(NaturalNews) Our most precious natural resource, clean water, is threatened by the continued environmental release of toxic chemicals from heavy industry, which includes the factory food industry. Four of the top 10 worst polluters in the U.S. today, according to a new report, are food manufacturing companies, with chicken giant Tyson Foods topping the list as among the worst, releasing more than 18 million pounds of toxic waste into the nation's waterways annually.
The Environment America Research and Policy Center is sounding the alarm about this travesty, warning that if something isn't done to curb the problem now, millions of Americans will suffer from a lack of clean water. The group is pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore Clean Water Act protections that will safeguard against the unmitigated release of harmful waste into rivers, lakes and other sources of freshwater in the interest of public safety.
According to the group, more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals are released into the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other precious watersheds across the country every year. In addition, nearly 10% of this waste is dumped by food companies, such as Tyson Foods, which routinely unleashes heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic, as well as toxic nitrates from its chicken processing plants into rivers and the groundwater.
Cargill, Perdue Farms and Pilgrims Pride among top U.S. polluters
According to the report, Tyson Foods is responsible for the bulk of the toxic waste released by the food industry at large, clocking in at more than 18 million pounds of dumped waste annually. However, other major industry players are also heavy polluters, including corporate food giant Cargill, which as you may recall spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat California's Proposition 37 ballot measure that would have mandated the labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
"Of the top 10 parent companies by total pounds of toxics released, four are corporate agribusiness companies (Tyson Inc., Cargill Inc., Perdue Farms Inc., and Pilgrims Pride Corp.)," explains Environment America.
"Corporate agribusiness facilities ... were responsible for approximately one-third of all direct discharges of nitrates into our waterways, which can cause health problems in infants and contribute to 'dead zones' in our waters."
These are astounding figures that show just how damaging these companies are to our nation's environmental health. If you eat at places like KFC and McDonald's, both of which source their chicken from Tyson Foods, you are inadvertently supporting this continued destruction of our natural environment, not to mention the health of our children.
"Nitrates are toxic, particularly to infants consuming formula made with nitrate-laden drinking water, who may be susceptible to methemoglobinemia, or 'blue baby' syndrome, a disease that reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body," adds the report. "Nitrates have also been linked in some studies to organ damage in adults."
Voice your support for Clean Water Act protections to preserve the quality and safety of America's water supply
In order to address this ongoing problem, Environment America is calling on the EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections that will preserve more than two million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands across the country from continuing to serve as toxic dumping grounds for corporations. For too long, polluting industries have gotten away with abusing the environment for their own financial gain, resulting in more than half of America's streams becoming compromised.
You can support these efforts by contacting the EPA and urging the agency to restore Clean Water Act protections against polluting industries: