Here’s a reasonable solution to surprise medical bills


As a cancer survivor, I know how devastating it can be to get hit with high, unexpected medical bills — especially when they trigger never-ending fights with insurance companies. The absolute last thing that patients recovering from major illnesses, surgeries, or procedures should have to worry about is facing more financial burdens when they should be only focused on their recovery. That’s...

How the merchants of death — tobacco and oil — worked together


Not that long ago, I mentioned in a blog post that the New York Times had found strands of evidence — common law firms, similar lobbying and political strategies and the like — suggesting that two of our most notorious industries may have worked more closely together than anyone could have imagined. At first blush, the idea that lobbyists and key executives for these two so-called...

When will fracking’s other shoe drop? Cancer


The process of fracking is a relatively new one. In fact, sometimes I think we forget just how new it is. It was just mid-2000s that word spread among industry officials about a new technology to affordably free up oil and natural gas trapped in tiny pockets within shale formations — and Congress and the Bush administration enacted favorable energy legislation. In those early years...

Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ is getting more toxic


In a perfect world, humankind would be winning the war against toxic air pollution. After all, it’s been almost 44 years since the first Earth Day and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That was supposed to mark the end of an era when smokestacks belching toxins into the American sky was considered a sign of economic health and not an indicator of cancer and other...

Tar sands creating a new “Cancer Alley” in Canada


I probably don’t need to tell you what concentrating a band of oil refineries, chemical plants, and environmentally challenging industrial facilities can do to a community. Here in Louisiana, we’ve been living with such a place, lining the Mississippi River and the surrounding countryside between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It used to be called the “petrochemical...

Landmark ruling in Italy: Cell phones can lead to tumors


It’s a question that has hovered since people started using mobile phones more than two decades ago: Can your cell phone make you seriously ill? Specifically, can the radiofrequency energy that’s emitted by mobile devices causes cancer, especially brain tumors? There’s been a flood of studies on this subject, many of them reaching contradictory conclusions. That’s led many...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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