"Some fights you must fight, even if you know deep down that you're going to lose," insists a family practice doctor who devotes time to warning communities about the potential health hazards connected to fracturing (also known as fracking). In a recent post about toxic exposure, we shared worries from researchers about how fracking can lead to sick animals.
Environmental groups have always focused on encouraging individuals and businesses to be responsible when it comes to creating or disposing of materials that may be toxic. Often, media images focus on things such as pollution smoke coming from a factory, or the contamination of lake, ocean and river water which can endanger both animals and humans. In many ways, the effort to raise awareness has done a lot of good. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that toxic chemicals released into the air have been on the decline since 1998. Between 2010 and 2011 alone there was an 8 percent reduction. Similarly, toxic chemicals in water also decreased by 3 percent during the same period. Improved technology in controlling pollution levels in coal based power plants, and reduced emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants is a big reason for the drop.
Have you ever looked at rainwater running into a storm drain on the street and wondered about the pollutants it might be gathering as it flows? A recent case from California which came before the Supreme Court has some ramifications for cities nationwide. The case began several years ago, when environmental groups noticed that stormwater runoff entering the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers was carrying pollutants. The Los Angeles County Flood Control District holds a permit which allows it to direct rainwater into these protected rivers, and this permit states that the runoff must meet cleanliness standards set by the Clean Water Act.
An out-of-state incident highlights another downside of chemical exposure. Of course, toxic chemicals in the air and water can lead to illness among those exposed to it, including people and animals. Since people drive an economy, it's important to note that the health threat to people makes a difference to businesses as well.