Water pollution a serious health threat in Missouri

A study by Environment Missouri Research and Policy Center finds Missouri's waterways suffer from several forms of toxic pollution.

An environmental watchdog organization claims in a new report that many of Missouri's waterways suffer from widespread pollution.

According to a report released by the Environment Missouri Research and Policy Center, industrial facilities dumped more than 2.1 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Missouri's waterways in 2012.

The report also shows Missouri ranks 11th in the country for the highest amount of "developmental toxins" in its waterways.

According to the report, 13,257 pounds of developmental toxins were dumped in its waterways in 2012.

The "Wasting our Waterways" report also finds that the Upper Black River region watershed is the fourth most pollution in the nation for developmental toxins.

Environment Missouri also lists the Sedalia processing plant of Tyson Foods as the biggest polluter in Missouri. According to their report, it dumped 743,235 pounds of toxic materials in 2012.

University of Missouri Professor of Hydrology Jason Hubbart said although he can't confirm the report's information, he agrees that Missouri has some work to do.

"There's certainly room for improvement," Hubbart said. "But, I would also say in the last few years, Missouri has become much more progressive."

Hubbart said MU is working with a number of other universities with the EPA's Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force to reduce nutrient loading in the region's waterways. He said he believes the pollution is a serious risk to everyone's health.

"These are not naturally occurring chemicals," Hubbart said. "At the same time, we have to be realistic that human beings want to live a certain way, and we want to live at certain standards. If we want to produce food, there's no way of avoiding producing chemicals and runoff problems that go with that."

Hubbart said