Holding out breath no option
I have been paying particular attention to recent news and information about the air we breathe and its effects on our health.
The Boston Globe reported on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011: "A study published last week (Feb. 24) in the journal Lancet finds that traffic and air pollution account for nearly 12 percent of heart attacks worldwide," more than from use of cocaine.
The Lancet is the world's leading general medical journal. Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, associate professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health, in an editorial that accompanied the study wrote "the important message here is that while an individual's risk from air pollution is moderate or small, each of us is exposed, making the amount of risk intolerable for the entire community. "
Dr. Baccarelli goes on to say "thosde particularly susceptible to heart-damaging effects of pollution include the enderlya nd people who are obese." In checking our statistics, Maine has the oldest median age of any state, and rankedf as the state with the fuorth oldest population in the U.S.
It does seem that Bethel should be very concerned as the time approaches when our local government will make a decision to approve or deny the application to site a pollution producing asphalt plant in town. I say in town, because the wide and long waterway of the Androscoggin River valley, open to the air and subject to shifting winds touches literally every part of our community.
I am very concerned, but holding my breath for the next 25 years is not an option. The decision will be in the hands of the Bethel Planning Board. I trust them to educate themselves, to be aware of the most up-to-date information, and to make their decision based on its critical implications for all of us, our children and our grandchildren.