Water treatment plants just aren’t up to the task of removing all the plastics, pesticides, drugs, and other chemicals we’re dumping. And, boy, are we dumping. In the past when I talked about pollutants in food, people would say, “Not my chicken, not my strawberries, not my fish.” And it came to pass that yes, your chicken, your strawberries, your fish. And now, people are saying “Not my water.” And it has come to pass…
Radioactive Material And Pesticides Among New Contaminants Found In US Tap Water, The Guardian, 3 November 2021
Water utilities and regulators in the US have identified 56 new contaminants in drinking water over the past two years, a list that includes dangerous substances linked to a range of health problems such as cancer, reproductive disruption, liver disease and much more.
It found that the jump is partly driven by newly identified PFAS, a toxic class of “forever chemicals” that are widely used across dozens of industries and are thought to be contaminating drinking water for more than 100 million people. Pesticides, water disinfectant byproducts and radioactive materials are among other substances identified by regulators.
Though the new contaminant list is disturbing, it would be much longer if regulators and utilities were properly monitoring the nation’s water supply, said the EWG senior scientist Tasha Stoiber.
“It speaks to the fact that we don’t have nearly strong enough regulations in place to protect drinking water, and the regulation process is much too slow,” she said. “We’re testing for things that are already in our drinking water after the fact … and we’re not keeping pace with these chemicals.”
In the meantime, there’s little that people can do beyond educating themselves about which contaminants are in their water system, buying filters and advocating for stronger regulations. EWG’s database allows users to search for contaminants in water systems by zip code, and it provides a guide on which chemicals water filters can remove.
EWG’s Tap Water Database
And type your zip code into the box on the right. On the next page, pick “View Utility” for your water utility. You may be surprised.