contaminated water california

A million people in the Central Valley of California are at risk of drinking water contaminated with TCP, a chemical that some experts say is one of the most powerful cancer-causing agents in the world:

How dangerous is TCP? The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded it’s “likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” and the California water board warns residents not to shower with tainted water because they might inhale the chemical.

Paul Tratnyek, a professor at the Institute of Environmental Health at Oregon Health and Science University who studied TCP for the Defense Department, said few other chemicals match its toxicity.

“Even the slightest amount of TCP in the water would be considered to be a potential health effect,” Tratnyek said.

Despite the concern, there’s no research showing that TCP – a degreasing agent used in the production of plastic products – has caused cancer spikes in specific communities. But people deserve safe drinking water, and now thirty communities in California¬†are suing Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company, who allegedly caused the contamination, to pay for the multi-million dollar filtration process:

“TCP got into drinking water in the Central Valley because Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company saw an opportunity decades ago to take a hazardous waste stream at their chemical plants, put it in barrels and sell it to farmers, who would then inject it into the ground,” [Lawyer Todd] Robbins said.

“That’s how it started.”

Dow has declined to comment on the matter, but Shell released a statement that TCP has been out of use for years and that it was approved by the federal and California governments.

On Tuesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to set a maximum contaminant level in drinking water for TCP.

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Source: NBC News

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