Texas Groups Demand Better Arsenic Warnings
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
AUSTIN, Texas - Environmental groups want the federal government to tell Texas officials to do a better job of warning thousands of people their water is poisoned with arsenic.
The Environmental Integrity Project issued a study in March showing since 2006, some 65 Texas community water systems have exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency standard for arsenic levels.
Tom Pelton, director of communications with the group, says despite its report state officials continue to tell the affected water customers that they are in no danger.
"TCEQ, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, they've been kind of blowing off the issue, which was the problem originally," says Pelton. "They kind of say, 'Oh, it's not a problem. Don't worry about it.' And that's very much like Michigan, how they responded to the drinking-water crisis in Flint."
When asked to comment, a TCEQ spokesperson minimized the dangers of arsenic exposure beyond federal standards and said the agency is following EPA procedures for notifications.
According to the study, prolonged exposure to arsenic is linked to lung and bladder cancers, neurological problems, and other illnesses.
Pelton says the EPA safe standard for arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion, but the 82,000 people who use the affected systems are drinking water with levels exceeding the limit.
Most of the affected systems serve small, rural communities, but some have as many as 5,000 customers.
"We had communities where people are drinking eight times the legal limit of arsenic in their water," says Pelton. "And yet the state was sending them notices basically saying, 'You do not need an alternative drinking supply. This is not an emergency.' So, it's kind of a mixed message; 'Yes, there's an arsenic violation, but go ahead and keep drinking the water.'"
In addition to the Environmental Integrity Project, groups signing an April 4 letter to the EPA include Environment Texas, Public Citizen, the SEED Coalition, the Texas Campaign for the Environment and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
get more stories like this via email
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …
Health and Wellness
By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …
SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…
HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …
Health and Wellness
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …