Letters: Wednesday, April 11, 2002
Toxic Toll

To the editor: Agribusiness is certainly causing some serious public health and environmental problems in Waco and around the nation (“Mucking Up the Country,” March 7, 2002). A recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that more than 500 pregnant women in Waco face increased risks for certain types of birth defects and miscarriages every year due in part to pollution from giant dairy operations in Erath County upstream from Lake Waco.

Birth defects, miscarriages, and certain childhood cancers have all seen significant increases in recent years. Unfortunately, even though all of these diseases are known to have links to toxins in the environment, there is no consistent nationwide tracking for chronic diseases and their potential environmental causes. So when an unusually high number of cases of cancer, birth defects, or other chronic diseases emerge, public health officials have no way of knowing whether toxic pollution might be causing the problem.

Last year Congress began to fill this gap by approving $30 million for a pilot environmental health tracking system at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year Representative Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) should support an increase funding to $100 million so that CDC can extend this health protection nationwide.

Luke Metzger

Texas Field Organizer,

U.S. Public Interest Research Group


Bad Traffic

To the Editor: I just read your article on the DynCorp lawsuit (“Deposing DynCorp,” March 28, 2002). I thank you for bringing to the public this topic about the enslavement of millions around the world, including in the U.S. I want you to know that in Dallas, where I live and work, we have just started two groups dealing with the issues of trafficking, and in particular, the trafficking of women and children. The U.S. Congress saw fit to pass — and the president signed (10/28/ 2000) — the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act to help stop the estimated $7 billion industry of trafficking of persons including those trafficked into sexual slavery.

One of the groups is a committee of the Dallas Peace Center. The other is made up of service providers to the victims of trafficking in the Dallas area. There are CIA and United Nations reports and UN protocol out on this issue. Those interested should check the DOS and INS sites as well.


Dolly Warden


Adult Ad-ditions

To the editor: As the person who provided the numbers on which it is based, I believe that the Fort Worth Weekly’s “estimate” of $50 million in annual adult ad sales in the alternative newspaper business is wrong (“News Flesh,” April 4, 2002). The reporter, Jeff Prince, says that I estimated that adult ad sales “could represent as much as 10 percent of the total” of the $500 million in annual revenue generated by the alternative newsweekly industry. Either I misspoke or Mr. Prince misunderstood me, but it would be more accurate to say that adult ads produce as much as 10 percent of the total revenue of some alternative papers.

Richard Karpel

Executive Director

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies

Editor’s note: Mr. Karpel agrees that 80 percent of alternative newsweeklies carry adult ads, and that, in some papers, the percentage those ads represent is greater than 10 percent. There are no hard figures available now, but AAN is conducting a study this year to try to better gauge that income.

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