Living in these post-modern, millennial times poses risks and opportunities qualitatively distinct from what was previously available to our species. To begin with, we are linked globally by complex economic relationships, legal and political ties, pollution that rides the tides of wind and water, the internet, you name it. Technologies are exploding (some quite literally) with new applications. There are vastly more chemicals and people in the world now than before, and quite a few less other species.
In this issue of Alternatives, we focus on toxins, particularly dioxin, in our community and our responses to them. This is a complex issue. Big money is involved. Politics and public policy are involved. Complex biological processes affecting the immune system are part of the picture. The dilemma of adapting to new allergic reactions and multiple chemical sensitivities is considered.
We take a close look at the Marion County Solid Waste Incinerator just outside of Salem. For years there has been a controversy over the environmental effects of that facility. In the following articles, you will hear the voices of Salem citizens who have made it their business to become educated about what it does and its environmental effects. We also hear from a research scientist who flatly calls into question the entire notion of "risk assessment," and alerts us all about pending industry-sponsored legislation making it impossible to know where toxic chemicals go once used by industry. These writers all call into question the current status quo.
We urge readers to be informed.