Water Pollution And Drinking Water Scarcity
It is scary but true. Water, one hydrogen and two oxygen, is a compound that life on Earth is completely dependent upon. A clean drinking water supply is imperative if life is going to continue. Without a supply of clean drinking water, life would cease to exist. Much of Earth’s water is contaminated with chemicals and more water is being polluted each day. The sad fact is that the pollutants are being dumped into the water by man himself. We are slowly, and knowingly, killing off our own kind.
Industrial processes all over the world are contaminating fresh water sources with biochemical waste. This waste makes its way into homes is causing unspeakable illnesses and in too many cases death. The predominant cause of death from people’s coming into contact with contaminated water is cancer. Clusters of cancer cases are appearing all over our country in towns and cities whose water supply has been contaminated by industrial carcinogens. The unsettling fact is that industrial companies know they are polluting the water, yet they deny their own guilt and keep on contaminating our natural resources. Numerous times industrial carcinogens have been proven to cause cancer in humans as well as animals in the laboratory. Sadly, without evidence that directly links companies to contamination, the technicalities of our judicial system set them free.
There are far too many hazardous chemicals that exist in the environment which are polluting our water. The most common, and perhaps most lethal, are polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. In Drinking Water and Health, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, accounts for PCBs as organic chemicals that are virtually undetectable by the human senses (1). Defined by the EPA, PCBs can be any type of industrial substance from adhesives to lubricants (Drinking 1). When disposed of by industry they are thrust into the environment and somehow end up in the drinking water of millions. The EPA, reports, “PCBs has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: …cancer” (Drinking 2). The Safe Water Drinking Act was passed in 1974 calling for the EPA to outline rules to regulate allowed amounts of classified harmful chemicals in drinking water (US EPA, Drinking 2). Although the EPA has set standards for concentrations of chemicals in drinking water, it seems that the established levels are too high. This is because the law was passed in 1974 and since then the number of cancer cases reported each year has risen. If the law served the purpose it was meant for the number of cancer cases should have decreased.
Side by side with PCBs is a solvent used in many refineries and industrial plants called trichloroethylene, or TCE. The largest polluter associated with TCE is none other than the institution that is supposed to be protecting us with the greatest honor - the military. For many years the military has been...
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