The chemical composition of water is H2O, but the cultural composition is more like H2 uh-oh.
It appears we are the only species stupid enough to systematically poison ourselves.
We all know there is fluoride in the water, put there to ward off dental decay. It’s a mass prescription for mass consumption and essentially a toxic waste product routinely fed to humans through their taps.
In 2006, the National Academy of Science completed a 450-page study for the Environmental Protection Agency and found that the current standards for fluoride are not protective of the safety of Americans. Earlier, the House Committee on Science exposed gross inadequacies in the testing of fluoridation in our water. And still many of us get our dose with every turn of the faucet.
And while we’re questioning fluoride, notice that our dentist has us “swish” and spit, but we ingest our fluoridated tap water. Isn’t that a bit like drinking sunscreen to prevent a sunburn?
Then there’s chlorine, put in the water supply once the volume of sewage overwhelmed our waterways and treatment plants. But no amount of chlorination can kill off all the new products that our treatment plants were never designed to filter. Anti-microbial soaps enter the water, yet our treatment plants rely on microbial action to detoxify the water. There’s paint, fingernail polish, hair dye, every kind of chemical, rubber debris from our tires hitting the road, asphalt sweat from our rooftops and even pharmaceuticals.
The rivers in Germany were tested and found to have enough pharmaceuticals in the water to allow therapeutic doses of Lipitor and estrogen, along with six other frequently prescribed medicines. But if that upsets you, no worries. There was also enough Prozac in the water to cheer you right up. Hospitals and pharmacies have to make special efforts to discourage the public from flushing old prescriptions down the toilet. Perhaps the pharmaceutical companies can pay for it – they’re the ones that sell us too much of what we didn’t need in the first place.
We use detergents to cut grease on our dishes and clothes, never stopping to think that the slimy scales of fish and the waxy coat on kelp will be “cut” as well. That’s bad enough, but the products are over-designed, made to cut through the toughest grease and erase the worst stain. How is it we clean so well while at the same time dirtying the planet?
Then there’s 100 million tons of fertilizer entering our oceans each year, and 53 billion gallons of wastewater spilling into our rivers from the textile industry alone. In Kentucky, a coal operation spilled 300 million gallons of coal sludge into the Coldwater Creek. That’s 30 times larger than the Exxon oil spill in Alaska.
Regulations are not keeping us safe; they are merely keeping us from being poisoned all at once. Maybe what we need is those robots from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” They were called MISPWOSOs because they worked in the Maximegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious. The big corporations insist the health danger from our water is inconclusive. The robots could convince the corporations that what we want is surprisingly obvious. We want conclusive water.
Joy Colangelo’s is an occupational therapist in Monterey, Calif., and author of “Embodied Wisdom: What our anatomy can teach us about the art of living.” She can be reached at bellpg@AOL.com.