BIO: How are bodies in this setting laced and burdened with anthropocenics? How are anthropocenic bodies racialized bodies?

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María Elissa Torres Carrasco's picture
August 27, 2019

The Guardian published in may this year an investigation about Reserve, best known as "Cancer Alley", a town 40 minutes in car away from New Orleans, it has gained this grim nickname because as Lousiana having the most toxic air from US (EPA's 2014 report) this town has the most toxic air from the State, so a person living in this town has 50 times more risk of developing cancer than in other towns of US. Even if this investigation is not about New Orleans, the town is really near, and as we know, pollution travels, being the River Mississipi an important contributor for movilizing the pollution through its way and also the air. Not only the town has been ignored by authorities and media coverage, also the inhabitants recount that this negligence is part of the history of the area, where their ancesters where enslaved by the rich and powerful, and in the present Denka factory is slowly killing them:

For many African Americans in Reserve, including Hampton, who trace their ancestry back to slavery in the area – the reminder of past atrocities is made even starker by knowing what the land has been used for since. “When you think about it, nothing has ever really changed,” she says. “First slavery, then sharecropping, now this. It’s just a new way of doing it.”

Cancer is not the only disease that haunts the residents of Reserve, others illness has been ocurring like  – gastroparesis – a rare intestinal disease linked to air pollution made principally by chloroprene. EPA has also failed the people, because as chloroprene is mainly produced in this part of the country, there is no intention to develop a legally enforceable standard for this toxin. As The Guardian points out, this decision leaves the residents completely disarmed, as they were not expecting anything anymore of State governement, they expected a lot of the Federal Governement that has alwasys helped African American communities when the local governement has failed. I believe this is a clear example of "enviromental racism" and we rely againg in an EPA-funded research that shows how poor towns are more likely to be more polluted and forgotten.