Grabbing a drink from the tap in your house should be uneventful. Most of us never think twice about it. But we definitely should because that water is likely teeming with poisons that we're ingesting without even realizing it.
Here are just some facts related to the drinking water in the United States:
- Widespread contamination by chromium 6 has been documented in the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans in every state in the U.S.
- Phoenix’s water contains the highest concentration of chromium, a cancer-causing toxin made famous by the environmental activist Erin Brockovich.
- Of all the water systems in Northeast Ohio, only Streetsboro's, which services a population of 13,347, tested negative for chromium 6 in four tests in 2015
- A large sinkhole opened by a phosphate fertilizer plant near Tampa, Florida, has been pouring hundreds of millions of liters of contaminated (phosphogypsum: a "slightly" radioactive by-product of the phosphate) water into a nearby aquifer
- Only 91 contaminants out of the more than 60,000 chemicals used within the United States are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act
- The emergency may have lifted in Flint, Michigan, but it is still suffering the consequences — the issue hasn't resolved and will have terrible consequences for years to come for the population, especially children who ingested the tainted water
- Fluoride added to drinking water to help reduce tooth decay is a neurotoxin and an endocrine disrupter and can harm the thyroid gland and calcify the pineal gland
- Chlorine has disinfectant properties and hence used in water sources and swimming pools is not completely safe. In fact, it is a reactive chemical that bonds with water to produce poisonous hydrochloric acid
- Arsenic, despite being poisonous, is used in several industrial processes and is a cause of water contamination due to improper waste disposal
- Amphetamine and methamphetamine have found their way in to our water and are messing with the growth and development of organisms in local streams.
There's more — a lot more and the list can go on but without going into more stats, let's talk about what is being done about it.
Surely if the dangers are so well known and so widespread, endangering millions, there must be precautions in place and actions taken.
But lengthy and in-depth research done by The New York Times roughly boils down to, "The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal."
Since 2004, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease.
What's more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Over 15 million U.S. households obtain their drinking water from private wells, which are not covered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that protect public drinking water systems."
Not long ago, researchers in the United States found a mix of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs (including a byproduct of heroin use) in the water in Gwynns Falls, Baltimore:
Amphetamine is used to treat ADHD and is a "potentially illicit drug" because people often abuse it.
Methamphetamine — also known as meth, crystal, chalk or ice — is an extremely addictive stimulant drug.
"Whether it is chromium-6, PFOA or lead, the public is looking down the barrel of a serious water crisis across the country that has been building for decades," says activist Erin Brockovich. She blames it all on "corruption, complacency and utter incompetence."
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria