"Majority Latino City Endures Years Of Toxic Water In Health ‘Crisis’"

"After repeated violations, the state of New Mexico has stepped in — but problems are a reminder that safe water is not available to all Americans".

"SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — Rosana Monge clutched her husband’s death certificate and an envelope of his medical records as she approached the microphone and faced members of the water utility board on a recent Monday in this city in southeast New Mexico.

“I have proof here of arsenic tests — positive on him, that were done by the Veterans Administration,” she testified about her husband, whose 2023 records show he had been diagnosed with “exposure to arsenic” before his death in February at age 79. “What I’m asking is for a health assessment of the community.

State and federal records show that in each of the last 16 years, drinking water samples tested in this 17,400-person town near the Texas border have contained illegally high levels of arsenic, including in 2016 when levels reached five times the legal limit.

Naturally occurring in the soil in New Mexico, arsenic seeps into the groundwater used for drinking. In water, arsenic has no taste, odor or color — but can be removed with treatment. Over time, it can cause a variety of health problems, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease, endangering the lives of people in this low-income and overwhelmingly Latino community.”

Silvia Foster-Frau reports for the Washington Post April 18, 2024.


Source: Washington Post, 04/19/2024