The State of our “Drinking Water”

7 Feb

Recently, you may have noticed a sticker on many of the water fountains around the University of Central Florida campus with the stark warning: “Contains Violation Levels of Radium, Cadmium & other Carcinogenic Toxins…Yours, Deep Green Resistance Orlando.”

The object in reference is the water. According to the Environmental Working Group (a registered non-profit group famed for their rigorous investigations and research in the service of public health) and statistics gathered from The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the water at UCF is contaminated with “over the health guideline” levels of several toxic chemicals. You can read the full list here: http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whatsinyourwater/FL/University-of-Central-Florida/3480409/.  You will notice that the graph shows the presence of contaminants has been measured over a number of years and that while chemical levels have often been over the health guidelines, there have only been a handful of times these contaminant levels have surpassed legal guidelines.   We ask, how can contaminant levels in our “drinking water” violate health limits while still being legal?

Our stickers may alert many to the imminent dangers of toxic water, but our hope is to draw attention to a larger and more important danger: the fundamental antagonism between the continuation of our current society and the prospect of having access to clean water. We are not advocating for a more rigorous purification process.  Rather, we are advocating that our water not be polluted in the first place. The tragedy is that in our industrial culture the introduction of toxic chemicals into our drinking water is justified as a necessary, if unfortunate consequence of our destructive way of life.  We do not accept this, and we do not accept an industrial culture that creates poisons for which there is no antidote. The State and Corporations have not only monopolized the means of production, but also the means to life.

3 Responses to “The State of our “Drinking Water””

  1. anonymous February 8, 2012 at 17:13 #

    The most recent data from your study is from 2008. This *should* link to a study done over the course of 2010 by the FDEP: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=ucf%20tap%20water&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDQQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fo.ucf.edu%2FUCF_CCR_2011.doc&ei=vqgyT8CnDtOctweC4q2jBw&usg=AFQjCNG9-oEDu3dDBm0IkY9cCec4JKt7rg

    This report contradicts the data from the other source, suggesting that if there ever were unsafe levels of contamination in UCF’s tap water, the problem has since been resolved. The report for 2011 should be available in June.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative here; I’m just as concerned as you guys are. I’m just letting you know about this additional data.

  2. David February 9, 2012 at 05:07 #

    so f*cked

  3. deep green resistance orlando February 9, 2012 at 16:52 #

    Thanks for your comment! You’re absolutely right, most reports within the past five to ten years will show that the levels of contaminants in our water are within the legal limits. The reason why we chose to refer people to the study we did is because it compares legal limits with health limits and reveals that often times toxins can surpass the health limits without surpassing legal limits. Many other studies neglect to report health limits, opting only to proudly announce that our water is deemed legally okay to drink. The study you sent over however is really interesting and actually highlights the point of our stickers. The MCL is the legally allowed limits, and the MCLG is equivalent to healthy limits. They say in the report “MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible” meaning that oftentimes the legal levels are not the same as health levels. And of course, this is due to the fact that contamination is so prevalent that if legal levels equaled health levels, then it would be violating the law all the time. The study you attached reveals that the levels of Gross Alpha, Radium, and Lead are all above the health levels while still being within the legal limits. In addition, health levels for the toxins Cadmium, Haloacetic Acids, and Trihalomethanes are not even provided, while there were detectable amounts of each int the water. Many of these toxins are endocrine disputers and carcinogenic.
    The sad thing is that a cursory glance at this study, looking merely at the Y/N in the violation category would seem to show that our water is just fine. However, we know now that just because something is legal, doesn’t mean its safe. Here is an article that is relevant to this issue:

    This one from the new york times, on how tap water is often legal but unhealthy:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html

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