KRON 4 | Carcinogens to Plastics: There’s WHAT in My Water?!

KRON4_Contaminated Water

Did you know that drinking water increases your risk of cancer? Contaminants (from known carcinogens to plastic particles) found in public water systems could be the cause of cancer from drinking it over the course of a lifetime. Here’s what’s lurking in the water you drink…

The Research

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy group, conducted a nationwide water contamination study and reviewed 30 million state water records. In California, they evaluated 2,737 different public water systems.

The researchers calculated cancer risk by evaluating the reported contaminant levels from 2010 to 2015. Then they analyzed the cumulative risk based on the yearly averages of all the contaminants and took into account co-occurring contaminants*. 

*NOTE: Interactions between chemical contaminants can overestimate or underestimate overall risk. More research is needed to understand the science behind these interactions.

The Three Key Contaminants Detected

Boy is drinking water in the morning.State regulators oversee the water providers which are regulated by the “Safe Drinking Water Act” and test for contaminants to ensure the water is safe to drink. EWG researchers found three key contaminants:

  1. Arsenic: Drinking water contaminated with arsenic attributed to most of the cancer risk, about 47% of estimated cancer cases. 
  2. Disinfection byproducts
  3. Chromium-6 (Hexavalent)

Small Water Systems Carry the Highest Risk

The smaller utility systems carried the higher risks because they don’t have the resources and economies to improve water quality. Even so, 43% of the larger utilities carried some of the higher cancer risks.

Warning sign with carcinogenic substancesClick here to find out what contaminants are in your water district. You’ll be asked to enter your zip code.

Check out EBMUD’s Water Testing Records…

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has historically been know as having the “best” drinking water in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the EWG researchers found two contaminants above health guidelines. According to third quarter 2018 (July to Sept), the tap water provided by EBMUD was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

The two contaminants that were detected ABOVE health guidelines were:

Warning sign with carcinogenic substances1. Chromium-6 (Hexavalent) — A carcinogen in drinking water due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. Harm to the liver and reproductive system. Detected above the health guideline from 2013 to 2015.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Carcinogens to Plastics: There’s WHAT in My Water?!”