Californians increasingly at risk of arsenic poisoning as drought concentrates poison in groundwater

Jul 28, 2015 12:00 AM

As California's drought continues, there is more to people's problems than browning lawns, challenging water conservation efforts and devastation to crops. The latest discovery to plague the parched state is the finding that groundwater - which many residents and farmers are now turning to in larger quantities - contains dangerous levels of the poison arsenic. Exposure to high levels of the poison has been linked to bladder, skin and lung cancers as well as causing birth defects and wreaking havoc on the central nervous system.

Normally, arsenic occurs naturally in water and is so low that its levels are thought to be safe to consume. However, California's drought and subsequent increased reliance on the likes of well water has made its ingestion something that's not advisable. For example, many parents tell their children not to drink the water even if they've been playing outside in the hot temperatures all day. Yes, it's that bad. It's not based on speculation, either. In fact, laboratory tests have even been conducted in some areas with results showing well water to have double the amount of arsenic considered safe.

Mainstream media stays away from the F-word: Fluoride

While this is certainly alarming, just as concerning is the fact that while the mainstream media is reporting on this issue, they are turning a blind eye when it comes to another word that's linked to this problem: the F-word, fluoride.

You see, fluoride also rises as the level of arsenic does; even the World Health Organization (WHO) touches on this in a PDF document which states, "Millions of children are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride through drinking water contaminated from natural geological sources...Like fluoride, arsenic is widely distributed throughout the earth's crust, and is present in almost all waters..." The American Cancer Society also notes that "Just about all water has some fluoride."

It's logical therefore, to conclude that as California experiences elevated levels of arsenic in their groundwater, so too are they facing higher levels of fluoride. However, the mainstream media remains hush-hush on the F-word, not daring to broach the controversial subject. We've heard about the problem of arsenic in the water, but no mention of increased levels of fluoride are uttered.

The many health hazards of ingesting high levels of fluoride

Of course, most of us are aware that there's long been a battle between those who say that fluoride is safe and those who say otherwise, the latter group pointing to the many serious health problems related to the compounds. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fluoride has been associated with skeletal fluorosis, which causes joint stiffness and weakened bones. It can also lead to teeth problems such as staining and pitting.

Furthermore, a partial report from the Harvard School of Public Health found that there was a higher risk of osteosarcoma - a rare cancer - for boys who were exposed to higher levels to fluoride in drinking water. In other areas of research, it was found that people drinking from water containing high fluoride levels had an IQ up to eight points lower than those who weren't consuming higher levels. In fact, in some villages, intelligence levels were on par with borderline mental retardation for those in areas where a lot of fluoride was present in their drinking water.

So, we go back to California's contaminated groundwater.

Arsenic is definitely a concern, but it's not the only one. Fluoride levels are rising right along with the arsenic, but mainstream media simply won't go there. It's too controversial. Instead, they're focusing on just one poison, opting to not introduce fluoride into the picture. Californians need to be aware of this though. Both arsenic AND fluoride levels are unfortunately posing a threat to their health as this terrible drought continues.

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