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Investigation Finds Toxic Chemicals in Water Across the US

Drinking water safety is not often top of mind unless it has made the news, like the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan.1 However, the level of contamination in U.S. tap water is very concerning, whether your water supply is from the municipal water system or a well. Just because it looks clear and seems to taste normal does not mean it's safe or pure.

A recent survey analysis of water supplies across the U.S. found what other studies have also found — it's brimming with toxic chemicals.2 Test results from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on 50,000 water utilities in 50 states also found 267 different contaminants out of 500 they tested for.3

One of the problems with the water supply is an aging infrastructure that may be “nearing the end” of its useful life.4 Water pollution from fire-fighting chemicals,5 agrichemicals,6 drugs and nerve toxins produced by freshwater cyanobacteria7 add an additional toxic load to the water supply.

Because your body is mostly water, you require a constant supply of pure water to fuel your filtration system and ensure your body is free of toxins. Your blood, kidneys and liver all require a good source of clean water to detoxify from the toxic exposure it meets every day.

But, as a recent collaborative water survey from Consumer Reports8 and The Guardian9 has demonstrated, the water supply is in desperate need of detoxification.

Toxic Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Across the US

The team from Consumer Reports and The Guardian10 asked readers for help investigating the nation's drinking water supply and more than 6,000 people held up their hands to be counted.

Statisticians from Consumer Reports whittled the group down to 120 households that represented a cross-section of each of the EPA’s 10 jurisdictional regions. Within each region, the team chose a mix of locations in which they tested the water for multiple different contaminants.

The analysis showed that 118 of the 120 water samples collected had high levels of PFAS or arsenic as well as detectable levels of lead. The group acknowledged that the study had some limitations since water quality was tested in one day, which may not demonstrate the overall quality supplied throughout the system.11

According to the report from Consumer Reports, the challenges are not technological. In other words, they believe filtration systems exist that can clean the water of contaminants and “yet they are not being used uniformly by community water systems.”12

Although the deputy director of Public Works in New Britain, Connecticut, told Consumer Reports that a single sample may not be representative of the overall toxic exposure, EPA spokesperson Andrea Drinkard said that “93% of the population supplied by community water systems gets water that meets ‘all health-based standards all of the time.’”13

Drinking water contamination is a crisis. According to an analysis published in The Guardian14 in February 2021, more than 140,000 water systems in the U.S. are affected. The same analysis demonstrated that clean drinking water is not distributed equally since systems that service rural counties and poor areas have a higher likelihood of violations.

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