Climate Change is Acidifying and Contaminating Drinking Water and Alpine Ecosystems

Garrett Rue grew up fly fishing in central Colorado, often surrounded by mountains stained amber and maroon, and hiking along streams that seemed to borrow those colors. Sometimes he would cast for native trout and come back with nothing—because there was nothing to catch. Then he started hearing stories about people in nearby mountain communities who couldn’t drink their own water. He began to wonder: “These streams have problems supporting ecosystems, and they’re not usable for drinking. What’s going on here?”

‘Forever Chemicals’ Pollute Water from Alaska to Florida

Tom Kennedy learned about the long-term contamination of his family’s drinking water about two months after he was told that his breast cancer had metastasized to his brain and was terminal.

The troubles tainting his tap: per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a broad category of chemicals invented in the mid-1900s to add desirable properties such as stain-proofing and anti-sticking to shoes, cookware and other everyday objects.