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What You Need To Know About Toxic Chemicals in Your Neighborhood – #4

Posted in PAHs/PNAs, Perchlorate, Petroleum Contamination (BTEX), Uncategorized, Xylene

By Shawn Collins and Edward Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll and Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Over the last 15 years, many of our environmental contamination cases have started the same way. A family gets the startling news that their water is contaminated with some toxic chemical that they’ve never heard of. Sometimes the news comes in a letter in the mail from a government agency. Sometimes it’s a knock on the door from a government worker. The details are few, but the gist of what the family is told is that some company-perhaps the factory up the street-years ago dumped industrial waste out the back door. Over the years, the chemicals in that waste bled down through the soil, and are now in the groundwater that serves as the family’s supply of water for drinking, preparing food and bathing.

Mom or dad then tries to figure out what to do. They’re scared and angry all at the same time. Their thoughts are: “How could someone do this to us?” “Why weren’t we told before?”

And then there’s this one: “What is this chemical, and what can it do to my family?”

To help families in precisely this unfortunate situation, we’ve compiled short and easy-to-read summaries of the important facts about those chemicals most likely to be found contaminating drinking water. All you need to do is click on the chemical’s name below, and you will find a snapshot of useful information that can help you protect your family. While there are more toxic chemicals out there than we have provided, we are dedicated to updating and adding more toxic chemicals to our list to better help families. If you need any further information, please contact us.

Perchlorate
Petroleum Contamination (BTEX)
Polycyclic/Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs/PNAs)
Xylene

 

 

“Willful” Exposure of Workers to Lead and Other Toxins Demands the Personal Accountability of Company Executives

Posted in Contamination, Government, Lead, OSHA

This is about how to send the right message to a company that is alleged to have willfully endangered the health of workers.

The company is Fraser Shipyard of Superior, Wisconsin.  The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has accused Fraser of exposing 190 welders and ship fabricators to toxic levels of some nasty chemicals, including lead, asbestos, arsenic and hexavalent chromium.  75% of the workers tested had elevated levels of lead in their systems, including 14 who had lead levels up to 20 times the maximum allowable exposure. 1

It’s OSHA’s job to take this seriously.  Because, as we have known for a long time, lead is a toxic chemical, and the health consequences of exposure to lead are quite serious.

The National Institutes of Health say “No amount of lead is safe. Eliminating all lead exposure in our environment is our best course of action.”   Lead exposure has been linked to a number of serious health issues in adults. As a general rule, the more lead you have in your body, the more likely it is you’ll have health problems. 2

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry lists the following health risks for adults exposed to lead:

  • nerve disorders
  • cardiovascular effects
  • decreased kidney function
  • memory or concentration problems
  • brain damage and lower IQ
  • fertility problems
  • anemia
  • increased blood pressure and hypertension
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • increased incidences of essential tremors 3

So this was OSHA’s reaction:

  • Shut Fraser down, at least for a while.
  • Proposed a fine of almost $1.4 million.
  • Accused Fraser of committing 14 “willful” safety violations of exposing a worker to lead
  • Accused Fraser of 5 violations for lack of a lead monitoring program, and failure to implement monitoring and other programs to protect workers against exposure to toxins
  • Issued 10 other serious violations
  • Put Fraser into its “Severe Violators Enforcement Program”—for the worst offenders.1

Fraser has a checkered past, where worker safety is concerned.  OSHA previously cited Fraser in 2000 for exposing workers to asbestos, and for as many as 60 lead violations in 1993.  It has inspected Fraser some 28 times since 1972, concerned about the possibility of similar failures to protect workers from environmental contamination. 4

Willful safety violations are rare; OSHA issues them only when it believes that an “employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”  5

Understand that, for as serious as this OSHA action is, at this point, these are allegations.  Fraser will have the chance to prove its conduct is not as bad as alleged, if it wishes to try.

But what if these allegations are proven?  Or Fraser admits them?  Is a fine—even a very large one—enough?  What will it take to get Fraser’s attention?   What if Fraser’s behavior really is as bad as OSHA has claimed?

Then there is a serious problem with the culture at Fraser.  If proven, charges so serious and comprehensive as these—especially within a company that has a track record of failure where worker safety is concerned—would tell us that the people in charge at Fraser should not be running this company.  Because it is the people in charge at a company that establish its culture.  And so at a very basic level, the people running Fraser would be shown to obviously not give a damn for the safety of human beings.

The health of nearly 200 workers has been threatened; some could suffer life-long consequences from exposure to dangerous chemicals at Fraser.  In my opinion, that demands a penalty more likely than a fine—even a large fine—to shock Fraser into the recognition that life and health is to be respected.

That means that the people who run Fraser should have to pay a personal price.  Specifically: whichever Fraser executives are responsible for worker safety should not be allowed to work at Fraser anymore.  And criminal charges against them should be seriously considered.  If you or I so much as run a red light in our car, we can be charged with a crime, including the reckless endangerment of our passengers and others on the road.  So should it likewise be worthy of a criminal charge if, as OSHA has claimed, Fraser has “willfully” and repeatedly threatened the health of nearly 200 workers by exposing them to toxic chemicals?

If not, then we have regressed back to the 19th century on worker safety.

 

1 http://www.peoplesworld.org/osha-hits-wisconsin-shipyard-with-1-4-million-fine-for-lead-poisoning-of-workers/

2 https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/lead/

3 http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=10

4 http://ehstoday.com/industrial-hygiene/cancer-vessel-inspectors-find-high-lead-levels-fraser-shipyards

5 https://www.osha.gov/Publications/fedrites.html

Naperville Residents’ “Toxic Mist” Complaints Should be Taken Seriously

Posted in Contamination, E Coli, Government, Toxic Mold

Residents in a subdivision of Naperville, Illinois, believe that their recent health complaints, and mold-like staining on their backyard patios and fencing, are being caused by a “toxic mist” spraying off of a fountain in a pond adjacent to their homes.  These resident also claim that they have tested the pond’s water themselves, and found excessively high levels of E Coli bacteria.  (The subdivision responsible for the pond says they, too, have tested the pond water, but that no excessive E Coli was detected.) 1

State and local governments are saying that they might get involved, to see what’s really going.

I say to state and local government:  “What are you waiting for?  Get out to this neighborhood, do comprehensive testing, share the results with the people, and do whatever may be necessary to protect them as soon as possible.”

E coli—if indeed there are excessive levels of it in the pond water—is nothing to play games with.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain types of E Coli bacteria are pathogenic and cause illness. These bacteria can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, 5-10% percent of people with an E Coli infection can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a severe and potentially life-threatening condition which can lead to kidney failure. 2

Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health say that exposure to black mold can cause several health problems, including: nasal and sinus congestion, chronic coughs, sore throats, skin rashes, eye irritation and blurred vision, and that “After contact with certain molds, individuals with chronic respiratory disease may have difficulty breathing, and people who are immunocompromised may be at increased risk for lung infection.” 3

An important clue which tells us that government should get to work quickly here is that the health effects caused by exposure to E coli and black mold are very similar, if not identical, to the health problems experienced by the Rachlitz and Stearns/Sutton families whose homes back up to the pond.  I’ve read nothing, heard nothing, and can think of nothing, that suggests that these families’ health problems, and their possible connection to the “toxic mist”, should not be taken seriously.

So, government should immediately test not only the pond water for E coli and other toxins, but should also test the dark staining on the residents’ patios, concrete, fencing, etc., to see if it matches what is in the pond.  The laboratory reports which show the results of these tests should be expedited (rather than delayed for the customary 2-4 weeks of processing), and shared right away with the residents, along with government’s conclusions about what is in the pond and the residents’ yards.  That’s not to say that government’s conclusions are necessarily right—government, in my experience, has a reflexive tendency to downplay environmental problems, especially environmental problems that it should have found and fixed long ago.  But government’s conclusions are a useful place to start.

Then, if these test results show a real problem, particularly one that may be threatening human health, government can enforce a sensible solution—such as eliminate the pond’s fountains—or the people most unfortunately impacted will be armed with information necessary to help themselves.

But let’s stop all the guessing and foot-dragging.  People are getting sick.  Let’s find out right away if the “mist” is what’s causing it.

 

1 http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/opinion/ct-abn-crosby-bad-pond-st-0731-20160731-column.html

http://abc7chicago.com/health/naperville-residents-claim-retention-pond-is-making-them-sick-/1452728/

2 http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/

3 http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/mold/

JUST THE LATEST REASON FOR AMERICANS TO BE ANGRY AT THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT: Members of Congress Immediately Protect Themselves Against Possible Lead Exposure, While “Regular” Americans are Routinely Denied Environmental Protection 

Posted in Government, Lead, PCE, Pollution, TCE, Uncategorized

Day after day these days, we see expressions of clueless bewilderment from government officials:  “Why are the people so mad at us?”   “Why do they hate us?”  “Why are they so anxious to throw us out of office?”

 There are, of course, a thousand reasons, but none more revealing of what’s broken about our government than this:  While every branch of our government—Executive, Congressional, Judicial—has been working overtime to deny basic environmental protections to American citizens, when these same officials are threatened by contamination in their environment, protection for them arrives swiftly and surely.

Cases in point:

  • The lead-infested water of Flint, Michigan.  The State of Michigan tried to save a few bucks by taking Flint families off of their safe water supply, and connecting them to a water system whose pipes were badly corroded, and spewed dangerous levels of lead into the families’ drinking water.  Even though Congress has the money to protect Flint from the lead, it has again and again refused to do so, threatening many more months and possibly years of lead poisoning of the children of Flint.
  • TCE contamination at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.  Lawyers dispatched by the Obama administration went to court, and successfully argued that military families and their children who had been poisoned by the TCE and PCE-laced water at the Camp LeJeune military base would not be allowed to sue for their injuries.1
  • The fatal pollution from coal-burning plants.  The United States Supreme Court halted enforcement of new environmental standards for coal-burning plants, with the majority of the court refusing even to consider that the new standards would have saved thousands of lives every year, mostly in poor minority communities.2

Now, keep these stories in mind as you consider this:  when, just last week, members of Congress learned that the water in one of their office buildings contained concentrations of lead exceeding the actions levels set by the EPA, they:

  • Arranged immediately to make blood testing—free blood testing– available for them and their staffs, to see if they had been exposed to the lead.  And if lead is found in their blood, no doubt additional, cost-free medical testing and treatment will be at their immediate disposal.
  • Ensured prompt testing throughout all buildings in which members of Congress work, to see if the lead contamination has spread.
  • Made it a priority to find the source of the lead contamination, and fix it. 3

 So when it comes to protecting the lives and health of the poor living in the shadows of coal plants; minorities living in our rotting, third-world caliber industrial cities; or even dedicated service people living on military bases, government officials invoke “cost” and dozens of other reasons to use their power to deprive these citizens of the protection of the very laws the officials have sworn to uphold.  But when it is the lives and health of these same officials that may have been even momentarily threatened, then no expense is to be spared to protect them.

The inescapable message to us from our government officials is this:  “Our lives mean more than your lives”.

No wonder the people are so angry.

1 http://www.rollcall.com/news/Obama-Administration-Moves-to-Deny-Justice-for-Camp-Lejeune-Veterans-234417-1.html

2 http://www.pollutionlawwatch.com/2015/07/life-saving-regulation-of-toxic-power-plant-emissions-declared-invalid-by-us-supreme-court/

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cannon-water-lead-capitol-hill_us_577d0c3de4b0416464113974

Portland Parks Director Needs to “Get” that Lead Contaminated Drinking Water is Dangerous…or Quit His Job!!

Posted in Contamination, Lead, Uncategorized, Water

PORTLAND PARKS DIRECTOR NEEDS TO ‘GET’ THAT LEAD-CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER IS DANGEROUS…..OR QUIT HIS JOB

 A recent review of the Portland Parks and Recreation’s (PPR) handling of high levels of lead contamination in the drinking fountains at the Multnomah Arts Center concluded that the agency failed for years in its duty to protect citizens, especially kids, from the contamination.  In a nutshell, the review found that PPR was aware since at least 2013 that lead levels in the water at several of the drinking fountains were unacceptably high, according to EPA standards, but ignored those results.  The review also found other evidence of PPR’s shocking disregard of the health threats posed by the lead-contaminated water, including:

  • PPR staff’s ignoring of a directive to replace lead plumbing;
  • tests taken in 2015 specifically to determine if there was lead contamination in the water were never analyzed;
  • staff cancelled work orders for the installation of water filters that would eliminate or reduce lead content in the water;
  • April, 2016 PPR records were changed to show that work had been done to remedy the lead problem, but there is no record to show that this work had actually been done.

Read the full article here:  http://www.kgw.com/news/health/deep-rooted-problems-at-portland-parks-rec-kept-lead-issues-quiet-for-years-review-finds/265431423

Perhaps even worse than all of this, though, is the public statement attributed earlier this week to PPR Director, Mike Abbate, who downplayed the significance of lead in the drinking water.  According to Abbate:

“As we look at lead in water and evaluate it as a public health risk, it’s not nearly as significant an issue as other kinds of environmental exposures.” (my emphasis)

What!?  Lead contamination in Portland drinking water is not that big of a deal because it won’t hurt kids as badly or quickly as other toxins!?  Lead contamination should be tolerated…. because there’s something worse?

This sounds like the excuse offered by some industrial polluter from the early 20th century, before the many and serious health dangers from exposure to lead became known.  For the benefit of Mr. Abbate, and the visitors to his Multnomah Arts Center that may be threatened by his apparent ignorance, our National Institute of Health has said this for many years about the dangers of lead in our drinking water and environment:

No amount of lead is safe. Eliminating all lead exposure in our environment is our best course of action.” (my emphasis).

The following health issues in children exposed to lead have been reported:

  • decreased academic achievement
  • decreased hearing
  • lower IQ scores
  • delayed puberty
  • decreases in postnatal growth
  • increases in behavioral problems and attention related disorders

The following health risks for adults exposed to lead have been reported:

  • nerve disorders
  • cardiovascular effects
  • decreased kidney function
  • memory or concentration problems
  • fertility problems
  • increased blood pressure and hypertension
  • increased incidences of essential tremors

(Read about the health risks of lead exposure here:   http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/lead/)

The bottom line here?  Lead in drinking water is dangerous.  Mr. Abbate need to “get” that, ASAP.  Or he needs to step aside, in favor of someone who does.

 

 

 

BROKEN GOVERNMENT THREATENS A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Posted in Government, Pollution

Here’s a good example of why we don’t trust our government.1

A lawyer named Bob Sussman used to work at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC from 2009 to 2013.  While he was at EPA, Sussman was involved in the agency’s decision to seek lower limits on allowable ozone pollution.2  So that there would be less ozone in the environment.  Because ozone pollution is significantly responsible for the climate change that threatens the planet and all who live on it.

Then, Sussman left EPA.  He went to work consulting for some of the world’s biggest polluters, like BP Amoco.

And earlier this year, while working for BP Amoco, Sussman went to EPA, and helped the company argue that the limits on ozone pollution should not be lowered after all, or at least not as much as EPA wants to lower them.

In other words, Sussman got paid by BP Amoco to go to EPA, and argue against the very same ozone rules that he had helped develop when he worked for EPA.

The easiest shot to take here is to say that the standard for allowable ozone pollution should not change depending on who happens to be paying Bob Sussman at the moment—the taxpayers, or BP Amoco.

But this problem is a lot bigger than Bob Sussman.  Sussman would defend himself by saying that he has broken no laws….and the fact that he is right in saying so is the saddest part.  The truth is that our laws and regulations are often made by elected and agency officials who are the future paid consultants to the very companies that are threatened by those rules, and want them weakened. And who better to try to weaken them than the very officials who made them, and know who to talk to in order to get them either completely dismantled or so larded with exceptions that the law is effectively gutted for the benefit of their new client?

So we know who’s on the polluters’ payroll (or is auditioning for the job). Seemingly, anybody with a really important government job in Washington, DC.  But who’s on our payroll?  Who’s actually working for the people who really need the ozone levels lowered?

1 Huffington Post Green – “Oil Industry Gets Help On Undermining Ozone Standards From A Well-Informed Source” (September 9, 2015)

2 Environmental Protection Agency – Ozone (O3) Standards

SAFE, CLEAN WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT: Why “Thirst Project” is So Important

Posted in Contamination, Groundwater, Pollution, Uncategorized, Water

This is about the importance of clean water to sustain health and life; how we as Americans assume (often mistakenly) that we will always have it; and an extraordinary young man named Seth Maxwell who founded Thirst Project, which is dedicated to the simple but powerful idea that clean water is everyone’s right.

We take many things for granted as Americans.  One of them is clean water.  To drink. To cook. To bathe. To wash things.  Clean water will always be there for us…at least that’s what we think.

But many Americans are learning the hard way that what we take for granted can be taken from us.  For example, the drought in California.  The water shortage it has caused is nothing short of frightening.  Not enough water to grow crops, or put out fires.  Not enough water to pipe to communities.  If the drought is not resolved soon—and no one thinks it will be—then California families will find other places to live.  They will conclude that, without water, it is just not safe to live in California anymore.  And so the state that everyone once wanted to live in will be a state that many will want to leave.  For their own safety.

Another example are the water supplies throughout the United States that today are badly contaminated by years of industrial chemical dumping.  These are millennia-old aquifers flowing underground, which, for as long as there have been humans on the planet, have supplied them life-giving water.  But, over the last 100 years, polluting companies have badly damaged these aquifers by dumping millions of gallons of toxins, and allowing them to seep ever deeper into the ground, until they render the water in the aquifer unusable.  Some of these aquifers can be cleaned up—but it will take decades, typically.  Some aquifers, for all practical purposes, will never be cleaned up.  I have worked as a lawyer for many hundreds of families who were devastated to learn that their aquifer had been taken from them by chemical contamination. They had to find another way to try to get clean water.  It is a horrible betrayal of what they thought it meant to be an American.

Yet, for all the unsettling news about our access to clean water here, we are in dramatically better shape than much of the rest of the world.  Beyond the United States, there are an estimated 1 billion people who do not have access to clean water.  1 billion people.  The number is almost too large to even comprehend. Yet, unlike Americans, many of these 1 billion are not shocked or angry to know that they have no clean water.  Sadly, they never had clean water in the first place.  They grew up with no expectation that clean water would be there for them….let alone a belief that clean water was their right.

And so they drink and cook with and bathe in water that is not fit for humans.  Because it is all that they have.  The consequences are as predictable as they are devastating:  for these people, water is not the source of healing and nourishment, as it was intended to be; instead, it is the reason people get sick and die—especially, children.  Children die by the thousands around the world each day for the shockingly simple reason that there was no clean water—or no water at all—for them to drink.

Thirst Project was founded by a man named Seth Maxwell and 7 of his college friends.  They are young people armed with determination, energy, brains and an unflinching passion which recognizes that people everywhere—not just in America—have the right to clean water.  Their noble and ambitious goal is to “eradicate the global water crisis.”  They do it by mobilizing young people—mostly high school and college-aged—to raise money and awareness, all aimed at building fresh water wells in developing countries and communities. As a result of their efforts, Thirst Project is the world’s leading youth water activism organization. One of their projects has focused on Swaziland, a country whose 1.25 million population is ravaged by a lack of access to clean water, which contributes significantly, for example, to the fact the life expectancy is only 48-years-old, and the mortality rate of children under age five is a shocking 80/1000.

In 2012, Maxwell and his Thirst Project partners embarked on a mission to raise $50 million to supply the entire country with clean water.  The entire country.  Which will make a profound difference and save, literally, tens of thousands of lives. Thirst Project is doing its good work through projects in many other countries as well, such as India, Uganda, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Kenya and Columbia.

I invite you to read and learn more about Maxwell and his Thirst Project and to find a way to join them in their important work.  Because once we say—as we must—that everyone else in the world has the same human right to clean water that Americans do, and once we recognize—as we must—the terrible price that is paid when that right is violated, then we realize that there is work to do…and it’s all of our jobs to do it.

What You Need To Know About Toxic Chemicals in Your Neighborhood – #3

Posted in Barium, Chromium, Cyanide, DCE, Ethylbenzene, Uncategorized

By Shawn Collins and Edward Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll and Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Over the last 15 years, many of our environmental contamination cases have started the same way. A family gets the startling news that their water is contaminated with some toxic chemical that they’ve never heard of. Sometimes the news comes in a letter in the mail from a government agency. Sometimes it’s a knock on the door from a government worker. The details are few, but the gist of what the family is told is that some company-perhaps the factory up the street-years ago dumped industrial waste out the back door. Over the years, the chemicals in that waste bled down through the soil, and are now in the groundwater that serves as the family’s supply of water for drinking, preparing food and bathing.

Mom or dad then tries to figure out what to do. They’re scared and angry all at the same time. Their thoughts are: “How could someone do this to us?” “Why weren’t we told before?”

And then there’s this one: “What is this chemical, and what can it do to my family?”

To help families in precisely this unfortunate situation, we’ve compiled short and easy-to-read summaries of the important facts about those chemicals most likely to be found contaminating drinking water. All you need to do is click on the chemical’s name below, and you will find a snapshot of useful information that can help you protect your family. While there are more toxic chemicals out there than we have provided, we are dedicated to updating and adding more toxic chemicals to our list to better help families. If you need any further information, please contact us.

1,1-Dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE)
1,2-Dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE)
Barium
Chromium
Cyanide
Ethylbenzene

 

What You Need To Know About Toxic Chemicals in Your Neighborhood – #2

Posted in Arsenic, Carbon Dioxide, Lead, PCBs, PCE, Toluene, Vinyl Chloride (VC)

By Shawn Collins and Edward Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll and Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Over the last 15 years, many of our environmental contamination cases have started the same way. A family gets the startling news that their water is contaminated with some toxic chemical that they’ve never heard of. Sometimes the news comes in a letter in the mail from a government agency. Sometimes it’s a knock on the door from a government worker. The details are few, but the gist of what the family is told is that some company-perhaps the factory up the street-years ago dumped industrial waste out the back door. Over the years, the chemicals in that waste bled down through the soil, and are now in the groundwater that serves as the family’s supply of water for drinking, preparing food and bathing.

Mom or dad then tries to figure out what to do. They’re scared and angry all at the same time. Their thoughts are: “How could someone do this to us?” “Why weren’t we told before?”

And then there’s this one: “What is this chemical, and what can it do to my family?”

To help families in precisely this unfortunate situation, we’ve compiled short and easy-to-read summaries of the important facts about those chemicals most likely to be found contaminating drinking water. All you need to do is click on the chemical’s name below, and you will find a snapshot of useful information that can help you protect your family. While there are more toxic chemicals out there than we have provided, we are dedicated to updating and adding more toxic chemicals to our list to better help families. If you need any further information, please contact us.

Arsenic (Inorganic)
Arsenic (Organic)
Carbon Dioxide
Lead
Perchloroethylene (PCE)
Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs)
Toluene
Vinyl Chloride (VC)

What You Need To Know About Toxic Chemicals in Your Neighborhood – #1

Posted in Benzene, Contamination, Hydrogen Sulfide, Mercury, Methane, MTBE, Pollution, TCE, Uncategorized

By Shawn Collins and Edward Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll, Jacob Exline and Gregory Zimmer of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Over the last 15 years, many of our environmental contamination cases have started the same way. A family gets the startling news that their water is contaminated with some toxic chemical that they’ve never heard of. Sometimes the news comes in a letter in the mail from a government agency. Sometimes it’s a knock on the door from a government worker. The details are few, but the gist of what the family is told is that some company-perhaps the factory up the street-years ago dumped industrial waste out the back door. Over the years, the chemicals in that waste bled down through the soil, and are now in the groundwater that serves as the family’s supply of water for drinking, preparing food and bathing.

Mom or dad then tries to figure out what to do. They’re scared and angry all at the same time. Their thoughts are: “How could someone do this to us?” “Why weren’t we told before?”

And then there’s this one: “What is this chemical, and what can it do to my family?”

To help families in precisely this unfortunate situation, we’ve compiled short and easy-to-read summaries of the important facts about those chemicals most likely to be found contaminating drinking water. All you need to do is click on the chemical’s name below, and you will find a snapshot of useful information that can help you protect your family. While there are more toxic chemicals out there than we have provided, we are dedicated to updating and adding more toxic chemicals to our list to better help families. If you need any further information, please contact us.

Benzene
Hydrogen Sulfide
Mercury
Methane
Methyl Teriary-Butyl Ether (MTBE)
Trichloroethylene (TCE)