Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into
normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These
incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come
and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more
which I can’t include. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there
were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone.
These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”
TomCat has written more than once about exploding oil trains, and I think I have
posted a site through which one can determine just how close one lives to the rails on which these trains move. Through it, I learned that my home is indeed in the ‘blast zone,” so that if a train were to explode just by my street, I would be toast, literally.
But, as the EPA prepares to further destroy our air, our water, our land, our oceans, and all living things contained therein, this risk begins to shrink to a relatively minor consideration. To take me out, an oil train would have to explode opposite my street, plus or minus about a mile either way, and I would have to be home at the time (that of course is fairly probable, but not certain.) But there is another risk which not too many people know about, partly because information on it given to the public was deliberately faked and knowingly used by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under the leadership, at the time, of Kathleen Hartnett White. That issue the issue of radiation in public tap water. Ms. Hartnett White, incidentally, was recently nominated by Trump (the nomination has since been withdrawn) to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Radiation in drinking water affects not just people who live within certain small radii, but everyone who lives within a system where the water is radioactive. It doesn’t kill as fast or as certainly as being consumed in a puff of flame, but it does kill over time. And one doesn’t have to be “at home when it happens,” because it is happening constantly, and anyone who drinks water is subject to its effects.
AlterNet recently covered this story with material from Environmental Working Group, including links to their Tap Water Database (which contains information on pretty well every contaminant you can think of as well as some you have never heard of), and their interactive map, which just locates radium (which is the most common radioactive element found in water.) Either will also link you further to information on filters that work and how costly they are. You can limit your search based on the kind of filter you are interested in and based on the contaminant or contaminants you are concerned about.
I wouldn’t look up everyone’s water department for you, even if I had all your addresses, because I’m sure you wouldn’t want them published. So I’m showing, as I did for the blast zone, my own. But the map’s not that tough to use. Bigger dots serve more customers. Darker dots have more radium. If you can’t get the mouse to give you the right pointer, you can put your Zip code in instead of clicking.
Bear in mind that
[F]ederal drinking water standards are based on the cost and feasibility of removing contaminants, not scientific determinations of what is necessary to fully protect human health. And like many EPA tap water standards, the radium limits are based on decades-old research rather than the latest science.
EWG prefers the guidelines set by the California Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment to the Federal guidelines. Although not legally enforceable, they are at least calculated based on actual cancer risks. California looks at two isotopes of radium separately, which the EPA does not. It looks to me, however, like the radium from my water utility is running somewhere between twenty and a hundred times what California recommends. I have a household reverse osmosis filter, though, and even though it comes in already filtered, I run it through the refrigerator filter anyway if I plan to drink it. Or cook with it.
I’m not going to point any finger at any states over this – all fifty states have water systems with radium. Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, and staff, you will have plenty to do. If you should get bored, however, you can always look at lead.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 HERE.