EPA Lets Millions Drink Unhealthy Water

Discussion in 'Environment' started by ozzmdj, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. ozzmdj
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    ozzmdj Senior Member

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    That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy
    By CHARLES DUHIGG

    December 16, 2009

    The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal.

    Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times.

    But not one chemical has been added to the list of those regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2000.

    Other recent studies have found that even some chemicals regulated by that law pose risks at much smaller concentrations than previously known. However, many of the act’s standards for those chemicals have not been updated since the 1980s, and some remain essentially unchanged since the law was passed in 1974.

    All told, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease, according to an analysis by The Times of more than 19 million drinking-water test results from the District of Columbia and the 45 states that made data available.

    In some cases, people have been exposed for years to water that did not meet those guidelines.

    But because such guidelines were never incorporated into the Safe Drinking Water Act, the vast majority of that water never violated the law.

    Some officials overseeing local water systems have tried to go above and beyond what is legally required. But they have encountered resistance, sometimes from the very residents they are trying to protect, who say that if their water is legal it must be safe…

    The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974 after tests discovered carcinogens, lead and dangerous bacteria flowing from faucets in New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Boston and elsewhere.

    At the time, so little was known about the chemicals in American waters that the law required local systems to monitor only 20 substances. (Private wells are not regulated by the act.)

    Over the next two decades, researchers at the E.P.A. began testing hundreds of chemicals, and Congress passed amendments strengthening the act. Eventually, the list of regulated substances increased to 91.

    In 2000, the list stopped growing. Since then, the rate at which companies and other workplaces have dumped pollutants into lakes and rivers has significantly accelerated, according to an earlier analysis by The Times of the Clean Water Act.

    Government scientists have evaluated 830 of the contaminants most often found in water supplies, according to a review of records from the E.P.A. and the United States Geological Survey. They have determined that many of them are associated with cancer or other diseases, even at small concentrations.

    Yet almost none of those assessments have been incorporated into the Safe Drinking Water Act or other federal laws…

    “We need action,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the Safe Drinking Water Act. “E.P.A. has the authority to set new standards, but it wasn’t used over the last eight years. There are people at risk.” …

    This is a typically meandering and hellaciously long New York Times article.

    But suffice it to say, it begs the question: why isn’t the EPA monitoring our water supply — instead taking on controlling our carbon dioxide emissions?

    Again, isn’t that its day job?
    :cuckoo::cuckoo::cuckoo:
     
  2. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Have my own well in the back yard. Great water and plenty of it. Screw the EPA.
     
  3. Zoom-boing
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    Zoom-boing Gold Member

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    CO2 emissions control = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
     
  4. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    "We need action". Boxer is such a pundit.
     
  5. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Bush's sorry environmental record

    by Former EPA Administrator Russell Train and former New Hampshire State Senator Rick Russman, both REP members
    published September 23, 2004 in the Concord (NH) Monitor

    Except in a few instances, the environmental policies of the Bush administration are a disgrace.

    As lifelong Republicans who have worked for decades to protect and restore clean air and clean water, we find the turning back of the environmental clock by this administration profoundly disturbing. And New Hampshire suffers from these backward policies.

    Republican President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. In his 1970 State of the Union message, he called the environmental cause "as fundamental as life itself." With bipartisan leadership in Congress, Nixon initiated many of the environmental protections we enjoy today.

    Republican President George H.W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act of 1990, one of the most protective environmental statutes.

    Unfortunately, President George W. Bush's administration is reversing course from 30 years of bipartisan leadership to protect our health and environment.

    The administration's policies to promote energy, mining and timber interests with little regard for the interests of common citizens represent a throwback to an era of exploitation. The administration's assault on the environment has increased pollution and health threats in New Hampshire, according to a report by Environment2004.

    The administration weakened the Clean Air Act to allow aging power plants to continue spewing sulfur, mercury and other contaminants into the skies. These end up in New Hampshire's air and waters. This pollution from Midwestern power plants and other sources forms smog that threatens the 65,000 New Hampshire residents who suffer from asthma. It falls as acid rain that damages New Hampshire's forests and waters.

    Mercury pollution has forced New Hampshire to establish a fish consumption advisory that covers all its lakes and rivers. Infants, children, pregnant women and women of child-bearing age are particularly vulnerable to mercury. Mercury affects a child's ability to learn, most notably impairing memory, attention and fine motor function.

    New Hampshire's drinking water is threatened by the Bush administration. Fifteen percent of New Hampshire's public water supplies and thousands of its private wells are contaminated by the fuel additive MtBE. Recent studies show that MtBE may cause cancer, and it makes drinking water smell and taste foul even at low levels, yet the administration has not banned its use.

    To pay for the cleanup of this contamination, New Hampshire sued 22 oil companies responsible for MtBE contamination. Nonetheless, the Bush administration's energy bill would block these suits and force New Hampshire taxpayers to foot the bill for cleaning up the state's contaminated drinking water. The industry contributed $338,000 to the Bush presidential campaign and Republican congressional candidates in 1999 and 2000.

    Republican Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu fervently oppose this policy.

    The administration has adopted these and other policies based on the advice of its industry allies instead of the EPA's scientists and experts. Its proposed mercury policy would delay significant mercury reduction until 2018. This was lifted from the utility industry's recommendations while the administration ignored the EPA's children's health protection experts.

    This is but one example of the administration disregarding scientific guidance - a radical change from previous Republican and Democratic administrations.

    The scientific community is alarmed by the Bush administration's widespread rejection of sound science. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nationwide organization of eminent scientists declared: "When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions."More recently, 48 Nobel Prize-winning scientists wrote in an open letter to the American people that the administration "has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy-making that is so important to our collective welfare."

    There was no mandate in the 2000 election to weaken and undo our environmental and public health protections. In this year's election, environmental policy needs a full public debate.

    We do not believe that turning back the clock or simply maintaining the status quo is a sufficient response for the road ahead. The candidates should do at least as well in responding to the planet's realities in 2004 as Richard Nixon did in 1970.

    How do the candidates propose to slow global climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil? How will their environmental policies protect our children's health and America's natural resources that are vital to the health of our economy?

    These are issues the candidates must address. The American people deserve nothing less.

    Bush's sorry environmental record, Russell Train and Rick Russman
     
  6. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    The MTBE issue was one of containment, not source production.

    Resources belong to "common citizens" and benefit same.

    Obama wants ethanol blended fuels increased to a MANDATED 15% blend from the current 10%.

    Fact Sheet: Ethanol Biorefineries
     

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