After Flint’s water crisis more attention has been paid to the poor water quality throughout the US. millions of Americans are consuming unsafe drinking water and more toxins continue cropping up.
On March 11, 2011, Japan had a 9.0 earthquake that was followed by a tsunami. Both incidents left thousands of people dead and millions of dollars in damage in infrastructure. The tsunami penetrated the sea wall around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Water flooded the basement, knocking off its vital cooling systems. The reactor fuel rods began to melt and leak deadly radiation into the surrounding area. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
For the first time since the Fukushima disaster scientists have found traces of the deadly radiation on US shores. Oregon’s Statesman Journal reports Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting. Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.
The contaminant has also been found in Canadian salmon. Researchers say the levels of cesium-134 are extremely low and don’t pose a danger to humans or the environment.
On the same day, in Texas, the San Antonio Express News reported that the residents of Corpus Christi couldn’t drink water. A chemical backflow incident caused by tanks at an asphalt facility in the city’s large refining complex was to blame for the widespread contamination to the city’s water supply. Bottled water disappeared off shelves at stores. Businesses and schools closed and a state of emergency was enacted. The chemical in the water was so toxic that residents couldn’t use it to bathe or do dishes.
Neighboring state, Louisiana, also had a water contamination crisis. Governor John Bel Edwards declared a Public Health Emergency for the town of St. Joseph, after officials found that water going into three buildings — one of them the town hall — was contaminated with lead or copper. NPR reports that St. Joseph residents have noticed brown and yellow water for months.
In Colorado, the drinking water for some 80,000 people in three cities was contaminated with toxic chemicals. The chemicals, widely used to fight petroleum fires, have been measured at levels the Environmental Protection Agency deems dangerous. The Denver Post reports:
These perfluorinated chemicals rank among the worst in an expanding multitude of unregulated contaminants that federal scientists are detecting in city water supplies, including hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and anti-depressants. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) don’t break down.
Much like the water in Corpus Christie, Flint, St. Joseph and others… boiling water won’t get rid of them.
Meanwhile, we drink our city’s water, swim at our beaches and wash our dishes, hoping we don’t end up on the evening news as victims of contaminated water. To be safe, drink filtered bottled water (preferably from glass bottles), filter all house hold water, and keep an eye on local news for information on water safety.