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HealthWater

Iowa Flood Waters Contaminated

I am still waiting to hear back from a spokeswoman at the USDA to find out the answer to the question I posed last week: who is in charge of protecting us from crops affected by flood water? In the meantime, I got an alert from the Centers for Disease Control about contaminated water in Iowa.  I can tell you, dear reader, that while you may not want to eat food grown along flooded riverbeds, you most definitely do not want to walk in that water, particularly if you have open sores or cuts on your feet and legs.  Exposing a sore on your skin to contaminated water puts you at risk for a nasty infection.

The CDC sent an e-mail warning about high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in water tested in 4 Iowa cities: Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Hamburg.  Increased levels of fecal coliform bacteria (types of bacteria that include E. coli) may indicate contamination from human or animal waste. The CDC did not report on drinking water; this is the water from the flooded fields.  Cedar Rapids had a particularly high bacteria level in its water because its waste water treatment plant is not working.

I’ll keep you updated on flooding, bacteria and water safety.  Just remember not to wade around in any Iowa farms.

Photo courtesy of Shannonpatrick17 at flickr.com




3 comments
  1. G. Grante

    How many cases of “salmonella” have been reported? How many cases not reported, but misdiagnosed as “flu-like” symptoms? Google “Health Map” to see how widespread salmonella has become in the U.S., since March 2008. And remember that salmonella => typhoid fever = plague! Only FOX News reported a typhoid fever case back in March 2008; no other media picked up on that story, and as far as I can determine, no one will: an epidemic of typhoid fever in the U.S. would send the economy into the pits for the next 20 years, and we can’t have that happen, can we?

  2. DFL

    I don’t know how far the contamination goes; it’s likely that it’s more than a few miles. There are large areas with standing water (due to rain) and it may not take much to spread the contamination.

    Good thing the government is on the case. Maybe Ronald Reagan was right…the scariest words in the english language right now seem to be: “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.”

  3. Robert Lovinger

    Given the current administration, will the Dept. of Agriculture or FDA protect the American public? That said, the floods seem to go just a few miles inland, so probably much of the food out of Iowa & other states that have been flooded is probably safe, while the flooded areas are probably not going to produce food this year. Is there any source for unbiased information about food produced in states affected by the floods? I wonder if the problem may be more in future years but I don’t know enough about the capacity of the biosphere to cleanse the various types of pollutants.

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