Women’s History Month

Article written by Teresa Bertossi, posted by Gabriel Caplett

March is Women’s History Month. History has shown that when women unite necessary changes happen. Women around the world have always been leaders in protecting communities. So as a woman I feel I have an absolute duty to prevent Kennecott’s mine and all the proposed risky mines in the U.P. 

Throughout my life I’ve met many women who, like me, have debilitating reproductive problems, including cysts, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and endometriosis. A woman’s reproductive system is sensitive to environmental contaminants. Children are being born in toxic soups and childhood rates of asthma, cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders are increasing.  Poisoning the most innocent members of our society is the ultimate crime on humanity.

So why are so many people being poisoned?

We are constantly bombarded with chemicals. Over 700 new chemicals are produced every year. Despite our personal healthy choices, governments and corporations are working together, deciding that it is okay for industry to pollute in safe amounts. They disguise their so-called "safe" quantities of pollution as "maximum contaminant levels" or "total maximum daily loads."

For example, although aquifers in the western U.P. are known to be among the most easily contaminated water systems in the U.S., the DEQ recently gave Kennecott a permit to "discharge …184,000,000 gallons per year of process wastewater from the … Mine Wastewater Treatment System … to the groundwater of the State of Michigan." It is impossible to remove all contaminants from this wastewater, but the government and industry will tell you that the remaining water contaminants are "safe."

But for whom are these "allowable" amounts of contaminants safe? People have different exposure levels that their bodies can handle. 

Most safety standards are based on how adult men are affected. But women’s and children’s bodies are different. 

I’m disappointed with my government, and I am saddened by those of you who would sacrifice public health and lands for a mining job.

I don’t want to frighten anyone by this information, but I hope you will channel frustration and anger into something more constructive. Change is long overdue and sometimes the simplest way to change the world is to start in your community. Let’s stand up to Kennecott; the people have the power to stop this project. We can change the linear path we are on, but we must all unite. Please imagine the world we could have, and let’s make it happen.

Teresa Bertossi


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