Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, calls our attention to cancer clusters in Florida. Here’s the map:
There are three immediately identifiable sources of possible man-made environmental contamination that could have caused the South Florida cluster:
1. Benzene/BTEX/NORM contamination introduced into the public drinking water by oil exploration and production activities in the Sunniland Trend. Recently such contaminants would have been introduced through wastewater injection wells. However, since cancers can take decades to develop, earlier discharges into surficial waters may have been a factor. We list this possibility first, because it was Preserve Our Paradise’s original mission to guard against such contamination.
2. Other contaminants introduced into the drinking water supplies by municipal injection wells into the “Boulder Zone”. This geological stratum was deemed environmentally dangerous until 1980. It was then deemed safe until the EPA found, in 2001, that it is an unsafe target for the disposal of hazardous wastes.
3. Agricultural runoff into the surficial waters eminating from Lake Okeechobee.
Of course other carcinogenic sources are possible. Just as, in spite of overwhelming independent scientific evidence to the contrary, the oil industry has claimed that global warming is “natural”, the oil industry can be expected to claim that South Florida is simply a naturally carcinogenic environment. We find this claim incredible: the Everglades are home to the liveliest environment of biodiversity north of Central America. We submit that the fact that the Everglades proper are included in the preceding figure is an artifact of the figure having been drawn along man-made governmental boundaries. If our environment is carcinogenic, the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.