Key to Cleaner AirI want to thank the reporters and...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 16, 1992

Key to Cleaner Air

I want to thank the reporters and editors of The Baltimore Sun for your coverage of the California low emission vehicle legislation that was before the Maryland General Assembly this session.

At each bump and curve, The Sun set the record straight about the costs of the LEV cars, the environmental and health benefits and the economic realities this program would bring to Maryland.

Between now and the beginning of the 1993 legislative session, 18,000 tons of hydrocarbons will be emitted from the tailpipes of Marylanders' cars. That means that everyone living in The Sun's distribution area is at risk of inhaling harmful smog and may experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and lung inflammation.

Baltimore ranks sixth in the country for ozone air pollution and our problem will not go away.

For 80 days in the summer of 1991, Marylanders breathed air that could put stress on the lungs. This problem will only get worse as the number of automobiles on our roads increases.

Automobiles are responsible for 60 percent of our air pollution problem. Adoption of the low emission vehicle program standards would result in cars that are 75 percent cleaner than the federally mandated cars.

The American Lung Association of Maryland is committed to the fight for clean air. Between now and the next legislative session, we will continue to educate legislators and the public on the harmful effects of air pollution and a cost-effective solution ` low emission vehicles. We will be monitoring the state's 15 air quality monitoring stations and present our final report to legislators next January. We will also be informing the public when a bad ozone day occurs by issuing ozone alerts through the media.

We sincerely hope others will join us in the fight for clean air.

Rebecca Bascom, M.D.

Timonium

The writer is chairwoman of the Occupational and Environmental Health Committee of the American Lung Association of Maryland Inc.

Labor News

The Sun, for many years, has had a special business section covering business news and other news from a business perspective. Recently, the section included an article on the workers' strike at Caterpillar.

The writer went into detail about the high wages of the workers, but didn't even mention that top officers of the company increased their own salaries by about 19 percent last year as they were demanding wage restraints or cuts from employees.

The article also did not report that last fall, Caterpillar Chairman Don Fites told the New York Times that American workers needed to "tread water" until there was a narrowing of the gap between wages in the U.S. and countries like Mexico (where already-low wages have been falling faster over the last decade than in the U.S.). These were two very important points necessary for the reader to fully understand the nature of the strike.

I think it is about time The Sun considers adding a special labor section to cover labor news and other news from a labor perspective.

Amy Donohue

Fallston

Well Done

Hip, hip, hooray for light rail!

Hip, hip, hoooray for Oriole Park at Camden Yards!

Hip, hip hooray for Gov. William Donald Schaefer!

Charles D. Mross

Baltimore

Abortion Points

Although Joan Beck's April 8 article, "For Women, Abortion Can't Be the Whole Story," makes a good point, she misses the point of abortion rights advocacy.

The reason why abortion was legalized was that prior to 1973 many women chose to illegally abort their pregnancies, even risking their lives in the hands of unlicensed abortionists.

To restrict or criminalize abortion once again will result in many women resorting to unsafe and medically unsupervised procedures. This will occur even for some minors faced with unwanted pregnancies who would have to notify their parents or talk with a judge before having a legal abortion. It is poor public health policy to knowingly place women and girls in this potentially dangerous situation.

Ignorance and naivete are the causes of the relatively high U.S. fertility and abortion rates. When Americans can come to grips with their own sexuality and when we are able to openly teach our children the realities of the pleasures and pains of normal sexual behavior, only then will the abortion issue stop being the controversy that it is today.

Eric R. Miller

Baltimore

Animal Testing Saves Humans

I take strong objection to the remarks of I.H. Dresser regarding the value of medical research using animal models. He claims human disease, unreplicable in animals, results from failure to comply with "the natural laws of hygiene and diet" and that animals are remarkably dissimilar, biochemically, to humans.

Natural laws? Dissimilar biochemically? Come on, Mr. Dresser, get out of your armchair and visit your local cancer research center. Come see little children dying from diseases that have nothing to do with their or their parents' choices of "natural laws." Take some courses in basic biology and chemistry and learn how biochemical systems in both humans and animals work.

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