Thursday, October 19, 2006

Aironic Hudson Valley Living

I've never read the Kingston Times. Although it's published by Ulster Publishing, whose work I admire--especially anything written or edited by my friend Sigrid Heath--I rarely see this newspaper around town. But, the other day when I was at Adams in Kingston, I couldn't manage to walk by this headline:

Killing us softly?: Scientists suspect PCBs jack up stroke, heart attack risks in riverside towns

I happen to know Dr. David Carpenter the researcher who is responsible for this study. He's renowned for his public health work, was the Dean of the School of Public Health and is employed by the New York State Department of Health Research Labs, where I worked for five years before and after grad school.

What I found so disturbing about this research is that they are suggesting that the 40% increased risk of heart disease that they saw, in towns that border the river, is do to volatile PCBs, meaning that they're airborne.

In other words, we're breathing these in every day and they're acting on our livers to increase production of cholesterol which then builds up in our blood streams and blocks our arteries.

This finding is remarkable considering that towns that border the Hudson River have generally speaking a more affluent population which should have reasonable access to health care and knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices.

GE, thanks for that and the microwave thing too.

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