Yahoo! is always coming out with headlining Best and Worst lists. They’re marketing geniuses. They’re also unscrupulous, ignoramuses.
Their recent “The Best Cities to Raise Kids,” featuring, as they say, “places [which] offer parents the right mix of safety, good schools and low cost of living,” names Groesbeck, Ohio as The Winner!1
Well, I’ve got bad news for Yahoo! and anyone who took their plug seriously … and packed up already for that semi-rural patch of land seven miles northwest of Cincinnati. That is, Hamilton County totally surrounds the census-designated place (not a city) — almost dead center — and is totally toxic.
Whichever way the wind is blowing in Hamilton County, Prize-winning Groesbeck will take the toxic cake, as they (don’t) say. Hamilton is hazardous to your health. Out of 86 Ohio counties, it ranks 9th on the Degraded Dog House List ‘cross the board. And it’s so full of toxicity in the air, it spews well over three times the emissions of Trumbull County, which comes in at only #18 or thereabouts.2 To review, 9th — by far! — out of 86…in a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry polluted state.
To get more specific, under “Chemical Releases or Waste Generation” — in four of six categories — Hamilton scores in the upper 10% of Dirtiest/Worst Counties in the U.S. In terms of “Releases weighted by Potential Environmental Health Impacts” both categories listed rank it in the upper 10th. In three of five categories under the filthy umbrella of “Releases Sorted by Recognized Health Effects” it’s in the same 10% leaky boat.
For total environmental releases, cancer risk score (air and water), non-cancer risk score, air releases of recognized carcinogens, and air releases of developmental toxicants — in ALL those categories — it came in at the upper (worst) 10 percentile for the whole country.
Reviewing a rundown of the worst culprits in Hamilton, it’s worth noting that on a list of 20 (who are running everyone down), #1 North Bend’s Cinergy Miami Fort Generating Station and #3 Addyston’s Bayer Port Plastics provide a different angle for wind currents than Cincinnati…which accounts for thirteen facilities on the list.
This is not the kind of situation one encounters in Oregon, say, where Ashland lies in the same county as Medford — Jackson — but experiences an entirely different pollution level, as a rule. No, Hamilton County dooms one and all within its devastating environs.
There is some good news, however. In the category of “Water Releases of Suspected Endocrine Toxicants” there’s one subset which comes in at just below the 50% mark; about average in the country.
To use a recent Coen Brothers film as a point of reference, Hamilton is No County for Old Men with Emphysema or Kids with Asthma. Or pregnant moms for that matter.
And on that note, I’ll conclude by underscoring that if you’re not into Bad News you’ll probably do best to stay away from the rest of the Yahoo! Best.
And not just for this “Best Places” list.
When all is said and done, sitting in front of a computer digesting Yahoo! reporting is, arguably, one of the worst “places” your child can be.
- See Yahoo! [↩]
- In 2002, this county ranked among the dirtiest/worst 10% of all counties in the U.S. in terms of total environmental releases. Things have changed since then but not for the better in Groesbeck; nevertheless Trumbull might register a slightly different rank as of 2007. This Environmental Defense link should lead you to all of the different angles addressed in this article. [↩]