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TruthToTell, Mon., Dec 12 @9AM: HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND AFFORDABILITY: Living Dichotomy-KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org
Has it struck anyone else that heading into the dead of winter, we have record numbers of people who remain homeless, with more coming from a record number of foreclosures plaguing a housing market with depleted values while creating thousands of vacant properties, putting people with mortgages underwater?
And still we fight for affordable housing.
Do these facts simply not make sense?
All kinds of agencies around the cities are set up to create and operate affordable housing complexes, but where are the banks and other financial outfits and why aren’t they helping to stop this bleeding of people into Twin Cities’ and other cities’ streets and shelters while the banks deal with vacant homes and apartment complexes from which their policies have drive so many owners and renters?
We’ll talk about where we stand with affordable housing facilities and public policies that seem at a loss to do much about this conundrum and where the affordable housing of tomorrow should come from and where it should be built.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and Guest Co-Host LENNIE CHISM ask our guests just how we resolve these issues, if at all.
EDWARD G. GOETZ – Director of CURA (Center for Urban and Regional Affairs); faculty member at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Director the CURA Housing Forum and co-director, the University Metropolitan Consortium; Author, Clearing the Way: Deconcentrating the Poor in Urban America
GINA CIGANIK – Vice President, Housing Development, AEON (formerly Central Community Housing Trust)
ANDRIANA ABARIOTES – Executive Director, LISC (Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation)
BOB BOYD – Director of Policy and Special Initiatives, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority
TruthToTell, Dec 5: MERCURY: What You Can't See Is Hurting You -AUDIO HERE-NO Video this week
Time was when we sauntered through the days and years not only not worried about the mercury we lived with, but rather fascinated by all of its apparent properties…dangerous properties, it turns out, for many – fatal. Our mouths could be full of it, our thermometers have always relied on it for taking temperatures, we’re injected with it, we swim in pools where it’s part of the purification system (chlorine), and we light our spaces with it – in both bulbs and switches.
A lot of the descriptions of the terrible things mercury can do to us can be found on a variety of websites, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and some of it is enlightening, if not as cautionary as it might be. Here’s part of what the MPCA’s description says:
Mercury is a silvery, liquid metal at room temperature - the only metal known to exist in liquid form naturally. It is sometimes referred to as one of the "heavy metals." Like water, mercury can evaporate and become airborne. Because it is an element, mercury does not break down into less toxic substances. Once mercury escapes to the environment, it circulates in and out of the atmosphere until it ends up in the bottoms of lakes and oceans. Depending on its chemical form, mercury may travel long distances before it falls to earth with precipitation or dust..
Bacteria and chemical reactions in lakes and wetlands change the mercury into a much more toxic form known as methylmercury. Fish become contaminated with methylmercury by eating food (plankton and smaller fish), which has absorbed methylmercury.
As long as the fish continue to be exposed to mercury, mercury continually builds up in their flesh. Fish that eat other fish become even more highly contaminated. Thus, the fish most desirable for many anglers -- bass, walleye and northern pike -- become the most affected, and larger fish tend to be the most contaminated.
When people eat contaminated fish, methylmercury remains in their bodies for a long time. If they eat fish containing methylmercury faster than their bodies can get rid of it, the methylmercury accumulates in their bodies and can be toxic. Many states, including Minnesota, have fish consumption advisories to inform people about how many meals of fish they can safely eat over a period of time.
That should be frightening enough, but we also take the deadly mercury into our bodies and blood streams by several other common means – our dental fillings (amalgams), flu shots and, although less so these days, other vaccines. Mercury amalgam fillings alone are believed to give off more mercury – which we breathe and swallow – than all the fish we eat and foul air we breathe combined, say researchers.
Many groups and agencies have been fighting to rid us of mercury absorption. Most of them are focused on reducing the mercury emissions from coal plants or getting rid of medical thermometers and keeping schools, where it’s already banned, free of the stuff.
As the world’s biggest exporter of mercury, the US is nevertheless banned (EPA) from exporting “elemental” mercury – the kind you can see in beads rolling around a tray or in your hand, as we used to do. We can’t do much about “atmospheric” mercury, except stop burning coal and other minerals that contain the stuff.
The effort to put tough controls on the use and production of mercury in our lives is global, but powerful forces with vested billions in its use are at work to minimize those controls. Money controls the controls.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI discuss the serious toxic health threats we face from the various sources and uses of mercury with a variety of mercury watchdogs.
KAREN MONAHAN – Environmental Justice Organizer, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter
LEA FOUSHEE – Indigenous Womens Mercury Investigation; Director of Environmental Justice, North American Water Office; Author, Sacred Water: Water for Life
LEO CASHMAN – Executive Director, Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS)
BRUCE MONSON – Research Scientist, Environmental Analysis & Outcome Division, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA); author, Minnesota State Fish Contaminant Database
OTHER IMPORTANT SITES (CLICK on links):
Frequently Asked Questions about Mercury
Mercury in Minnesota - Research and Reduction Initiative
Mercury Element Facts
Mercury in Schools
Laws and Regulations | Mercury | US EPA
03/16/2011: EPA Proposes First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants / Mercury and air toxics standards represent one of strongest health protections from air pollution since passage of Clean Air Act
12/02/2011: EPA Proposes Changes to Clean Air Act Standards for Boilers and Incinerators/Reconsidered standards would set emission limits for less than one percent of boilers, achieve public health benefits while increasing flexibility and responding to
EJAir | US EPA - Environmental Justice Site
Meet the Staff - Mercury Policy Project - Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure