Cancer Kills Unemployment

by Lorna Salzman

Detritus, Mich.—Plager Food & Chemical has released a study showing that the job potential from pollution is increasing each year and far outweighs the number of jobs that would be created by preventing pollution.

"There are now more people making a living off cancer than dying from it," said Ernest Costbenefitratio, chairman of the Plager board of directors, referring to employment in cancer research and treatment. "It would therefore be irresponsible for industries like ours, or cigarette manufacturers, pesticide companies, and those making asbestos, polyvinyl chloride, and PCB's, to close shop. Thousands of breadwinners—doctors, nurses, medical aides, all those keeping the victims of progress alive— would be added to the welfare lines."

Costbenefitratio said the cancer industry will prove especially lucrative in coming years, due to the accelerated rate at which new chemicals are being introduced to the market and to the environment. He referred to an Environmental Protection Agency report showing that vinyl chloride production has increased tenfold over the last 15 years, thus providing countless opportunities to train and employ angiosarcoma specialists. "The comparatively long latency period of this rare, usually fatal form of soft-tissue cancer," he predicted, "will give us enough time to develop new medical personnel, equipment, and treatment methods to prolong the lives of cancer sufferers, as well as develop new toxic chemicals in case present ones are banned."

Also present at the press conference was Thurgood Slick, representative of the Liberian Ship Registry office, who distributed a fact sheet showing that the recent oil spills off Nantucket and in Delaware Bay had provided "socially useful work for disadvantaged youth" who turned out by the hundreds to dispose of beach muck and clean off oil-soaked birds.

Another official, Flack Newkfarm of the Atomic Industrial Forum, pointed out the job potential of nuclear plant accidents. Newkfarm stated that repairs to New York's Indian Point II plant in 1974 required thousands of welders over a period of several months because of the high levels of radioactivity in the work area Newkfarm said that where a fossil-fuel plant could have been repaired by a dozen men in a week, "clearly nuclear plant accidents are labor-intensive, and with today's rising level of unemployment, we need anything we can get to make jobs."

Source: Politicks, February 14, 1978.

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.