The right to drink water

Don’t think what happens in the farmland impacts you in the city? Not interested in taking the time away from Starbucks to go vote on Amendment 1 this coming Tuesday because of it?

Then think on this:

Toledo, Ohio, has had to put out an alert that toxins are present in the water and it can’t be drunk or boiled for use. Yes, not even boiling will make it safe, and will make the situation worse.

What causes this type of toxin? Typically fertilizer runoff from factory farms, or manure runoff from large CAFOs. In this incident, they’re suspected of contributing to a harmful algal bloom (HAB) in Lake Erie.

From the Toledo News Now:

Consuming water containing algal toxins may result in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Seek medical attention if you feel you have been exposed to algal toxins and are having adverse health effects. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. Contact a veterinarian immediately if pets or livestock show signs of illness.

What happened? What is being done?

Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for the Toledo water system may have been impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens.

If Amendment 1 was part of the Constitution after next Tuesday, and an incident like this happened in Missouri, the state could have very little authority to do much of anything about the problem. It is the Missouri DNR that enforces clean water laws related to agricultural runoff in our state.

So think about switching your Starbucks coffee for a nice drink of clean, cool water on Tuesday, and use the extra time to go vote against Amendment 1.

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