Emerging contaminants
Much of our drinking water comes from rivers and lakes which have wastewater treatment plants located upon them. These facilities treat the water that is drained and flushed from nearly all American communities. Besides stormwater sweeping contaminants into these waterways, there is concern that our sewage plants are also passing dangerous contaminants into our water supplies. Traditional sewage treatment plants kill pathogenic microorganisms before releasing treated water into our waterways, but there are many other contaminants they are unable to treat or remove. Typical wastewater contains many chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones -many of which remain biologically active after being discarded. These “emerging contaminants” include ibuprofen, caffeine, estrogen, testosterone and drugs that lower cholesterol and inhibit seizures. Hormones such as estrogen appear to alter aquatic organisms, and recent studies show emerging contaminants may be contributing to the worldwide fall in wildlife populations. It is also known that some of these chemicals can disrupt human endocrine systems, causing health problems such as infertility and cancer. Health advocates are also concerned about the effects on people of ingesting mixtures of these contaminants. Our EPA claims the levels of these substances it has detected in our drinking water are not high enough to harm us. However, critics say the effects of long term, low level exposure to these contaminants are not known, especially in regard to fetal exposure and other sensitive populations. Studies have shown the technology exists to remove many of these emerging contaminants with the use of microfilters and reverse osmosis procedures.

Pending Legislation: None

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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