Toward a toxicological theory of class

Toxic exposures explain much of our societal dysfunction

Toby Rogers

Poor people live in more toxic neighborhoods.

Poor people are more likely to live near: • coal-fired power plants (that spew mercury and a wide range of additional toxicants into the air); • refineries; • chemical factories; • cell phone towers; and • freeways/highways.

The rural poor are more likely to live near fields sprayed with fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides.

The soil itself in poor neighborhoods is more likely to be toxic and the drinking water is more likely to come from aquifers contaminated with perchlorate (rocket fuel that contaminates U.S. military bases) and solvents. Even in the middle class Pasadena neighborhood where I grew up, 1/4 of the wells were closed because of toxic contamination from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the former Kodak plant. One additional problem of toxic drinking water is that the steam from hot showers makes these toxins airborne and then they are absorbed through the lungs as well (the litigation depicted in A Civil Action discovered this exposure pathway).

Poor children in the U.S. are injected with lower quality (read: more toxic) vaccines through the Vaccines for Children Program.

Poor children in the U.S. are more likely to be exposed to toxic mold via dilapidated housing. As a result of all of these toxic exposures, the health of poor children suffers.

Poor children are more likely to experience:

• gut dysbiosis, so they are not absorbing nutrients and they often experience pain;

• poor quality sleep;

• mitochondrial dysfunction, so they lack energy;

• asthma/breathing issues;

• loss of IQ, so they struggle in school;

• neurological issues, so they struggle socially with friends, family, and authority figures (teachers, police officers).

This plays out in all sorts of ways socially:

• People who feel miserable also struggle to regulate anger (dead dendrites will do that). So disagreements escalate into arguments escalate into fights escalate into deadly encounters more quickly. Jail becomes just a normal part of life.