I’ve been away from this blog for a bit, and away from this topic. The taste in my mouth is still here. No one seems especially interested – not my doctor, nor the agencies we pay to be interested. There is a completely logical reason for this: No one knows what dangerous levels are for exposure to the toxins generated in the fire.
Sure, they have the levels that are considered acceptable, the levels and the chemicals that we are all exposed to everyday from car exhaust or local industry. The thinking here seems to be: If we are all breathing this stuff, then it must be OK. Syllogism rather than science.
There is the accepted notion that asbestos is dangerous no matter what level of exposure. Except, when you dig into this, you find that some types of asbestos and levels of exposure were exempted from regulation under the Reagan administration. Why? Because it was being used so many places. And, it still is: building materials and brake pads are only two of the many we are exposed to daily. That’s how the deadliest toxin got mainstreamed. Denial: it’s not just a river in Egypt. It’s how our federal government made decisions that haunt us still.
And, of course, they have clear evidence of what lethal exposure is, because when someone dies of chemical exposure, it happens fast and there is a corpse. Problem is, they have no idea – none – of when a chemical goes from probably OK-to-live-near-for-awhile to this-exposure-will-shorten-your-life.
Between the two poles of denial and syllogism, there is an enormous gray area that only science can map. Without that information, no one can make sense of toxins that show up in blood or urine.
Let’s focus on our emergency response instead
Still outstanding for me is the failed response of the Alameda Fire Department. I’m trying to be kind and forgiving about it, but it’s difficult. It was a chain of bad decisions, made by firefighters that are among the highest paid in the Bay Area. At the very least, we are not getting value for our money.
That needs to change. That’s the new focus of this site. I’m still waiting for the critique of the FISC fire, still waiting for a copy of the AFD’s policies and procedures which, I understand, are decades old. The city attorney forwarded my request to the AFD, who is “gathering the documents I requested.”
It seems the AFD can’t response to anything properly.