Professor Exposes How Factory Farms Destroy Rural Communities


– We need to protect communities
that host factory farms. You have the factory farms
where you raise the animals. You have the slaughterhouses where you know you slaughter the animals. I think from a healthcare perspective, many of these rural areas
that host these facilities, they do not have healthcare. So you can have these facilities been exposed, you have
these health effects, who do you go to understand your symptoms? Where do you go to get medication? Where do you go to get help? And so, you have this healthcare crisis where you also have this pollution crisis. We need to do more as
advocates to help protect those communities that
host these facilities, that host these factory farms. And these factory farms, in many cases, are not being regulated in the
same way as other industries. They’re not being regulated
like incinerators are. They’re not being regulated
like landfills are. They’re not being regulated
as refineries are. They’re not being regulated as petrochemicals facilities are. But they emit toxic compounds. They emit tons of these
toxic compounds every year, so why are they exempt from these laws when these other industries are not? We need to protect communities
that host factory farms. You know, if you don’t
know what they’re doing, then how can you change the situation? How can you make sure they don’t bring another CAFO to your community? You think about the pollutants of concerns around CAFOs, you think about hog farms. They have pollution
coming from the buildings where they house the hogs. You have pollutants
coming from the lagoons, which is basically an open
toilet that doesn’t flush. Then you have the spray fields. So you think about air pollutants. You have ammonia, you have
hydrogen sulfide, you have particulate matter, you have
the volatile organic compounds. Those compounds’ short-term
exposure can leak to the brain, the eyes, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure can
lead to things like asthma, other respiratory conditions. And then those are the air pollutants. And then you think about
the water pollutants. You’re talking about nitrates. You know you’re talking
about other nutrients. You’re talking about microbes. And most folks who live
in these facilities, they’re on well water. You can get a rain
event, and you get runoff from these facilities, it can impact the quality of well water. You have kids, babies
been exposed to nitrates. That could lead to blue babies disease. You have folks exposed to salmonella. That could lead to some
kind of diarrheal issue. These toxic compounds are
impacting human health. We need to make sure we protect
the environmental quality. We need to make sure
we protect human health because these facilities impact them. These are egregious
impacts, not just on health, but also on property values. If you want to move away,
your property values go down. You get stuck in those homes. You can’t barbecue, you can’t
invite your friends over. You cannot open your windows to enjoy your life. So we want to make sure people
are able to really achieve and enjoy their inalienable rights, right? That they’ve been given. The right to clean air,
the right to clean water. The right to live in
your house and be free from oppression, to be free
of, you know, sort of this kind of toxic violence that
you see with these facilities. That’s what is happening. You’re using these communities
to host these uses, they get no benefit from it. That’s a huge problem. My name is Dr. Sacoby
Wilson, I’m an Environmental Health Scientist at University
of Maryland, College Park. I do environmental justice
research and advocacy. I try to bring science to people
and do science for action.

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