This letter to the editor by Joan Olive of Spirit Lake, Iowa, appeared in the Quad City Times November 22, 2017.
If factory farms are so safe, why is the Pork Producers filing suit to block a regulation requiring a report when the toxic gases hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emitted from hog confinements are over 100 pounds per day? All Iowa counties now have either poor or very poor air quality, according to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality map.
Hydrogen sulfide is a potent neurotoxin, and chronic exposure to even low levels causes irreversible damage to the brain and central nervous system. Children are the most susceptible to this poisonous gas, according to the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, and hydrogen sulfide is associated with hog confinements and the application of liquid manure, per Kaye Kilburn M.D.
Factory farms are exempt from the Clean Air Act even though they produce large quantities of toxic emissions that have been proven to harm human health in multiple scientific and medical studies. With thousands of Iowa factory farms/CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) that have little or no public health or environmental regulation, it’s time to clean up our state so our grandchildren will inherit a safe and pleasant state.
That starts with a moratorium on new CAFOs until regulations can be developed to protect our most precious resource – our children. Clean air and water are prerequisites for good health. Contact your legislators and Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, and let them know what the majority of Iowans value, and that if they don’t agree with us, they will be sent home.
Spirit Lake, Iowa