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Would oil company bosses eat crops irrigated with fracking wastewater?

To the editor: Oil companies sell their "recycled" wastewater to farmers for crop irrigation; state authorities test the water only for naturally occurring toxins; the oil companies won't reveal all the chemicals they use; the State Water Resources Control Board largely leaves the responsibility for testing and disclosure to the oil companies; potentially carcinogenic toxins have been found in irrigation ditches in higher concentrations than in some oil spill disaster sites; and the farmers are trusting organisms in the soil to remove the toxins? ("Central Valley's growing concern: Crops raised with oil field water," May 2)

This sounds like a disaster in slow motion to me. Problem is, how will we ever connect illness caused by slow poisoning through food to the irrigation water? Expanding the testing is a good start, but you can only find chemicals you look for.

The bottom line? Oil companies get big money for their toxic waste, farmers get cheap (polluted) water, and consumers are probably getting cheated.

Cher Gilmore, Newhall

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To the editor: Chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, don't just break down in nature in some type of utopian filter process. If that were the case, we'd have no Superfund sites.

Even if we knew the effects of a specific chemical on a crop, we still would not know the synergistic effects of that same chemical combined with one of the hundreds used as trade-secret ingredients in fracking. Nobody would want water laced with these substances anywhere near their food or their aquifer.

I welcome all the confident businessmen who deal in fracking to dine on these tainted agricultural products and to wash it all down with water from the aquifers that they helped to contaminate.

Kevin Mazzocco, Auberry, Calif.

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To the editor: It sounds as if everyone is passing the buck on the issue of contaminated water. Chevron won't divulge its chemicals, and the farmers say that the soil will filter the water.

Any filter gets dirty in time. And who's checking the soil? Is anyone checking the end product?

This is the "foxes watching the henhouse" story, and we've been here before.

Dean Blau, Van Nuys

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