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Mega Drought Hits Salt Lake City

Drought causes millions in lost profit and poisons the air!

Utah's Great Salt Lake has hit a record low water level for the second time in less than a year, a troubling sign amid historic drought conditions — made worse by climate change The lake dipped to 4,190.1 feet on Sunday, lower than the last time the water's surface matched a low record in October 2021, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

According to USGS and the Utah Department of Natural Resources, that level will continue to decline until 2023.Utah politicians have been trying to come up with proposals that prioritize conservation and lake preservation. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill putting $40 million toward saving Great Salt Lake,but its a case of TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. According to the online newspaper The Hill “The American West is experiencing its driest period in human history, a megadrought that threatens health, agriculture and entire ways of life.” Sitting just northwest of Salt Lake City, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere is drying up because of water use and drought amid a changing climate, sending dust with toxic metals — including arsenic — in the air of a metro area with approximately 1.2 million people.

Particle pollution in the air has been linked to asthma, heart attacks, worsened lung function and premature death the drying lake has in effect poisoned the air! In fact Nosebleeds are often scary because they produce such a large amount of blood. But most aren’t serious, and they’re easily stopped at home. But in Salt Lake a team at ENT Specialists in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, is seeing an uptick in phone calls that many believe is directly related to arsenic in the air. They are seeing larger numbers of patients who have recurrent nosebleeds, and struggling to get to the source of the problem and provide treatment that prevents ongoing nosebleeds. No one wants to cause a city wide health panic.

Health Effects

  • Breathing high levels of inorganic arsenic can give you a sore throat or irritated lungs.

  • Ingesting very high levels of arsenic can result in death.

  • Exposure to lower levels can cause nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a sensation of “pins and needles” in hands and feet.

  • Ingesting or breathing low levels of inorganic arsenic for a long time can cause a darkening of the skin and the appearance of small “corns” or “warts” on the palms, soles, and torso.

  • Skin contact with inorganic arsenic may cause redness and swelling.

  • Organic arsenic compounds are less toxic than inorganic arsenic compounds. Exposure to high levels of some organic arsenic compounds may cause similar effects as inorganic arsenic.

NBC News reported that “The shrinking of the lake poses serious risks to millions of migrating birds and a lake-based economy that’s worth an estimated $1.3 billion in mineral extraction, brine shrimp and recreation. devastating effects on its microbialites, the Great Salt Lake’s version of a coral reef. The mushroom-like structures are formed by furry, deep green mats of microbes, which are the base of the lake’s food chain and main sustenance for brine shrimp.The shrimp both support a multimillion-dollar industry supplying food for fish farms and nourish millions of migrating birds whose massive flocks can show up on radar. The lake is also the nation’s biggest source of magnesium and could soon provide lithium, a key mineral for renewable energy batteries.But last year the lake matched a 170-year record low and kept dropping, hitting a new low of 4,190.2 feet (1,277.2 meters) in October. A significant portion of the microbialites were exposed to air, killing the vital microbes. The die-off will likely take years and years to repair even if they are fully submerged again, said Michael Vanden Berg, a state geologist.And if the water levels continue to drop, the lake could get too salty for the edible microbes to survive, something that’s already happened in the bright pink waters of the lake’s north arm.”


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