EDCs are also found in a dizzying array of household cleaning and personal hygiene products, and virtually all of these chemicals end up in wastewater with their synergistic effects combined downstream simply unknown.
And as is the case with most American rivers, the Potomac has a series of outdated sewage treatment plants situated between intakes for outdated municipal drinking water systems for downstream communities so many of these chemicals enter our water supply.
The concentrations of EDCs and other pollutants have become so bad in the Potomac that it now tops the list of most endangered rivers in the United States by the watchdog American Rivers organization (that also lists the Coal River No. 9 because of mountaintop removal mining).
The Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay may seem a long way from Charleston but a large part of the responsibility for their environmental health rests right here in our capital city.
After all, West Virginia is home to a massive portion of their watershed and is the origin of the Potomac, what with the North Branch beginning at the Fairfax Stone and the confluence with the South Branch in Hampshire County.
Rather than countenance congressional efforts to gut the Clean Water Act, every West Virginian should instead vigorously and actively support the strengthening of laws that govern wastewater pollution and insist on the adoption of industry best practices.
The Potomac River may be our National River but it should also be regarded as West Virginia's River, too.
Swint, of Charleston, is a commercial property broker and political activist.