BLOWING a hole in a mass cover-up is probably every journalist’s dream.
From the Washington Post’s expose of the Watergate scandal to the Boston Globe’s tenacious unravelling of a Catholic Church conspiracy to brush child abuse under the carpet, these are the kinds of scandals cinemagoers love to watch and reporters dream of uncovering.
Two recent trips to the cinema made me think about this: one, to see the excellent Spotlight, and the second to see a documentary on aerotoxic syndrome, Unfiltered Breathed In, that premiered in Glasgow and was reported on in The Herald.
I am not in a position to say where this controversial condition, which is denied by the aviation industry, is real or not.
But what did strike me were the similarities to other cases of corporate or institutional cover-ups, from the tobacco industry insisting for decades that cigarettes were safe or that nicotine was not addictive, to the Catholic Church as depicted in ‘Spotlight’ secretly shuttling paedophile priests from parish to parish with the help of a police force willing to turn a blind eye and lawyers happy to cash in by drawing up pay-offs and confidentiality agreements.
The bottom line is, the bigger the scandal and the more lucrative the vested interests are, the harder it is to prove.
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Important information: The author refers to:-
“For a start, only a minority of people – some three per cent – are believed to be susceptible to aerotoxic poisoning, at least in the short-term. Most frequent fliers and airline staff will never suffer any ill effects.”
3% of people die – 30% of people are severely affected. 67% of people are unaffected.
Here is the evidence from 2007: “We know from work done with the sheep dip ‘flu and the Gulf war veterans that roughly a third of the population are poor detoxifiers of organophosphate. These people will be more severely afflicted. The above symptoms may persist for some days, for a few susceptible individuals a long term illness may be triggered.”