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Hartselle Enquirer

Health hazard?

Nowadays the ugly head of a health hazard is apt to pop up anytime, anywhere.

Take the advertisements for medicinal products that appear on the television screen on a regular basis. They promise cures for almost any ailment and come with gushing testimonials from people that claim their benefits. But there’s always a warning to follow. “Before taking this medication you should consult with you family physician. Don’t take it if you’re pregnant, on medication for high blood pressure, suffering from arthritis or feel light-headed after running up a flight of stairs. It’s side effects may include chills, constipation, loss of energy or even lead to death.”

Does the health hazard implied prevent people from going to their doctor or pharmacist and asking for such products. Of course, it doesn’t. Otherwise, why would a pharmaceutical company spend millions of dollars a year to advertise their products.

Fortunately, most of us have the option of weighing both sides of the equation before choosing what medications we take.

But unfortunately there are other health hazards looming nearby over which we have no control.

Radioactive emissions from Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is one of them, according to the results of a study conducted by the Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team, which was released last week. The study claims that the death rate of residents of Morgan and six other North Alabama counties is 21 percent higher than it is for those living outside a 50-mile radius of the nuclear powered electric generating facility.

It further states that since Browns Ferry’s startup in the mid-70s the local mortality rate for all causes of death steadily rose from 1.7 to 20.7 percent above the U.S average. Nearly one million people live in the affected area.

This is the kind of news that makes me stand up and take notice. And it makes me wonder if TVA has known all along and kept the secret from us for over 35 years.

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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