New Study Finds Cancer-causing Chemicals In Tap Water
Sumaira FH 1 month ago Fri 20th September 2019 | 07:20 PM
Cancer-causing contaminants may be in your drinking water, according to a new study
Scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed pollutants in tap water from 2010 to 2017. They found 22 carcinogenic contaminants including arsenic, disinfection byproducts, and radioactive contaminants, such as uranium and radium in drinking water nationwide, which researchers estimate could, over the course of an average lifetime (about 70 years), lead to 100,000 cases of cancer.
In the study, EWG scientists calculated the cumulative health effects of these carcinogens in more than 48,000 community water systems in the U.S.
"The results of this analysis show that, over a lifetime of exposure to these contaminants in drinking water, we would expect that 100,000 cancer cases in the United States would be due to these drinking water contaminants," said Sydney Evans, lead author of the study and a science analyst at EWG.
"Contaminants present in drinking water all across the United States at concentrations that are perfectly legal and get a passing grade from Federal government can still increase the risk of cancer," she said.
This cumulative risk assessment will help to estimate how mixtures of chemicals might affect health, so that community water systems and elected officials can look for new approaches to better protect water quality," USA Today reported.
The analysis also found that water systems with the highest risk tend to be small groundwater systems. "These systems typically lack the resources, funding, and infrastructure to effectively manage water contamination, and arsenic a potent carcinogen is typically found in groundwater," said Evans.
But larger water systems aren't necessarily safer. Evans said they also show "consistently elevated risk" because they contain disinfection byproducts, which are a result of required disinfection. "Parts of the country where source water has a high level of organic waste like manure, dead vegetation, agricultural and urban run-of tend to have higher levels of disinfection byproducts, which could result in an increased risk of cancer," she said.
Evans also points out that the study only assessed 22 carcinogenic contaminants and noted that this is not an exhaustive list. "There are contaminants in drinking water that pose health risks other than cancer," she said.