Like Flint, water in California’s Central Valley unsafe, causing health problems
Fox – While the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, made headlines around the country when the city’s leaders exposed residents to a tainted water supply for almost two years, families living in the Central Valley of California have been struggling without clean drinking water for decades.
Much of fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. are grown here, and the soil has been decimated by agricultural activity – overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, manure from livestock. One result is a toxic soup of nitrates in the area’s drinking water.
Residents in towns along the San Joaquin Valley rely predominantly on pumps and ground water – which is not effectively regulated for contamination.
When pumped up into people’s homes, the nitrates are so dangerous that people are known to get rashes when they shower. The presence of nitrates in the water supply also has been linked to “blue baby syndrome,” which is caused by the decreased ability of blood to carry oxygen – one of the most common causes is nitrate in drinking water.
People turn to buying five gallon jugs to shower with and using 300-gallon tanks of non-potable water for basic needs.
“Generations of people who live here know not to drink the water,” Susana De Anda, a clean-water advocate and the co-executive director and co-founder of the Community Water Center NGO, told Fox News Latino.
“People pay more for this ‘toxic water’ – sometimes as much as $100 a month for water just to shower with. On top of that they’re paying for drinking water,” De Anda said.