“I’m so excited I could just explode!” exclaimed Perchlorate last night as we barreled down the end of old Route 66 in Santa Monica. The chemically-attired actress next to me gleamed in silver from her iridescent hair down to her rocket booster boots.
“I’m coming off a really good year even though these meltdowns have upstaged me somewhat. But give me credit – I did my best to wreak havoc with the water supplies of Santa Clarita and Barstow. Imagine standing in line for water for four days in the desert!”
Perchlorate had been nominated for “Worst Special Effects” as a bad actor chemical for the Second Annual Toxies Red Carpet Awards for Bad Actor Chemicals to be held tomorrow at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. At the First Annual Toxies, Perchlorate was smokin’ hot.
Two months later, I was wed in a castle to this splendid creature playing Perchlorate, Denise Anne Duffield. My chemical romance had come to life once again.
The June Gloom swirled in smoky curls above Santa Monica Boulevard. The mist moistened our faces as we cranked up the windows. The silvery siren with rocket thrusters on ran her metallic fingers through my hair.
“You’re not going to let a little radiation mist on the windshield spoil our evening are you?” she smiled setting off sparks. “I was going to detonate some fireworks tonight that you will never forget.”
The mist later tested 217% above normal. My hometown’s trademark fog now threatened with radionuclides that my Inspector nuclear radiation monitor could detect but not individually identify. I could tell, however, that beta radiation was emanating from the goo.
The government was and is no help. The EPA announced it was ceasing its special radiation testing for Fukushima fallout in milk and drinking water May 3 before the news got worse from Japan.
“After a thorough data review showing declining radiation levels related to the Japanese nuclear incident, EPA has returned to the routine RadNet sampling and analysis process for precipitation, drinking water and milk,” the agency said. No new data will be forthcoming until August.
Less than two weeks later, the company running the ruined reactors, TEPCO, admitted that there were three full meltdowns and that they had happened on the first day of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami.
Now we know that the worst possible nuclear disaster has occurred in Reactors 1, 2 and 3: “melt-throughs” where radioactive fuel, including one of the most feared substances on the planet, lethal Plutonium-239, had burned through the reactors’ containment vessels. Pu-239, which causes fatal lung cancer, has a half life of 24,400 years meaning it will be around for a quarter of a million years. Right now, it is leaching uncontrolled into the environment.
Anti-nuclear environmentalists are astonished at the American government’s laissez-faire attitude towards this clear and present danger. Either the government hasn’t a clue as to the seriousness of this creeping environmental catastrophe, so the thinking goes, or it is deliberately not telling the American people the truth about the high amounts of radiation most of us have already been exposed to.
Governmental ineptness and cozy relationships with polluters impacts the chemical industry as well. Tens of thousands of chemicals in the consumer marketplace have never been tested for safety. Ones that have been deemed toxic still plague people trying to protect themselves, family and friends.
That’s why there are Toxies.
Perchlorate had every reason to be fired up. She was in the hunt for the People’s Choice Award for Worst Chemical but worried about the Halogenated Flame Retardant girl who poisons whales, seals, and cats as well as kids.
“I give HFR real credit for even being here considering she’s banned in every other state except California,” chuckled Perchlorate. “She’s going to be hard to beat. Same with BPA who, just like our website says, causes ‘heart disease, reproductive problems, cancer, thyroid issues, plus highly publicized dalliances with decreased sex drive, obesity and autism.’”
“You’re jealous of HFR and BPA because they poison creatures and people?” I asked.
“Look, this is the Toxies,” she snapped. “I might just not be bad enough for my own good.”
Perchlorate is a rocket fuel oxidizer that can also be found in road flares, air bags and fireworks. Over 700,000 pounds of the toxic salt compound was incinerated with each Space Shuttle launch, enabling the fuel to produce maximum thrust.
“Perchlorate gives you more bang for the buck,” Perchlorate said as I eased up at a stoplight next to a carload full of kids. “I’ll miss those Space Shuttle blast offs but I’m still the rocket fuel of choice when it comes to powering those thousands of nuclear bombs we have on missiles all over the world, bombs that would make you forget about Fukushima in the flash of an eye.”
“But what about you polluting 43 states making the water unsafe for kids’ thyroids, making them dumber?” I said as the brood in the car started pointing at Perchlorate. “No shiny happy people there.”
“You make it sound so bad,” Perchlorate said recoiling from me, hurt. “I’ll have you know kids love fireworks and sparklers which embody what I stand for which is the American way and the freedom to take thyroid medication if you’re one of those sensitive complainer types.”
The mist began running down my window. Neon rivulets lit up the lovely toxin next to me like gasoline makes a rainbow on water. Perchlorate sparked something in me no other chemical ever had.
“Remember that AC-DC concert?” she whispered easing back next to me. “You were hollering for more and more perchlorate when those fireworks and bombs went off and that rock ‘n’ roll train locomotive crashed on stage. I really don’t think a bunch of stupid little water-hogging kids are going to kill that party.”
“Don’t you count on it,” I replied. “The first bald eagle since 1949 just hatched on West Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands, a result of us banning DDT decades ago. Toxins can be eliminated.”
“Not anytime soon,” Perchlorate said. “Given our fierce advocates in the chemical industry and sell-out politicians, the Toxies will be around for a long time.”
She had me dead to rights on that.
Maybe next year, Plutonium-239 will be nominated for a Toxie award. With its toxicity and long half-life, it seems a shoo-in. But let’s hope it stays far, far away from us all. Unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath.
Second Annual Toxies Red Carpet Awards for Bad Actor Chemicals takes place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood California June 16, 2011 at 4 pm and will also stream live on the Toxies website.