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Poisoned Waters

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This should be an eye-opening program.

Tune in Tuesday night,




Click Here for Sneak Peek videos of the program!






Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 8 to 10 P.M. on PBS







More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination.


With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health.


In FRONTLINE's Poisoned Waters, airing Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 8 to 10 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem.


"The '70s were a lot about, 'We're the good guys; we're the environmentalists; we're going to go after the polluters,' and it's not really about that anymore," Jay Manning, director of ecology for Washington state, tells FRONTLINE. "It's about the way we all live. And unfortunately, we are all polluters. I am; you are; all of us are."


Through interviews with scientists, environmental activists, corporate executives and average citizens impacted by the burgeoning pollution problem, Smith reveals startling new evidence that today's growing environmental threat comes not from the giant industrial polluters of old, but from chemicals in consumers' face creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners that find their way into sewers, storm drains, and eventually into America's waterways and drinking water.


"The environment has slipped off our radar screen because it's not a hot crisis like the financial meltdown, war or terrorism," Smith says. "But pollution is a ticking time bomb. It's a chronic cancer that is slowly eating away the natural resources that are vital to our very lives."


In Poisoned Waters, Smith speaks with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who report finding genetically mutated marine life in the Potomac River. In addition to finding frogs with six legs and other mutations, the researchers have found male amphibians with ovaries and female frogs with male genitalia. Scientists tell FRONTLINE that the mutations are likely caused by exposure to "endocrine disruptors," chemical compounds that mimic the body's natural hormones.






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In a study of U.S. streams from 1999-2000 these were some of the commonly detected drugs.


Trimetoprin 27%

Erythromycin-H20 22%

Lincomycin 19%

Sulfamethoxzole 19%

Tylosin 13%


Acetiminophen 24%

Dehydronifedphine 14%

Diltiazom 13%

Codiene 11%

Cimetidine 10%

Ibuprofen 10%


Estriol 21%

17-a-Ethynylestradiol 16%

Cis-androsterone 14%

17-b-estradiol 11%

mestranol 11%


In a June 2008 report on Pharmaceutical and personal care products in Illinois drinking water, the conclusion was low concentrations-no public health hazards-further sampling needed. Deet and Nicotine were two of the most common chemicals found in this study.


In a Publication called ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY there was a report that was issued in 2002. The study was titled Pharmaceutical, Inorganic and other Organic wastewater containaments in U.S.streams hey sampled 139 streams in 30 states, 62 intense AFO[animal feeding ops], 52 intense urbanization,17 mixed land use and 8 minimally distrubed. They found 22 antibiotics, 14 prescription drugs, 5 nonprescription drugs, 15 hormones and steroids and 39 household and industrial substances.

in the chart I saw detergent metalics[primarily the binder in antibacterial soaps and most shampoos], steroids, plastcizers and non prescription drugs were the top four substances.


With the antibacterial soap another thing to consider the is the drug resistant strains that are evolving from it's widespread use.


From what I've read most sewage treatment plants are not equipped to deal with the medicinal drugs and they pass thru untreated.


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On a test lake after 8 consectutive years of study back in 1973, the side that recieved phosphorus developed algal blooms and the side that recieved carbon and nitrogen did not.


If you don't like algae in your rivers use fertilizer with 0 for the middle number as that is how much phosphorus would be in that bag. If you do use phosphorus remember than any runoff from your lawn or excess product swept or hosed into the street will end up in the strom drain system. The strom drains go directly to the river.

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From the Pacific Institute[www.pacinst.org] on bottled water


Over 8 billion gallons of water sold in 2008

17 million barrels of oil needed to produce plastic bottles

Twice as much water used in production of bottled water- Every liter sold= 3 liters of water used

Energy required for production, transportation,refrigeration and recycling = filling that plastic bottle 1/4 full of oil

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I've always felt that drinking bottled water when perfectly good tap water was available was yet another in a long line of examples of our vanity and stupidity.


Tell that to the people living in Crestwood, IL.

A huge news story broke regarding the village allegedly drawing from a well for over 2 decades that contained cancer-causing chemicals.....against a direct order by the IEPA.

All kinds of people were calling into the radio this morning with stories from current and former residents of rare cancers occurring in their own families and in clusters on the same blocks.




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