Who suffers from a shutdown? Our businesses and economy certainly suffer, putting strain on the average American’s earnings. But a shutdown doesn’t just harm our pockets—it harms our health and communities.
Thanksgiving this year was salad-less, thanks to a nation-wide romaine lettuce recall on November 20th. And while many Americans were probably more than happy to have more room on their plates for stuffing and gravy, the E. coli outbreak that prompted the recall was rather dire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called on consumers to throw away all romaine lettuce following 32 confirmed cases of E. coli bacteria poisoning in 11 U.S. states and Canada.
Recall attention focused on the produce itself, but throwing the lettuce away was merely a temporary solution to our seemingly ever-present food safety issues. If we wish to prevent foodborne illnesses, the real culprit that must be dealt with is deficient agricultural water quality.
Last week, drinking water fixtures at Grant Union High School in Sacramento were shut off after elevated levels of lead and copper were found in the water.
Grant Union High School is not the first school to experience risky lead levels in its drinking water; it is merely the most recent. The water quality issues the Sacramento school is experiencing should serve as a wake-up call to all California schools, the vast majority of which have yet to take advantage of the State Water Resource Control Board’s lead testing program for schools.
A parched preceding year paired with exceptionally hot summer months set California up for a disastrous and historic 2018 fire season. So far in 2018, Cal Fire has recorded over 876,400 acres burned. That’s more than four times the acreage burned compared to this time last year, which Cal Fire reported as just over 228,800 acres.
It is obvious that these fires are a threat to people, wildlife, structures, and our heroic firefighters, but what is less obvious is the danger they pose to our water quality.
It’s 2018 and if you’re like most people, you have come up with a few personal objectives or improvements that you are committed to upholding this year. Often times, these resolutions aren’t new, there is just something about the beginning of a new calendar year that allows us to recalibrate and refocus on our values and goals.
In the spirit of renewed focus and commitment, Babcock Labs has a few New Year’s resolutions that we’d like to share with you: