I heard it loud and clear..."DEER PARK, TEXAS." It was a story about schools, and it was one of three cities mentioned. High honors!
Not really - unfortunately, the story was about high levels of toxic chemicals being recorded near schools. USA Today has compiled a special report called "The Smokestack Effect - Toxic Air and America's Schools" with all the details - click all the way through - they even have a list of the "most polluted" by state. My old high school only came in at #146 in the nation, but one of the elementaries (not mine) came in at #6! Here's a quote about it...
"At San Jacinto Elementary School in Deer Park, Texas, data indicated carcinogens at levels even higher than the readings that prompted the shutdown of Hitchens. A recent University of Texas study showed an "association" between an increased risk of childhood cancer and proximity to the Houston Ship Channel, about 2 miles from the school."
Impressive, huh? You can type in the name of your school and it will tell you where you rank. I hope yours isn't as high as mine.
There's one highlighted headline "Toxics can affect adults, kids differently." It makes you want to shout DUH, doesn't it? Yet that was the point I tried and tried to get across to my supervisors at my plant when I was pregnant - how much more a fetus would be affected by exposure to chemicals than an adult. I wasn't trying to get out of work, just get them to establish more safeguards - specifically, more ventilation hoods in the lab where I worked. (They finally did.)
The second essay I wrote and had published was about this same subject - about my grandmother's death from leukemia, and all of my high school classmates who developed cancer just a few years after graduation. It's why Tom and I packed our bags, loaded up the kids, dogs and cat, and headed for the hills...of Austin. (I'll add it to my blog once I get this screenplay assignment out of the way...)
I haven't read the article all the way through yet, but I think it touches on something no one wants to believe - that just because you don't live next to one of the industrial plants, you shouldn't feel free to breathe that deeply: the toxic air can travel far and wide - you might not smell it, but it's there all the same.
Now, back to work...I've started on my 3rd page! Ya-hoo!! I worked after the Christmas party last night (which was fun - lots of two-steppin', waltzin', and even a Cotton-Eyed Joe.) But I'll be up all night tonight - at least until I get through #20 and email it to my teacher. I have a meeting at work tomorrow at 10am - I've decided I'll have to bring my tape recorder. I have serious doubts about being alert enough to absorb any information...Think of me when you're snoozing away tonight!