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Visual Censorship – Corporate Capitulation – Media Collapse

Photos Of Deadly Toxic Threats Deleted, While Corporate Advertising Proliferates

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The above screen shot is of a column I wrote over 15 years ago – January 19, 2008 – at the Newark Star Ledger’s “NJ Voices” page. It speaks volumes.

The column was titled “In Harm’s Way” – that’s a phrase I stole from an award winning series by the Houston Chronicle. Hit that link and look at it for yourself to confirm the facts.

This visual censorship tells you all you really need to know about the decline and collapse of mainstream corporate media.

Important content that was critical of powerful corporations was deleted and overwhelmed by pro-corporate advertising.

I reproduce the content below – sans all the shocking photos that NJ.Com deleted.

As the remaining captions suggest, those photos juxtaposed schools, day care centers, youth recreation facilities, and residential neighborhoods with massive chemical plants, railroad tracks, and oil refineries.

These photos, the captions, and the text ask deeply disturbing questions and expose the failure of government to strictly regulate toxic corporate polluters and protect public health.

Virtually no media outlets even cover these issues anymore, no less publish shocking photos like that.

Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Chemical don’t like that.

Environmental groups have abandoned these issues as well – their corporate Foundation funders don’t fund that kind of corporate and government accountability regulatory work anymore.

In Harm’s way

Would you send your child to this school?

(photo deleted – caption: Paulsboro High School in the shadow of the Valero refinery. The plant emits tons of toxic air pollutants and has a record of upsets that have coated the community in oily residues.)

I stole that headline from the Houston Chronicle’s award winning investigative series “In Harm’s Way” – here’s a taste of what that series was all about:

“The results of the Chronicle’s investigation show that the region’s refining and petrochemical industries are in some places contributing to what leading experts on toxic air pollution would consider a risky load of “air toxics,” substances that can cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, or other serious health effects in places where people live and work, and where children play.”.”


The NJ DEP does not require chemical plants that emit tons of cancer causing hazardous air pollutants to monitor actual ambient concentrations at the fence line of the plant. This data is required to understand the health impacts of those emissions on surrounding homes, schools and people.

DEP does not require health risk assessment before granting air pollution permits that allow industries to release these toxic chemicals to our air.

Current DEP air permit rules make risk assessment and air modeling voluntary – of course no chemical company has volunteered to study the health impacts of its pollution on the surrounding neighborhood kids.

Impacted communities are kept in the dark and DEP is flying blind – no data, no health effects monitoring, and no science.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS- where is NJ’s Houston Chronicle? We sure have Texas sized pollution problems here. NJ is the most densely populated place on earth where schools and residential neighborhoods are virtually right on top of chemical plants and refineries.

  • Would you want your kids to play hockey right next to chemical plants? (photo deleted – Caption: youth hockey rink directly adjacent and downwind of chemical plant. Kids literally were hyper-ventilating and inhaling hydrocarbons at unknown exposure and safety levels.
  • Would you want your son playing football or your daughter cheer-leading downwind of organic chemicals? (photo deleted – Caption: Athletic fields and a school are adjacent to and directly downwind of chemical plant. DEP regulations do not set ambient health standards or require that the plant monitor “fence-line” emissions impacts.
  • How would you like to live here? Would you sleep at night? (photo deleted – caption: House and residential neighborhood within feet of chlorine rail tanker cars. Tanker cars were easily accessible and unprotected. Chlorine gas release would be deadly.
  • Would you like to drop off your child at this day care center in the morning? This location injects new meaning to parental fear of their children’s “exposure (my kids went to day care and this risk sure transcends pink eye, strep throat, and flu I worried about as a parent). Photo deleted – caption: Day care center shoe horned within feet of deadly chlorine rail tanker cars (pictured above) and chemical facility (below)
  • Photo deleted – caption: Entrance gates to Dupont chemical plant. Photo shot from in front of day care center (left) and approximately 300 feet from homes and chlorine tanker cars (above)

Most homes near chemical plants are occupied by poor, black, or working class residents. Would you like a plant in your neighborhood? Shouldn’t the plants do more to eliminate or reduce toxic chemical emissions and monitor to assure protection of health and the environment?

  • photo deleted – caption: Homes across the street from the Dupont Chambers Works chemical plant (below), one of the largest in the world. The plant emits tons of chemicals to air and water that have unknown human health and environmental impacts.

Dupont is one of the largest polluters and one of the most profitable corporations in the world. Shouldn’t they be required to prove that their operations are safe BEFORE they are allowed to pollute?

  • photo deleted – caption:  Entrance to the Dupont Chambers Works plant – note house in background. Dupont discharges tons of toxic pollutants is not required to monitor ambient conditions in adjacent residential neighborhoods or track community health.
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