Erin Brockovich, a water activist (and more) for more than 25 years, is warning us: the little water we do have (since 2008, nearly every region of the US has experienced a water shortage) is under crisis and no one is coming to our rescue. While many people might believe that Flint was just the beginning, the truth is that years ago when Brockovich first uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley, California, by adding the cooling water biocide Chromium 6 Cr(VI) into the water supply- which they did for more than 30 years- we were already in crisis.
Our problems started back in the 1930s at the beginning of the chemical industry when we first started allowing toxins to be introduced into our environment. Check out some of our current problems:
- Flint, Michigan: two years later, people are still dealing with lead-laced water, detected by the EPA in February 2015 with the help of resident Lee Anne Walters.
- California: hundreds of wells have been contaminated with 1,2,3-TCP, a Big Oil-manufactured chemical present in pesticides.
- North Carolina: significant amounts of 1,4-dioxane, an industry solvent stabilizer currently polluting the waters belonging to North Carolina’s Cape Fear River Basin.
- New York and Pennsylvania: residents are contending with outbreaks of waterborne Legionnaires’ disease.
- Also in New York: “in June 2016, kids in Hoosick Falls, New York, protested in the streets with placards around their necks that featured PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid, a man-made chemical used in Teflon) levels to denote how much has infiltrated their blood through tainted water.”
- Houston, Texas: high levels of hexavalent chromium, the cancer-causing chemical made infamous by Erin Brockovich, has been found in tap water.
- Countrywide: fracking poisons abound
- Indigenous reservations: the $3.8 billion, 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will soon begin to create underground contamination for everyone who uses that aquifer.
And here’s another sobering fact: according to the Environmental Working Group, analysis of federal data from nationwide drinking water tests shows that Chromium 6 alone (which is still unregulated) is contaminating the water supplies of “more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states. That’s roughly two-thirds of the population.”
- A New Generation of Water Pollutants in our Medicine Cabinets
- Solar-Powered Device Makes Water Out of Desert Air
- Scientists Created Edible Water Orbs to Replace Plastic Bottles
And yet, despite those facts, politicians continue to ignore that clean water should be a national security priority. Why? Because the EPA has protected industry-backed efforts at the expense of our health. The revolving door of new board and cabinet positions. Cash. Money.
From the article:
“The extent to which companies control government has never been more blatantly obvious. For decades, toxic-waste sites and irresponsible industries have managed to discharge hundreds of toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, disinfection byproducts, plastics and heavy metals into the water supply either without repercussion or with penalties that are too slight to change business practices.”
But it’s not all someone else’s fault- it’s ours, too. For some reason, the public has decided that chemicals are safe unless proven harmful. And even then no one seems to care.
Remember, the EPA allows certain concentration levels of toxic contaminants in our drinking water because they operate under the myth that as these chemicals accumulate in our body- nothing happens. Or rather, they operate under the flawed assumption that chemicals DON’T accumulate.
From the article:
“Unfortunately, it’s insidiously difficult to track cumulative effects on health unless there is acute exposure, and Western medicine often fails to acknowledge the idea that toxic chemicals accumulate in our blood, fatty tissues and other parts of our bodies, and that this overload of toxins in our bodies can affect our risk for certain diseases. The corporations that create the pesticides, cosmetics, plastics and other products that expose us to these toxins know that they are unlikely to be prosecuted for their effects, since symptoms can take 10 or 20 years to pronounce themselves.”
And also remember, even though the EPA is tasked with protecting our water for us, they don’t move fast (or in our actual best interests). For instance, under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, the EPA added chromium-6 to the chemicals local utilities must test and The Safe Drinking Water Act requires them to “review each national primary drinking water regulation at least once every six years and revise them, if appropriate. The 1996 amendments, meanwhile, require the EPA to select up to 30 previously unregulated contaminants for testing every five years, according to the Environmental Working Group.”
However, as you can imagine, in two decades they’ve only ordered testing for 81 contaminants- out of thousands! Simply put, this is inexcusable, especially since we HAVE laws on the books: the Clean Water Act was implemented by the Nixon administration.
Brockovich says, “Superman is not coming. We have to stop thinking it’s going to trickle down from the top. It’s going to have to begin with you in your backyard, at your city council. The change is going to come from the people, just like it has in Flint and Hannibal.”
Call your municipality and ask for a water quality report to figure out what filters may or may not work to purify drinking water and protect against toxicity. Call your legislators. Speak often. Demand answers. Remember, they work for US and we have the right to clean water.
Source: Truth Out