Sunscreens; Little Protection – Much Harm

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen! (Original Version)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

For years, Sarah felt safe as she traveled about.  She shielded herself from harm.  She placed her faith in science.  She  listened to the  advice of experts.  She thought she had been careful with chemicals and creams.  This wise woman knew not to trust recommendations without doing a thorough examination of evidence.  After an avid assessment, Sarah avowed, “Sunscreens are good.”  Then one day, as she entered her home after being out and about, she saw what she had never imagined.  Sarah was beyond surprised; she was shocked.  Her mouth agape,  Sarah shrieked;  “I have been burned.”  Not only had the solar rays she worked to avoid scorched her skin in ways she had not thought possible.  The lotion may have seared parts of her body not easily seen.

What Sarah had not considered was her sunscreen may have debilitated people, plants, and aquatic animals throughout the planet.  She was not sensitive to the symbiosis that governs the globe.  Sarah was as most individuals are, she was consumed with what affected her directly.  Her skin, her health, the salves she slathered on, these were her priorities.

On a bright afternoon in June, Sarah, a person whose complexion is pinkish in hue, first realized reason for alarm.  She turned the television on, and was greeted with the headline, “Study: Some sunscreens overpromise on protection.”  Extremely disturbed by the possibility cosmetic creams might have an effect on her personal health, Sarah pursed her lips and rushed to the computer.  She needed to read the research for herself.  After all, her life and wellbeing were threatened.  She decided to take control and more closely scrutinize her choices.  She perused the survey.

In a new investigation of 952 name-brand sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 4 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.  Leading brands were the worst offenders: None of market leader Coppertone’s 41 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness, and only 1 of 103 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second- and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG.

Sarah sighed.  She had likely tried every brand imaginable before she chose what she thought best for her.  This studied soul, whose skin is sensitive, discovered she reacted poorly to most creams, ointments, and sprays.  Rashes raged on her skin after most any application.  For her, hypoallergenic was an oxymoron.  She believed the government had the best intentions when they coined this term; nonetheless, for her it was meaningless.  Sarah suspected perhaps, in the past, her trust in public officials and manufacturers was misplaced.  

(The Food and Drug Administration) FDA now stands in direct violation of a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreen to protect their health . . .

FDA has spent the past 30 years drafting sunscreen standards (FDA 2007a), which it urges manufacturers to follow voluntarily.  FDA issued its latest draft standards in August 2007, which include a proposal for first-ever UVA standards, but still has failed to finalize the standards to make them mandatory.  In lieu of enforceable standards, each sunscreen manufacturer decides on test methods, marketing claims, and the level of protection they are willing and able to provide consumers.  Health authorities recommend sunscreen, but people are left wondering which of the hundreds of sunscreens on store shelves will best protect their and their families’ skin from the sun.

Sarah now reluctantly realized her government, in all its glory, fried her sense of pride.  She thought herself careful.  This woman had faith; she could trust those in charge of the Food and Drug Administration to protect her.  Certainly, Congress would check the claims of sunscreen producers.  They would be the balance if policymakers engaged in questionable behaviors.  Such was the wisdom of Sarah.  

This lovely lady believed as she was taught.  The forefathers understood; equilibrium is essential.  This vital notion was built into the Constitution.  Government agencies work for the common good. In America, public officials, and civil servants, are employed by the people and labor in their interest.  Now she wonders.  All she is certain of is she is free to wear a sunscreen.  The question is, which one will she choose, and what are the hazards of such a decision.  Sarah reads on.

Many products on the market present obvious safety and effectiveness concerns, including one of every seven that does not protect from UVA radiation This problem is aggravated by the fact that FDA has not finalized comprehensive sunscreen safety standards they began drafting 30 years ago.  Overall, we (Environmental Working Group – EWG) identified 143 products that offer very good sun protection with ingredients that present minimal health risks to users. Find out which in our best and worst lists.

Once the records are retrieved, Sarah saw that one of the two products that did not cause her to weep in reaction to the chemicals was deemed a “high hazard.”  The other that did not irritate or inflame her flesh was rated “moderately hazardous.”  She was uncertain whether she should be relieved or grieve further.  Could it be that a “moderate” rating was fine.  Frustrated with her choices Sarah read on.

The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to products that work and are safe. FDA has approved just 17 sunscreen chemicals for use in the U.S.  At least 29 are approved for use in the E.U. FDA has approved only 4 chemicals effective in the UVA range for use in the U.S., and has failed to approve new, more effective UVA filters available in the E.U. and Asia.

So many illusions were destroyed as Sarah reviewed the literature.  She wished she could go back in time when life was carefree, and ignorance seemed blissful.  She wanted to trust in her government, in the free market system, in anything again.

Sarah recalled the words of friends and family.  “A day in the sun, would that not be fun.”  So was the gleeful cry of every school child for decades, perhaps for centuries.  For eons, babies bathed in the light.  Parents would watch in delight as they watched the progeny play.  Long ago, she knew, some Moms and Dads were cautious; they feared exposure to such intense beams would not wear well over the years However, even those who expressed alarm, knew certainly, the sun could do no harm to internal organs, (or to organisms outside our body.)  However, today, we learn sunscreens can cause serious problems.  What we slather on with abandon apparently may do more to age us and cause illness than sun exposure ever did.

Some sunscreens absorb into the blood and raise safety concerns.  Our review of the technical literature shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some are linked to toxic effects . . .

Most sunscreen chemicals are far from innocuous.  In sunlight, some release free radicals that can damage DNA and cells, promote skin aging, and possibly raise risks for skin cancer.  Some act like estrogen and may disrupt normal hormone signaling in the body.  Others may build up in the body and the environment.

Oh my gosh, she exclaimed.  These supposedly innocuous sunscreens seep into the bloodstream and place the planet in peril.  Sarah understood that a chemical on the skin might cause residual effects.  However, she was challenged to comprehend how a unguent could bother Mother Nature?  

Yet, her interest was peaked.  How could a balm she rubs on her body possibly do damage to the flora and fauna?  She searched for more information, an explanation, and some elucidation.

The scientists said ultra-violet filters found in sunscreens and commonly used fireproofing materials were to blame for the presence of these dangerous (hormonally active chemicals known as endocrine disruptors) . . .

Even at low dosages, these chemicals have an effect, according to the national research programme into endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors of this type are fairly common in the environment, in household dust or office spaces. Researchers consider that people absorb these airborne chemicals at least as much this way as they do through nutrition.

Small children who are still crawling as well as aircraft crew are considered to be among those most under threat.

Traces of bromide fireproofing agents have also been found in fish, in sludge at sewage treatment plants and even in foxes living in urban zones.

Sarah sighs and in the moment thinks herself  relieved. Perhaps, chemicals found in fish and foxes are not critical.  After all, humans are filled with toxins and we still survive.  Most of us thrive.  The thoughtful person that she is, Sarah is fascinated by the realization she is in a relationship.  Her actions are a cause.  What she does has an effect the other being, some of whom she has never seen or touched.  She could not imagine what this might mean.  Little sweet spirit Sarah never thought she might have the power to  injure cuddly babies.  As she read and reflected, tears fell from her eyes.   She knew not whether the salty solution that drifted down her cheeks spoke to her sorrow or rage.

Sunscreens are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways that the chemical industry and the government are failing to protect public health.  An extensive body of scientific literature demonstrates that everyone in the world carries in their body hundreds if not thousands of industrial chemicals at any given moment, the result of exposures to contaminants in air, water, and food, and to ingredients in everyday consumer products.

No one understands the health implications of our exposures to complex mixtures of industrial compounds and pollutants: remarkably, federal health standards do not require companies to test most products for safety before they are sold, including nearly all chemicals in sunscreen and other personal care products.  Little is known about the safety of most industrial chemicals.  In the absence of data the federal government approves new chemicals for the market using computer models to predict if they are toxic to humans.

Sarah wondered; how can she trust what she thought to be true?  She had relied on the strength of her government.  She placed her faith in an industry who she now accepts profits from her pain.  Sarah, too often experiences a reliance on technology reaps results that harm humans.  Her faith in all that is familiar is dashed.

Article after article, reveals a truth she had not realized.  Sarah is related to every entity on the Earth and she is somewhat responsible for realities beyond her belief.  Sarah concludes, ignorance is not an excuse; arrogance is injurious.  She bemoans her own failure to know what each essay reminds her of.  The invisible connection every individual has with all other life forms cannot be disputed or ignored.  

Sarah’s heightened stress prompted more reading and greater concern.  One treatise was perhaps more persuasive than the next.  “Chemicals in sunscreen may be harmful to aquatic life.” Injurious indeed; what might that mean?  She scanned further. “If your suntan oil can change the sex of fish, what can it do to you?” The tome stated, “The stuff is not only on our skin: it’s in our tap water and lunches too.”  Sarah gasped.  Then, she looked back at the page.  Sarah hoped to learn more.

“Almost 80 percent of our water in the U.S. shows trace amounts of chemicals from personal care products, which could be sunscreens, lotions, colognes or medications,” said Sejal Choksi, the program director for Baykeeper, an environmental watchdog group. . .

A recent study authorized by the European Commission found that the chemical compounds that filter ultraviolet radiation in cream-based sunscreens caused bleaching in coral reefs.

The study, published in the U.S. journal Environmental Health Perspectives, showed that even small amounts of the chemicals made the algae on coral susceptible to viral infection.  The killing, or bleaching, of the algae — which have a symbiotic relationship with the coral — is a death knell for the whole structure . . .

Some 60 percent of the world’s reef systems are now being threatened by a combination of global warming, industrial pollution, and excess UV radiation, which is why the sunscreen threat is being taken seriously by scientists.

“As with anything that happens in the environment, there is a confluence that joins together in weakening an ecosystem.

The union of man and beast, flora and fauna when in balance give birth to a thriving bionetwork.  When destabilized even the strong cannot survive.  Life, as we know it, ultimately dies, when impurities are the source of imbalance.  

Sarah had never considered the importance of marine life before.  Nor did she suspect the depth of synergy.  Coral for her, just seemed to sit on the bottom of the ocean floor.  She did not fully consider collectivism.  The statement, “Man is not an island” does not begin to explain a fellowship that exists beyond humans.  As she investigated, she gained greater insights into synchronicity.

Sea life supports plants and animals.  Fish are dependent on a healthy coral reef.  Humans are perhaps more reliant on the vigor of aragonite structures.  Sarah marveled; her choices and those of every person on the planet affect the well-being of life forms beneath the sea.

Why are healthy reefs important?

Healthy coral reef ecosystems play several important roles by:
  • Maintaining ecosystem structure and function
  • Supporting ecosystem and community services
  • Protecting shorelines and preventing erosion

Unhealthy systems have been linked to:

  • Human illnesses or diseases linked to ecological imbalance
  • Decline in economic profits due to loss of natural resources
  • Loss of cultural traditions due to changing use of natural resources
  • Decline in tourism
  • Increased vulnerability to hurricanes due to altered/decline of reefs and coastal areas.

What are the primary threats to reef health?

The primary disturbances in the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem have been:

  • Unsustainable coastal development
  • Overfishing
  • Pollution (including agrochemicals, sedimentation and nutrients/sewage)
  • Global Climate Change (which may increase the impact of coral bleaching and hurricanes)
  • Lack of protection or lack of enforcement of existing regulations

Sarah surmised what she read and heard of sunscreens was more significant than reported.  Pollution, even from a lotion, gives way to global warming.  A planet heated is beset with hurricanes.  Certainly, recent weather conditions illustrate there is reason for concern.  Sarah, just as citizens throughout the globe, has witnessed odd occurrences.  Historic cyclones, floods, tornadoes, hail, winds, and rains have become our daily truth.  People everywhere speak of unprecedented, unpredictable weather conditions.  No matter the season or the region, men, women, and children do not know what the weather will be.  Sarah marvels, might the effect of sunscreens partially explain these mysteries.  Yikes!

Sarah said aloud, “What else do I not know of the layers and layers of lotion, lathered high above the epidermis?”  As she settles into her routine, she reflects.  

Where can she go to hide from the rays that put her at risk?  Can she sneak away from the government that she thought cradled her soul and secured her safety.  Must she accept, in a society built on entrepreneurial enterprises, manufacturers create a market and no matter where she travels, she will not escape the woes that a want for more money advance.  Hours later, tucked into the darkness of night, Sarah, now ready for bed decides, she is free to choose, and only she can be her best shield from entities that could cause her to suffer.  She sleeps and dreams of daylight.  What will she do come morning. Might she slather on the sunscreen and live with the guilt.  Sarah never thought the cream she applied to her face, arms, and legs could cause such a crisis worldwide.

Sources and Sunscreens . . .

Wilma Wreckage Causes Weeping Well into the New Year ©

It is January 8, 2006.  I posted my last missive on Daily Kos days ago.  The focus of that treatise was Wilma, “W”, Jeb, and the media.  I discussed the mid-October storm and how it related to the powers that be.  I expressed my own perception; there was a joint decision to ignore the woes that this storm created.

Most people commenting on my words were from Florida.  Some stated that though they reside elsewhere, they have friends or family living in this fair weather state.  While those that wrote saw much of the devastation first-hand, live-and-in-person, and others received friendly photographs, there were people that saw very little of what was, or what still is.  Yes, people read the newspapers and watched the television news; however, many saw only what the press chose to show, not much.

Yet, there was a lot.  A month after the whirlwind named Wilma struck, local reporters revealed that two years worth of brush and debris had been cleared from the curbs. Nevertheless, there was more to dispose of.  There was so much rubble, so much rubbish, and a need to replace what once was.

Now, eleven weeks have passed.  One would think there was nothing left to see, to do, or to think about in respect to Wilma.  All must be well again, tidy, calm, and back to normal.  It is not. The clean up continues.

Without searching for damage, I found plenty.  I offer a few photographs that I took as I walked from my car to a near by building.  I hope these images will help solidify a sense of what is seen daily on the streets of South Florida.  Possibly, a picture or two may be worth more than a thousand words.

• a barrier no more . . .

• a tree torn from its foundation . . .

• a fence falls . . .

• windows blown out with the wind  . . .

• in a myriad of places . . .

• trees tumbled to their death, roots ripped from the ground . . .

. . . and words from the “Wizard of Wellness,” Jeb Bush.

Governor Jeb Bush’s “End of Hurricane Season 2005″ Address”, Wednesday, November 30, 2005.

Feel free to peruse an article on the storm clean up.  Come to your own conclusion.  In this writing, my intent is to advance awareness, nothing more.

Four dead, clean up begins as Wilma departs, By Martin Merzer, Wanda J. DeMarzo and Tere Figureas Negrete. Miami Herald

Baby Bush Hides Florida Devastaion And Crocodile Tears ©

On Monday, November 14, 2005, I was on a plane, heading for South East Florida; I was in the process moving to this fair weather state.  You laugh.  Yes, in recent years, Florida has become known for its hurricane action; it hardly represents the calm one might call fair. Nevertheless, in Florida, the terms fair and weather are used concurrently.  The two are the topics of daily conversation, at least they have been since Wilma hit.

In this state when speaking of weather, people ponder.  What of justice, evenhandedness, and equality, are these void?  Was hurricane Wilma just or was it merely indiscriminate in its destruction?  Was there a reason for this tempest?  Was nature taking its vengeance on this small and innocent province or was the administration to blame?  Has the ignorance and denial of global warming taken its toll?  Why did Wilma hit some parts of Florida twice?  Could meteorologists have better predicted the direction and force of the storm?  Could they have more accurately assessed what was to come?

There is reason for all this reflection.  I saw it everywhere after I landed. Wilma whipped through the region weeks before my arrival; nevertheless, the devastation seemed fresh.  I was stunned.  I never imagined the damage would be as bad as it was.  The President did not speak of it; the media did not mention it to any great degree; yet here it was.  Ruin was rampant.

Climate of 2005, Summary of Hurricane Wilma
Hurricanes May Cost Insurers $57.6 Billion, December 28, 2005. Los Angeles Times
Massive and ancient trees were not down, they were uprooted.  Sidewalks were not cracked; they were pulled away from their foundations.  Buildings were without faces, roofs, windows, or frames.  The waste was strewn about.

For out-of-towners, a trip to the stores reveals damage similar to what is found within many homes.  Doors were jammed; windows cracked, stains covered the surface of the inner most sanctuaries.  Now, as I write weeks later all is as it was when I arrived.  There is so much work to be done, and supplies are few.  Bricks, mortar, wood, and nails are in short supply and have been since the storms of 2004.

Many have been waiting for repairs since the storms of 2004. Homes and offices ravaged a year hence still were sitting in ruin.  Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan may be no more than a memory for those in other parts of the country.  However, for those in Florida, the memory lingers. Some left homeless in the prior year are still without a house to call their own. Wilma swelled these numbers.

Post Wilma, numerous hotels were closed; there was too much damage.  They could not remain open.  Those that did survive were packed; as I write this in December, many of these still are.  Lodgings are and were booked through the month of November 2005; they are and were occupied with local residents.  Throughout the end of October and into November, most were without telephone service; many suffered a loss of electricity.  Even now, more than a month hence, there are still those without.

When I first arrived in Southern Florida, precautions were being taken.  Residents throughout the area were told to boil water for safety reasons.  Gas pumps were still not working.  As time wears on, some stations are not yet serviceable.

Fractured signs, fallen trees, crushed glass, mangled metal; all are still present in late December.  Individuals and industry are told it will be another eight months before repairs can be scheduled.  This reality is accepted as true.  After all, how long ago were the affects of Charley felt?  These too have yet to be attended to.

I knew only a fraction of this when I first came to this area.

I had been living in California; at the time of the last tempest I was paying attention to the reports of the hurricane, for I was planning a permanent move to Florida.  Therefore, the events in this fair weather state were of great and intense interest to me.

I listened on the news; I read the papers.  I saw and heard a blurb here and there, and then it was gone.  All the reporting on Wilma ceased; however, the repercussions did not.  I was in contact with many in South Florida and I heard their stories.  Still, I had no idea.  Now, as I reflect, I realize people rarely communicate their deepest pain; they have their reasons.

My father, who accompanied me on my travel, concluded the same.  Though he lives in Chicago; he too was interested in the storms and was working to be informed.  Yet, he felt as I did; we did not know what really happened.  We wondered aloud.  We asked others, those here and away. We discovered that those in town lived what was real.  Yet.  When speaking with friends and relatives living afar, citizens, natives of the Treasure Coast realized there was no coverage.  They wondered why this might be.  So too did I. Those whose story was untold, were disgusted.

Please, let me contemplate aloud.

In the last two years Florida has been hit hard.  In 2004 Jeanne, Frances, and Charley cut through homes and businesses. In 2005 the sands and seas of Florida have been torn asunder. The Southeastern region of this country has experienced turbulence that is unprecedented.  Twenty-six tropical storms were named in this last year alone; many of these were significant enough to reach hurricane levels.  In 1993 there were as many as twenty-one storms; only thirteen of these reached hurricane status.  In 1969 there were twelve tempests, only seven developed further.  None of these were as powerful as the squalls of 2005.

Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, all of which reached the intensity of a category five storm, were whirlwinds of destruction.  This is the first time since 1851 that three, category five gales have occurred in one season!  In this last season there were also three tropical depressions. Fortunately, these did not reach the strength of tropical storms.  In the last four decades there were eleven storms, six achieved the rank of hurricane, and only two are exceptionally strong.

Hurricane Central, Zeta weakening but ties another record.

Might we wonder of this?  Many believe that the intensity and frequency has increased because of global warming.  It is said that our mass consumption of natural resources and commitment to creating waste has caused the planet to warm.  Ice caps are melting, ocean waters are heating up, climates are changing, and hurricanes are the result.

This concern had been voiced for decades; yet, little was done.  Under the authority of King George II environmental protection policies were reversed.  After this tumultuous cycle, considerations for global warming are again being discussed as viable. Currently, the theory is thought to be a legitimate concern among those that pooh-poohed it in the past.  Former skeptics are now stating their anxiety aloud. The temperature of ocean waters is increasing, and the weather is not as any of us recall.

The people of Florida, as well as the people of the world are asking what can we do to lessen the affects of our consumptive society; can we reverse these?  Numerous people ask what can we do in the midst of a storm, before, and after.  Does life have to be as it was and is post Wilma?

Questions of fairness and weather are abounding.  We have all heard of fair-weather friends.  Much of Florida is feeling as though the media, the administration, and the rest of the nation are these.  The general public in this southern state wonder are their “fellow Americans” enemies, apathetic, or barely acquainted.

As the whirlwind was occurring, the people here thought it reasonable to assume that the Sunshine State would receive the same attention or lack thereof that Katrina and the people of New Orleans did?  Would the media cover the devastation and it’s consequences for real people for more than a moment? Would the government act to ameliorate the suffering? No, they did not.  It was obviously not reasonable to assume. The media did not inform the nation; nor did the government act.

Florida simply slipped through the cracks, as water had in the New Orleans levees. There were many cracks and weakened walls to slip through.  After all, The Army Corp of Engineers report on the New Orleans embankments slipped through the Bullish Bush grid.  Why should Florida be any different or expect to have been?  Perhaps, people hoped, having a Governor brother would help to bring aid or attention to the torment or turbulence, apparently not.

One will never know with certainty.  Did the Governor ask for less publicity, less relief, was he worried of the tourist trade or the bad press his older sibling might receive? What of the media?  Did he fear the Snowbirds might flee from tradition? Why was Wilma’s wrath not fully covered by the “news?”  America offers 500 channels, non-stop information.  There is time to share; yet, little was aired.

After the New Orleans embankments broke, King George II did ignore the ruined region.  He was busy, vacationing.  Perhaps this is his habit.  Might Emperor George be as distracted with his whims and wealth?  Is he as Nero was?  Might he be busy playing to his affluent patrons and their pleasures?  Is it impossible for him to see, let alone feel for the poor or powerless?  Possibly. The magnificent monarch may be doing as is  traditionally done by the Bush Dynasty; he watches as Rome burns.

While this theory would explain the Bush bull, what of the media? Post Katrina, the media was there. They reported of what was.  Actually, they informed the President.  Our quaint and preoccupied King admitted to witnessing with Americans families.  He saw, the depth of destruction on television.  Baby Bush observed millions on the streets, homes under water, people pouring out their pain from the safety of his TV screen.  It was the outspoken awareness of the press that embarrassed Bush.  He was so humiliated, that two weeks hence, he canceled his remaining holidays.

The President flew.  He and his staff flocked into Louisiana and Mississippi. He journeyed to the ravaged regions eight times in the four weeks.  He shook millions of hands, kissed many babies, hugged men, women, and children. Mr. Bush searched for solutions to problems, though a little too late.  The press applauded, the public was calmed, the journalist polled, and all was well.  People were again pleased, and the President was satisfied that he had done his job well. Had he?  Had the reporters?

The King came, he left; he came again, ultimately, leaving nothing much changed Well not exactly nothing. He improved his poll ratings.  In this we discover the answer to the question of the correspondents.

The servant media passed on the mandatory message. Quotas were fulfilled.  The full image of “compassionate conservative” was once again intact.  Thirty-second sound bites were preserved and misreporting reality was once again fulfilled.  Bush pretended to care; long enough to satisfy a society that prefers to remain minimally informed and lethargic.

In essence, Baby Bush and even the seemingly active journalists provided little resolution and less resolve. Nothing was solved; no one was saved.  There was only a pretense, a posturing of care, concern, and communication.  However, when it came to Wilma and Florida, there was never a flitter, never a flock, not a pretense or even passing murmur of concern.

Upon reflection, I realize people can be calm in the face of a storm.  They adjust, they make do; they plod and plan.  Persons can be passé when discussing what is occurring, particularly if they had experienced similar in the past.  It might be that natives and residents fear what others will think.  After all, Florida is known for hurricanes.  Therefore, why worry.

Might those residing in the province believe that others will perceive Floridians as crying “wolf.”? Did those in Florida fear the attention of the nation, I wonder.

What of the journalist, the Governor, the President of the United States? What were their reasons and motivations for ignoring this area?  Why did they choose not to hear the communities as they were crying crocodile tears?  Why were those residing in or around the everglades suffering the impact of a hurricane that twisted, turned and slammed into their shores, twice in a single day, alone in this storm?

Why are the words of those in Florida falling on deaf ears?  I know not.  I only know that I must speak and share their plight.  These strong souls speak of it, the two years of hurricanes, culminating with Wilma.  They mention the streets that were once canopied with healthy branches and leaves.  Those in Sunshine State mourn daily.  They reflect upon what was and fear that it might never return. They are proud, for they have endured.  Nevertheless, they want help.  These stalwarts want others throughout the nation to know that it has not been easy; it still is not.  Much remains in ruin.  The roots have lifted trees.  Roofs have been torn from their foundations.  Walls are weeping.  There are holes in every avenue and heaps of wood on every curb.

Yet, only those in Florida truly comprehend.  Others may have heard of the possibility, nonetheless they are not here and they cannot begin to imagine.  The President does not tell for he was hurt by his own ineptitude after hurricane Katrina.  The media is manipulated, be they in Iraq or America. Jeb, ever the good brother, he too is silent.  It is all so sad and so very true.

For those interested in documentation, I offer resources. Please review these references.
After Hurricane Wilma: Claims Piling Up Insurance Journal
Wilma Slams Both Florida Coasts WashingtonPost By Peter Whoriskey
Climate of 2005, Summary of Hurricane Wilma
Hurricanes May Cost Insurers $57.6 Billion, Los Angeles Times December 28, 2005
Far from normal in Wilma’s aftermath. MSNBC
Actions Of GSA As They Relate To Hurricane Katrina And The Ongoing Recovery. U.S. General Services Administration
Hurricane Winds Blow Through Condo Market, National Real Estate Investor
Florida has post-Wilma shelter crisis. Science Daily
Roof repairs add $178M to price of Wilma damage. The Miami Herald
President Discusses Hurricane Relief in Address to the Nation
President Signs Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005
Photograph, White House Release. Bush Tours a hurricane ravaged neighborhood.
Florida cleans up after Frances, Hurricane Charley blamed for 25th Florida death, , Relief pours in as Jeanne moves northIvan blamed for 25 U.S. deaths. CNN News
Global Warming Hits New Orleans: The Controversy After the Storm, by Jeremy Rifkin
Bush’s Attention Wanders From Katrina as Reconstruction Lags
Levee repair work has yet to begin
New Orleans Levees Not Built for Worst Case Events, by Brian Handwerk. National Geographic
Department of Homeland Screw-Up, What is the Bush administration doing?, By Tim Naftali. Slate