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KhiaKarma's avatar

Would the US government warn its citizens if they knew that 100,000s of people would become fatally ill...

Asked by KhiaKarma (4235 points ) June 10th, 2010

because of some man made ecological disaster?

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19 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Maybe, maybe not. If they wanted to avoid a panic, they might not.

RocketSquid's avatar

This is a tough one. I’m inclined to say it would depend on different factors, such as who’s at fault, when or if it can be contained, who the news of the outbreak would effect, various things like that in order to make sure said disaster didn’t destroy things like world economy or social order, but still keep people safe or contained.

The reality is, though, they’d have no choice. Something that big would make it out, be it the news, word of mouth, anything, the government would not be able to keep something like that hush-hush without looking like fools and possibly doing more damage than preventing it.

anartist's avatar

Not enough detail here. Warn people who are well so they will move away from problem, warn people who are sick that they are dying?

A man-made ecological disaster [like the oil spill] is not contagious. Giving people living in the area prudent guidelines, like ‘skip the shellfish’ or buy bottled water, or providing alternative food and water, or evacuating people if necessary is what they would do.

An epidemic—now that is a different story.

tinyfaery's avatar

When the government tries to scare me I don’t believe it. When the government is absolutely silent, that’s the time for fear.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@anartist what if there are toxins in the air from the dispersants or from the burning oil? This question is meant to be gereral- but, of course, the oil leakage is on my mind since I can often smell it from my house. I have been feeling light headed and have been having headaches. My husband has been struggling with hives and he has never experienced an allergic reaction before. Just wondering if something was known to cause life-threatening illnesses, would the federal government (or other entities in the know) warn anyone- especially if it was clear the governement was involved in the mistake?

lillycoyote's avatar

BP is apparently using a lot of this stuff, Corexit, to disperse the oil. Hey, KhiaKarma! Good to see you here, though I would prefer it under better circumstances. Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast just can’t get a fucking break, can they? Two tragedies in a matter of only a few years

Kayak8's avatar

Alcohol and cigarettes are legal—a man-made disaster to be certain. How ecological I can’t really say.

bolwerk's avatar

@Kayak8 – alcohol is natural and perfectly healthy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think they would say something about it and give people guidelines to stay “safe”, but that doesn’t mean people would listen or even believe them.

As far as the oil spill, is the government really involved in the clean up at this point? Honestly curious, I avoid the news for personal reasons. I know they have people looking at what to do, but I thought BP was still the one handling the clean up and making all the decisions about what to do.

Kayak8's avatar

@bolwerk the alcohol I am thinking of is a plant by-product (as are cigarettes) and they both (either directly or indirectly) kill a whole bunch of people.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@Kayak8 yes, and there are warning labels on both….
@lillycoyote HEY! Good to see you too! We are pressing on, the hardest part is not knowing how bad things are going to get…..

KhiaKarma's avatar

@Seaofclouds I wish I could avoid the news….I have been trying to not get sucked up in all the negative things going on- it really does take a toll on me. To answer your question- it feels as if no one is involved in the clean-up (other than the parish leaders). BP seems to be focusing on stopping the leak, Obama states that the government is “in control”, but that it’s BP’s responsibility. At least that is the latest understanding that I have. Things change everyday.

bolwerk's avatar

@Kayak8: alcohol kills alcohol abusers, just like cholesterol kills meat abusers. It doesn’t mean that consuming healthy quantities of alcohol is bad for you. As a matter of fact, proper alcohol use is associated with better health.

Cigarettes I have a harder time defending. I can’t see a health benefit to them, although I think there is some evidence that nicotine has health benefits in the treatment of mental illness.

anartist's avatar

@bolwerk where do you get
Cigarettes I have a harder time defending. I can’t see a health benefit to them, although I think there is some evidence that nicotine has health benefits in the treatment of mental illness.
Interesting if true.
@KhiaKarma are you afraid of a coverup like Agent Orange?

bolwerk's avatar

Remember, it’s really the tar in cigarettes that is harmful, not the nicotine. The nicotine is simply addictive, but not as addictive as people like to pretend it is. As a former 2-pack/day smoker myself, I think I can fairly say I didn’t have much trouble quitting when I learned to challenge the assumptions behind my smoking habit. At that point, quitting became an existential decision.

@anartist – You can Google around for more, but here’s a summary article about potential health benefits of nicotine: http://health.howstuffworks.com/nicotine-health-benefits.htm

Most interesting is that it might have a positive effect on depression. Therefore, there’s a possibility that people suffering from depression are self-medicating themselves when they smoke. This might even explain why smoking is pleasurable for so many people in the first place.

(I’m always loathe to bring this point up because people get extremely sanctimonious about it. Keep in mind these things are possible developments that could someday yield useful results. )

anartist's avatar

@bolwerk onteresting. I go back to being a smoker in extremis, then quit again when things improve.

bolwerk's avatar

@anartist: Try reading The EasyWay to Quit Smoking. Even if you aren’t interested in quitting, his method is clever.

anartist's avatar

@bolwerk thnx I really like it better when I don’t smoke

ragingloli's avatar

Not if they intend for 100000 people to become fatally ill.

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