A River Toxin Runs Through It: Toledo Tells Residents To Stop Drinking Tap Water Due To Pollution


A river to a major city is now so polluted that almost half a million people residents have been told not to drink their tap water. Sounds like China, right? Think Toledo, Ohio. While we have been following the rolling environmental disasters in China, we often forget about our own failure to protect the basic health of our citizens. Toledo is such an example. While newspapers have detailed how algae blooms are releasing toxins, they largely fail to state the likely reason or downplay it: phosphorous and nitrogen from farm fertilizer runoff.

Way back in the late 1970s, I worked at the Smithsonian Center for Environmental Research in Maryland where scientists were doing some of the early work on how such runoff was killing the Chesapeake Bay. It was and remains a touchy subject in Washington because of the agribusiness lobby.

In Toledo, over 400,000 people have been told to avoid swallowing the water. They were also told not to try to boil the water because that would increase the concentration of the microcystin toxin. The City of Toledo issued a warning that water “should not be consumed until an all clear is issued.”

Restaurants were asked not to use city water to even wash dishes.

The source of the water is Lake Erie, where phosphorous and nitrogen runoff has continued to pollute the waters.

Source: Inquirer

144 thoughts on “A <del datetime="2014-08-04T11:27:52+00:00">River</del> Toxin Runs Through It: Toledo Tells Residents To Stop Drinking Tap Water Due To Pollution”

  1. Thanks, Samantha. I was in college when GMOs were on the horizon. There was a lot of excitement about them being the cure for world hunger, the next agricultural evolution. I don’t blame anyone for initially supporting the idea, because I recall the rhetoric in college how starving kids in Africa would be a distant memory. There was a lot of hype.

    But the more I looked into it the less I liked. And I’m adamant that it should be labelled. Consumers should have a choice as to what they put into their mouths, and resisting labeling prevents them from making an informed decision, unless they buy organic 100% of the time.

    I’ve always admired this aspect of the free market – you have an idea for a product, you make it, and the people who want it buy it. That’s how the organic movement has become so popular – simple supply and demand in the free market. But that’s how the free market works – people buy what they want, and have choices. If the government got involved they would likely require GMO crops be grown, as former Monsanto officials are in the FDA and USDA.

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