[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
46°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 19
1803 - Indian family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]


Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Apr 13, 2014

DianneErskineHellrigelHave you ever wondered what the byproducts of mining might be? We hear of “black water” still coming from 200-year-old abandoned mines and entering our groundwater. Black water is leaching out of old mines in the Eastern Sierra and joining up with some of our imported water.

But, what could be in this stuff?

Among other poisonous compounds, the process of mining can release arsenic, cadmium, copper, cyanide, lead, mercury, selenium and zinc in toxic levels. Often, by the time it reaches our groundwater, these poisons are considered to be at a tolerable level. But just how much of a substance like arsenic is OK to drink?

The government says 10 parts per billion is OK. Not on my table. I don’t want ANY arsenic in my water.

ArsenicIn 2001, the government changed the amount of allowable arsenic in well water. The old figures were 50 parts per billion. It was reduced to 10. As a result of this change, 38 percent of the existing wells were out of compliance in California alone.

Consider that you might be getting 10 parts per billion in your tap water. But consider too, that plants such as rice, which grows in flooded fields, can also absorb arsenic and other poisons from the water it is grown in.

It has been shown that rice kernels also contain arsenic. It has recently been proven that ingesting even a small amount of arsenic can lower your IQ. (So, that explains it.)

Let’s just stick to arsenic for today. The other poisons have similar stories to tell.

What exactly is arsenic? It is an element. It is a metalloid. It’s symbol is “As.” Its atomic number is 33. It is used as a poison, it conducts electricity, and it is used in semiconductors.

Signs of arsenic poisoning.

Signs of arsenic poisoning.

Our society needs to mine minerals and metals for everything from cellphone towers to engagement rings. There is no doubt that without mining, we could not progress as a society. Nearly everything we use on a daily basis contains products that were mined. But we need to regulate the location of mines to keep our population safe from harm.

Let’s look at the proposed Cemex mine in the Soledad corridor as an example. It is situated fairly close to the far eastern portion of Santa Clarita. Dust from this mine could spread over a wide area, affecting many people in the closest housing tracts. They will have the greatest exposure from residual dust, noise pollution and water pollution.

Ranchers who rely on ground water will also have to test for heavy metals continually. The proposed mine is practically on top of the Santa Clara River. The headwaters run year ’round. Imagine the amounts of heavy metals being extruded by the mine and ending up in the river, and hence in your ground water.

The average concentration of arsenic in the water is 1 part per billion. However, in mining areas, it can be 1,000 parts per billion. Hello, Cemex.

Not only will the byproducts of mining affect us, but they will affect the endangered species in the area, as well. The river is home to multiple endangered species including the unarmored threespine stickleback, Southwestern pond turtles and least Bell’s vireo, to name a few.

And don’t fool yourself by saying you see no water in the river. Even if there is no surface water, the river is running beneath the sand. And it will be depositing more and more heavy metals if the mine goes forward.

The question is not, “Do you want to have arsenic in your cocktail?” It is, “How much arsenic would you like in your cocktail?”

Even without a local mine spewing its poisonous dust, arsenic occurs naturally in water. If you’re using tap water – or bottled water that originates from tap water – you should use a water filter. It will help get rid of heavy metals.

A plant in Fallon, Nev. How much arsenic is in it?

A plant in Fallon, Nev. Looks nice, but how much arsenic is in it?

I use a water filter for all of my bottled water. Why? Places like Fallon, Nev., have been known to have a high concentration of arsenic in their ground water – and it’s not even a huge metropolitan city. The Verde River in Arizona also has exceeded its .01 levels of arsenic. But high levels of arsenic can even be found in the Appalachian mountains.

Arsenic is considered highly toxic. Aside from death by ingestion, other maladies caused by arsenic are lung-skin-bladder-liver-kidney and prostate cancers, damage to blood vessels, darkening of skin, breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting. In areas where the concentration is high, bioaccumulation can occur in species such as fish and shellfish.

Know where your fish comes from. Know where your other foods and water come from. Third-world countries like India and Bangladesh have excruciatingly high levels of heavy metals in their bodies of water. Filter your water. If you rely on groundwater, have your water tested for heavy metals.

This article is not meant to scare you, but to enlighten you about the existence of heavy metals in your environment, your food and your water. Arsenic in drinking water can impact our health. It is one of the biggest causes of cancer mortality in the world.

Do a little testing now and then, and live a longer, happier, healthier life. Cheers.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. If you’d like to be part of the solution, join the Community Hiking Club’s Stewardship Committee. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
There was broad public support for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development and the environment. Now the federal government is rethinking it - putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early. Medicare covers a glaucoma test once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter SCV Group Chair Sandra Cattell urges Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact their congressional representatives to push legislation to kill the Cemex mining project in Soledad Canyon.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin highlights the city's customer service efforts in his message for February 2018.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
If the Department of the Interior is successful in destroying this national monument, the next one slated for destruction is Grand Staircase-Escalante, then Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument along the California-Oregon border.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Here’s what is happening on February 24: a rally to organize students in the Los Angeles Unified School District "against" the highly effective Los Angeles School Police Department.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
NextSCV, newly rebranded from SCV Emerging Leaders, will host a behind-the-scenes tour of the Princess Cruises world headquarters in Valencia, followed by a mixer at The Dudes’ Brewery, on Wednesday, February 28.
Feb. 28: NextSCV Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Princess Cruises HQ
The Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation has added three new members to the board of directors -- Don Kimball, community president at FivePoint; Tracy Lawrence, MD, director of Emergency Services, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital; and Robert Stern, CPA, Stern, Kory, Morgan & Sreden.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation Adds 3 to Board
Hollywood Boulevard will be closed for the Oscars between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive from 10 p.m. on Sunday, February 25 to 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
Hollywood Blvd. Closed for Oscars Feb. 25 to March 7
Westmont scored a 54-41 home win over The Master's University women's basketball team Saturday night, as the Mustangs scored the fewest points in a game this season, shooting just 31 percent from the floor.
The Master’s Can’t Find Groove in Santa Barbara
The TMU Mustangs rallied from a deficit late Saturday afternoon to beat Hope International 4-3 in the nightcap, completing a series and a doubleheader sweep of the No. 8 Royals.
Mustangs’ 4-3 Comeback Sweeps Royals in Closer
Josh Robison slugged a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and No. 14 The Master's University rallied from a three-run deficit to beat No. 8 Hope International 7-6 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Robison Rallies Mustangs Past Royals in Opener
Farmers Insurance agent Jon Albert will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of his new Santa Clarita office on Tuesday, February 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Feb. 20: New Farmers Insurance Agent Hosts Grand Opening
The Mustangs opened the second half of their 101-82 win at Westmont College on Saturday with a flurry of steals and blocks and buckets, which helped TMU claim at least a share of the first GSAC title in program history.
Mustangs Claim Share of 1st GSAC Title in Program History
CSUN's fifth annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics will feature respected scholar Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, who will examine issues surrounding reconciliation and forgiveness in his talk at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino on Wednesday, March 14 starting at 7:30 p.m.
March 14: CSUN Amado Lecture to Explore Forgiving the Unforgivable
A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a 32-year-old Texas man accused of carrying out a five-day, 2 million-email attack on the Los Angeles County Superior Courts computer system in July 2017.
Feds Indict Texas Man in LA County Court Email Hack
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host live Oscars viewing parties in New York and London for its members and invited film industry guests on Oscar Sunday, March 4.
March 4: Academy to Celebrate Oscar Night in New York, London
College of the Canyons' baseball team beat Chaffey College 12-9 in a wild game on Saturday when the home team scored eight runs in the 7th to gain the win and improve to 7-4.
College of the Canyons Outruns Chaffey College 12-9
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge includes a meet-and-greet with 25th District Congressional candidate Michael Masterman-Smith on Wednesday, February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 21: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
"NCIS" producer-writer Scott Williams has been added to the lineup of speakers at the 2018 Economic Outlook Conference hosted by the SCV Economic Development Corporation and COC at TPC Valencia on March 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8: ‘NCIS’ Producer Joins 2018 SCV Economic Outlook Panel
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Career & College Readiness Department is celebrating Career Education Month in February by providing students a variety of pathways to success.
Hart District Celebrates Career Education Month
Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Saugus High School have partnered to introduce Career Pathways to students, with automotive technology the focus of the next panel on Friday, February 23.
Arroyo Seco, Saugus High Team for Career Pathways Panels
Los Angeles County's Interim Health Officer has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Wednesday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for wind chill temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold Weather Alert Chills SCV Through Wednesday
1803 - Indian family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, February 20, starting at 1 p.m.
Feb. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Little, Brown Books recently published CalArts alum Vashti Harrison's (Film/Video MFA 14) debut illustrated book, "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History."
Vashti Harrison Talks ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’
UCLA's Hammer Museum has announced the 32 artists including six CalArts alumni who will participate in "Made in L.A. 2018," the fourth edition of the museum's biennial exhibition, which runs June 3 to Sept. 2 at the Westwood museum.
6 CalArtians Among Artists Selected for ‘Made in L.A. 2018’
The Isaura String Quartet will present an evening of music by CalArtians at Human Resources LA in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, February 18 starting at 8 p.m.
Feb. 18: Isaura String Quartet to Perform at Human Resources LA
Two films directed by alumni of California Institute of the Arts' legendary Character Animation program, "Coco" and "The Boss Baby," are nominated for "Best Animated Feature" Academy Awards.
Oscar Buzz: Will 2018 Bring Oscar No. 11 to a CalArts Animator?
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, assisted by Crime Impact Team deputies, conducted checks on probationers at six different locations on Thursday but made no arrests.
SCV Deputies’ Latest Probation Check Nets No Arrests
Artist Bob Hernandez will give a charcoal/pastel inspirational talk at the Monday, Feb. 19 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association at Barnes & Noble in Valencia starting at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: Bob Hernandez Charcoal, Pastel Demo at Barnes and Noble
U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor M. Lingscheit has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
West Ranch Alum Taylor Lingscheit Graduates USAF Basic Training
The city of Santa Clarita, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Hart District and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps celebrated the growth and continued success of the school district’s recycling program with a media event at Valencia High School Thursday.
Santa Clarita, LA County Celebrate School Recycling Push
The Master's University women's basketball team hopes it finds its offensive mojo by Saturday evening when it takes on No. 4 Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
Master’s Seeks Offensive Mojo Ahead of Westmont Showdown
The Master's College Mustangs men's basketball team (25-1) can lock in at least a share of the program's first-ever GSAC regular-season title with a win at No. 8 Westmont College on Saturday.
Mustangs Could Clinch GSAC Title Saturday in Santa Barbara
College of the Canyons' baseball team tasted both victory and defeat on Wednesday, dropping a 6-5 extra innings decision to Cerritos College in a make-up game and following with a 4-3 win in the regularly scheduled contest.
Cougars Hold On for 4-3 Win Over Cerritos College
With a hard-fought 81-77 victory over visiting Bakersfield College on Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, College of the Canyons' men's basketball team moved into the conference top spot one win away from winning a conference championship.
Cougars Claw Bakersfield 81-77, Move Into Conference Top Spot
College of the Canyons women's basketball team won its eighth straight game Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, knocking off conference rival Bakersfield College 88-60 and clinching at least a share of WSC South Division championship.
COC Women’s Hoops Team Wins 8th Straight, Share of WSC Title
The Los Angeles County Community Development Commission has earmarked $1.5 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds for construction and financing of Six Four Nine Lofts, a supportive housing development for homeless military veterans and special-needs households on L.A.'s Skid Row.
LA County, City Team to House Homeless Veterans, Special Needs Households
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, the city of Santa Clarita and Valencia High School officials will partner to bring the “Every 15 Minutes” program to the school on Tuesday, February 20.
Feb. 20: ‘Every 15 Minutes’ Clocks in at Valencia High School