Only weeks ago, we saw rescues of children, mothers and fathers from their homes in Texas and Florida. The dramatic scenes are still fresh in our minds.
And now we are watching the horrific conditions in Puerto Rico as people struggle for the basic needs of food and water.
Flooding from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have devastated many homes and entire neighborhoods. The storms turned streets into raging rivers and backyards into rising lakes.
The immediate concern for many of those people was being saved from drowning after their homes were inundated by the storm surge. We at 4Patriots salute the first responders. As well as the good Samaritans that risked their lives to save others.
Now, the waters have receded. But new concerns are arising for people trying to get their lives back to normal as much as possible.
It’s enough to break your heart. These people have already gone through so much already, and now they have yet another danger to worry about.
Harvey Hammers Houston Hard
The aftermath of flooding is often dangerous water contamination.
According to the Associated Press and other media outlets, massive flooding can stir up toxic chemicals from waste sites. This is what’s happening now in Texas and Florida.
The Houston metro area, for example contains more than a dozen Superfund sites. The Environmental Protection Agency designates these locations among America’s most contaminated places.
Some of these sites flooded. This presented a risk that dangerous sediment would be stirred up. And that’s not good for the quality of water people use for drinking, bathing and cleaning.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Reporters from The New York Times conducted a scientific analysis following the storm. They studied the water in several Houston neighborhoods. They wanted to warn residents of the pollutants and bacteria that might be in the standing water.
Sure enough, what they found was concerning. They saw that the level of E. coli (a sign of fecal contamination from raw sewage) was 135 times the safe limit. Levels of other hazardous metals, including lead, were also raised.
These findings are not surprising, considering the damage done by Hurricane Harvey. More than 560,000 gallons of crude oil, gasoline, saltwater and other contaminants spilled. These contaminants came from wells, pipelines and storage tanks. And spilled into coastal and inland waters. This includes the Colorado River southeast of Austin, Texas.
Two weeks after the storm, 19 public drinking water systems remained inoperable. Those systems serve over 14,000 people. Officials at 77 other systems warned consumers to boil tap water before drinking it.
Irma Sickens Florida Residents
In Naples, Florida, Hurricane Irma destroyed hundreds of homes. Shortly after, a health crisis began brewing there. Families spent day after day in the mud, mold and water left behind by 10 feet of storm surge, according to USA Today.
A 72-year-old man died after wading through Irma’s floodwaters and being treated at a hospital for respiratory failure and internal bleeding. Many people got sick from the toxic storm water as well. Others were even warned of potentially deadly infections.
An 80-year-old man cut his leg on a piece of wood while cleaning up after the storm. Two days later he was in critical condition at an area hospital. He suffered a life-threatening infection that shut down both of his kidneys.
Even children were being hospitalized. Many had infections after spending time in the standing water after the storm.
Puerto Rico Devastated
Conditions in Puerto Rico are even worse after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. One week after Maria left, nearly half of the U.S. territory’s residents still did not have clean drinking water.
Millions are unable to access the power grid. Gasoline for generators and cars is difficult to find. But even more life-threatening is the lack of clean water. A public health crisis is right on the brink of exploding.
“This paradise has turned into hell,” a doctor in Puerto Rico told NBC News. “Pharmacies and supermarkets are starting to close because they don’t have enough diesel supply to keep running, so people are having less and less opportunity to find drinking water and food or supplies.”
That same doctor has two young children himself. He said that even those who are fortunate enough to have running water are concerned it is contaminated.
“We’re boiling the water, and after we boil it, we are filtering it,” he said.
“There’s no water anywhere,” said another resident. “Except the river. And that’s dirty, dirty.”
Water Contaminations Are Everywhere
Extreme weather isn’t the only thing causing water contamination. If it was, maybe some of us in areas rarely affected by the elements wouldn’t have to worry much.
But we see reports of contaminated water almost everywhere these days. Among the contaminants are heavy metals such as lead. Others include arsenic, pharmaceuticals, fluoride – even polio.
Recently, The New York Times published a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. They found that U.S. residents have a one in four chance of having tap water that is either unsafe to drink or has not been properly monitored for contaminants in accordance with federal law.
In 2015, nearly 77 million Americans lived in places where the water systems were in some violation of safety regulations, including the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act.
It’s becoming more and more clear that the government is not able to protect your family when it comes to the water supply.
You must take matters into your own hands if you want to ensure your family always has clean, pure water to drink.
That’s why I’m excited to tell you about a revolutionary new water pitcher our buddy Jeff over at Patriot Health Alliance just released this past week.
It gives you all the convenience of a water pitcher that fits directly in your fridge. Yet it can filter out truly scary stuff that other pitcher brands fall short on removing.
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