Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Letter to the Editor Published Today

The Provincetown Banner published my latest letter to the editor, a follow-up to an article on Silent Spring Institute's recent testing of Cape Cod well water, including wells in Wellfleet. In case you do not have access to the newspaper, I'm reprinting it below:

Thanks for the update on Silent Spring Institute’s latest tests on well water.

So, on the Outer Cape, we are drinking acesulfame, a chemical that is 200 times sweeter than sugar? (Reporter) Rich Eldred wisely remarks that “repeated exposure, every time you take a drink, is different than being exposed just once.” Acesulfame can be found in foods such as low-fat yogurt and ice cream, soft drinks, gum. Chewable and liquid drugs also contain acesulfame. It does not break down in our bodies. Pee it out or wash some down the drain, and it gets in our water. While approved by the FDA, critics believe there may be potential threats to health. There’s no proof acesulfame causes cancer or leukemia, but I, for one, am not too happy to be drinking it. My father got bladder cancer from consumption of saccharine, another supposedly safe sweetener.

The SSI tests also revealed perfluorines. Persistent organic pollutants, they “stick” around. If you still use Teflon pans, you are contributing to the problem. PFCs also line pizza boxes and popcorn bags. They are sprayed on clothes and furniture to prevent stains. The EPA has labeled PFCs a “likely carcinogen.” They have been detected in the blood of 98% of Americans tested. I really don’t want to drink these chemicals either.

What I retain from this article is that septic systems are not designed to remove toxic chemicals. If we want to drink pure water, we should use a carbon filter. We also need to become more aware of the increasing need to protect our sole-source aquifer. What we put in the ground, we will consume.

SSI did not detect any endocrine disruptors. This is good news, but the situation may soon change if NStar is allowed to proceed with its plan to spray four herbicides under the power lines. Emerging science indicates endocrine disruptive chemicals can affect humans at lower doses than previously thought.