“Despite growing health concerns about atrazine, an agricultural weed killer sprayed on farm fields across the Midwest, most drinking water is tested for the chemical only four times a year — so rarely that worrisome spikes of the chemical often go undetected.
“Atrazine has been banned in Europe because it contaminates groundwater, but it remains widely used in the U.S., where the EPA endorsed its continued use as recently as 2003. Federal records show the review was heavily influenced by industry and relied on studies financed by Syngenta, a Swiss-based company that manufactures most of the atrazine sprayed in the U.S.”
read more: Chicago Tribune
“We humans with our big cars and our big factories and our big cities were discharging terrible stuff into the air and water, and it had to be stopped or we would soon make our nest uninhabitable. The public was growing increasingly outraged. Every night on color television, we saw yellow sludge flowing into blue rivers; every day as we drove to work, we saw black smudges against the barely visible blue sky. We knew that our indiscriminate use of pesticides and toxic substances was threatening wildlife and public health.”
“But we didn’t do much about it. Until 1970, most regulation of industry was done by the states, which competed so strongly for plants and jobs that regulating companies to protect public health was beyond them.
“Environmentally, it was a race to the bottom.”
read more: Wall Street Journal
“Go to your tap and turn it on. Most likely, the second you turn the faucet handle, water gushes out. That alone might make you think there’s not a water crisis happening right now in America. Or at least that if there is, it’s not that bad. But you’d be wrong. In fact, from our infrastructure that wastes water supplies and doesn’t allow rainwater to soak back into the ground table, to our lack of measurement and management of our water use, we’re on a fast track to having very little drinkable water in the very near future. Author Robert Glennon addresses this very issue in his new book Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It. We asked Glennon his thoughts on some of the most pertinent issues facing us right now, and he provided some insight into what has to change, and how we can do it, so that we can ensure supplies of water for everything from human consumption to agriculture to manufacturing in the decades to come.
“We Americans are spoiled. Turn on the tap and out comes as much water as we want, for less than we pay for cell phone service or cable television. We must change this situation.
“We must recognize a human right to water for life’s necessities. The richest country in the history of the world can surely make that commitment to its citizens. Honoring that right does not involve a large quantity of water–only about 1% of the water that is used each day in the United States. For the other 99%, we need to encourage conservation and stewardship by pricing it appropriately: in general, the more you use the more you pay. Under this system, Americans, whether homeowners, farmers or industry would vote with their pocketbooks as to how they use water.”
read more: AlterNet
“Without first traveling through a natural filtration system, like a wetland, or artificial filtration system, pollutants end up in waterways and damage ecosystems and water quality, according to the EPA. Cars, lawns, pets and other parts of everyday life lead to a major source of pollution for waterways, while impermeable surfaces like streets, buildings and sidewalks lead to increased runoff into storm sewers.”
read more: Circle of Blue
“The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by 16 cities in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa. The communities allege that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. reaped billions of dollars from the sale of atrazine while local taxpayers were left with the financial burden of filtering the chemical from drinking water.”
read more: Huffington Post
“Nearly every time it rains, New York City’s aging sewer system diverts raw, untreated sewage directly into local waters. This untreated wastewater and storm runoff contains dangerous bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, making kayaking or swimming in city waters an unhealthy – and rather icky – activity.”
read more: NRDC