CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A new report ranks North Carolina as one of the worst states for toxic pollution being dumped into waterways.
Anchor Scott Wickersham went through a report on Friday by Penn Environmental Group and Environment North Carolina.
Report: Penn Environmental Center
It showed some disturbing trends and they directly affect the water people drink every day.
The government allows small amounts of toxic waste to legally be dumped into our waterways but that adds up.
In the most recent data from 2012, North Carolina ranked ninth in the country for the most pollution.
There was 8.9 million pounds dumped into waterways across the state and that is startling news to residents heading out on the water Friday.
"That surprises me," said David Quick.
The report named Smithfield Packing Company in Tar Heel on the Cape Fear River as the state's worst offender where 2.3 million pounds of toxic material was released in 2012.
Locally, 40,000 pounds of toxins were dumped into the Catawba River.
"These chemicals not only can lead to cancer and lead to developmental disabilities and birth defects, but they also have an impact on our environment and some of them can lead to fish kills,” said Elizabeth Ouzts with Environment North Carolina.
Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins thinks the thriving chicken farm industry in North Carolina is contributing.
He said anyone who gets drinking water from rivers like Charlotte does, should be concerned.
“There is no machine that can test for everything in every molecule of water,” he said.
This is the toxic material that was reported to the government and that concerns environmentalists the most.
They wonder what's going into the water that isn't reported.