Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Impact of Toxins on the Environment

I don’t know about you but I certainly like things to last for as long as it can – it’s called getting my money’s worth. However, should preserving a product cause more harm than good?  At the Louisiana Pacific (LP) Carlotta mill site, the preservation of wood meant the use of harmful chemicals that caused significant harm to the environment and humans.

One such harmful chemical is pentachlorophenol also known as (penta). Penta is a toxic fungicide containing dioxins and furans that was used as a wood preservative in the mid-1980’s prior to the federal ban. It was used to prevent the growth of a fungus (blue stain) on freshly sawed wood.

Contaminated runoff from mill sites should be appropriately disposed of but that was not the case at the LP site. The liberal use of penta and inappropriate disposal resulted in contamination of the environment. Naturally, the soil underneath the site was contaminated and due to substantial rainfall, the surface and ground water washed into Yager Creek, Eel and Van Duzen Rivers.  
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Health_effects_of_pollution.pngNot only is peta harmful to the environment but it is also a cancer-causing agent in humans as well damaging the developing fetus. It also remains in the tissues of the fish, creating more problems higher up the food chain.

In the late 1980’s, the federal government banned peta, however, the repercussions still exist today. Was the preservation of lumber worth it compared to negative impacts that were created? I wonder what financial impact this had on the community?

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