A recent article from americanrivers.org explains exactly how water pollution can have devastating effects on wildlife.

A brown trout with two heads has been found in the polluted creeks in southern Idaho. Large quantities of the metal Selenium has been found to be the culprit here. This toxic substance can enter our waterways from numerous actions; phosphate mining, coal burning, and mountain top removal. Selenium is one of the toxic parts of coal ash, which is quite pervasive due to the extensive number of coal power plants still in existence.
mutated trout
While water pollution invariably will effect fish first, the effects of large amounts of substances like Selenium can be easily damaging to people as well. It has been linked to circulation problems, hair loss, increased risk of cancer, walking issues, and reduced reflexes, to name a few dangers. It is not difficult to determine that large quantities of any given metal in our waterways can have extremely detrimental effects on life in general.

Unfortunately, the EPA has found that quite a few states have dangerous levels of toxins in many of their rivers and creeks. Polluters need to wake up to the fact that this is not just a problem for fish and other wildlife. This affects all life.

Can we get the energy that we need and the products that we want without polluting our water supplies? Yes, we can. It is obvious that business cannot continue as usual. We need a major shift in how we think about our interactions with our environment and ultimately a concerted effort in putting those ideas into action. This will definitely disrupt many parts of our antiquated energy industry. This needs to happen.

In the meantime, it is best to assume that the water that you come into contact with is not as pure as it should be. If you are lucky enough to live in a major city in the U.S. or other first world nation that has been able to provide safe water to its residents, then good for you. The question remains, however, is it good enough? Many people decide not to take any chances. They have installed the best water filter that they can find in their homes to make sure that they are getting the cleanest water possible. After all, we cannot all live next to pristine mountain springs.

I am hopeful for the future. Corporate polluters will eventually be held accountable. They will either be forced to change operations or they will finally realize that it is in their best interest, along with the rest of the planet.

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