Chemical cocktails are finding their way into our water supply and causing damage to our health.
What if you could see the chemicals in your drinking water? What if you could see the different colors and textures of each molecule of perchlorate, atrazine or perfluorinated compounds swimming around in the glass? Would you drink it if you could see the multicolored chemical cocktail, full of little hormone-mimics and bits of floating cancer-causers? Would you bathe your babies in it?
If seeing the new ingredients in water were possible, it’d be great fun to make a colorful identification chart so you could teach the kids how to match each micro-pollutant to its chemical name, its trade name as well its effect on living organisms. I believe if this were the case, we would be more viciously protective of the integrity of our shared global water supply.
According to the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, in Metro Atlanta alone, sewage treatment plants release more than 250 million gallons of treated wastewater each day into the Chattahoochee River. Because our wastewater treatment plants were designed to remove nutrients, rather than chemicals, these substances routinely enter receiving waters.
The difficulty identifying and correcting the problem of water contamination, both locally and globally, is that the dirty secrets remain invisible. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is the problem, we can’t look into our glass of water, our bath tub or our lakes and rivers and immediately see the chemical experiment we are running on ourselves… and there are lots of corporate bottom-liners set on keeping these contaminants invisible.
There are more than 18,000 pesticides currently registered for use in the US. The pesticide count does not include herbicides, fungicides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, beauty products, fuel emissions, household cleaners, plastics or genetically modified fallout from food animals and produce. These make up the 80,000 (registered) chemical concoctions that find their way into our water every day.
According to the chemical database maintained by the American Chemical Society, humans have discovered, manufactured, mixed-and-matched and played with more than 56 million chemicals to date… all of which find their way, predictably and dependably, back into our planet’s water sources.
Research has documented a dramatic rise in levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and chlorinated paraffins showing up in breast milk. PBDEs are flame retardants used in foam, textiles and plastics; chlorinated paraffins are chemicals used in paints, sealants and rubber-processing.
In a study of umbilical cord blood by the Environmental Working Group, 287 chemicals were detected in the average American newborn’s umbilical cord blood. “We know that 180 (of these) cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied”.
Water, all over the world, is increasingly becoming more contaminated. If you think you’re safe drinking bottled water, think again. Bottled water isn’t tested like municipal water supplies are, and even water treatment facilities only test for and/or regulate a small fraction of the thousands of chemicals showing up in our reserves. And with bottled water there is also the danger of BPAs leaching from the plastic bottle into your body.
Myriads of pharmaceuticals, sex hormones, rocket fuel and other dangerous chemicals have been detected in the drinking water of over 41 million Americans. (See video above)
How does it get there? Runoff from factories, airports, highways, parking lots – pharmaceutical drugs get into the water table simply from people going to the bathroom and flushing their waste. There are many ways these contaminants get into the water, the scary part is that water treatment facilities do not test for or filter out pharmaceutical compounds. Hormone mimics have already proven to cause birth defects, disease, cancers and even turn male animals into females… this is a crisis that deserves your attention.
What do we do about this growing crisis? We learn. We educate ourselves, protect ourselves and teach others to do the same. We let our collective voice be heard.
Watch this MSNBC Video: Water supplies from coast to coast tainted with drug residues
“We don’t know the worth of water til the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller
References/To learn more:
Environmental Protection Agency
Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns – Environmental Working Group
Flow the movie
Tapped the movie
CNN; Toxic America
Humans have made, found or used over 50 million unique chemicals
Science Daily Chemicals In Our Waters Are Affecting Humans And Aquatic Life In Unanticipated Ways
This article was originally published by Tauna Pierce on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, February 10, 2011
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