Monday, September 29, 2008

Council on Foreign Relations - Friend or Foe? (Part 1)

Council on Foreign Relations backs amnesty for illegals, opposes Arpaio-style raids
Phoenix Business Journal - by Mike Sunnucks
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The uber-establishment Council on Foreign Relations said Wednesday it favors granting legal status to many of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., creating a guest worker program for low-skilled foreign workers to come and work in the U.S and opposes local police getting to conduct immigration raids.
The CFR issued an immigration policy report Wednesday that looks to lift caps on foreign university students in the U.S. and allow skilled foreign graduates to get more work visas. The international policy group also wants to create legal paths to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
The CFR also said local police should not take lead roles in immigration enforcements and workplace raids. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have been conducting immigration raids and prosecutions against businesses hiring illegal immigrants, as well as drop-houses used by smugglers trafficking illegal immigrants into Arizona from Mexico.
The CFR report does not specifically mention Arpaio but the Valley’s sheriff is the most notable local enforcer of immigration laws in the U.S.
The CFR’s recommendations on guest workers and amnesty mirror plans to be pushed in Congress this year by President Barack Obama. Arizona State university professor Raul H. Yzaguirre and former Florida governor Jeb Bush served on the CFR task force that wrote the recommendations.
The group also wants the U.S. to tweek or ease some post 9/11 security measures that have discouraged immigration and foreign tourism into the U.S. and want the U.S. government to develop new technologies to secure border areas, verify workers’ employment status and enforce immigration laws.
The New York-based CFR is a heavyweight international policy group whose members includes powerful politicians, CEOs and university presidents as well as multinational corporations, media firms and private equity firms.
The Council’s corporate members include Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Chevron, ExxonMobil Corp., Rothschild North America Inc., News Corp., General Electric, KBR Inc., Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Co., Soros Fund Management and Google Inc.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Thunderbird School of Global Management president Angel Cabrera are Arizonans that are CFR members.
Other notable CFR members include:
• Former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, James Baker and Madeline Albright.
• Former U.S. Treasury secretaries Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin.
• Financier George Soros and JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon.
• Former Federal Reserve Bank chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker.
• Former presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and former vice president Dick Cheney.
• Media notables such as NBC’s Tom Brokaw, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, Newsweek International editor and CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria and New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger.

Treasonous agenda of the Council on Foreign Relations
Posted: June 17, 2005
By Devvy Kidd
"In Defense of the World Order ... U.S. Soldiers would have to kill and die" – Aurthur Schlesinger Jr.
July / August '95 Foreign Affairs, CFR's flagship publication
Lou Dobb's show on June 9, 2005, was an eye popper and even Lou couldn't contain his shock:
Lou Dobbs, CNN Anchor: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, an astonishing proposal to expand our borders to incorporate Mexico and Canada and simultaneously further diminish U.S. sovereignty. Have our political elites gone mad? We'll have a special report. Blood ... Now, incredibly, a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations wants the United States to focus not on the defense of our own borders, but rather create what effectively would be a common border that includes Mexico and Canada."
Christine Romans, CNN Correspondent (voice-over): On Capitol Hill, testimony calling for Americans to start thinking like citizens of North America and treat the U.S., Mexico and Canada like one big country.
For constitutionalists like myself, this is treason talk and Lou Dobbs should be thanked by the American people for exposing this evil plan. The fact that it is even being discussed in the U.S. Congress is putrid. The Council on Foreign Relations is an organization whose mission is to redefine American policy and slide this republic into a one-world government – a nightmare beyond what most Americans can't even imagine. Rear Adm. Chester Ward was a member of the CFR for 16 years and later warned the American people as to the true intentions of this treasonous operation:

The most powerful clique in these elitist groups have one objective in common – they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty of the national independence of the United States. A second clique of international members in the CFR comprises the Wall Street international bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world-banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government.
Former Congressman John R. Rarick warned:

The CFR, dedicated to one-world government, financed by a number of the largest tax-exempt foundations, and wielding such power and influence over our lives in the areas of finance, business, labor, military, education and mass communication media, should be familiar to every American concerned with good government and with preserving and defending the U.S. Constitution and our free-enterprise system. Yet, the nation's right to know machinery – the news media – usually so aggressive in exposures to inform our people, remain conspicuously silent when it comes to the CFR, its members and their activities.
The CFR is the establishment. Not only does it have influence and power in key decision-making positions at the highest levels of government to apply pressure from above, but it also finances and uses individuals and groups to bring pressure from below, to justify the high-level decisions for converting the United States from a sovereign constitutional republic into a servile member of a one-world dictatorship.
Who are some of the past and present members of this anti-American operation? Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Porter Goss, Alan Greenspan, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, Gen. Richard B. Myers, Henry Hyde, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Sandra Day O'Connor, George Soros, Christopher Dodd, Diane Feinstein, Gerald Ford, Bill Frist, Newt Gingrich, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Katherine Harris, Teresa Heinz, Antonia Hernandez – President of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Gen. John P. Jumper – current Air Force chief of staff, Joseph Lieberman, John McCain, Rupert Murdock, David Rockefeller, Diane Sawyer and Tony Snow.
Popular "conservative" radio talk-show hosts attack anyone who dares to suggest the provable agenda of organizations like the CFR or United Nations. Better to attack the messenger than the message. Most popular mouthpieces on radio or television today have never spent one minute doing the research I have over the past 15 years. Perhaps Dan Smoot, a former member of the FBI Headquarters staff in Washington, D.C., who specialized in this field was nothing more than a kook when he warned, "The ultimate aim of the CFR is to create a one-world socialist system and make the U.S. an official part of it." Before any American decides to poo-poo the CFR and their diabolical agenda, they might wish to read some of the writings by Barry Goldwater on this issue.
Our beloved republic is being wrested away from we the people by sitting presidents and Congresses since 1913. It is being done right out in the open, and yet, the American people don't seem to be taking their freedom or liberty seriously because they continue to vote back the same scoundrels, crooks, communists, socialists and sellouts into office. America is under attack by forces who wish to destroy this republic, our way of life, our independence, our lives, liberty and freedoms.
Before you can fight an enemy, you must know who your enemy is and the game-plan. If you play the game, the game will play you. I encourage every American to do the hard research and in November 2006 – clean out Congress, our state legislatures and any other elected office where the current incumbent is violating their oath of office and betraying our republic.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and The New World Order
By William Blase
The CFR is the promotional arm of the Ruling Elite in the United States of America. Most influential politicians, academics and media personalities are members, and it uses its influence to infiltrate the New World Order into American life. Its' "experts" write scholarly pieces to be used in decision making, the academics expound on the wisdom of a united world, and the media members disseminate the message.
To understand how the most influential people in America came to be members of an organization working purposefully for the overthrow of the Constitution and American sovereignty, we have to go back at least to the early 1900's, though the story begins much earlier (depending on your viewpoint and beliefs).
That a ruling power elite does indeed control the U.S. government behind the scenes has been attested to by many americans in a position to know. Felix Frankfurter, Justice of the Supreme Court (1939-1962), said: "The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes." In a letter to an associate dated November 21, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote, "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson." February 23, 1954,
Senator William Jenner warned in a speech: "Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government, a bureaucratic elite which believes our Constitution is outmoded."
Baron M.A. Rothschild wrote, "Give me control over a nation's currency and I care not who makes its laws."
All that is needed to effectively control a government is to have control over the nation's money: a central bank with a monopoly over the supply of money and credit. This had been done in Western Europe, with the creation of privately owned central banks such as the Bank of England.
Georgetown professor Dr. Carroll Quigley (Bill Clinton's mentor while at Georgetown) wrote about the goals of the investment bankers who control central banks: "... nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole... controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."
The Bank of the United States (1816-36), an early attempt at an American central bank, was abolished by President Andrew Jackson, who believed that it threatened the nation. He wrote: "The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government, the distress it had wantonly produced...are but premonitions of the fate that awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it."
Thomas Jefferson wrote: "The Central Bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and form of our Constitution...if the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Does that not describe the situation in America today?
Council on Foreign Relations
List of Members -
Think tank founded in 1921. "A nonpartisan resource for information and analysis." Publishes Foreign Affairs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Water - Taken for Granted? (Part 1)

******* *******
Tainted nuke plant water reaches major NJ aquifer
By Wayne Parry (AP)
07 May 2010
Lacey Township, N.J. — Radioactive water that leaked from the nation's oldest nuclear power plant has now reached a major underground aquifer that supplies drinking water to much of southern New Jersey, the state's environmental chief said Friday.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station to halt the spread of contaminated water underground, even as it said there was no imminent threat to drinking water supplies.
The department launched a new investigation Friday into the April 2009 spill and said the actions of plant owner Exelon Corp. have not been sufficient to contain water contaminated with tritium.
Tritium is found naturally in tiny amounts and is a product of nuclear fission. It has been linked to cancer if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin in large amounts.
"There is a problem here," said environmental Commissioner Bob Martin. "I am worried about the continuing spread of the tritium into the groundwater and its gradual moving toward wells in the area. This is not something that can wait. That would be unacceptable."
The tritium leaked from underground pipes at the plant on April 9, 2009, and has been slowly spreading underground at 1 to 3 feet a day. At the current rate, it would be 14 or 15 years before the tainted water reaches the nearest private or commercial drinking water wells about two miles away.
But the mere fact that the radioactive water — at concentrations 50 times higher than those allowed by law — has reached southern New Jersey's main source of drinking water calls for urgent action, Martin said.
He ordered the Chicago-based company to install new monitoring wells to better measure the extent of the contamination, and to come up with a plan to keep it from ever reaching a well.
The contamination is not a new issue, plant spokesman David Benson said, questioning the need for Martin's order.
"We have monitoring wells on site, and the tritium concentration is down steadily, sometimes by as much as 90 percent," he said. "We are drilling more wells, and we will work closely with the state. We have been all along."
Should the plant fail to stem the spread of the contaminated water, the state will do it and bill the company for three times the cost as a penalty, the environmental department said.
Department spokesman Lawrence Ragonese said there are several potential ways to address the contamination, including pumping tainted water out of the ground, or injecting a different part of the aquifer with water to force the plume of contaminated water backward and away from wells.
No option has yet been decided upon.
The radioactive water leaks were found just days after the plant got a new 20-year license in 2009 that environmentalists had bitterly fought for four years. Those problems followed corrosion that left the reactor's crucial safety liner rusted and thinned.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Exelon insist Oyster Creek can operate safely until it is 60 years old. But environmental groups disagree.
"The bad news is Exelon's Oyster Creek plant ... has now become a major threat to South Jersey's drinking water," said David Pringle of the New Jersey Environmental Federation. "The good news is NJDEP Commissioner Martin is taking aggressive action to safeguard our water and hold Exelon accountable for this leaky 40 year old plant."
Julia LaMense of the Eastern Environmental Law Clinic hailed the state's action and condemned the NRC "for letting it come to this."
"It's a sad day when the 'wait and see' approach taken in response to yet another 'trust us' from Exelon results in exactly what we feared — contamination of one of the most significant aquifers in the region," she said.
Oyster Creek went online Dec. 1, 1969, the same day as the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station near Oswego, N.Y. But Oyster Creek's original license was granted first, technically making it the oldest of the nation's 104 commercial nuclear reactors that are still operating.
Located about 60 miles east of Philadelphia and 75 miles south of New York City, Oyster Creek generates 636 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 600,000 homes a year, and provides 9 percent of New Jersey's electricity.
Potential Health Hazard may Exist in Your Drinking Water
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by: Deanna Dean
(NaturalNews) Have you ever had a drink of water that tasted or smelled like turpentine? Was the odor and taste so unpleasant it was almost undrinkable? If so, there's a strong possibility your glass of water was contaminated with levels of methyl-t-butyl ether (MTBE) that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's recommendations stated in a 1997 advisory.
MTBE is among a group of chemicals called fuel oxygenates. Developed in the 1970's, it is added today to gasoline, replacing lead, throughout the United States to increase oxygen content and reduce harmful automobile emissions released into the atmosphere. In 1990 an amendment to The Clean Air Act stated its commitment to combat air pollution and to require reformulated gasoline (RFG) be used in certain areas of the country where carbon monoxide emissions exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Today 30 percent of RFG is sold in the United States. MTBE is added to over 80 percent of reformulated gasoline. So far so good; makes for a greener, safer environment which we all want.
Unfortunately MTBE has found its way into our drinking water. CBS television program, 60 Minutes, aired a report on January 16, 2000 about the safety concerns of America's drinking water supply and the alarming rate that MTBE has been seeping into our water supplies through leaking underground storage tanks and pipelines, watercraft emissions and marine engine spills which wind up in lakes and reservoirs. It's hard to believe but an estimated 1 million gallons of fuel are deposited into the water supply each year from recreational boating alone. The U.S. Geological Survey has reported it to be the second most common contaminant in shallow urban aquifers. Studies have shown that in areas of the country where federal RFG is mandated, the concentration of MTBE in water is five times greater than in other parts of the country.
Few long term studies have been done on MTBE and its health effects, but research that has been conducted focused on inhalation of the chemical. The results aren't good. Tests on rats have given evidence that for some of them MTBE was a likely cancer-causing agent which led Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water to conclude that at high doses the data supports it as a potential human carcinogen. Other research indicates our immune systems might be affected as well. So, even if you're not drinking MTBE contaminated water, it can be absorbed through the skin when showering and then inhaled as a vapor in the air. Lesser possible effects of inhalation include "headaches, burning of the throat and nose, dizziness, nausea, asthma, and respiratory problems."
(Elements of Health-Prescription Healing)
Research animals have also sustained the results of kidney damage when exposed to the chemical's vapors at various concentrations. EPA's Office of Water has concluded though that data is insufficient to draw conclusions about MTBE's potential health risk at low exposure levels in drinking water. They go on to say there is little likelihood there will be adverse health effects at concentrations in drinking water between 20 and 40 ppb (parts per billion) or below.
The agency is concerned however and is working with the US Geological Survey to assess frequency and occurrence of MTBE in certain geographic regions of the country and is actively involved in addressing concerns over the potential presence of MTBE in our water supplies. Though MTBE has been placed on the Contaminant Candidate List by the Office of Water, the agency has determined that MTBE needs more health effects research and data before establishing regulations. Whether or not MTBE will continue to be used is a consideration the EPA probably won't make until the year 2010.
You can be proactive and determine if your water has MTBE in it by contacting the public water system, if that is your water supply source. Ask if they monitor for MTBE and if any levels have been detected. If you have a private well, you may get your water tested by contacting your local health department. Also ask if MTBE has been found in water in your area.To get your water tested, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or go to to get the phone number for your state's office that certifies drinking water laboratories. There are also a number of laboratories that will send a self-addressed container for you to fill and return for testing. The cost starts at $35 to $40 per tap and results are usually available in two to three weeks. Other information can be found at the EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks web site (
Additional documents can be accessed from the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.
Fed Moves to Control All the Water in the US
By Nancy Matthis
Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Democrats aim to control every drop of water in the country, under the guise of dealing with pollution. A bill to “clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States” has been introduced in the Senate — S.787, the Clean Water Restoration Act. To read the text of this bill, we recommend using the Open Congress version, which allows you to post citizen comments. Alternatively, the Library of Congress copy is here.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI). His remarks before the Senate on the occasion of introducing the bill are here. Draconian interpretation of government control of US waters in the earlier Clean Water Act had been somewhat limited by Supreme Court decisions. In his opening statement, Feingold made it clear that his purpose was to recover the Orwellian power that had been impaired by the judiciary by means of legislation:
Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to restore Clean Water Act protections for the same waters that were covered by the Act prior to two recent divisive U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Here is an enumeration of the waters included:
Waters of the United States- The term ‘waters of the United States’ means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.
Congress justifies its power to meddle in every aspect of American life through the “commerce clause” in the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3):
The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce … among the several States….
The founding fathers only intended that Congress should provide a level playing field for interactions between and among the states. In stark contrast to this original intention stands the extension of “waters” to include “all … intrastate waters and their tributaries.” The language of this bill enables Congress to come onto a private family farm and dictate what a farmer can do with his duck pond, or even with his cistern, which might conceivably be emptied into a ditch that might eventually flow into an intermittent stream!
In short, Congress has the power to prevent any citizen from relying on natural sources of drinking, cooking, and bathing water, and water to sustain a home garden. This legislation, combined with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, means that every United States citizen may only eat and drink at the pleasure of the government.Of course, most “reasonable” folk will assume that, although the government has this stranglehold on our lives, it will not actually be used for such a purpose. As German history shows, the extent of governmental social engineering depends on who is in power. Recall that Hitler was elected, and for a time, very popular. The more fundamental question is whether we are willing to give government such power over us, in the naive expectation that a government proven incapable of protecting us against food-borne salmonella can provide us with adequate food and water safety. Do we want to take responsibility for assuring our food and water safety ourselves, as informed consumers, or do we want to trust a failed bureaucracy to protect us, at the sacrifice of our fundamental freedom?
Health agency covered up lead harm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention withheld evidence that contaminated tap water caused lead poisoning in kids
By Rebecca Renner
Apr 21, 2009
April 10, 2009 From 2001 to 2004, Washington, D.C., experienced what may have been the worst lead contamination of city water on record. Tens of thousands of homes had sky-high levels of lead at the tap, and in the worst cases, tap water contained enough lead to be classified as hazardous waste. Not that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government oversight agency for public health, was worried.
A 2004 CDC report found that water contamination "might have contributed a small increase in blood lead levels." The study has been influential. School officials in New York and Seattle have used the CDC report as justification for not aggressively responding to high levels of lead in their water, and other cities have cited the report to dispel concerns about lead in tap water.
· But the results of thousands of blood tests that measured lead contamination in children were missing from the report, potentially skewing the findings and undermining public health. Further, the CDC discovered in 2007 that many young children living in D.C. homes with lead pipes were poisoned by drinking water and suffered ill effects. Parents wondered whether the water could have caused speech and balance problems, difficulty with learning, and hyperactivity. Yet the health agency did not publicize the new findings or alert public health authorities in D.C. or other federal agencies that regulate lead, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Housing and Urban Development.
"This is a disaster of accountability from CDC's point of view," says John Rosen, a pediatrician and national expert on lead poisoning at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "This raises troubling questions about CDC's complicity in passing on dubious data -- and further questions about why CDC did not publicize the 2007 results more broadly."
CDC scientists and press representatives did not respond to requests for an explanation about why the results were not widely publicized. George Hawkins, director of the District Department of the Environment, in Washington, says he became aware of the 2007 study only on April 2 this year, when Salon showed him an abstract of the study. Scientists from other agencies, including EPA and HUD, also say they were never told about the results. "CDC never told us," says an EPA scientist, "and they never asked our help or any other water expert's help when they did their studies. That's a shame and a waste, because when it comes to lead in water, you need engineers, chemists and health people to figure it out." The scientists requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Salon raised questions in 2006 about the influential 2004 CDC report of lead contamination in the D.C. area. New scrutiny of CDC's work has been sparked by a scientific study published in January that contradicts CDC's conclusion of minimal harm. Environmental engineer Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech, and pediatrician Dana Best of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, used Best's data for children's blood-lead levels and found a jump in high-level results among kids who were infants and toddlers from 2001 to 2004. The authors conclude that hundreds, possibly thousands, of children were adversely affected.
Edwards and Best raised further health concerns about the 40,000 Washington children who were either in the womb or using formula during the crisis, for whom health effects are expected to be the most severe. These children (now 4 to 9 years old) are at particularly high risk for future health and behavioral problems linked to the lead exposure.
In February, a D.C. resident filed a $200 million lawsuit against the D.C. water company, claiming that lead-contaminated tap water poisoned his twin sons as infants, causing them to have ongoing learning and behavioral problems. The D.C. Inspector General is investigating the reasons behind the apparently conflicting results of the two CDC reports.
Mary Jean Brown, head of the CDC Lead Poisoning Branch and principal author of the 2004 study, acknowledges that thousands of blood tests were lost and not included in the study. But she defends the paper's conclusion -- that children's exposure to lead and consequent harm was slight -- on the grounds that only low-level test results were lost.
In a written memo to Salon, explaining the missing data in the 2004 report, Brown writes that the issue became apparent in 2004. The D.C. Health Department had reported testing the blood of 15,755 children in 2002, 18,038 in 2004, but only 9,765 children in 2003. When questioned, D.C. Health Department staff attributed the gap, according to Brown, to a commercial laboratory that failed to submit some test results in the last quarter of 2003, a year when lead levels in the water were high. Specifically, the lab was said to have omitted results below 10 micrograms per deciliter. (This is CDC's current level of concern and a level that many pediatricians and public health experts classify as lead poisoning.)
Brown accepted this explanation. She states that the highest results in 2003 were reported accurately and that a comparison with blood-lead trends in the city suggests that the loss of low-level results did not introduce a bias in CDC's analysis.
"This is just a circular argument, and it doesn't wash," says a government scientist who requested anonymity. "When CDC learned the data was missing, someone could have called the lab and asked for it. If it was the lab's mistake, they would have sent the data," the scientist adds.
Edwards, who examined the data used by CDC for the 2004 report, says that numerous high results were also omitted. Since 2004, he has made a number of attempts to question CDC scientists about apparent problems with the 2004 study. In 2007, Edwards filed a complaint of scientific misconduct with the CDC, alleging that Brown must have known about serious flaws with the data but failed to acknowledge them when writing the 2004 CDC report.
In a message to James Stephens, CDC's associate director of science, he wrote, "Why is it that every child I have personal knowledge of, who had a strong chance of having elevated blood lead from water, is either deleted or otherwise misrepresented in the data that CDC has and used for this publication?" Edwards did not receive an answer. In March 2008, Stephens wrote to Edwards, informing him, "We have examined CDC's role in the study and have found no evidence of misconduct."
CDC scientist Jaime Raymond presented the 2007 results at the American Public Health Association's 2007 annual meeting in Washington. The study used data from a total of 22,981 children under 6 years old who lived in Washington from 1998 to 2006. Twenty-nine percent of the children lived in houses with lead water pipes and were more likely to have contaminated tap water; the rest lived in houses without lead pipes.
Starting in 2001, when the lead levels in the city's drinking water soared, this CDC study shows that the number of kids with high blood-lead levels (above the CDC line of concern) also increased -- and the problem is more severe for kids living in the lead pipe houses. The number of affected kids went down in 2004 as the lead in water decreased. Raymond and colleagues showed that the link between the water and the lead was strong and couldn't be explained by other factors.
"Why has CDC kept quiet about these results?" asks Yanna Lambrinidou, president of Parents for Nontoxic Alternatives, a D.C. activist group "It makes no sense if they are concerned about public health. Are they trying to cover up the harm that lead contaminated water caused in D.C.?" Raymond would not respond to any questions posed by Salon.
Bruce Lanphear, a pediatric epidemiologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, who has studied lead effects on children, says, "It is critical to investigate how and why these earlier studies failed to show any increase in children's blood-lead levels."
The House Science and Technology Committee Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee is beginning an investigation into CDC's handling of the D.C. lead crisis. Subcommittee chair Brad Miller, D-N.C., wrote the CDC on March 13, requesting all "records that indicate possible, probable or actual forgery, fabrication or other intentional misrepresentation of data," concerning lead in the water.
"It would be easier to understand CDC's nonchalance about losing almost half the results for 2003 if its conclusions were consistent with what other scientists found," Miller says. "It's also difficult to understand why the loss of so much data didn't merit a caveat or even a footnote in CDC's report." He adds, "If the CDC tells parents that they shouldn't worry about their children's health, its evidence had better be rock solid. It's hard to win back lost trust."
Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights
By John Lippert and Jim Efstathiou Jr.
Feb. 26, 2009 (Bloomberg) -- On a cloudless December day in the Nevada desert, workers in white hard hats descend into a 30- foot-wide shaft next to Lake Mead.
As they’ve been doing since June, they’ll blast and dig straight down into the limestone surrounding the reservoir that supplies 90 percent of Las Vegas’s water. In September, when they hit 600 feet, they’ll turn and burrow for 3 miles, laying a new pipe as they go.
The crew is in a hurry. They’re battling the worst 10-year drought in recorded history along the Colorado River, which feeds the 110-mile-long reservoir. Since 1999, Lake Mead has dropped about 1 percent a year. By 2012, the lake’s surface could fall below the existing pipe that delivers 40 percent of the city’s water.
As Las Vegas’s economy worsens, the workers are also racing against a recession that threatens the ability to sell $500 million in bonds so they can complete the job.
Patricia Mulroy, manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, is the general in this region’s war to stem a water emergency that’s playing out worldwide. It’s the biggest battle of her 31-year career.

‘We’ve Tried Everything’“We’ve tried everything,” says Mulroy, 56, who made no secret of her desire to become secretary of the U.S. Interior Department before President Barack Obama picked U.S. Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado in December.
“The way you look at water has to fundamentally change,” adds Mulroy, who, after 20 years of running the authority, said in January she’s ready to start thinking about looking for a new job, declining to say where.
Across the planet, people like Mulroy are struggling to solve the next global crisis.
From 2500 B.C., when King Urlama of Lagash diverted water in the Tigris and Euphrates Valley in a border dispute with nearby Umma, to 1924, when Owens Valley, California, farmers blew up part of the aqueduct that served a parched Los Angeles, societies have bargained, fought and rearranged geographies to get the water they need.
Mulroy started her push with conservation. She’s paying homeowners $1.50 a square foot (0.09 square meter) to replace lawns with gravel and asking golf courses to dig up turf. That helped cut Las Vegas’s water use by 19.4 percent in the seven years ended in 2008, even as the metropolitan area added 482,000 people, bringing the total to 2 million. It wasn’t enough.
Paul Bunyan
So she’s planning a $3.5 billion, 327-mile (525-kilometer) underground pipeline to tap aquifers beneath cattle-raising valleys northeast of the city. She’s even suggested refashioning the plumbing of the entire continent, Paul Bunyan style, by diverting floodwaters from the Mississippi River west toward the Rocky Mountains.
If Mulroy’s ideas are extreme, one reason is that the planet’s most essential resource doesn’t work like other commodities.
There’s no global marketplace for water. Deals for property, wells and water rights, such as the ones Mulroy must negotiate to build the pipeline, are done piecemeal. As the world grows needier, neither governments nor companies nor investors have figured out an effective and sustainable response.
“We have 19th-century ways of utilizing water and 21st- century needs,” says Brad Udall, director of Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Unyielding Pressure
Water upheavals are intensifying because the population is growing fastest in places where fresh water is either scarce or polluted. Dry areas are becoming drier and wet areas wetter as the oceans and atmosphere warm. Economic roadblocks, such as the global credit crunch and its effects on Mulroy’s attempts to sell bonds, multiply during a recession.
Yet local governments that control water face unyielding pressure from constituents to keep the price low, regardless of cost. Agricultural interests, commercial developers and the housing industry clash over dwindling supplies. Companies, burdened by slowing profits, will be forced to move from dry areas such as the American Southwest, Udall says.
“Water is going to be more important than oil in the next 20 years,” says Dipak Jain, dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who studies why corporations locate where they do.
No Cheap WaterEven before the now decade-long drought began punishing Las Vegas, people used more than 75 percent of the water in northern Africa and western Asia that they could get their hands on in 2000, according to the United Nations.
In 2002, 8 percent of the world suffered chronic shortages. By 2050, 40 percent of the projected world population, or about 4 billion people, will lack adequate water as entire regions turn dry, the UN predicts.
“We can no longer assume that cheap water is available,” says Peter Gleick, editor of The World’s Water 2008-2009 (Island Press, 2009). “We have to start living within our means.”
Over the Sierra Mountains from Las Vegas, Shasta Lake, California’s biggest reservoir, is less than a third full because melting snow that fed it for six decades is dwindling. A winter as dry as the previous two may mean rationing for 18 million people in Southern California this year, says Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District.
Across the Pacific Ocean, wildfires fueled by a 10-year drought and fanned by 60-mile-per-hour winds around Melbourne killed more than 200 people in February.
Developing GiantsIn Asia, developing giants are battling pollution as their populations grow. China, home to 21 percent of the world’s people last year, has just 7 percent of the water. Nine in 10 Chinese-city groundwater systems are fouled by industrial toxins, pesticides and human waste, says Maude Barlow, the first senior adviser on water to the UN and author of “Blue Covenant” (New Press, 2007).
In India, with 1.2 billion people, three-quarters of the surface water is contaminated, that country’s government said in September.
In the Mideast, where the Dead Sea is dropping 3 feet (1 meter) a year, Israel, Jordan and Syria are diverting water upstream from the Jordan River. That’s adding another source of discord to an already volatile region.
‘Gambling, Gluttony and Girls’“There’s a growing risk of conflict over water shared by nations, ethnic groups or economic interests,” Gleick says.
Las Vegas, an adult-entertainment haven carved into the Mojave Desert, may not draw much sympathy as a poster child for water emergencies.
For decades, new residents imported their cravings for lawns, sprinklers, pools and golf courses to a region that receives 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain a year, about 1/10 of what Chicago enjoys. Casinos and hotels with water slides and river rides sucked up limited groundwater.
Until the real estate meltdown, Nevada was the fastest- growing U.S. market, with a 33 percent surge in new homes from 2000 to ‘07.
Now the city is getting a dose of reality, says Cecil Garland, a rancher in neighboring Utah who opposes Mulroy’s groundwater pipeline.
“Las Vegas is a place of gambling, gluttony and girls,” Garland, 83, says.
He says there’s no extra water along the proposed route, which travels through valleys green with 3-foot-tall shrubs called greasewood. If pumping kills the greasewood, dust storms that plague his town of Callao would soar 5,000 feet into the sky, he says. [Read the entire article at:]
Federal water may be cut off from Calif. farms
If drought deepens, state to make drastic move; revenue, jobs affected staff and news service reports
Fri., Feb. 20, 2009
SACRAMENTO - Federal water managers said Friday that they plan to cut off water, at least temporarily, to thousands of California farms as a result of the deepening drought gripping the state.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said parched reservoirs and patchy rainfall this year were forcing them to completely stop surface water deliveries for at least a two-week period beginning March 1. Authorities said they haven’t had to take such a drastic move for more than 15 years.
The situation could improve slightly if more rain falls over the next few weeks, and officials will know by mid-March if they can release more irrigation supplies to growers.
Farmers in the nation’s No. 1 agriculture state predicted it would cause consumers to pay more for their fruits and vegetables, which would have to be grown using expensive well water.
“Water is our life — it’s our jobs and it’s our food,” said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the farm bureau in Fresno County. “Without a reliable water supply, Fresno County’s No. 1 employer — agriculture — is at great risk.”
The drought would cause an estimated $1.15 billion dollar loss in agriculture-related wages and eliminate as many as 40,000 jobs in farm-related industries in the San Joaquin Valley alone, where most of the nation’s produce and nut crops are grown.
'We're talking about a huge band of area that will be affected," Richard Howitt, professor of resource economics at UC Davis, told in an interview Friday. "I heard these predictions coming down the line, the $1 billion loss in revenue and 40,000 jobs, so I ran the numbers again. "
He delivered the grim statistics to the state Board of Good and Agriculture last week. He said new figures to be released later Friday showed even more trouble head for the state.
"As far as job losses? The answer is the majority of losses will be related to farms and farm work, the processing done for all farm commodities, and all those secondary jobs that roll through the valley economy," Howitt said.
California's sweeping Central Valley grows most of the country's fruits and vegetables in normal years, but this winter thousands of acres turned to dust as the state hurtles into the worst drought in nearly two decades.
The state's agricultural industry typically receives 80 percent of all the water supplies managed by the federal government — everything from far-off mountain streams and suburban reservoirs. The state supplies drinking water to 23 million residents and 755,000 acres of irrigated farmland.
Farms supplied by flows from the state’s system of pumps and canals would also see cutbacks but still get 15 percent of their normal deliveries, said Lester Snow, director of the Department of Water Resources.
This year, both the state and federal reservoirs have reached their lowest level since 1992.
Dwindling supplies would have to be routed to cities to ensure residents, hospitals and fire crews have enough to meet minimum health and safety needs, said Don Glaser, the federal reclamation bureau’s Mid-Pacific Region director.
The water shortages are so severe most cities will have to start mandatory ration programs by summertime, and residents will be asked to reduce their usage by 20 percent, Snow said.
“You’ve got to think about water as a precious resource,” he said. “It may seem a stretch to conserve 20 percent of your water, but that’s nothing in comparison to the consequences of the drought and job loss in agriculture.”
California crops
More than half of the country's vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown in the Golden State.
Only in California Products exclusively grown in the state include almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins, clovers and walnuts.
Land of dairy Milk and cream are the top commodities, bringing in at least $3.7 billion a year.
Nation's salad bowl While California leads the nation in strawberry production, it also grows a large percentage of other crops. Among them:
•Artichokes: 19 percent
•Asparagus: 55 percent
•Broccoli: 93 percent
•Cabbage: 22 percent
•Carrots: 89 percent
•Celery: 94 percent
•Garlic: 86 percent
•Lettuce: 78 percent
•Cantaloupe: 54 percent
•Honeydew: 73 percent
•Onions: 27 percent
•Bell Peppers: 47 percent
•Spinach: 18 percent
•Tomatoes: 94 percent
•Almond: 99 percent
•Apricots: 95 percent
•Avocados: 84 percent
•Strawberries: 90 percent
•Dates: 82 percent
•Figs: 98 percent
•Grapes: 88 percent
•Kiwi: 97 percent
•Lemons: 89 percent
•Nectarines: 93 percent
•Olives: 100 percent
•Peaches: 76 percent
•Pistachios: 96 percent
•Plums: 93 percent
•Walnuts: 99 percent
•Honey: 18 percent
•Milk and cream: 21 percent

EPA Won't Remove Rocket Fuel From Drinking Water
Erica Werner September 22, 2008 10:01 PM EST
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has decided there's no need to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled public water supplies around the country.
EPA reached the conclusion in a draft regulatory document not yet made public but reviewed Monday by The Associated Press.
The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.
The EPA document says that mandating a clean-up level for perchlorate would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems."
The conclusion, which caps years of dispute over the issue, was denounced by Democrats and environmentalists who accused EPA of caving to pressure from the Pentagon.
"This is a widespread contamination problem, and to see the Bush EPA just walk away is shocking," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate's environment committee.
Lenny Siegel, director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight in Mountain View, Calif., added: "This is an unconscionable decision not based upon science or law but on concern that a more stringent standard could cost the government significantly."
The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing missiles and rockets, and most perchlorate contamination is the result of defense and aerospace activities, congressional investigators said last year.
The Pentagon could face liability if EPA set a national drinking water standard that forced water agencies around the country to undertake costly clean-up efforts. Defense officials have spent years questioning EPA's conclusions about the risks posed by perchlorate.
The Pentagon objected strongly Monday to the suggestion that it sought to influence EPA's decision.
"We have not intervened in any way in EPA's determination not to regulate perchlorate. If you read their determination, that's based on criteria in the Safe Drinking Water Act," Paul Yaroschak, Pentagon deputy director for emerging contaminants, said in an interview.
Yaroschak said the Pentagon has been working for years to clean up perchlorate at its facilities. He also contended that the Pentagon wasn't the source of as much perchlorate contamination as once believed, noting that it also comes from fireworks, road flares and fertilizer.
Benjamin Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water, said in a statement that "science, not the politics of fear in an election year, will drive our final decision."
"We know perchlorate in drinking water presents some degree of risk, and we're committed to working with states and scientists to ensure public health is protected and meaningful opportunities for reducing risk are fully considered," Grumbles said.
Grumbles said the EPA expected to seek comment and take final action before the end of the year. The draft document was first reported Monday by the Washington Post.
Perchlorate is particularly widespread in California and the Southwest, where it's been found in groundwater and in the Colorado River, a drinking-water source for 20 million people. It's also been found in lettuce and other foods.
In absence of federal action, states have acted on their own. In 2007, California adopted a drinking water standard of 6 parts per billion. Massachusetts has set a drinking water standard of 2 parts per billion.

Professional Perspectives: Fluoride in Tap Water
Fluoride in Southern California Tap Water Puts 64,000 Kids at Risk
Dr. Mercola
August 24 2007
Four years ago, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) decided to add fluoride to the tap water of millions of Californians as of October 2007.
Since then, the American Dental Association (ADA), scientists at Harvard University, and the prestigious National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences have all raised serious concerns about the safety of fluoridated water for infants and young children.
Specifically, both the NRC and the ADA warn that infants under the age of two years old may be overexposed to fluoride, since their water intake is greater than that of adults pound for pound.
The MWD is planning on adding 0.8 parts per million fluoride to its public water supply. This would expose more than 64,000 children to levels of fluoride that exceed the federal government’s acceptable daily intake for a child.
The CDC estimates about 30 percent of children who drink fluoridated water have some degree of fluorosis – an unsightly staining and pitting of the teeth.
Additional research has identified far more serious health risks in the years since the MWD decided to fluoridate their water supply, including:
A March 2006 joint report from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council (NAS/NRC) identified fluoride as a potent hormone disruptor, with the potential to impair thyroid function.
The NAS/NRC also raised concerns about fluoride’s ability to impair intelligence.
A 2006 Harvard study linked fluoridated water to osteosarcoma (an often fatal form of bone cancer) in boys.
Earlier this month, more than 600 medical, dental, scientific, academic, public health, and environmental professionals signed a petition to Congress asking for congressional hearings. Included in this group is Dr. Arvid Carlsson, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine, who stated, “Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s really obsolete. ”
Environmental Working Group August 20, 2007
Dr. Mercola's Comments:The question that begs to be asked is why are the current practices used to set public health standards so inconsistent with the science and policies used to develop safe fluoride limits? Normally, agencies have to consider the full range of potential health impacts, including new scientific findings, and set standards that are safe for vulnerable populations as well as the average healthy adult.
But for some reason the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not updated its safe fluoride limit in 21 years, despite overwhelming new scientific findings pointing toward fluoride being a devastating health hazard.
The EPA itself warns that their current fluoride standard of 4 parts per million is double the safe limit for children under the age of nine.
Although the state of California decided to add fluoride at a level that is below both the federal and California limits, its toxicity is not based on absolute numbers – many factors are involved, including your size, and how much water you drink.
Fluoride consumption comes with a number of negative health effects. Consider that:
· Fluoride accumulates in the bones, making them brittle and more easily fractured, and in the pineal gland, which may inhibit the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate the onset of puberty.
· Fluoride damages tooth enamel (known as dental fluorosis) and may lower fertility rates.
· Fluoride has been found to increase the uptake of aluminum into the brain and lead into blood.
· Fluoride inhibits antibodies from forming in the blood.
· Fluoride confuses the immune system, causing it to attack the body’s tissues. This can increase the growth rate of tumors in people prone to cancer.
Since fluoride accumulates in the body over time, children are even more susceptible to long-term health risks, such as developing osteosarcoma. This type of bone cancer is the third most common form of cancer in children, with a fatality rate of 50 percent. Almost all survivors are forced to amputate limbs.
I commented on this and many other dangers of fluoridation in another article, titled “CDC Covering Up Serious Hazards of Water Fluoridation,” just last week.
Amazingly, despite all this evidence, a quick online search for current fluoride recommendations garnered alarming results. The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital with the University of Michigan Health System, for example, carries these frightening recommendations:
“Fluoride builds strong, decay-resistant enamel and reduces cavities by 70%. Children 6 months to 16 years old need fluoride… Drinking fluoridated water (containing 0.7 to 1.2 parts fluoride per million) or taking a prescription fluoride supplement is the best protection against tooth decay… To get enough fluoride from drinking water, a child must drink at least 1 pint of fluoridated water each day… Fluoride is safe…
… If fluoride isn't added to your city's water supply or you are breast-feeding, ask your health care provider for a prescription for fluoride drops or tablets during your next routine visit…Mixing fluoride with milk reduces absorption of the fluoride to 70%. For this reason you should give fluoride to your child when he or she has an empty stomach.”
Yes. Raising awareness about the danger of fluoride is like swimming against a strong tide.
Removing FluorideUnfortunately nearly all carbon filters will not remove fluoride. So if you receive your water from a municipal water supply it is highly likely it is fluoridated. You can check with your supplier to confirm, but if it is the only practical way to remove it will be with a reverse osmosis filter.Other Sources of Hazardous Fluoride
Shockingly, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the EPA has approved sulfonyl fluoride as a safe pesticide ingredient, at doses 10 times higher than the drinking water standard.
So, while the science confirms that fluoride should be removed from drinking water entirely, you now have to contend with fluoride-based pesticides in your food, in addition to the fluoride in your water… Common sense logic is as abundant on this issue as waterfalls cascading through the Sahara desert.
Remember, fluoride does not evaporate. Nor does cooking, food processing, regular filtration, or digestion remove fluoride. It just keeps going right up the food chain. I believe the dangers of fluoride are indisputable. Therefore, do whatever you can to protect yourself and your children from this toxic chemical. Filter the water in your house with a reverse osmosis filter, and wash all your fresh produce before eating. If you buy bottled water, do NOT let misadvised medical professionals fool you into purchasing “nursery water” containing fluoride for your baby!
One of my readers also reminded me to reiterate the fact that tea is also a source of fluoride.
Fluoride is Scary
Fluoride Spurs Bone Cancer Risks in Young Boys
Dr. Mercola
June 28 2005
The 60th anniversary of fluoridation in the United States (jointly announced by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association) is certainly nothing to be excited about.
A study from the Harvard School of Dental Health found that young boys exposed to fluoridated tap water from ages 5-10 suffered an increased risk of osteosarcoma--bone cancer--between the ages of 10 and 19. This study is the first to link the toxic effects of fluoride to a child's development and the beginnings of bone cancer. (No such link, however, was found among young girls.)
Moreover, osteosarcoma, though rare, is an especially dangerous form of childhood cancer, as:
The mortality rate in the first five years is about 50 percent.
Nearly all survivors have limbs, usually legs, amputated.
Dangerous Fluoride UseAbout 170 million Americans live in areas with fluoridated water; however, the United States isn't the only country dangerously exposed. In the UK, the chemical is added to tap water on the advice of organizations such as the British Dental Association; the Department of Health claims fluoride is a cost-effective public health measure that helps prevent tooth decay in children.
But as the Harvard School of Dental Health study proved, even common fluoride exposure levels can lead to increased cancer risks. While half of all fluoride ingested is stored in the body, more than 90 percent is taken into the bones.
Secret EvidenceThe new evidence regarding bone cancer risk from fluoride exposure has never been published and only emerged by a circuitous process. That's because environmental organizations were repeatedly denied access to it, and even organizations such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences could not get hold of a copy.
Eventually, two researchers from the Fluoride Action Network were allowed access to the rare books and special collections room at the Harvard medical library.
Taipei Times, June 13, 2005
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
While groups like the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association will be busy celebrating the 60th anniversary of fluoridated water in this country next month, it's good to know others are still hard at work exposing the evidence of the dangerous deception surrounding this toxic element.
If you're at all confused about the safety of fluoride, please take a moment to review a study about how this purportedly "safe" chemical greatly increases your risk of bone and hip fractures. If you think merely avoiding tap water saves you from being exposed to fluoride, think again as fluoride is frequently in the instant tea you purchase at the grocery store.
Interesting Fluoride Facts
· Fluoride is more toxic than lead and is used as a pesticide for mice, rats and other small pests.
· The fluoride used in tap water is not closely monitored and often contains high levels of carcinogens like arsenic.
· The fluoride we ingest from the water supply and from a number of other sources is associated with a number of negative health effects such as cancer, weakened bones and osteoporosis.
If you are still not convinced of the need to avoid fluoride, I would suggest reviewing the fluoride links page, as there are literally thousands of pages documenting the problems with fluoride and the reasons you want to eliminate it for you and your family.
Also, The Fluoride Deception, by Christopher Bryson, is an important book that will make you question the effects of not only fluoride but also of other "safe" chemicals used openly in our environment today. This book chronicles very real people and events, and the end result is a masterpiece of documented abuse, pollution and poisoning that can no longer be ignored.
Related Articles:The Absurdities of Water Fluoridation
Canadian Dental Association Advises AGAINST Fluoride Supplements in Young Children
The Toxic Toothpaste
Walkerton marks five years since water tragedyUpdated Sun. May. 22 2005 11:58 PM ET
Canadian Press
TORONTO -- It was five years ago that a small-town disaster destroyed lives, tarnished personal and political reputations and shattered Canadian complacency about something long taken for granted - tap water.
The deadly May 2000 tainted-water tragedy in Walkerton, Ont., had such a profound impact on public attitudes towards drinking water that Jim Smith, Ontario's chief drinking water inspector, doesn't think it likely that it could ever happen again.
"I don't see another Walkerton as having a high probability of occurrence," Smith said in an interview. "I believe Ontario's water is safe."
That view is a little too optimistic, say experts and observers, who agree the province has made tremendous progress, but also warn that the job of ensuring tap water never again threatens public health remains unfinished.
"The day before Walkerton happened, the ministry was of the view that our drinking-water regime was one of the strongest in the country, if not North America, and residents had very little to worry about," said environmental lawyer Paul Muldoon.
"Then Walkerton happened."
The crisis that bloomed over the Victoria Day long weekend five years ago went on to kill seven people and sicken 2,500 - half the rural midwestern Ontario community's entire population - after E. coli bacteria from cattle manure was washed into a town well.
"It was almost impossible in those early, awful hours to believe that such a thing could happen here in Ontario," Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky told the legislature Thursday in a statement marking the anniversary.
"The seven deaths and thousands of illnesses were all the more terrible because these people were betrayed by something they thought they could trust entirely - their drinking water."
Walkerton's water system, it turned out, was vulnerable in part because the two untrained brothers who ran it, Stan and Frank Koebel, didn't grasp the importance of monitoring and treating the water properly under what were mostly voluntary guidelines.
A far-reaching judicial inquiry into the outbreak also exposed gaping flaws in the government's approach to drinking-water safety.
"The Walkerton tragedy shook the foundations of our faith in many institutions, including government," Dombrowsky acknowledged. [Read entire article at:]
Bush Contaminating our Drinking Water: Withholding Funds, Leadership to Fix Leaks in Underground Storage Tanks
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Thu, 02/22/2007
President Bush has allowed underground storage tanks to fall into gross disrepair and is now trying to withhold billions in federal funds needed to fix them, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today by Democratic Reps. John Dingell and Hilda Solis.
Leaks in underground storage tanks can contaminate water supplies used by nearly half of all Americans, and the GAO reports there are some 117,000 known leaks across the nation. More than 16,000 new leaks are expected to be confirmed in the next five years. Fixing just half of the existing leaks will cost $12 billion, according to the GAO, but George Bush only requested $72 million from a trust fund specifically designed to fix this very problem.The fund, paid for by a portion of the federal gasoline tax, has a multibillion-dollar surplus. Bush requested less than 3% of the total amount in the trust fund."This report shows the gross inadequacy and disgraceful nature of President Bush's most recent budget request," said Rep. Dingell, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "The inexplicable failure to use available resources to speed the cleanup of pollution that is likely to spread places human health and the environment at an increased risk."The 106-page GAO report's conclusion was highlighted in its subtitle: "EPA Should Take Steps to Better Ensure the Efficient Use of Public Funding for Cleanups." It notes that contaminated water can contain known carcinogens and cause "health problems ranging from nausea to kidney or liver damage.""Taxpayers deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used appropriately, not being held in escrow by the Bush Administration to offset other misguided fiscal choices," added Rep. Solis. "It is time that our nation's water quality and health become a national priority."
Thirty-Six U.S. States to Face Water Shortages in the Next Five Years
by David Gutierrez
March 31 2008
(NaturalNews) At least 36 states are expected to face water shortages within the next five years, according to U.S. government estimates. Available freshwater supplies are dwindling across the country due to rising temperatures and droughts, while increasing sprawl, population and inefficient resource usage are leading to rising demand.
"Is it a crisis? If we don't do some decent water planning, it could be," said Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of the American Water Works Association. Rising temperatures due to global warming have increased evaporation rates across the country and reduced the availability of important water sources. One of these is the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies a significant portion of California's water. Across the West, similar trends are expected to reduce flows of the Colorado River, which supplies water for seven states.
Meanwhile, rising sea levels are expected to cause saltwater to infiltrate freshwater aquifers in coastal states, rendering that water unusable.
California uses about 23 trillion gallons of fresh water per year. The United States as a whole uses more than 148 trillion gallons for all purposes, including agriculture, manufacturing and other uses.
Other threatened regions include the Midwest, where the Great Lakes are shrinking, and upstate New York, where reservoir levels have fallen to record lows. Georgia's crisis has already arrived, and Florida's is expected to hit soon.
While Florida has no shortage of rainfall, widespread draining and paving of the region's natural wetlands has left the water unable to drain back into the soil. As a consequence, the state is forced to flush millions of gallons of water into the ocean per year to avert floods. The state's environmental chief, Michael Sole, has asked the Florida legislature to increase the use of reclaimed wastewater. Other states are encouraging measures such as desalinization, but it is widely accepted that conservation is the cheapest alternative.
Even with such measures, the forecast is not expected to improve. "Unfortunately, there's just not going to be any more cheap water," said Randy Brown, utilities director for Pompano Beach, Fla.
US Gov't. Failing to Prevent Drinking Water Contamination
by Jim Kouri
April 17, 2008© 2008
The discovery in 2004 of lead contamination in the District of Columbia's drinking water resulted in an administrative order between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the District's Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), requiring WASA to take a number of corrective actions.
WASA also took additional, longer-term measures, most notably a roughly $400 million program to replace what may be 35,000 lead service lines in public space within its service area.
As in WASA's case, water utilities nationwide are under increasing pressure to make significant investments to upgrade aging and deteriorating infrastructures, improve security, serve a growing population, and meet new regulatory requirements.
"Unfortunately, drinking water reservoirs and facilities are aging and weren't built to service over 300 million people in the United States. Add the number of illegal aliens to the population and you have a recipe for disaster," said political strategist Mike Baker.
"The causes of tap water contamination are many, ranging from agricultural runoff to improper use of household chemicals and everything in between. Few of us realize the extent or impact of these low level synthetic chemicals in the water we use," said Baker.
"While the standard use in our society of over 80,000 different synthetic chemicals has offered added convenience and productivity in our lives, it has also come at a tremendous price... drastic increases in degenerative disease."
In order to start to address these issues involving drinking water, the US Congress requested investigators and analysts to conduct an inquiry and report their findings to lawmakers.
The analysts from the Government Accountability Office relied primarily on past investigations especially its 2005 and 2006 reports on lead contamination in drinking water, as well as other recent GAO reports examining the nation's water infrastructure needs and strategies to address these needs.
With the introduction of orthophosphate to its drinking water WASA has consistently tested below the federal action level for lead. However, WASA is reevaluating its roughly $400 million, longer-term solution for replacement of what may be 35,000 lead service lines within its jurisdiction.
In addition to the program's high cost, a key problem WASA faces is that, by law, it may only replace the portion of the service line that it owns; replacing the portion on private property is at the homeowner's discretion. "In other words, the government's lack of monitoring drinking water that is distributed through a government-owned plumbing system is now the problem of homeowners in America who already have problems making ends meet. I'm not for big government, but I am for government being held responsible for what they do intentionally or unintentionally," said Baker. [Read entire article at:]
Vast array of drugs in drinking water: AP probe
Lloyd Robinson: CTV News
Updated Mon. Mar. 10 2008 8:08 AM ET
The Associated Press
A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.
To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe. But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.
In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.
Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.
How do the drugs get into the water?
People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.
And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies -- which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public -- have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics and scientists. They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:
Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.
Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.
Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.
A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.
The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.
Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water supplied to Tucson, Ariz.
The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.
The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phoenix, Boston and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.
Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.
The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.
Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on to test their drinking water -- Fairfax, Va.; Montgomery County in Maryland; Omaha, Neb.; Oklahoma City; Santa Clara, Calif., and New York City.
The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.
City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a statement, they insisted that "New York City's drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system" -- regulations that do not address trace pharmaceuticals.
In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise. For example, water department officials in New Orleans said their water had not been tested for pharmaceuticals, but a Tulane University researcher and his students have published a study that found the pain reliever naproxen, the sex hormone estrone and the anti-cholesterol drug byproduct clofibric acid in treated drinking water.
Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va.; said tests were negative. The drinking water in Dallas has been tested, but officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11 security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.
The AP also contacted 52 small water providers -- one in each state, and two each in Missouri and Texas -- that serve communities with populations around 25,000. All but one said their drinking water had not been screened for pharmaceuticals; officials in Emporia, Kan., refused to answer AP's questions, also citing post-9/11 issues.
Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear either, experts say.
The Stroud Water Research Center, in Avondale, Pa., has measured water samples from New York City's upstate watershed for caffeine, a common contaminant that scientists often look for as a possible signal for the presence of other pharmaceuticals. Though more caffeine was detected at suburban sites, researcher Anthony Aufdenkampe was struck by the relatively high levels even in less populated areas.
He suspects it escapes from failed septic tanks, maybe with other drugs. "Septic systems are essentially small treatment plants that are essentially unmanaged and therefore tend to fail," Aufdenkampe said.
Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.
Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe -- even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.
For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven different sites.
In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. [Read entire article at:]
Canadian retail chain pulls plastic water bottles
Mon Dec 10, 8:22 AM
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's largest outdoor-goods chain has pulled water bottles and food containers made of polycarbonate plastic from its shelves over worries about the chemical bisphenol A, which has been linked to cancer and reproductive problems in animals.
Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op became the first major Canadian retailer to stop selling products that contain bisphenol A over fears the chemical can leach from plastic food and water containers.
"Inconclusive science and regulatory uncertainty presently surrounds bisphenol-A (BPA)," the company said in a statement.
"For these reasons, MEC has stopped selling polycarbonate water bottles and food containers until guidance is provided by the Government of Canada on the health risks posed by BPA."
The Canadian co-operative joins U.S.-based Patagonia in dropping the products because of health concerns.
The chemical, which can mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen in cells, has been surrounded by controversy. Some North American researchers and environmentalists have shown it can cause several types of cancer as well as developmental, neural, behavioral and reproductive harm in animals.
Industry says the products are not dangerous, citing studies from government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that food and beverage containers manufactured from polycarbonate do not pose a health risk to humans.
"Rarely has a chemical been the subject of such intense scientific testing and scrutiny, and still, important agencies across the globe agree that there is no danger posed to humans from polycarbonate bottles," said Tom Cummins, spokesman for Nalgene and Nunc Brand Products, which manufacturers the popular Nalgene polycarbonate water bottles.
Besides hard-plastic water bottles, bisphenol A is also used in some baby bottles and the linings of some food cans, including most major brands of infant formula, according to a study co-released this week by Environmental Defence Canada and the Washington-based Environmental Working Group.
"We have study after study showing that this chemical is toxic,... and there are safe and available alternatives that are affordable," said Aaron Freeman, policy director of Environmental Defence Canada.
Canada's health department declined to comment before it releases preliminary results of a review of the chemical's effects next spring.
"We are looking at as much research as we can to make a very science-based assessment," said Joey Rathwell, a spokeswoman for Health Canada.
Norway and the European Union are also reviewing the product. Japanese manufacturers decided voluntarily to stop making products using polycarbonate plastic five to six years ago.
Proposed ban on plastic water bottles in Ontario voted down in legislature
Romina Maurino, The Canadian Press
07 November 2008
TORONTO - A suggested ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in Ontario was struck down in the legislature Thursday amid mixed messages from the Liberal government that left the door open to a possible ban in the future.
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne was among the Liberals who voted against the private member's bill, saying the plan wouldn't allow enough time to ensure clean water is available to everyone who needs it.
"It's not that I think bottled water is a terrific thing, it's that right now we're working with schools and school boards to change the nutritional guidelines .... and bottled water is part of what they use," she said.
"The other reality is that right now there are school boards where there's lead in the water and we're actually supplying bottled water to those schools."
The surprise vote came after Environment Minister John Gerretsen signalled he was open to the idea and was willing to consider all options that would limit waste.
While Gerretsen said he wasn't ready to take a final stance on the subject, he praised the bill earlier in the day for its attempt to cut back on garbage in the province.
"We are considering ... all efforts to reduce the amount of garbage that's being produced, that will entice us to do more recycling, more reusing and more reduction of material," Gerretsen said.
"Any effort like that should be applauded, but we don't want to make any judgments as to what specific actions we're taking because we're in a consultation process right now."
The bill, introduced last month by Liberal backbencher Kuldip Kular and debated Thursday in the legislature, was meant to reduce waste and energy consumption associated with making and recycling plastic bottles, as well as encourage the use of tap water. It received 17 votes against and 10 in favour.
Had it passed, people breaking the law would have faced a fine between $500 and $1,500, while corporations would have had to pay $10,000 for a first-time offence and up to $25,000 for each subsequent offence.
Kular said after the vote that the bill was "dead," but he harboured no hard feelings against the Liberals who voted against it.
"I wanted to create a dialogue, I wanted to raise awareness for these issues," Kular said.
Wynne said she wasn't opposed to the idea of the ban, just its timing.
"I think it's something that's coming," she said. "As a society, we're going to need to develop better ways of supplying water to ourselves.
"But the timing was just not possible for me to support it at this point."
Progressive Conservative finance critic Tim Hudak had said earlier Thursday he was against the bill, arguing the government needs to stop banning things and instead focus on the province's financial woes.
"The real issues we have in the province today are massive job losses, Ontario becoming a have-not province and getting equalization payments for the first time in history," Hudak said.
"And what do Liberals care about? Bottled water bans. They're out of touch."
NDP Leader Howard Hampton had indicated his party would have likely supported the bill, saying that continuing to fill landfills with empty water bottles is irresponsible.
"We either have to return to returnable bottles, or we have to find another way to deal with this," Hampton said.
Several municipalities have already voted to eliminate sales of water bottles at city-run facilities, saying they are a hazard to the environment.
School boards in Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo, as well as city councils in London, Ont., and Vancouver, have all moved to restrict the sales of bottled water.
Toronto is also looking at banning paper coffee cups with plastic lids, and ordering retailers like Tim Hortons to provide 10-to 20-cent discounts to customers who bring their own cups.
Supporters of the ban argue a lot of carbon-emitting fossil fuel is used to produce and transport the plastic bottles, which then end up in landfills. Environmentalists also say tap water is just as good as bottled water in most Canadian municipalities - and much cheaper.
Chicken Dies After Drinking Chinese Bottled Water
Posted by Dr. Mercola
October 04 2007
A member of a Chinese family living on the southern island province of Hainan began vomiting blood after drinking some bottled water, so the family decided to test the rest of the water on a chicken.
The chicken drank the rest of the water from the bottle, and died within a minute, according to the Beijing News.
Authorities in the province were investigating the incident.
The bottled-water mishap adds to the growing safety concerns surrounding products made in China. To date, the safety of Chinese-made toys, toothpaste, seafood, and other products have been in question.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
China is becoming well-known for their toxic foods and other consumer products, like fish raised in raw sewage, tainted toothpaste, and contaminated pet food. Their bottled water, it seems, may also be suspect based on this report.
China is also known for their rampant pollution, and the people in this province may have had no other safe source for their water other than to drink it bottled (which, it seems, was not safe either).
In the United States, people often rely on bottled water for different reasons -- because of convenience, and also because they falsely believe it to be healthier than tap water.
In reality, about 40 percent of bottled water is regular tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.
In addition, the metal antimony (a silvery white metal of medium hardness) has been found in many commercially bottled water brands. This potentially dangerous metal is thought to leach into your water from bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) -- antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst in the manufacture of PET.
Storage temperatures, water pH, or exposure to sunlight could all increase the concentration of antimony leached into your bottled water.
The other major reason why I don’t advocate drinking bottled water is the enormous strain it’s putting on the environment .
You don't need an advanced degree in astrophysics to understand that you were designed to drink water from near where you live. It makes absolutely no sense to waste energy and transport water from half-way around the world when you can process local water to make it nearly as good as any water in the world.
With the price of gasoline rising faster than nearly everyone's paycheck, it has become painfully obvious how much it costs to transport water over long distances. Not only are there wasteful costs in transporting this water, but also enormous amounts of energy are used to create the bottles that store the 50 billion or more gallons of water used worldwide each year.
Then, of course, there is the quandary of what to do with all of those empty bottles.
Sadly, many of them are left to slowly degrade in our environment, where they’re literally turning our oceans into plastic and releasing a deadly mix of plastic chemicals and additives into our food, air, water, and soil.
Sadly, many people in China and other impoverished regions of the world do not have access to clean water, and have no choice but to take their chances with the water that’s available, bottled or otherwise.
If you’re reading this, you must have access to the Internet and are likely fortunate enough to live in an area of the world where you can purify your own tap water by installing a reverse osmosis filtering system into your home.
I have been searching for over seven years to find a water filtration system I can confidently recommend to you. I am still searching and hope to have one in the next four months.
Bottled Water Can Make You Sick
28 July 2007
There is no question that water does the body good. But for those who rely on bottled water, there may be a potentially harmful downside.
"Plastic bottles can contain chemicals like Phthalates and bisphenol A that seep into the water within," said Paula Baille-Hamilton, M.D., Ph.D., in her book Toxic Overload. "These toxins disrupt the endocrine system, interfering with hormonal balance to trigger symptoms like weight gain and fatigue."
To keep your bottled water supply safe, follow these tips.
1. Pay Attention to Expiration DatesToxin levels can climb to 90 percent for water that has been in single-use bottles for over six months, according to a study conducted at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Look for the supplier's date stamp. Some bottlers use a five or six digit line such as "061707" to denote June 17, 2007. Others companies use a "best if used by" date which is two years from the time the water was bottled. To safeguard your health, count back eighteen months from the expiration date and drink water in its first six months.
2. Check the Number of the PlasticTurn over a plastic water bottle and you will see a triangle shaped code. That ‘resin code' reveals the type of plastic used. You are likely to find:
PP5: Polypropylene plastic can easily be molded so it is made with fewer chemicals than other types of bottles. It is the overall safest and works well for refillable sports bottles.
HDPE 2: High density polyethylene has not been linked to leaching. It is often the type of plastic used for gallon jugs of water and other beverages.
PET (or PETE) 1: Polyethylene terephthalate is the manufacturers' most popular choice for single serve water. It is economic and deemed safe for one-time use. However, refilling these bottles may increase the chance that the chemicals will leach out.
3. Water Down Damage and Elements
Both refillable and single use bottles can create weak areas which give toxins like aldehydes and bisphenol A an easy way out, says Dr. Baille-Hamilton. To avoid problems, do not drink from reusable models that bear signs of age or disposable bottles with dings and dents.
Freezing water bottles can create tiny surface cracks, which create a pathway for toxins. And according to Dr. Baille-Hamilton, heat is another factor that speeds up the breakdown of plastic and increases the release of chemicals.
She suggests that any bottle previously stored in a hot car or left outside in the summer sun is tossed. Also, reusable bottles should be hand washed and dried instead of using high-heat dishwashers.
Water still does a body good as long as it is not filled with unnecessary chemicals.
World's Water Supply at Risk
By Kevin Danaher and Shannon Biggs and Jason Mark, PoliPoint Press
Posted on September 26, 2007, Printed on June 28, 2009
The following conversation is an excerpt from the new book Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots (PoliPointPress, 2007) by Kevin Danaher, Shannon Biggs, and Jason Mark. You can read more about the book here.
Maude Barlow is possibly the world's leading expert on water struggles. She is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, that country's largest citizen's advocacy group, with members and chapters across Canada. She is a director with the International Forum on Globalization, a San Francisco research and education institution opposed to corporate globalization. In 2005, she received the prestigious "Right Livelihood Award," given by the Swedish Parliament and widely referred to as "The Alternative Nobel." She has received honorary doctorates from six universities and has authored or co-authored 15 books, including Too Close For Comfort: Canada's Future Within Fortress North America; and Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World's Water (with Tony Clarke). Her most recent book is Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water.Q: What are the greatest threats to local water supplies?
Maude Barlow: First of all, we are creating an ecological crisis by not taking care of our water supplies. Surface waters are being polluted, and we are mining our groundwater at unsustainable rates. At the very time when corporations are privatizing everything, our governments are allowing corporations to move in and take over the ownership of essential resources like water.
So we have a double whammy: Our governments are allowing corporations to pollute our water, and then they are signing contracts with corporations to bring in clean-up technology and make billions of dollars cleaning it up. The very sector of society that is polluting our water is turning around and selling our water back to us. And this is going to be more and more of an issue in the future. We'll be increasingly drinking water that has been polluted by corporations, then cleaned up by corporations, then bottled and sold to us by corporations.
Q: What are some success stories of people protecting their water?
MB: The people of Uruguay held a plebiscite and got enough votes for a referendum in the national election in October 2004 in which they called for a constitutional amendment saying that water is a human right, and they won. The government was forced to change its constitution, and Uruguay became the first country in the world to vote on whether people have a human right to water, and the private companies were forced out.
There have been quite a few successful fight-backs across North America. The city of Atlanta allowed a private company to come in to run its water system, and the city kicked them out two and a half years into a 20-year contract. They said, "Get out. You lied. The water coming out of the taps is brown, and you raised the price. Get out." We kept private water companies from taking over the water systems in Toronto and Vancouver. There's a big movement in the heart of France, led by Danielle Mitterand, the widow of the former French president, Francois Mitterand. She is leading this fight to bring water under public control, and many city mayors of some good-sized towns and cities -- not yet Paris -- are backing her. So even in the belly of the beast, there are some exciting movements.
Q: What about the struggle against Coca-Cola in India?
MB: When you dig deep into Coca-Cola's practices, you see it's really a bad company. They are using military satellite imagery to find clean sources of groundwater and then going in -- often in poor tribal communities -- and setting up a plant and just helping themselves to the water until the water is gone. I call it water mining. We're working with folks in the state of Kerala, India, who have taken the Coca-Cola company all the way to their Supreme Court to fight the way Coke comes in and sucks up massive amounts of groundwater, pollutes it with sweeteners and chemical additives, and then makes huge profits selling this nonnutritious drink to the public. The Supreme Court of India has ruled largely in the people's favor. Yet Coke is still fighting; they refuse to give up. But these grassroots activists don't give up, either. It's been a real successful fight-back against Coca-Cola.
Q: Does it seem to you that the United States and Canada are more, or less, water-conscious than people in other nations?
MB: Individually, we are terrible water-guzzlers. We use a great deal of water per capita through our industrial practices, agriculture, mining, and, in my country, through oil extraction from tar sands. We take a little better care of our groundwater than many Third World countries because we citizens have a little more control; the corporations tend to be from our countries, and we can exert greater influence on them. There is serious pollution -- I'm not suggesting there isn't -- but we don't see the kind of blatant pollution you see in many poor countries. In some countries, the water is foul due to the combination of absolutely no sanitation systems, people using river systems as toilets, to bathe in, to cook in, their garbage dumps, their sewage dumps, everything goes into those open waterways where there's no purification or any kind of water reclamation. As industrial growth and the industrial model moves into the Third World, it's bringing massive pollution.
Also, people are being driven off the land. They are moving into urban slums where there's no water, and they create more of a problem because they are adding to the numbers in the cities that are not treating their sewage. About 90 percent of the sewage in the countries of the global south goes untreated back into waterways, rivers, and oceans. It's a cyclical problem that intensifies as we move from rural sustainable living to urban unsustainable living.
We're creating massive water pollution problems. It's lower in the U.S. and Canada because we've got more money for clean-up and slightly better laws for industry. But water pollution is happening just about everywhere. The only societies where water is still treated sacredly are in ancient tribal societies. Many rural communities in India, China, Africa, and Latin America are still living the way that their ancestors did centuries ago; they aren't creating significant levels of pollution.
Q: Who's using the bulk of the water here in North America?
MB: Most of the water is used by industry and agribusiness, which is also an industry. The industrial food production system uses nitrates, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, which contaminate a lot of water. Intensive livestock operations create horrible pollution. So one of the most important things we can do is to create a more sustainable agricultural system.
Q: Are there any really tough issues that the movement needs to face that you feel we're not confronting adequately?
MB: That's the part of my new book that surprised me the most: the technological takeover of our planet's water system. We have been following very closely the big utility companies like Suez and Vivendi, who run water systems on a for-profit basis. And we have been following the bottled water companies, and those have been the kind of two big ones.
And then we have been worried about major movement of water through pipelines, but we have not been keeping our eye on the whole issue of technology to clean up dirty water, whether that's desalination, water purification, nanotechnology purification. It's going to be the "great white hope," and it's all unregulated and very corporate controlled, and it doesn't surprise me that when you look at the United Nations' millennium development goals on water, nobody is talking about cleaning up polluted water. Because, hey, there's gold in those hills. The more our water becomes polluted, the more precious it becomes. The more desperate people are, the more they will pay for their water, and the more money there is to be made from cleaning it up.
The fastest-growing sector of the private water industry is this high technology water clean-up section of this industry, and we must get a better handle on the whole thing. I think that what we are seeing is a cartel of water that is being created like the cartel that has been created for energy. For a long time now, when there was a find of a new field of oil or gas, some large corporation owned it even before it was out of the ground. I see them doing this now with water, and I call them water hunters. These water hunters move in with one goal: to monopolize control over a precious resource in order to make money.
Q: Are you noticing a greater receptivity to your message about the coming water crisis?
MB: Most definitely. I was in down in Lubbock, Texas, on a local radio station, and this guy called in and said, "I'm a right-wing, diehard, Republican, red meat, conservative businessman. And I think the little lady's right. Water is different. You can't have anyone monopolize it." It was fascinating; he totally had my argument. We didn't agree on anything else, but we agreed on the importance of retaining public control over this vital resource. So that is hopeful.
© 2009 PoliPoint Press All rights reserved.View this story online at:
Where's the water?
26 April 2001
Water. If you've got it, you probably take it for granted. But a quick scan of the globe -- and a chat with the tiny group of researchers who are obsessed by fresh water -- both indicate that water shortages are looming.
And they aren't necessarily in the future, either. Here's what we've read in the past week or so.
... Mexico City (home to 20 million people) is sinking because the city sucks out underground water faster than the aquifer can be refilled.
... Florida wants to refill its overpumped aquifer with untreated surface water, despite federal regulations to the contrary.
... Texas is moving toward private, for-profit water sales. The water will be "mined" from aquifers that are disappearing fast. No word on what the private suppliers, including corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, will do once the aquifers run dry.
... Aquifers around the world are being overtapped for irrigated agriculture, which fills about 40 percent of the global larder.
... The Bush Administration has withdrawn a proposed tightening of the arsenic standard for drinking water. Critics say the old rule, dating to 1942, could allow thousands of cases of cancer and other diseases. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, what's been called the "largest poisoning of a population in history" has 35 to 77 million people drinking arsenic-laced water.
... A showdown is looming over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which originate in Turkey, then water both Syria and Iraq. If Turkey goes ahead with a series of dams, the downriver nations could starve.
You don't miss your water, an old blues sage wisely said, 'til your well runs dry. Down here on planet Earth, the well is starting to run dry. We've seen projections that three billion people -- half of today's population -- will be short of water in 2025.
As we in water-rich countries take our daily showers, water the lawn or laze about in the pool, it's easy to forget that fresh water is a life-or-death issue in many parts of the world.

Of a population of roughly 6.1 billion, more than 1 billion lack access to potable water. The World Health Organization says that at any time, up to half of humanity has one of the six main diseases -- diarrhea, schistosomiasis, or trachoma, or infestation with ascaris, guinea worm, or hookworm -- associated with poor drinking water and inadequate sanitation. About 5 million people die each year from poor drinking water, poor sanitation, or a dirty home environment -- often resulting from water shortage. [Read entire article at:]