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 like Mike Adams, too, but I also missed his Toledo article.

    Paul – Monsanto must have taken its cues from the IRS! 🙂

  2. Faust, what was missed? Yeah, Adams really has it together. Large newspapers envy his following, which is actually shaming them into becoming more of consumer advocates.

  3. This is all part of Obama’s efforts to reduce the U.S. to a third-world nation like his native home Kenya.

  4. Mike Adams has put up a very interesting post on the Toledo water debacle, not unlike JT’s but with more big picture issue. This Texan has made quite a name for himself among not just environmentalists and health conscious folks but among the evildoers in big government and big business, where he is public enemy number one, after investing in a mass spectrometer to detect poisons these devils alow and put in our food. He has taken the art of holding feet to the fire to a level that will help return the safety of America’s food supply to levels that haven’t been seen since before World War 2. I look forward to a day when it will be safe to visit a restaurant and find something that is not contaminated, something I actually want to eat. Potatoes, for example, are the dirtiest food, chemical-wise, yet people eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We should be among the healthiest people in the world, not 47th or whatever it is. Rather than improving our food and health, what do the brainiacs in Washington come up with? ACA. That’s about as bright as hiring a tow truck to tow your broken car around whenever you need to go somewhere, rather than repairing it.

    The truth you’re not being told about the Toledo water crisis in Ohio

    1. Karen – I would agree. They have also lost some emails and hard drives. Judge on the case is getting really antsy.

  5. Paul – GMO’s are different than conventional agricultural breeding techniques.

    Ever since we discovered agriculture, we have bred plants for optimal traits.

    I’m going to really oversimplify, so I don’t hijack the thread. But genetic modification means we use a virus to insert DNA from a different organism into a plant that plugs in traits that we desire. For example, we can take the genetic ability to make antifreeze from a deep sea fish and add it to a strawberry’s DNA to prevent frost damage. The difficulty (mainly) lies is that genes affect others on completely different areas of the DNA strand. For example, the anti-freeze would keep strawberries from freezing, but it might also have an unintended consequence of allowing a mold to flourish. And lab studies have shown that genetically modified DNA incorporates itself into our gut bacteria, and there is also a correlation with tumors.

    My biggest problem is that Monsanta basically prevents capitalism from occurring. They invest significant treasure into killing any efforts to label GMO food. If they think their product is so great, they should label it, and let the free market decide. Food producers update labels all the time, sometimes multiple times a year, so it’s not a prohibitive expense to add the phrase “genetically modified.” Second, wind pollinated crops contaminate farms that do not want to participate in GMO. They don’t get to choose what they grow. Once it gets contaminated in their field, Monsanto lawyers show up and sue them for patent infringement. If they want to continue to grow a crop like corn, they are forced to buy from Monsanto every year. It is illegal to save seed that is patented. It must be bought every year. So it interferes with the free market and with personal choice.

  6. “Educating the public is commendable, but it’s not enough, look at how Michelle Obama’s attempts at promoting healthy food has been received.” Kids posted YouTube videos that they were starving in school, thanks to Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned Liberal catastrophe. The unintended consequences of putting everyone in school on a diet is that the couch potato video game junkie was allotted the same maximum calories as the teenager playing 3 sports. It was a disaster. Nothing like parents watching their kids in a video singing, “We are hungry.”

    So the problem was not that Michelle Obama didn’t have enough clout.

    And, apparently I need to state the obvious. Correcting abuses in the EPA does not mean that we should abandon environmental protections and spew mercury directly into the water supply. One can say the EPA is unelected, and unanswerable, and has gone awry in some areas, while also acknowledging the need for environmental protections in the first place.

    We say,”The EPA is imposing taxes without representation, and without creating an environmental benefit. They must be reformed.” You hear, “You want to get rid of all environmental protections and dump raw sewage on play grounds!”

    1. The EPA needs to stop expanding their reach unilaterally. They kept taking more power unto themselves. Actually, they are out of control at the administrative level.

  7. The EPA needs to be effective, but it also needs to be answerable. Because when unelected officials are given carte blanche, they will always run amuck. An example is when they start unilaterally imposing carbon taxes, or fining businesses. Or when they dump millions of gallons of water in CA, in a major drought, into the ocean for a bait fish, and in the hopes that salmon will start swimming upstream to their ancestral spawning grounds, abandoned generations ago.

    Now, I’ve remarked that the smelt is a bait fish, but I am aware that there can be a ripple effect in an ecosystem when a small species is removed. But you cannot, for example, empty all of CA of people for a bait fish.

    There are often less Draconian ways to achieve environmental protections. I have a family member ecologist, who has spoken with me before about the need to form a partnership with famers and ranchers, instead of an adversarial relationship. There are several programs that are seen as successes in this manner.

  8. jonathanturley, Thanks for restoring my comment.

    Schulte, Roundup resistant crops have no similarity whatsoever with hybrid foods and animal breeding. You might as well argue that evolution is GMO.

    1. samantha – GMO covers a plethora of crops. From the hybrid flowers in my yard to drought-resistant wheat.

  9. SWM – that is a ‘proposed cut’ not an actual cut. Could we see the numbers for the actual cut? The cuts went into the omnibus bill and are hard to get. Thanks, Darren

  10. Dredd,

    I was not looking to stir things up…. I was just asking…. I don’t have an off line communication with them…. They are very dynamic in presentations, especially Mike Appleton he has a writing style that I admire.

  11. You get all the toxins out of the food supply by getting rid of the corruption at every level of government. You do what Turley does, hold feet to the fire until they scream for mercy. And you never, never hand out a free pass.

    You also give people the choice in what they’re buying, by having a sensible food labeling law. If countries in Europe, including Eastern Europe, can ban GMOs and label foods, then why the hell can’t we? We can’t because special interests have taken over our the country.

    In just a few years from now, we will have the pleasure of looking back on certain chemical companies that will have been labeled terrorist organizations. New generations are not buying all this insanity that their forerunners, mainly Baby Boomers, have swallowed and even conspired to create. It could get real bloody. Already there is the drone of backlash, which is all about demonizing irresponsible Baby Boomers, setting the stage for institutionalized euthanasia, the victims of which could easily outnumber the victims of the Holocaust by a factor of ten.

    Anyone who cares at all for the future of children (or welfare of their grandparents) will not want to go without the benefits that come from kicking every last, damn ass incumbent from office. Short of revolution, there is no other option.

    1. samantha – we have been genetically modifying foods since agriculture began. GMO is just another method.

  12. Annie

    Isn’t the red tide caused by pollution?
    When our symbiont, mutualistic bacteria experience “friendly fire” they are inundated, overburdened, and sometimes confused that we are trying to kill them.

  13. Dredd,

    I was looking for the Grace series this weekend…. Never saw it so I was looking back…. That maybe why Jon jumped in….. Apparently he has a direct line from Horus the God of Blogs……

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