September 1, 2011

"Living Downstream"

of GMO agricultural practices...

As part of the USDA's Pesticide Data Program, Waimea Canyon Middle School (W.C.M.S.) participated in the School Water Testing Project. The purpose of the project is "to test drinking water from schools/childcare facilities, which use onsite wells as their water source, for pesticide residues so that data may be used in risk assessments." The specific Waimea well that the schools water originates from is unknown at this time. With the permission of the school's administration water samples (three 1-liter glass bottles) were collected from student drinking water fountains.

The EPA guidance for establishing an MCL (Maximum Concentration Level) states that "MCLs are enforceable standards and are to be set as close to the maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs) (Health Goals) as is feasible and are based upon treatment technologies, costs (affordability) and other feasibility factors, such as availability of analytical methods, treatment technology and costs for achieving various levels of removal. (2)" Dose/Response assessment is often determined by increasing single dose acute exposure of specific contaminants with rats until there is an adverse affect. Chronic low dose exposure, synergistic effects of combined chemicals, and biological variability are not considered when establishing MCLs.

The Department of Water County of Kauai Water Quality Report covering January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 found the organic contaminants TTHM and HAA only and determined drinking water for the areas of Kekaha - Waimea as "safe" (3).

The student drinking water fountain samples from W.C.M.S. were sent via Federal Express overnight to a laboratory for analysis. The USDA PDP covered all costs of analysis, sampling kits, and pre-paid shipping labels. It took roughly 90 days to receive results due to the number of analytes and the low levels being tested (4).

Results indicate that children attending W.C.M.S are indeed "Living Downstream". Read next month's blog for the U.S.D.A's findings.

1. Living Downstream trailer

3. Kekaha-Waimea Water Quality Report
4. USDA:
Pesticide Data Program
B) School Water Testing Project

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