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• Benlate Fungicide
• Chemical Exposure/contaminants/asbestos
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• Environmental Toxins
• Lead Poisoning, Lead Paint
• Soil and Water Contamination
• Toxic Mold
• Vinyl Chloride
• Welding Rod Litigation
Drinking water has elevated contaminants
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Before you grab a glass of water in the City of Watertown, you may want to check your mail. A letter sent to residents tells of an increase in a contaminant in the water called haloacetic acid.
The EPA sets the maximum contaminant level at 60 micrograms per liter based on a running average of four quarterly tests. The city’s current running average is slightly elevated at 62.
Water Superintendent Gary Pilon said, “I’ve been water superintendent for close to 25 years and this is the first time we’ve exceeded a maximum contaminant level.”
Although it’s not certain, the city believes it’s due to repairs made this past summer on the Black River Dam when water levels were lower than usual.
Pilon said, “It probably stirred up more sediment in the basin than normally we would have stirred up and we sincerely believe that’s what caused the little bit higher readings that we obtained this time around.”
Asbestos is the name for a group of minerals that was once popular as insulation and fireproofing in a variety of industrial applications. The mineral’s tiny fibers are now known to stay in the body when inhaled, causing a host of deadly diseases, including asbestosis, a chronic and incurable lung inflammation, and mesothelioma, a deadly form of lung cancer. Symptoms may not manifest for decades after asbestos exposure, which can occur through jobs in mining, manufacturing and construction as well as through living or working in older buildings. Asbestos was known to cause health problems as early as 1906; it was confirmed to cause lung cancer in 1955. Scientists estimate that 27.5 million people in the United States were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1979. read more
Soil and Water Contamination
Soil and water contamination arises when a chemical that does not degrade naturally gets into the environment. It may be spilled, leaked or improperly disposed of. When groundwater is contaminated, families and businesses that depend on wells for water are exposed to the chemical every time they drink, cook with, bathe in or otherwise use their water. Soil contamination happens when water deposits a chemical in the earth, allowing exposure through skin contact, inhalation of dust and eating vegetables grown in the contaminated ground. Likely sources of contamination include gas stations and refineries, factories and plants, dry cleaners and rail yards. It is impossible to list all the possible side effects of such contamination, but they include cancers, neurological damage, liver and kidney damage, and birth defects.
Toxic mold, sometimes called black mold, is a term used to describe a variety of fungi that can grow indoors. Despite the names, the mold comes in many colors and is not itself toxic; rather, it releases substances called mycotoxins that can cause toxic reactions, including flu symptoms, respiratory problems, headaches, skin irritation and cognitive problems. Mold also releases spores that commonly cause an allergic reaction in humans, and can less commonly cause a fungal infection of the sinuses, digestive tract, skin or lungs. It can live on drywall, wood and carpets and is exacerbated by darkness and poor ventilation. Toxic mold is more common in buildings constructed after the 1970s, which are more airtight, and is more likely to occur in buildings with persistent water leaks or flooding. read more
Vinyl chloride is an industrial chemical used mainly to make polyvinyl chloride, a plastic used in thousands of consumer products. Vinyl chloride itself was once used in aerosol spray propellant. Inhaled in amounts large enough to smell, vinyl chloride has an effect similar to drunkenness, causing dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness. Unlike alcohol, vinyl chloride causes a variety of cancers, including a particularly virulent liver cancer called angiosarcoma of the liver. Other health effects include liver damage, Raynaud’s Disease (which damages blood vessels to the extremities), decreased blood clotting and birth defects. Occupational exposure is a risk for anyone who works in a vinyl chloride or PVC plant; those who worked in beauty salons using aerosol hair sprays before 1974 may also be at risk. read more
Creosote is the catchall name for several substances, including wood creosote, coal tar, coal tar creosote, coal tar pitch and coal tar pitch volatiles. Its main use to humans is as a preservative treatment for wood; it is near-ubiquitous in outdoor telephone poles and railroad ties. However, coal tar products are also used in roofing, pavements, metal refining, and to treat psoriasis and head lice. Exposure to large amounts can cause chemical burns on the eyes, kidney and liver damage, even death; long-term exposure to small amounts is known to cause eye and respiratory damage, skin cancer and cancer of the scrotum. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has said that coal tar is carcinogenic and creosote is probably carcinogenic. Creosote is heavily regulated in the European Union. read more