Having escaped NJ in 1973 and never thinking I would ever come back, s**t happened. Anyway, there were a couple of articles that appeared in the Asbury Park Press on July 26th that puts it in its proper perspective.
One article is entitled, “One in five in N.J. drink water laced with PFOA.” The other, “N.J. beaches under watch for bacteria after rains.” They were written by one of their reporters named Russ Zimmer. So, sit back, relax and read it and weep. Anything in parentheses are my comments.
“Nearly one in five New Jerseyans are delivered tap water that contains at least trace amounts of a chemical linked to cancer and low birth weights, according to new data released this morning.
The Environmental Working Group gathered and analyzed testing records between 2010 and 2015 from 48,712 U.S. water utilities and found 267 industrial and agricultural contaminants present in the water that Americans drink and bathe in.
One of those chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is more prevalent in New jersey tap water than anywhere else.
More than 1.6 million residents of the Garden (Garbage) State are served by a utility that detected at least 1 part per trillion –ppt – of PFOA in their water according to the data.
PFOA is a man-made chemical that was used for decades in cookware and fabric coatings.
Manufacturers phased out the use of PFOA in 2002, but the chemical has proved to be ubiquitous and does not break down in the environment.
In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. Centers for Deceit, Control and Procrastination) says that most everyone in America has some PFOA in their bloodstream.
At what level of exposure PFOA causes problems is not known.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Pollution Agency), the list of adverse health effects PFOA has been linked to is vast, including:
Low birth weights
Delayed or accelerated puberty
Reduced effects of vaccines (As if they work at all)
Despite the dangers, there is no federal standard on the amount of PFOA that a water utility is allowed to serve its customers before action is taken.
However, the EPA did adopt a non-enforceable guideline (whoopy) of 70 ppt last year.
New Jersey has been ahead of the curve in some respects: Ten years ago, it was the first state to set a limit – at 40 ppt – although it also carries no penalties for violations (I wonder how much they got paid off for that?).
This guidance level is used by the state’s water systems to determine whether any actions are needed, such as shutting off a particular well, blending, or adding treatment (If they don’t HAVE to do it, they AIN”T gonna do it).
After a long wait, the Drinking Water Quality Institute (probably made up of fluoride executives), which advises the state DEP on actionable thresholds for contaminants, recommended a maximum of 14 ppt in March.
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) notes that very few utilities are violating federal drinking water standards, but often because those standards are too lax. And, just because your tap water gets a passing grade from the government doesn’t always mean it’s safe (No S**t!), said the EWG President Ken Cook. He further said, It’s time to stop basing environmental regulations on political or economic compromises, and instead listen to what scientists (like the fluoride hooker scientists) say about the long-term effects of toxic chemicals and empower Americans to protect themselves from pollutants even as they demand the protective action they deserve from government (like the thousands of times they’ve dismissed fluoride hearings).
For PFOA, the EWG relies on the word of Harvard University environmental professor Philippe Grandjean, who believes the federal guidance level on the chemical may be 100-fold too high to prevent danger.
The easy answer? Purchase and use a water filter, like the pour-through filters of Brita and Pur, which employ something called granular activated carbon, or GAC, technology and can be widely purchased for under $20.
Utilities can rely on GAC, albeit on a much larger scale, to remove PFOA from water, according to Keith Cartnick, senior director of water quality for Suez Water.
Water is fed through a filter tank with GAC and the carbon latches onto PFOAs as they pass through.
It’s the best method currently available, but it isn’t perfect, Cartnick said. There are developments in the water treatment industry that are promising, he added. But PFOA remains a challenge. It is particularly difficult to remove (then why the hell did you allow the industries to dump it in the water?). It’s not like bacteria where you can add chlorine and disinfect. You
can’t purge PFOA out of the water (then why don’t you fine the cookware and fabric coating industries until they remove what they did to the water supply?).
Cartnick also gave voice to a common refrain from utility companies: Let’s stop the pollution from entering water supplies in the first place. We’re doing everything we can to control it, but you have to clean these things up at the source, he said. (But the state makes a lot of money from the companies that dump their toxic waste products, affectionately known as fluoride, into the water supply, so we’ll just overlook that one).
“Thirty-one N.J. swimming beaches were under a bacteria advisory and three others closed Tuesday, in a harsh reminder of how overdevelopment, outdated infrastructure and heavy rains can combine to erode water quality and endanger bathers.
Island heights public beach closed after test results showed the water there was 17 times the safe swimming standard for enterococcus, a bacteria that grows inside the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals and can be found alongside their feces.
Other beaches were closed due to rarely seen levels of bacteria and one out of six public beaches statewide failed bacteria testing.
The tests were part of monitoring program that is on the lookout for enterococcus, which is considered a warning sign of of dangerous pathogens.
The standard for safe swimming is less than 104 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters of water. (Thirty-five beaches were over the 100 CFUs and two, which were closed were over 1,300 CFUs.
Swallowing any contaminated water could result in cramps and diarrhea from gastrointestinal illnesses, according to the National Institutes of Health.
While the number of bacteria advisories might give one pause, it’s not necessarily surprising. In N.J., rainfall is closely linked to high bacteria levels.
In areas where little green space remains, there is not enough ground to soak up the water. Instead, the rain is destined for storm sewers, which act like a highway for the waste carried by the water.
Beaches on northern parts of the Jersey Shore are also susceptible to contamination from neighbors across the bay in N.Y. and northern N.J., where raw sewage combines with rainwater when their storm sewers are overwhelmed.”
(When I was growing up here back in the 50s and rode down Route 1, the industrial area, I would ride past factories that always smelled differently everyday. One day like onions, one day like garlic, one day like honey, etc. It was the beginning of the artificial flavor manufacturing companies.)
And this is why I always said that N.J. should be renamed S**tsville!
Russ Ziimmer, Asbury Park Press
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