Randi Pokladnik, retired research chemist, volunteer, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Uhrichsville
As I sat and watched the newly released movie “Dark Waters,” I thought, “This could be the future of the Ohio River Valley.” Inspired by a true story, the movie tells how a multinational company knowingly and willingly poisoned thousands of residents of Parkersburg, West Virginia, for decades, all to make billions of dollars.
Parkersburg is not unique. There are hundreds of places across the United States where industries continue to dump known toxins into waterways while leaders and politicians look the other way.
Ohio’s regulatory agencies know millions of tons of toxins will be coming out of the plastics cracker smokestacks and into the air. They know toxic organic compounds will be flowing into the Ohio River.
There have been no baseline studies to determine the amounts of plasticizers and microplastics now present in the Ohio River, the drinking water source for over 5 million people. Based on peer reviewed studies, we know that these compounds are carcinogenic and endocrine disruptors.
We have pleaded with Gov. Mike DeWine to meet with us. He ignores us and instead met with PTT Global Chemical officials last week.
Just like the story of “Dark Waters,” money has become more important to our local, state and federal politicians than the lives or the future of Ohio Valley residents.