Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found In Water Used To Irrigate Food Crops

Residents living in California’s Central Valley could be drinking and eating crops that are tainted with Cancer-Causing chemicals from near by oilfields. What is scary is that current water-testing procedures would not detect these substances.

According to a scientific report by researches at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; chemical additives used in oilfields are being found in the water that is being reused for agricultural irrigation.

The report identified dozens of dangerous chemicals that are found in the water that is reused by oilfields, which is then recycled into irrigating agricultural fields and recharging underground water supplies in California.  This water can also be used for domestic water supply, including drinking water.

“Many of the chemicals used on oil fields do not have standard analytical protocols for their detection in water, so current water quality monitoring programs are mainly focused on naturally occurring contaminants,” the report noted.

“Given these shocking findings, California regulators should immediately halt the use of oil-waste fluid in any procedure that could contaminate the water we drink or the food we eat,” said John Fleming, a staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity and member of the Protect California Food coalition and Californians Against Fracking. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that people in the Central Valley could be drinking dangerous oil-industry chemicals right now without even knowing it.”




Oilfield wastewater has been used for quite some time now to irrigate food crops in the Cawelo Water District since the mid-1990s. The practice recently spread to the North Kern Water Storage District, and state officials have said they hope to further expand it. But there has been little evaluation of risks posed by the threat of chemicals in such fluid.

Researchers have said that many chemicals used in these oilfields cannot be evaluated for hazards because oil companies have withheld key information. However more than 40 percent of those substances that can be identified can be classified as potential threats to human health or the environment.

“This report shines an important light on a troubling reality—the state of California is allowing the oil industry to experiment on consumers of our food products and the agricultural workers that grow them,” said Madeline Stano, a staff attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. “The report demonstrates that the use of oil wastewater adds serious risks to both consumers and agricultural workers’ health and safety. The state should stop this practice immediately.”

Ten of the oilfield chemicals evaluated by this research team have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as either carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic in humans.

Another issue within a similar realm is fracking. Chemicals are pumped into the ground which then dissolve shale and produce natural gas that is then used for our energy needs. The problem is that these chemicals then leech into the ground water that locals drink. What is unfortunate is that many of these companies fail to inform citizens of the hazards and health concerns that these activities produce; then they get voted for and approved by local government officials, and in turn people get sick. Please stay informed and vote for propositions that keep us and the environment safe. It is up to us to protect our health from greedy corporations.

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