“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.” James 5:1

A study from the University of Exeter seem to confirm the biblical prediction that rich people’s indifference to the plight of the poor sets them up for a shared fate. In particular, the study found that while the rich are not being poisoned by the same chemicals they dump upon the poor, they are being poisoned non-the-less.

The study found unsurprisingly that because the poor are more likely to live near landfills and suffer from consuming certain pollutants like lead and cadmium, the rich are also being poisoned by eating more seafood (mercury) and using products like sunscreen (benzophenone-3).

In the words of the study”

“The results of the analysis came as a surprise. Although around half of the 18 chemicals linked to income were associated with lower socio-economic status (as anticipated), the other half were more prevalent in wealthier individuals.

People with higher socioeconomic status had higher levels of serum and urinary mercury, arsenic, caesium, thallium, perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorononanoic acid, mono(carboxyoctyl) phthalate and benzophenone-3.

Our research suggested that eating more fish and shellfish contributed to an increase in mercury, arsenic, thallium and perfluorononanoic acid. We also demonstrated that the use of sunscreen is an important factor in the accumulation of benzophenone-3, with people from higher socioeconomic groups more likely to use products containing the chemical.

Lower socioeconomic status was associated with higher levels of serum and urinary lead and cadmium, antimony, bisphenol A and three phthalates (substances mainly used in plastics to increase flexibility and transparency): mono-benzyl, mono-isobutyl, mono-n-butyl.”

Translation: While the poor are more likely to be poisoned by the pollution dumped upon them by the rich, the rich are also being poisoned by pollution that comes around in different chemicals. Maybe the biblical prophets were right when they said that rich people’s indifference to the suffering of the poor opens the door to their own misery as well.