I finally found a job in a paper
Movin' barrels at a chemical plant
There's shiny-looking dust on my fingers
Goin' up my nose and into my lungs
It's the Kepone poisoning-Minamata
At the grimy Kepone Factory
Turning people into bonzai trees
Now I've got these splitting headaches
I can't quite get it up no more
I can't sleep and it's driving me crazy
I shake all day and I'm seeing double
Gonna go down your big metal building
Gonna slam right through your bright metal door
Gonna grab you by your sta-prest collar
And ram some kepone down your throat
The lawyer says 'That's the breaks, kid
Gonna gnarl and rot the rest of your life
If you don't sue, we'll give you a Trans-Am:'
That I'll never drive cos I shake all the time
'Cause of the Kepone poisoning
At the grimy Kepone factory
A song about two similar mass health hazards by pesticide factories who disposed their toxic wastes in sea or rivers, The notorious kepone substance who polluted James River in Virginia-USA during 1966-1975 and Minamata syndrome caused by disposing Mercury based toxics in Minamata bay in Japan during 1955-1962. Read about these disasters below:
In 1955 in the Minamata Bay area of Kyushu, Japan, there was a large influx of cases of severe neurological disorders in newborn children. There were cases of cerebral palsy, some children were diplegic and others were tetraplegic. They were all mentally handicapped. Some villages had 6-12% of their newborns affected. Together, these disorders are now known as Congenital Minamata Syndrome. In 1959, it was found that methylmercury was being dumped into the bay by a plant of the Chisso Corporation.
It wasn’t until 1962 that conclusive evidence was published linking the dumping of methylmercury to these neurological birth defects. It was thought, to this point, that poisons couldn’t cross the placenta. Therefore, it took some time to confirm that an environmental pollutant could induce birth defects in humans. The link between these birth defects and methylmercury have been confirmed multiple times in animal studies.
Children with Congential Minamata Syndrome seem to be normal at birth and begin to present symptoms at approximately six months of age. They have instability of the neck, convulsions, reduced IQ, microcephaly, malformed limbs, restricted growth and an altered cerebellum. In utero exposure to methylmercury induces general brain atrophy and hypoplasia.
Kepone, also known as chlordecone, is a carcinogenic insecticide related to mirex, used between 1966 and 1975 in the USA for ant and roach baits. It was produced by Allied Signal Company in Hopewell, Virginia and produced nationwide pollution controversy due to improper handling and dumping of the substance into the James River. Its use was banned in 1975.
Chemically, kepone is a chlorinated polycyclic ketone insecticide and fungicide with the chemical formula C10H2Cl10O. The dry powder is readily absorbed through the skin and respiratory tract. Some unprotected production workers exposed to Kepone powder suffered tremors, jerky eye movements, memory loss, headaches, slurred speech, unsteadiness, lack of coordination, loss of weight, rash, enlarged liver, decreased libido, sterility, chest pain, arthralgia, and the increased risk of developing cancer. Kepone persists in the environment, with a half-life of about 30 years.
In July 2005, a Richmond Magazine article chronicled the ill health effects on Allied Signal employees and described how Dan Rather and CBS's 60 Minutes brought nationwide attention to the problem.
Due to the pollution scare, many businesses and restaurants along the river suffered, and then-Governor Mills Godwin Jr. shut down the James River to fishing from Richmond to the Chesapeake Bay
You can hear this song in youtube: