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  • Writer's pictureTap Water Facts

Pesticides Are Leaching Into The Ground Water of Millions of Americans

Guess what? They are literally designed to be toxic. That’s the entire purpose of pesticides and herbicides. They’re meant to kill insects and weeds so that big corporate farms can get a bigger crop and of course even bigger profits. And they leach into the ground water of millions of Americans. How?

Normal surface water runoff can allow pesticides to make their way into lakes and reservoirs, as many pesticides are used for surface treatment on farms, nurseries and golf courses. Water penetration into the ground from rain and snow melts can carry the pesticides deeper into the soil and into underground water supplies .Improperly dumping of these chemicals and accidental spills can result in water contamination. Excessive or improper application of pesticides can impact the drinking water.  For example improperly applying insecticides for termites on a property with a private well.

The health effects of pesticides are as wide ranging as the number of different chemicals used in their manufacture, as well as the amount of exposure a person has with the pesticide. Short term high exposure can result in vomiting, stomach pain, eye irritation, acute gastrointestinal distress, headaches dizziness and even seizures. Lower level long term exposure has been tied to liver and lung cancers and genetic mutations.

Pesticide contamination of groundwater is a subject of national importance because groundwater is used for drinking water by about 50 percent of the Nation's population. This especially concerns people living in the agricultural areas where pesticides are most often used, as about 95 percent of that population relies upon groundwater for drinking water. Before the mid-1970s, it was thought that soil acted as a protective filter that stopped pesticides from reaching groundwater. Studies have now shown that this is not the case. Pesticides can reach water-bearing aquifers below ground from applications onto crop fields, seepage of contaminated surface water, accidental spills and leaks, improper disposal, and even through injection waste material into wells.

Pesticides can be removed from drinking water by reverse osmosis or granulated activated carbon (GAC) filters. Reverse osmosis works by forcing the water through a membrane that allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger ions or molecules, such as ones associated with iron, lead or pesticides.

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