Brine's slippery slope

Members of Ohio’s Republican-controlled lame-duck legislature seem to be competing with each other to see who can top what might be called the Toxic Bill Parade. Now they’ve outdone themselves with one that is, quite literally, “toxic.”

House Bill 393 and Senate Bill 165 would threaten Ohio’s waters and public health by allowing the sale and surface application of oil and gas well waste fluids, commonly called “brine.” The bill argues that oil-field brines are “naturally occurring materials.” In fact, they may contain hundreds of dangerous chemicals, which may be further concentrated through processing.

One such product, AquaSalina, is already being sold by Nature’s Own Source. A July 2016 memo, written by inspectors from the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management Radiation Safety Section, reports that tests of nine samples of AquaSalina found that all had radium levels far exceeding safe federal and state drinking water standards and Ohio’s limits on radium discharge into the environment.

Surely, this was enough to shoot H.B. 393 and S.B. 165 to the top of that Toxic Bill Parade. But just to be sure, lawmakers also removed and restricted the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s authority by limiting the kind of documentation it could accept before issuing an order or permit to sell a brine commodity.

Who can possibly benefit from this legislative travesty? Only the petroleum industry that will be able to maximize profits by selling their toxic waste and the coffers of the GOP legislators who’ve done its bidding. When will this greedy assault on the environment that sustains all life cease? I’ve never been so ashamed to be an Ohioan.

Rebecca Bralek, Peninsula

 

Bacon's down side

As a registered dietitian and Ohio State University graduate, I think Ohio State should remove bacon on campus instead of making it easier for students to access this cancer-causing processed meat (‘‘Ohio State bacon vending machine proves popular,’’ Dec. 9).

The bacon donations from Smithfield, Hormel, and Sugardale are no less concerning than tactics Big Tobacco used for generations to lure young people to smoke cigarettes.

The World Health Organization warns that processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans” and that there is no amount safe for consumption. Just a few strips of bacon consumed daily increases cancer risk by 18 percent.

Ohio State’s bacon vending machine is especially concerning as colorectal cancer rates are on the rise in young people. A study published in JAMA Surgery finds that based on current trends colon cancer rates will increase 90 percent among people ages 20-34 by 2030.

The American Cancer Society, which recently recommended that colorectal screening begin at an earlier age, attributes rising rates to diets high in processed meat and low in fruits, vegetables and other dietary fiber as risk factors.

Instead of filling vending machines with bacon, Ohio State should focus on finding ways to help students increase consumption of fruits and veggies that protect them from colorectal cancer.

Maggie Neola, registered dietitian,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, D.C.

 

Delusional Democrats

The statements by U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler are ridiculous nonsense (“Dems: Trump could go to jail,” Dec. 10). Their “make it up fake news” demonstrates how delusional and preposterous they are.

We all should be given an accounting of what they do for the American people. The truth is not much at all, and we should be smart enough to call for their resignations.

Harry A. Tipping, Fairlawn