A SHORT COURSE IN BAD WATER
The average American citizen is not particularly worried about water pollution for a single reason: he believes that whatever impurities get into the water, the city water treatment plant gets them out. It's too bad about the dying fish and the tons of waste and all that chemical pollution, he figures; but he believes that by the time the water gets to his house, it has been decontaminated and returned to the state of pure water, clean water.
Most treatment plants in America are at least 30 years old, and were built in a time when major modern-day pollutants had not even been developed yet.
Only a quarter of the plants now in use are capable of going beyond simple chlorine treatment, which kills most bacteria but does practically nothing to remove pesticides, herbicides and other noxious chemicals.
The Sad Facts Are These:
· According to the U.S. Department of Public Health, 85% of the water in the U.S. today is dangerously contaminated.
· The World Health Organization estimates that as much as 80% of the world's cases of disease are traceable to unclean water. Time Magazine, April 4, 1977.
· There are now present in America's water systems over 12,000 toxic chemicals. Each year 500 new chemicals are introduced into industry which are more complex and difficult to treat.
· "125.40 billion pounds of toxic garbage are produced in the U.S. yearly; an estimated 93% of it is disposed of improperly." Family Weekly, January 11, 1981.
· Over 23 million Americans are presently drinking polluted water, eight million are drinking water rated "potentially dangerous."
· California is one of eight states that is considered an "alarming" toxic waste danger zone.
· Only 12% of California citizens receive water from systems that consistently meet Department of Health standards. Dept. of Consumer Affairs, 1976.
· "For years, people have assumed that the earth would filter the rainwater and keep underground supplies pure. Recent evidence suggests instead that chemicals are seeping through the earth too, going a little deeper with each rainfall." The Sacramento Union, September 30, 1980.
- "We are living in a new era of organic chemicals, not just familiar ones, but exotic ones that have never previously existed on earth and to which no living thing has previously had to adapt," said Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, a specialist in environmental medicine at the University of Illinois.
Well Water Contamination
A National Health Problem
- Washington (UPI) - "Many dangerous chemicals are seeping into wells at an alarming rate to threaten drinking water resources americans once took for granted," a report from presidential environment advisers said Saturday. "High quality ground water, - especially that used for domestic drinking water - is an imperiled resource in many locations."
- ". . . Growing pollution of ground water, used by half the country for drinking, was one of three major problems the council highlighted for the 1980's." The Sacramento Union, January 18, 1981.
What About Chlorine?
- Chlorine is the most taken-for-granted chemical in our lives.
- Evidence is mounting so rapidly that scientists no longer question whether chlorine causes cancer, but how great the threat is. "Except for smoking, we haven't identified anything else that accounts for potentially as much cancer as drinking water and chlorination." Dr. Robert Harris, Associate Director of Toxic Chemicals, Environmental Defense Fund.
- “Chlorine in drinking water is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times, i.e., the prime causative agent of atherosclerosis and its end results, the heart attack and stroke." Joseph M. Price, M.D. , Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine.
Do You Take Water for Granted?
Water is not one of life's fringe benefits; it is not an optional part of our daily intake. Water is the most important part of every living organism, including the human body. It comprises approximately 70% of all human tissues and is vital to every biological function.
But while it gives and sustains life, water is also ironically the most devastating carrier of disease and death known to man . With chemicals and foreign noxious substances, water acts like a liquid sponge. It soaks up chemicals, absorbs them and carries them along with it, depositing them wherever it can, including our bodies.
HOW WE FIX THE WATER PROBLEM