Know Your Toxins

They're out there, drip-drip-dripping into the water you drink

Aug 1, 2003
Outside Magazine
PERCHLORATE: A salt ion, similar to nitrate, used in solid rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and car air bags The EPA has found 75 releases in 22 states but has yet to settle on a safe level for U.S. drinking water Disrupts the thyroid gland, which can cause developmental damage in fetuses and newborns, as well as tumors in adults
DIOXIN: A by-product of chlorine-based chemicals and hydrocarbons Wherever chlorine compounds are burned: waste incineration; electrical plants; chemical and pesticide manufacturing Testicular and prostate cancer, immune-system damage, reproductive disorders
MTBE: Methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gas additive that was developed to clean auto exhaust In 500 public drinking-water wells and 45,000 private wells across 49 states Known carcinogen in large doses; extremely difficult to clean up
HEAVY METALS: Mercury, lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic, selenium, nickel, chromium Everywhere! Soil, rock, aquifers, electrical equipment, paint, auto exhaust, anything with a smokestack Hepatitis, circulatory collapse, hypertension, neurotoxicity—you name it, they cause it
ATRAZINE: One of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. Seventy-seven million pounds sprayed on American crops annually; banned in parts of Europe A 2002 study suggests it may cause sexual deformities in frogs; the EPA has flip-flopped on whether it is a "likely human carcinogen"
PCBs: Polychlorinated biphenyls—a stew of up to 209 chemicals, used in the electrical industry as lubricants and coolants Outlawed in 1977, spilled and dumped extensively before then (see Hudson River, Palos Verdes Shelf, and Great Lakes) Skin rashes, neurobehavioral and immunological problems, possible liver damage in humans; anemia, thyroid disease, cancer in animals

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