Sun-Times Editorial Board
In the Illinois River last summer, algae blooms gave off a toxin that can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as a mist or swallowed, causing rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and wheezing. In some cases, the toxins can be fatal. Similarly, residents of Toledo, Ohio, were warned four years ago not to drink from municipal water supplies because of a toxic bloom fed by agricultural runoff in western Lake Erie.
As for pesticides specifically, some of them can’t be removed from drinking water and are not even tested for, said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.