Monday, May 23, 2016

Don’t Triple Amount of Cancer-Causing Chemical Allowed in Water

Target: Florida Department of Environmental Protection Director Jon Steverson

Goal: Reject proposal allowing for three times the amount of a carcinogen to be pumped into water sources.

The currently accepted amount of benzene in Florida’s waters could be tripled due to a proposal put forth by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Benzene is a chemical compound classified as a carcinogen, meaning it’s known to cause cancer in humans.

Multiple Florida politicians and scientists are speaking out against this proposal. Dr. Lonnie Draper, president of the Florida chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, commented that the new allowances are likely the result of a company or set of companies that want to be able to pollute as much as they want–likely from the fracking industry. Fracking companies have been trying to make their way into Florida for years but have been hindered by environmental regulations and resistance from the community.

Benzene isn’t the only concern in this proposal. Arsenic would be allowed to be present in drinking water at 1,000 times the level currently recommended by the EPA, and dioxin, a potent toxin that can cause reproductive and developmental problems, wouldn’t be regulated at all.

Linda Young, executive director of the Florida Clean Water Network, warns that the pollution that would likely be caused by these proposed lax regulations would threaten Florida real estate, tourism, and the seafood industry. The state could throw all that away for the temporary and dangerous practice of fracking.

This is the opposite of what a Department of Environmental Protection should do. Sign our petition to demand that the Florida DEP withdraw this proposal and replace it with one that doesn’t sacrifice the environment for fracking companies.


Dear Mr. Steverson,

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently released a proposal that relaxes the allowable amounts of toxic chemicals like arsenic, benzene, and dioxin that can be pumped into the water. The allowed pollution of benzene is to be tripled and arsenic levels are to be raised to 1,000 times that recommended by the EPA.

Considering the fact that you’re supposed to protect the environment, this is disturbing news. It doesn’t seem coincidental that fracking companies have been trying to get into Florida for years but have been hindered by the state’s environmental regulations, seeing as the process of fracking uses high amounts of toxic chemicals that are forced directly into the ground, contaminating ground water and leaking into rivers and streams.

More pollution in the water would hurt Florida’s real estate and its tourism and seafood industries. You’d think you’d have learned that from the BP oil spill. We demand that you withdraw this outrageous proposal and replace it with one that doesn’t sell out the environment to fracking companies.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: SustainUS