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Toxic avengers

Learn about one of Central Florida's most polluted bodies of water on a Toxic Tour of the Lake Apopka area

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After doubling back on the route southward, you’ll find yourself standing at an informational kiosk at the boat ramp to Lake Apopka, taking in an officially sanctioned graphic timeline of the rise, fall and supposed rebirth of the lake. The signage, Economos points out, completely ignores the people of color who worked the fields. “I guess there is one faded picture of an African-American holding up a fish for a white person,” she says. “But there’s no acknowledgement at all of farmworkers … and that’s criminal.” The lake itself has stubbornly retained its pea-green color, and Economos says that you may witness the occasional foamy substance or floating dead alligator at the shore.

The last leg of the tour is something of a bonus, focusing on the dark industrial underbelly of the area not necessarily tied to the lake’s pollution. The final stop is a lonely playground bordering the Stericycle medical incinerator, one of only two such human biohazard furnaces in Florida and the final resting place of many of the state’s aborted fetuses. The front gate of the facility, oddly enough, features this sign: “Attitude is Everything: Customer 1st.”

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