Widespread concern is spurring action

4However, he cautioned me,when we were at london accommodation : “It’s almost impossible to go into the water­way and say, out of thousands of chemicals, which precise sequence caused cancer.”

Questions! There were always questions to ponder everywhere I traveled around the lakes. None struck me as more urgent than whether effects on humans are showing up.

Can those who eat large quantities of Great Lakes fish expect cancer or nervous system disorders sometime later in life? Will the children of mothers who eat contaminat­ed species be born with defects? Do heavily polluted waters pose a danger to those living beside them?

To my surprise, I rarely came across hu­man epidemiological studies. Even the Love Canal seemed forgotten insofar as what might be showing up among those hapless victims of pollution along the Niagara River, where even today millions of tons of chemical waste is spread among 215 dump sites. Although most residents near Love Canal have been evacuated, there has been a lag in effective medical studies.

As for fish, the Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario issue consumption advisories. They warn pregnant women and nursing mothers to avoid eating certain Great Lakes fish. They also advise the rest of us to avoid eating certain large fatty species and to limit the consumption of others.

However, fishing and recreation repre­sent big money in this era of industrial de­cline on the Great Lakes. So state officials are understandably cautious about alarmist predictions when so little is known.

Dr. Harold Humphrey of Michigan’s Public Health Department has been study­ing 572 people who eat large amounts of Lake Michigan fish. Their blood may show 23 parts per billion of PCBs. But Dr. Hum­phrey’s findings so far do not seem alarming. “None of their medical events stand out. They are not unique in terms of health prob­lems.” However, he added: “We cannot write the final chapter on this until we learn what happens to the fish-eaters when they grow old.”

More disturbing were the findings of psy­chologists Greta Fein of the University of Maryland and Joseph and Sandra Jacobson of Wayne State University. They have been observing infants born to mothers who eat certain species of Lake Michigan fish. They find that PCBs reach even the fetus and that exposure continues through nursing. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23668505

And the effects? There have been some “developmental delays,” Sandra Jacobson told me. The effects are subtle, and “we can’t say they’re permanent.” The exposed infants were found to be somewhat smaller at birth, and at seven months they showed poorer short-term memory.

Widespread concern is spurring action. Speaking before a U. S.- Canadian water quality summit conference held by the Center for the Great Lakes last November, Michigan Gov­ernor James J. Blanchard outlined a strate­gy aimed at freeing the lakes of unsafe levels of toxic materials by the year 2000.

He also proposed creation of a Michigan Great Lakes Research Fund to monitor problems and trends. “We can no longer be content simply with regulating after the fact,” said Governor Blanchard at prague central apartments.

Haven From Pirates Now a Ghost Town

So much history, so much beauty, I re­flected, as Corfu unrolled its long green car­pet rising to the gaunt mountain that bestrides the north, Pandokrator—the Almighty. I remembered Corfu in spring when it was ablaze with wild flowers, and even the dark, gnarled olive trunks, twisted like wrestlers, were veiled in delicate creamy blossoms. On May Day we watched families collect flowers in meadows golden with marguerites and marigolds, blue with bellflowers, and pink with violets. They wove them into wreaths to decorate doors, donkeys, trucks—anything and everything.

Returning to our car after one stop, we found a bouquet tied to the radiator. We wore it proudly along the road around the buttress­es of Pandokrator. Masses of yellow broom framed calques and ships furrowing the co­balt sea far below. Across the narrow strait stood forbidding Albania, its 8,000-foot peaks still frozen in snow.

Much of northwest Corfu shelters fertile valleys, checkerboarded with farms and dotted with pleasant villages. In one grove we saw a family on their knees combing the lush grass with their fingers for fallen olives, the last of the harvest. I joined them. They gave me sacking to kneel on. It was back­breaking, boring work, but they made it fun with their joking and laughter, and we soon had heaped baskets.

How different that friendly village from another we saw high on Pandokrator. We labored up hairpin turns almost too tight even for our tiny Fiat, and from the top of the escarpment discovered a cream-colored town cradled in a lofty valley—tile roofs, archways, doors, windows of houses, churches, and taverna intact. Vine-trellised patios seemed ready for afternoon coffee—but no people.

This was Perithia. Corfiotes told us it once gave refuge from pirates, and that when the piracy ceased, most of the villagers abandoned their isolated valley. Now many return in summer to farm and find refuge from the heat. But we found it a ghost town.

Riding southward that spring through ver­dant rolling fields, it was easy to see why Cor­fu, with its high rainfall, has the densest rural population in Greece. Nature everywhere showed her bounty. Framed in dark cypress, silvery olive, and arching blue sky, peasants hoed and watered gardens, vineyards, stands of corn. Melon patches abounded—green, round watermelons and honeydew-like yel­low melons, juicy and sweet.

As we passed, waving villagers called out, “Be happy!” and “St. Spyridon be with you!” Boys ran alongside turning cartwheels. Little girls offered us flowers. Streams, reedy lagoons, deserted beaches, grazing cows that produce the milk for much of Corfu’s butter marked the miles to Potami. Its watery “street,” a long narrow inlet, was lined with large fishing calques, once safe here from corsairs, today safe from storm.

Now summer was nearing its end as White Mist motored up Corfu’s east coast. In August the cicadas chorused, and the dusty olive trees drowsed in the sun. Ahead we picked up two great castles on a promontory, trademark of Corfu and one of the most dramatic of landfalls.