Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) September 27, 2009 -- Homes across America receive Cable TV and Internet, yet communities find it difficult to gain access to useable water. Jennifer Hall-Massey of Charleston, W. Virginia, is forced to rely on drinking water that is brought in by truck and stored in barrels on her porch.
The bathwater is so heavily contaminated with lead, nickel and other heavy metals, it has produced painful rashes, which have caused her youngest son to have scabs on his arms, legs and chest. Many of his brother's teeth have had to be capped in order to replace enamel that has been eaten away.
A lot of people in the neighborhood apply special lotions after showering, because of skin burns.
Instead of real life, the locals feel as they are part of a sci-fi movie. Tests have revealed that the tap water has barium, lead, arsenic, manganese and other chemicals, at levels that federal regulators say could very easily contribute to cancer, damage the kidneys and cause harm to the nervous system.
Hall-Massey and 264 of her neighbours took 9 nearby coal mines to court, charging them with allowing dangerous waste material to leak into the local water supplies. Several of the companies did admit they were pumping illegal concentrations of chemical into the ground. The exact same pollutants that flowed from the taps of the residents.
State regulators however, neither fined nor chastised those companies, though they were infringing on 40 year-old pollution laws.
Chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other industries have breached the pollution laws in America alone, in the past five years. Violations have ranged from failing to report emissions, to unlawfully clearance unacceptable levels of toxins. More than 500,000 breaches have been reported. However, the polluters in large, get off scott free.
The new E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P Jackson, said "Despite many successes since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, today the nation's water does not meet public health goals and enforcement of water pollution laws is unacceptably low".
A recent survey revealed that around one in ten Americans have been exposed to drinking water that fails to meet federal health requirements, or has deadly chemicals in it. This includes exposure to carcinogens in tap water and lethal chemicals in wells. It is thought that uncontrolled wells are more liable to hold contaminants than municipal water systems.
National Resources Defense Council's four-year study disclosed that one third of the 103 brands of bottled water they investigated, had levels of contamination. One brand sampled, that was labeled 'Spring Water', actually came from an industrial parking lot next to a toxic waste site.
The idea of moving to a tropical island where there is fresh air, clean water and organic food is becoming more and more attractive. However, it is a life-style that only a few will experience, such as on the tropical island of Vanuatu.
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