I’m wearing an oversized sweater, but my daughters eyes have been watching me intently.
It’s a subtle reminder that my daughter, Madison, has a very specific type of skin, one that has been altered by years of chemical pollution.
It also gives her a way to make me feel like I’m not the only one affected by this environmental issue, says Madison, who asked that her first name not be used.
In the early 1990s, her mother was diagnosed with melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.
As a result, she had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments that left her in an extremely frail state.
When she was 14, Madison was diagnosed in May 2001 with cystic fibrosis, a chronic, lung disease that causes inflammation in the lungs.
The disease can make it hard for the body to produce oxygen.
At the time, Madison and her family were living in a trailer park in a rural part of California.
“I remember having a lot of energy, a lot more than normal,” Madison recalls.
“It was a lot like, ‘Mom, what is this?’
I think I could have been in heaven.”
At age 13, Madison’s mother developed the rare, genetic form of the disease, known as HER2, that’s linked to high levels of the chemical cadmium.
Cadmium is known to cause lung cancer, and is known in cancer research circles as the most deadly of the chemicals linked to the deadly coronavirus.
It was discovered as part of the study of coronaviruses that began in 1998.
Cadms found in the environment, such as cadmias found in food, can also be found in our water, air and soil.
Cadmiches can also cause other types of cancers, such a thyroid disease that can be triggered by cadmies exposure to lead, and lung cancer caused by cadms.
While the cancer rates for children have been dropping steadily in recent years, they remain significantly higher than for adults.
“When you see that number, it’s very frightening,” says Madison.
“But I know that I can still do something.
I have the ability to raise awareness, and it’s my voice.”
Madison is part of a growing number of families whose children are suffering from the effects of toxic chemicals in their environment.
At a recent event in Washington, D.C., for example, her sisters, Brittany and Jessica, were there to highlight a petition that has garnered nearly 5 million signatures.
While there’s no cure for the disease that affects children and adults alike, they’re hoping to change the world through education and activism.
“We are in a moment of transition and we’re really trying to create a new world, so we need to do what we can,” Jessica says.
“If we’re not doing something, we’re going to have to change something.
It is really, really scary that people can still live in a bubble of fear.”
Jessica says her sisters were not the first family to experience environmental harm.
“My family was always told, ‘You’re going into a factory, you’re going out to work.
That’s not your problem,'” she recalls.
The family’s home is located on a remote stretch of the U.S. East Coast, which is one of the few areas of the country that has not been affected by toxic chemicals, but they had to leave their house when they relocated.
“A lot of people think, ‘Well, you have to be careful about where you live because you can get cancer,'” says Brittany.
“And that’s not true.
There’s a difference between the things that are going to harm us, and the things you can do.”
The family has made changes to the way they do things to help protect themselves from the toxins.
“At home, we use filters, which I think is great,” Jessica tells me.
“They help keep us from being exposed to the chemicals in our environment.”
Madison says that since the time she was young, she has seen her daughter’s skin darkened, her eyes watery, and her hair darkened.
“Now that she’s an adult, we’ve started to see it on her face more,” she says.
Madison has also learned to stay hydrated.
“She was always dehydrated, and I was never able to drink water,” she recalls, “but now, she can drink water and I can drink it.”
Madison and Jessica are both parents to two children who are both battling the disease.
“Madison is definitely the one who’s having to get more attention,” Jessica adds.
“So, she’s definitely getting more exposure, and she’s getting more attention.”
The chemical industry, in particular, has been a huge driver of these environmental problems.
The chemical industries are responsible for a significant portion of the nation’s toxic chemicals and their pollution.
And they’re getting richer as the global economy has been in decline.
This year alone, the chemical companies spent more than $1.4 trillion on