The Grapevine

Water Safety In America: Nearly 1 in 4 US Home Live In Area With Questionable Tap Water, Report Says

In 2015, nearly 77 million Americans lived in areas where tap water systems were in violation of safety regulations, stated a new report released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental advocacy group. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t getting much better and if you live in the US today, you have a one in four chance of getting tap water that is contaminated—in many of the cases, water that is a danger to your health.

A new study published Tuesday has stated that nearly a quarter of all US tap water was either unsafe to drink or has not been properly monitored for contaminants in accordance with federal law, The New York Times reported. As the case with so many health problems, the country’s poor are suffering the worst. The report revealed some disconcerting facts, such as that some of the country’s tap water sources are contaminated with high levels of lead, nitrates, and arsenic--pollutants that are known to lead to serious health effects.

Read: High Lead Levels In Tap Water Outside Of Flint: How To Test If Your Drinking Water Is Safe

According to the report, in 2015 there were 80,000 reported violations of drinking water safety regulations in the US, with more than 12,000 of these pertaining to health based violations, such as pollutant contamination. What’s more, nearly nine out of 10 of these violations faced no formal action. Unfortunately, this has begun to become the norm for drinking water safety, as scientists often agree the issues do not get addressed until not government agencies, but rather everyday citizens get involved, such as the recent incident in Flint, Michigan.

water Tap water in America may not be as safe as you'd like to believe. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

“For drinking water infrastructure, like the pipes and the mains, it’s out of sight, out of mind — until the main breaks outside your house, and you can’t drink your own water,” Mae Wu, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council health program told The New York Times .

Despite the lack of attention, water safety is not a victimless crime, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the presence of contaminant in drinking water can lead to health effects such as “gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders.” These contaminants are especially dangerous for certain members of the population, such as babies and young children, pregnant women, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems due to AIDs, cancer treatment, or transplant medications.

According to the CDC, in the US, water safety is monitored by the Safe Drinking Water Act, passed by Congress in 1974 (with amendments in 1986 and 1996). The act gives the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to set standards for drinking water to ensure health and safety for the country’s citizens. However, recently President Donald Trump, along with new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, supported a proposal to cut the EPA budget by as much as 31 percent, The New York Times reported. According to the report, this could further threaten America’s already threatened water supply.

As of now it’s unclear how or when action will be made to address the current problem with the nation’s drinking water.

See Also:

Hospital Tap Water Contaminated With Bacteria: How Safe Are You From Hospital-Acquired Infections?

Does Drinking Water Need A Disinfectant In Order To Be Safe? It's Complicated, Say Scientists

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