Environmental group finds agricultural chemicals in Arkansas drinking water | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Environmental group finds agricultural chemicals in Arkansas drinking water

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 1:19 PM

  • Environmental Working Group
The Environmental Working Group released a report this week that asserts that the drinking water for about 200,000 Arkansans contains unsafe levels of chemicals related to industrial agriculture. A related effort by another environmental group, Mighty Earth, singles out Tyson Foods to do something about it.

The EWG report links the presence of chemicals to manure and fertilizer runoff into drinking water sources thanks to corn and soybean crops grown for industrial meat production. 

The finding was cited as other groups, including  Mighty Earth, called for Tyson Foods, the meat giant based in Springdale, to support agricultural practices that reduce pollution.

After a similar release in Iowa, Tyson told Radio Iowa that the effort by the group Mighty Earth to target Tyson mischaracterizes the company, which it said "shares its interest in protecting the environment." Tyson noted that crops aren't used solely for meat production, but also for human consumption and biofuel.  It said it was working with others to address the issue, a process that will take more than "just one company."

Mighty Earth contends the meat industry is the main driver of pollution and causes nitrate contamination in many waterways. A disproportionate burden falls on rural communities, the group said in a release. The Working Group studied 50,000 utilities for its report on chemical levels, some believed to be cancer-causing.

The Northwest Arkansas Clean It Up Tyson Coalition separately wrote Tyson Foods encouraging action.

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