the whole next day. I was here for the flower child anti-Vietnam thing and civil rights, and I was radicalized.
I went home. My mother had just died. I became depressed. During the angry phase I read Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch. I thought, Can I do that? Can I say that? And I did. And I didn't give one goddamn what anyone thought of me. For the first time in my life I knew for certain what I knew to be the truth. It was a white-hot certainty. There were some people outside my house trimming the trees and chopping them. I screamed at them. I said, What are you chopping those down for? This was 1970. I said, These trees suck up carbon dioxide and prevent pollution and make oxygen. I rang the Lord Mayor and they've never touched those trees again. I saved a hotel they wanted to knock down next door which became a heritage hotel. I did all sorts of crazy things. I really upset people terribly, and I didn't care. I didn't like upsetting them. I just had to speak my truth. I had a sort of a, not a change of heart, not an evolution, a turning point in my life.
Then I read the three volumes of Bertrand Russell. He was such a wonderful man. He spoke the truth loudly and clearly. If he was proven to be wrong, he'd say, OK, that was wrong. This is the truth. He gave me a lot of courage to do what had to be done. I found out France was testing bombs in the Pacific and we were getting high fallout in our water. So I wrote a letter to the paper saying children could get leukemia from strontium 90 concentrating in milk. They didn't publish it. I called the editor and said, Where's my letter? He said, condescendingly, Madam, we get hundreds of letters a day. I said, Yeah, but mine's important. I talked him through it and he published it. That night I was on television. Pinned to the wall like a pin through a butterfly's belly because I didn't know everything. I made mistakes. You know how you learn? You stand up and make mistakes. There was an old lady dying. I said, What would you have done differently? She said, I would have made more mistakes.
Don't worry what other people think of you. You don't need approval. That was Clinton's Achilles heel. He needed approval. He had no guts. He didn't eradicate nuclear weapons. That's another lecture. I just went ahead. In medicine we make mistakes. We sometimes, I hate to tell you, kill people. We take out the wrong kidney or give the wrong dose of a drug. I've never killed anyone, but I nearly have. If I had I would have given up medicine. But you never do that again. You read the whole literature and become a good doctor by making mistakes. You become a good public speaker by standing up and watching the sleepiest person in the audience and waking them up. You learn as you go.
I was on the TV talking about the French tests. I found out the Australians didn't like the French because they thought they were arrogant. I liked their food, their wine, their clothes. The Australians hated them. In nine months, 75% of the people spontaneously rose up and marched in the streets. No organization. Don't like organizations because egos climb on egos, particularly male egos. There was spontaneous uprising of the people of Australia. We took France to the International Court, and she tested underground after that. So I saw what Jefferson said, an informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion. What you people have to do is teach. There's Theo Colvin at the moment in Congress, trying to teach 49% of Congress who are desperately concerned about Bush about all these chemicals. Go and help her. She desperately needs help. Those of you who understand the science, the physiology, the pathogenesis and the chemistry, go and help Theo. Teach your local Congresspeople. Get them in a room, nice dinner, lots of wine, lock the door and then go for it. Teach them. Get your Senators. I'm a true conservative, a deep conservative. I believe in conserving the creation. Most of these people go to church on Sunday. Get at them through Jesus, or whatever their religion is. Go for their souls and their morality. They've all got it, even if it's hidden quite deeply with layers of psychic numbing.
Teach your Sunday Schools. Teach your churches. Go into the schools and teach. Broadcast far and wide. Go onto the television. Here's someone with a gas mask. You'd be great on television. All wear gas masks and go and take over the State House just up the Lowry Superfund site to clean up the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. I don't know what you do with Rocky Flats. Close down Cheyenne Mountain, which is prepared any second of any day to blow up the world. You've got to get active, not be passive. It's no good sitting around saying, What can I do? I'm so depressed. In fact, a year ago I thought, I'm 62. Maybe I've done enough. Maybe I should just garden and be with my grandbabies. I got so depressed I had to take some medication. I went to see a counselor. You know what I realized? If I don't do this work I get profoundly depressed. If I do it and I'm really active, I have the illusion, and maybe the reality, that I'm changing something and I can save the world. Not many people are smarter than I am, and that's true for you, too. Politicians are usually pretty dumb. The truth is, less than 3% of politicians are scientifically literate, including the President, Cheney. They don't have a background in science. They're businessmen. They're lawyers who grease the wheels for the business people who are poisoning and killing the earth.
Education is key. Using TV in a clever way. Gandhi was clever at it. He used asymmetry. He didn't go back to take on the British Raj with a uniform and a gun. He went almost stark naked, in a loincloth. He led a salt march with absolute dignity and integrity, and guess what, he won. Recently Patch Adams and I took our clothes off and walked stark naked down Van Ness Avenue with fifty other people who were stark naked to draw attention about the possible risk of nuclear war with Y2K. The Pentagon lost all their early warning systems for eight months, but they didn't tell us. The press were terribly bored.
Like a group of Jewish people in Denmark. A young man went to warn them about Hitler. They were bored. They yawned and said, We've heard that before. As if hearing it before negates the reality. He told them again about the gas ovens. They yawned again. He burst into tears of frustration. They got it and fled and saved their lives. Emotion is appropriate. So we walked stark naked. We rang the press and said, We're going to take our clothes off and walk down San Francisco. The press were there in a flash. They didn't show any of the naughty bits on television because it's very puritanical here. In Australia they would have. We looked pretty nice stark naked. And you know what? We're all stark naked in the face of the danger, the threat from nuclear power, from nuclear war and Star Wars. They're going to fight wars from space, vaporize cities from space, that's the plan. We're stark naked in the face of these chemicals in our food. We're all beautiful. One's fat, one's skinny. The human body is beautiful. It's when you put clothes on it that you become artificial. Maybe we should all take our clothes off just to show how we feel. There's not a simpler or more courageous act to do. And people were so excited, because they'd really done something courageous.
I won't go through everything else I've done. I suppose I'll finish by saying that when I was at Harvard I started the group Physicians for Social Responsibility and staggered round like an anti-nuclear bag lady recruiting about 23,000 physicians. We started saying nuclear war is bad for your health. It's not good for patriotism, for nationalism. You get vaporized. Your eyes melt. People say, Really? For most people, supporting better dead that red, we had a revolution in this country to 80% opposing nuclear war and nuclear weapons. That led to the end of the Cold War, but not to the end of the weapons. They're still in place. I was asked to speak to the national annual meeting of the Morticians Association. They were worried about 7 embalming radioactive bodies. We said, Don't worry, because you'll be one yourself. What we achieved was a revolution through education. It means changing your lives, getting out there, teaching, being clever with television, asymmetrical action. You can all think of things to do that will grab the imagination of ordinary people. [applause]
Other Alternative Radio Programs:
Helen Caldicott: "Ecology & the Human Spirit"
Helen Caldicott: "Technology, Spirituality & the Future of the Planet"
For information about obtaining cassette copies or transcripts of this or other programs, please contact:
P.O. Box 551
Boulder, CO 80306