The National Resource Defense Counsel (NRDC) recently reported that 27 million people, or one in every 12 Americans, are served by unknowingly exposed to drinking water systems with health-based violations. These violations are alarming and contributing to our major health crisis in the United states. The following health-based violations of our Federal Drinking Water rules set by the EPA that have been found – in order from greatest to least were caused by: A family of chemicals called disinfection byproducts – KNOWN TO CAUSE CANCER, the failure to properly treat surface and groundwater to remove dangerous pathogens – coliform bacteria- evidence that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) are in the water system, nitrates and nitrites that are also cancer causing and can cause “blue baby syndrome”, and let’s not leave out lead and copper.
Tap water is supposed to be considered safe if it comes from a public water system in the United States, such as one run and maintained by a municipality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the Federally funded organization that sets enforceable health standards regarding the contaminants in drinking water and monitors all public water systems.
In fact, in the United States, nearly one-in-four households risk having unsafe tap water to drink or their local municipal water systems have not been properly monitored for contaminants by federal law. Just one example is the water crisis happened in Flint, Michigan. Sky-high levels of lead were found in the local tap water and was never publicized or corrected by the FDA back in 2015 when Flint residents finally discovered what was making them and their children sick. It was Marc Edwards, a scientist at Virginia Tech, who played a major role in bringing the crisis to national attention.
The main problem with tap water in America is the pipes in the houses. Many homes and schools have galvanized steel water pipes for drinking and these galvanized steel pipes rust on the inside, causing the drinking water to have a yellow, red, or brown tint, where lead solder can leach into the water. In houses that have discolored tap water, a water filter is worth paying for and using during this predicament.
Another problem with tap water is that much of the country has hard water and this makes it harder to clean sinks, tubs, and showers. There are some people choose to “soften” their water, but this usually adds sodium in the water. The U.S. public water systems provide drinkable tap water, and most of them add chlorine to sterilize the water, but to ensure that the water is sterile, you need to boil it or chemically treat it yourself.
For the greater part, America’s drinking water is pulled from groundwater to federal and state purity levels before arriving at every home’s tap. How do you know if your water is safe for drinking? See if these reports help you tell whether the water you have access from the tap is safe or drinkable.
The top 12 states with the most offenses based on population were (in order):
- New Jersey
That’s pretty scary, I know. But the good news is that now you know why I strongly advocate my clients consume purified water. I personally prefer water that has gone through reverse osmosis, UV filtration, ozonation, AND carbon filtration — all of them. It’s easy to find, in fact many grocery stores including Whole Foods has a water machine where you can fill up about 5 gallons for less than 3 dollars. Be sure to use BPA free containers!
Here are 7 Contaminants Found in Tap Water in America
1. Fluoride Around 50 years ago the US government mandated fluoride to be added to all city and municipal water supplies to prevent dental problems. Current studies, however, show that fluoride, a chemical that is used in rat poison, does a lot more harm than good. This substance is considered a class 4 hazardous waste product by the EPA, and it is illegal to dump anywhere in the environment. Fluoride increases fracture risk, suppresses the immune system, causes thyroid and parathyroid dysfunction and is considered a neurotoxin. It also causes issues with serotonin production, it’s implicated in dementia and lower IQ’s and negatively impacts the pineal gland. Recently cities all over North America have started banning the chemical over and thankfully now that the word is spreading of the dangers of fluoride, it is expected to continue.
2. Chlorine is the standard disinfectant used in water treatment facilities as an antimicrobial (to kill bacteria and other harmful ‘bugs’ but it has toxic effects in the human body. Not only is chlorine associated with breast and rectal cancers, premature aging of skin, asthma, and birth defects, it has also been identified as the leading cause of bladder cancer! It’s worth reminding people as well that chlorine is not only common in tap water but as well as treating swimming pools and anything that comes into contact with our skin is absorbed into the body. Chlorine is basically an antibiotic and doesn’t differentiate between pathogenic organisms (bad bugs) and the good bacteria that live in and on our bodies that keep us alive and healthy – ultimately leading to major health issues and toxic effects on the human body. It’s understood that Chlorine makes our water sources safer by removing disease causing pathogens but at what expense to our health?
3. Pharmaceutical drugs are without a doubt over consumed in North America. The most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals are showing up in most of our public water supplies including antibiotics, antidepressants, and other psychiatric drugs, pain killers, and even synthetic hormones – mainly estrogen, which accumulates in the body because it’s very difficult for the body to detox synthetic hormones.
4. Radioactive Contaminants have been detected in drinking water supplies throughout the country with twelve U.S. cities with confirmed radioactive iodine-131 detected in the drinking water. In addition to the radioactive iodine-131, radioactive cesium and tellurium isotopes have also been identified at low levels. The health implications of this radioactive contamination are “not known yet”, but don’t we already know how toxic radioactive materials are? Let’s remember our history and what we’ve seen in Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Hiroshima. Do we need any more evidence?! It’s already known that radioactive contaminants have hazardous impacts on human health. It’s unacceptable that it’s allowed in our water at any level.
5. Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless and a highly poisonous element well-known to be extremely carcinogenic that is estimated to be contaminating as many as 56 million Americans at what the EPA considers ‘unsafe levels’. Arsenic can contaminate drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the ground or from agricultural and industrial practices. Arsenic is known to increase the rate of prostate cancer, skin cancer, kidney and liver cancer, and bladder cancer.
6. Lead — Lead is a toxic metal that even at low exposure levels is harmful to the human body and because the body cannot readily detox lead it can accumulate in the body over time causing severe impacts on the health of adults and children in particular psychological, neurological, serious developmental delays, learning disorders, central and peripheral nervous system disorders, hearing loss, blood cell disorders, and even physical damage are seen in children, some who were exposed prior to birth – exposed from their mother. Contamination from lead and other toxic heavy metals can occur through corrosion of the pipes in the home’s plumbing system. Even today, some municipalities are still transporting water in lead pipes.
7. Aluminum and other heavy metals are known to cause kidney, brain, and nerve disorders.
If you would like to learn more, please get in touch with our team to schedule an appointment today!