Today I found a bunch of public domain archival images from Documerica, a documentary photography project in the early 1970s, sponsored by the then-newly developed Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA asked photographers to go to American cities and towns and document how polluted our country had become thanks to industrialization.
This is my montage of three images: one from Lake Charles, LA, one from Tacoma, WA, and the other from Cleveland. Growing up right outside of Manhattan, in one of the most polluted corridors of northern NJ, I well remember the smog-filled skies and acrid scent of perfume fouling the air on many days. And yet, we ran outside to play, with no clue about the chemical assaults we were exposing our young bodies to.
So many people I know have longterm chronic illnesses due to their exposures to these chemicals. It is difficult to imagine going back to that era, with few protections of our air, soil, and water. And excruciating to imagine more generations becoming ill without the federal government's stewardship over companies that do not concern themselves with the human health irreparably harmed by their products.