Do you trust what is in your water?
Safe drinking water is something we tend to take for granted, until a crisis like lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, makes us wonder what chemicals could be lurking in our own taps. Do You Trust What Is In Your Water? Let’s find out below ….
Thousands of cities and small towns across the country are serving water with lead or other contamination problems to millions of people. The NRDC Health team has fought to protect drinking water—both locally and nationally—for decades and while there have been victories over the years, you should still remain vigilant about the contaminants that might be in your pipes, faucets, or local water supply.
According to a new NRDC report, nearly 77 million Americans got drinking water from systems that violated federal protections in 2015, and more than a third of this number relied on systems that did not comply with standards put in place to protect health.
Millions of other Americans’ water suppliers failed to test water safety properly or didn’t report test results to health authorities or customers—potentially sweeping many more health risks under the rug.
These numbers likely understate the extent of the problem, given underreporting and the fact that many contaminants aren’t even monitored or regulated. For instance, Do You Trust What Is In Your Water, It may include common contaminants such as perchlorate and PFOA/PFOS (chemical cousins of Teflon) occur in millions of Americans’ tap water, but because they aren’t regulated by the EPA, they don’t show up in the Sensitive groups are at higher risk for health complications, especially from the following contaminants:
Likely the most famous bad guy, this heavy metal can leach from lead pipes and plumbing fixtures, especially when the water flowing through them is corrosive. It can cause neurological and behavioral problems in children and adverse health effects in adults. It’s a more common problem in cities with older water systems but what a lot of people don’t realize is that even relatively new brass fixtures and faucets can still contain significant amounts of lead. Just because your home is less than 20 years old doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lead-free.
This endocrine-disrupting chemical is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in U.S. waters. NRDC studies have found its contamination is most common in drinking water across the Midwest and the southern United States. The EPA currently monitors a sample of community water systems to determine if atrazine concentrations pose a risk to public health, but NRDC has called on the government to phase out the use of this chemical entirely.
Bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause illness can find their way into water supplies that are inadequately treated to kill germs. Fortunately, these pathogens are much better controlled today than they once were.
Chlorine treatment by-products:
Chemicals used in drinking water’s disinfection process, such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, may cause cancer and reproductive problems if present in high quantities.
The EPA estimated in 2000 that nearly 36 million Americans drank water containing arsenic at or above 3 parts per billion—the level NRDC had urged be established as a drinking water standard.
Though nitrates occur naturally in plants and soil at low concentrations, they have become a widespread contaminant due in part to their use as fertilizer. Runoff from factory farms flows into surface and ground water and ends up in our drinking water.
Most radioactive elements found in drinking water occur naturally, but radioactive material from the production of nuclear weapons, energy, and medicines can also get into drinking supplies through leaks or improper waste storage. Exposure can cause cancer or kidney failure.
Used to make PVC plastic products, such as some pipes, this cancer-causing contaminant can leach from older PVC piping and has been found in the drinking water of a small number of communities across the country.
Perchlorate: This widespread toxic chemical, used in rocket fuel, explosives, and road flares, can interfere with thyroid hormone production. Perchlorate has been detected in the water in at least 26 states, yet there is no federal standard for its presence in drinking water.
Pharmaceuticals: Prescription drugs enter our water supply when patients release traces in their urine or flat-out flush unused medication down the sink or toilet.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization) – Around the world, at least 1.8 billion people utilize a drinking water source contaminated with fecal matter. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502,000 diarrheal deaths each year. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. In low and middle-income countries, 38% of health care facilities lack any water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation, and 35% lack water and soap for handwashing. For more information, kindly visit our Home Page.