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UK Against Fluoridation

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Students at El Camino Real Elementary School in Arvin, California, attend an assembly to learn about the school's new water filters that help treat arsenic and other contaminants.It has become too risky for tens of thousands of children in the San Joaquin Valley to drink water at their schools due to chronic contamination by chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins.
Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East is worried about water. Not because of the drought—record rains this past winter ended five years of dry times. Rather, East, whose district encompasses the small towns of Avenal and Kettleman City on the San Joaquin Valley's west side, is worried about the safety of the water that the 2,700 students in his school district are being given to drink.
That's because arsenic levels in the drinking water at some schools in the San Joaquin Valley exceed the maximum federal safety levels by as much as three times. And arsenic is not the only threat to schoolchildren. High levels of pesticides, nitrate, bacteria, and naturally occurring uranium also contaminate groundwater in many rural parts of the state.
In East's district, his Kettleman City school exceeds the safe level of arsenic. And for schools in Avenal, the problem is high levels of trihalomethanes, a disinfectant byproduct that forms when chlorine that is used to treat the water reacts with organic matter in the water. Although naturally occurring, arsenic can be dangerous, especially to children. According to the National Institutes of Health, arsenic is a known carcinogen and exposure to arsenic as a child is associated with the higher risk of later developing cancer. And trihalomethanes may also be carcinogenic, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.
"Imagine growing up in a community where you can't drink the water and you go to school and you can't drink the water—that sets you up to think that's the way life is," says Susana De Anda, the co-founder and co-executive director of the Community Water Center, which works on ensuring clean water for all Californians. "Everyone should be able to drink tap water without the fear of getting sick. Those are not the conditions you want to condemn future generations to live in."
In 2015, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health mapped out water quality violations reported to the California Environmental Protection Agency. The researchers found that of the roughly 1,600 public water violations throughout the Central Valley, 40 percent of them were clustered in just four San Joaquin Valley counties—Kern, Madera, Fresno, and Tulare.
"The San Joaquin Valley has the highest concentration of water pollution in schools," says Ari Neumann, assistant director of the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, which works with state agencies and non-profit organizations to expand access to safe drinking water in California, with an emphasis on communities of fewer than 20,000 people. "There are some schools where they've turned off the water because they know of contamination."....................


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