So breathlessly beautiful, so delightfully innocent, is the delicate crystalline structure of the simple snowflake.  Who'd think that the ocean of snowflakes blanketing our countryside contain a toxic cargo of dilute sulfuric battery acid that insidiously etches away at the very fabric of life itself?  Aging pollution maps show that Central New York has the highest concentrations of highly reactive sulfur dioxide (average pH 4.2).   A rare New York State University study at Oneonta, NY showed a direct correlation between concentrations of sulfur and nitrogen oxides and the acidity of atmospheric deposition such as snow, rain, or fog.

The shadow of the specter of death that wafted through the streets of London in the 1952 "Killer Smog" brings a quietly spreading death to these 'sleepy' communities. The beautiful snowflake is no longer innocent as its toxic components leave the old and young breath- less with cardiopulmonary inflammations and allergic reactions that mercilessly tax the heart. Little is said about the thousands of documented human fatalities that occurred around the middle of the 20th century in Donora Pennsylvania, New York City, and London due to the toxic component of acid rain where samples of sulfur dioxide in these killer smogs were 6 to 12 times the usual level. Reactions from environmental organizations resulted in their res pective governments to coerce industry sources of the pollutants to filter out the neutralizing ash and build super tall smoke stacks and superheat these toxic acid forming emissions so that they would be carried far from their midwest sources to our own back yards changing the nature of the problem from easily proved manifestations to more insidious and more chronic circumstances.

In the Spring of 1988 New York State Attorney General's Office along with several other eastern states and Minnesota brought a class action suite against the U.S. Government to enforce laws that would reduce the emissions that cause acid rain. The suits were thrown out because of insufficient evidence.  Yet the body of evidence is overwhelming...  The bodies are overwhelming!
The perpetual fire of this dump site was stoked by the addition of brimstone (sulfur).  Ancient Jerusalem's "Gate of Ash Heaps" opened south to the east extremity of the "Valley of Hinnom" which was a place of incinerating garbage & carcasses.   The Hebrew word "Geh Hinnom" appears 12 times in the Greek Testament as Gehenna" which later translators changed to the word "Hell".
In 732 B C. a great Assyrian force under King Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem until an "Angel of Death" went out among the king's forces one night causing panic and death as they fled from this unseen protector of Jerusalem (RE: 2 Kings 19:35) . How else would these ancient writers describe a "pollution event" brought on by the nearby sulfur fires of Gehenna?

Dr. Haller wrote in October 1990 New York State Journal of Medicine that the HISTORY OF CHEMICAL WARFARE began with the Wars between Athens and Sparta (431-404 B. C.) where the Spartans set up brimstone burns on mounds above the city walls so the winds could carry the sulfurous fumes to the enemy.  He adds: "With the outbreak of the Crimean War British Admiral Lord Dundonald proposed the use of sulfur fumes to drive the Russians out of Sebastopol. The British War Committee considered the effects so horrendous that no honorable combatant could use them".

Author's Note: For years I lobbied the State of New York to implement a standardized acid rain monitoring program (that should have been done 40 years ago) so that we could compile the necessary evidence of "hot spots", trends and mortalities.  Colleges and cities already have the standardized equipment in place to do the job.  - joseph morales
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