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Production or Destruction?
June 14, 2011
Ann Suellentrop, MSRN, Physicians for Social Responsibility Kansas City leader and her colleagues, the KC Peace Planters, collected over 4,000 signatures to stop the building of a new nuclear weapons production facility city in Kansas City, Missouri. The compound, funded by the city, is a replacement for the 62 year-old Honeywell Nuclear Weapons Compound located just down the Street. June 8, 2011, Suellentrop, met with the Kansas City Council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee to discuss the health hazards that are inevitable with construction of the new nuclear weapons facility. The petition promotes an initiative to convert the plant into a green manufacturing facility that would stimulate the lagging Kansas City economy, with sustainable green jobs. Its predecessor the Honeywell Compound is highly contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls, (PCB’s) and volatile organic compounds resulting in fatal illnesses among its workers, families, and members of surrounding communities. The EPA’s Hazard Ranking System has listed the Honeywell facility as a “super fund,” - a site so polluted it now requires federal funding for its cleanup. In the statement made to the committee, Sullentrop states, “...Three poisonous substances that are commonly used at the KC Plant…beryllium…Bisphenol A (BPA)…Benzene.” Beryllium, Bisphenol A, and Benzene three toxins that have contributed to illnesses and deaths, of the KC Plant workers for the past 60 years. Beryllium, a metal compound used to produce nuclear weapon components, inhalation can result in lung cancer chronic and acute beryllium disease. The scientist Herbert L. Anderson who worked on the Manhattan Project, which created the 1st atomic bomb, died from exposure to beryllium. Bisphenol A, a material used in plastics, and suspected carcinogen mimics the body’s hormones, resulting in negative health effects. Benzene, a basic petrochemical, is a carcinogen where exposure leads to severe respiratory problems and a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia. The past events of the old KC plants leaves petition signers concerned especially since both Honeywell, the largest defense manufacture in the world and the Department of Energy both have track record of not protecting the people’s health and the environment. Suellentrop, in her statement to the city council, references a recent article in the Kansas Star “ …the KC Plant even today had 5 times the level of beryllium…” based on EPA standards This is the same place that has a on-site day care center for children, who are among the most susceptible to toxics, play while their parents are at work. What seems to be unique with this issue is that the city will own this nuclear weapons production plant. Suellentrop continues in her statement to the committee council, “the taxpayers need to know if the city will be liable for worker illnesses’ that will occur in the years ahead in a new nuclear weapons parts plant.” The meeting concluded with 3 of the 4 committee members voting against the peace ordinance. The next steps will take place in front of the full council on June 16, 2011. If Suellentrop and her colleagues cannot get the vote at the full council meeting, they can take it to the city clerk to be placed on the upcoming November ballot. What You Can Do TodayToday, you can make a difference. As a concerned citizen of Kansas City you can click here and sign the petition to stop the building of this nuclear weapon facility.
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