U.S. Cities Fight Back Against Water Pollution
Today is World Water Day, and that means that millions of people around the world are coming together to celebrate the essential nature of water, and raise awareness about the global lack of clean, safe water supplies.
Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater and this year organizers have selected the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management.
Too bad no one told municipal governments around America, who have allowed the widespread use of a common weedkiller to jeopardize the safety of public water supplies all over the country.
Atrazine is the most widely used weed killer in the United States. It is notorious for seeping into groundwater supplies and can be carried up to 600 miles on the wind. And studies suggest that even in low concentrations it causes low sperm count in men and increases the chances of breast cancer and fertility problems in women, and birth defects and low birth weight in fetuses — which can, in turn, cause death.
(Find that hard to believe? Check out a recent report by Care2′s Melissa Breyer about this dangerous gender-bender).
With rampant GMO and pesticide use occuring every day without the public’s knowledge, it’s good to see that some citizens aren’t going to take this latest discovery lying down.
Sixteen cities in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa have filed a lawsuit demanding that Syngenta—which manufactures atrazine and has made billions off it—pay for its removal from public water systems. If successful, the payout could be huge: It’s estimated the cities involved have spent more than $350 million trying to filter the herbicide from their water.
Taking a cue from it’s corporate-bully cousin, Monsanto, Syngenta has denied any wrongdoing, citing a controversial 2006 EPA decision that gave atrazine the green light for municipal use.
The EPA recently announced that it would be re-evaluating the herbicide’s ability to cause cancer and birth defects, as well as its potential to disrupt the hormone and reproductive systems of humans and amphibians (Huffington Post), and concerned citizens are encouraged to sign the Pesticide Action Network’s petiton to “Stand with U.S. farmers against Syngenta.”
10 Ways To Celebrate World Water Day!
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Attempts at Photography