Editorial: Messing with our water supply is risky business

Heavy rains threaten Madison lakes with pollutants

MADISON, Wis. – There was an old saying, first in sincerity and later in jest, that went something like better living through modern chemistry.

And yes, scientific discovery of the impact and efficacy of many chemicals has added to the quality of life in many ways. But new knowledge combined with assumptions and overconfidence have combined to create a world of over reliance on some chemicals with unexpected consequences. Unexpected and potentially very dangerous.

A well-reported story in Monday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes how some chemicals that are effective in fighting fires for example are now polluting our groundwater. Other studies have found discarded pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions and lawn care products are getting into our water supply. There’s reason to believe this is all making us sick.

This is not a call for banning anything at this point. But we need more research and we need responsible regulation. Messing with our water supply is risky business. We need to take chemical use seriously.