With so many news headlines coming out about toxic spills, we’ve gotten desensitized to how dangerous chemical spills can really be. These disasters have turned entire towns and regions into Mad Max-style apocalyptic nightmares. The only thing that’s scarier than the outcomes of these disasters is realizing this could happen anywhere, at any time. Here are some of the most toxic disasters that have happened in modern history:
In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally spilled a total of 3 million gallons of toxic waste into Colorado’s Animas River. The waste, which was highly toxic material that originated from a local mine, turned the river orange for days on end. Wildlife in the river died, as did the local tourism industry. The spill also made the local water undrinkable, which in turn caused local groups that relied on the water to suffer as well.
A number of conspiracy theories makes this disaster particularly curious. People have accused the EPA of purposefully spilling waste to gain more funding. Some fringe groups have also suggested that this, as well as other major toxic disasters in the West, were part of an effort to “re-wild the West.”