The resource of the moment is, of course, oil. But journalist Charles Duhigg has brought an overlooked, widely used and highly contaminated resource to the forefront: Water.
We often hear discussions about water as being a major issue in third-world countries. War lords controlling the flow of water to citizens, people walking miles to get potable and safe drinking water. It's not unrealistic to assume that perhaps the next major war will be over water. Not to diminish these very real problems, but Americans should also worry about what comes out of their tap.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, water is tested and filtered for 91 contaminants. Yet, there are far more that exist in the water that WE drink. "Yet, more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States" according to the EPA, writes Duhigg. During testing of water samples, on chemical, arsenic, has been found at cancer-causing concentrations.
There clearly needs to be a revision to the Act and more stringent actions taken by the EPA. I'm not fine with even "acceptable" levels of arsenic and other harmful chemicals in my drinking water. We all have an obligation to do what we can to preserve a very precious and increasingly finite resource, whether we pay for our drinking water, are able to tap it from spring-fed wells, or travel miles to get drinkable water.
Pesticide run-off, residue from plastic pipes, illegal and legal dumping into sewer and treatment plants. Individuals need to stop their out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality and realize they are poisoning their water systems. Just because the government didn't tell you that something was "bad," doesn't common sense dictate, for example, that even a little bit of arsenic isn't acceptable, and that, perhaps, at the individual level, people should be more mindful of water use and disposal?
Click here to listen to Duhigg on "Fresh Air" yesterday.
Also, check out this trailer for "Flow: For the Love of Water," an incredible documentary released in 2008.