We all assume that when we turn on the tap, the water that comes out will be safe to drink.
I hate to disillusion you, but nothing is farther from the truth. (You have heard of Flint, Michigan, haven’t you?)
Here are 20 terrifying facts about tap water that should matter more to us:
ONE: Water main breaks
Every year in the United States, there are 240,000 water main breaks per year, leaking valuable water. Those breaks happen because the drinking water infrastructure in the United States is old and failing.
TWO: Climate Change affects water resources
Climate change is decreasing our water supply. As the annual global temperature increases, our weather patterns change. (The ten warmest years in historical record have all occurred since 2010!) The amount of water in the Colorado River has decreased so significantly that recently, in an attempt to continue the supply of water to residents, Arizona, California, and Nevada agreed to conserve 3-million-acre feet of water in the Colorado River.
Changing climate patterns bring extreme weather events and new precipitation patterns that affect water resources.
THREE: Outdated safety standards
The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has not updated the safety standards of drinking water since 2000, more than twenty-three years ago.
FOUR: Inadequate regulation of chemicals in drinking water
When the EPA evaluated safety standards in 2000, the organization only evaluated and changed the level of Uranium allowed in the water. No other chemical levels were addressed.
FIVE: Infrequent evaluation
More than FIFTY years - half a century - have passed since the “allowable” levels of chemicals have been evaluated and modified by the EPA.
SIX: Different meanings of “SAFE”
One of the most terrifying facts about the safety of our drinking water is this:
The EPA declares that the level of many chemicals is “SAFE,” but scientific research proves that the level of “SAFE” for health concerns is much, much lower than what the EPA designates.
“SAFE” to drink by the EPA does not mean the same thing as what a doctor or scientist concerned about the health of the human body would say is “SAFE” to drink!
SEVEN: Effect of P-FAS
Have you heard of P-FAS? The letters stand for man-made chemicals. In particular, different kinds of polyfluorenes that were created in the 1940s and used in the manufacture of water-repelling fabrics, nonstick cookware, and various household items like carpets and cosmetics.
The EPA does NOT monitor water for P-FAS levels.
According to the Center for Disease Control, P-FAS contribute to liver cancer, an increase in blood lipids, liver damage, decreased fertility, asthma, and thyroid disease.
EIGHT: A multitude of harmful chemicals in our drinking water
It’s not just the allowable levels of a single chemical in our drinking water that is the issue.
It’s HUNDREDS of chemical contaminants.
Local utilities detected 324 chemicals that are legal by EPA guidelines but that far exceed what science has proven to be harmful to our health.
NINE: Chemicals in our drinking water are harmful
If you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal about some chemicals in our drinking water?” you might not know about the significant health consequences of ingesting these toxins.
Chemicals are proven to decrease fertility and cause cancer.
TEN: Lead in drinking water is a major cause for concern
We’ve all heard of lead poisoning. Lead in our drinking water is a major cause of concern, but currently, there are 6-10 MILLION lead service lines still in use today in the United States. Water that flows through those lines is carrying lead into the bloodstreams of the people who drink it.
Most of those lead pipelines lead to older homes.
ELEVEN: Health risks of lead in our drinking water
Lead exposure is a huge health risk causing problems in adults with cognitive impairment, mood disorders, memory loss, anemia, kidney damage, and cardiovascular problems. In children, lead exposure decreases IQ levels and increases learning disabilities.
TWELVE: Lead and copper levels in drinking water are not kept under control
As of 2012, more than 5300 water systems in America were in violation of lead and copper limits, providing drinking water that exceeded even the EPA’s minimal guidelines for safety.
THIRTEEN: Lead violations haven’t decreased
Between January 2018 and the end of 2020, 28 MILLION people were served by 7595 water systems that had 12,892 lead violations.
FOURTEEN: Pesticide levels are up, too
In addition to lead and copper, pesticides are often washed off of fields and pushed into the water system.
The U.S. Geological Survey found more than 94% of groundwater samples in agricultural areas between 2013 and 2017 contained pesticide residue.
FIFTEEN: Chemicals + Organic compounds
Our drinking water often contains “Disinfection Byproducts,” known as DBPs.
A DBP is an unintended byproduct created when a disinfecting chemical like chlorine interacts with organic materials, like decaying plant matter – (think grass clippings, mulch, and leaves) – and creates harmful chemicals known as THMs or HAAs.
SIXTEEN: Public water systems can’t keep up
Many public water systems struggle to meet or maintain compliance with EPA guidelines.
There are more than 50,000 water utilities in the United States. Half of those facilities serve fewer than 500 people. These smaller, rural water companies struggle to deliver quality drinking water. The fewer people they serve, the less likely they are to have full-time employees to monitor water quality. They also have less money to maintain the facility because they have fewer customers generating revenue.
You can find out how safe your water is by clicking on the link below:
SEVENTEEN: Near failing grade on our drinking water system
Because of the aging, failing drinking water, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) evaluated the US drinking water infrastructure with a grade of “D.” Near failing.
EIGHTEEN: Not everyone has access to safe drinking water
46 million people cannot count on their water supply and live every day with “water insecurity.”
Water insecurity means there is either no running water at all, the availability of water is not reliable, or what water they do get is unsafe to drink.
NINETEEN: Loss of water
Water is a valuable resource, yet the ASCE notes that America loses 6 BILLION gallons of treated water every day because of leaks and breaks in our old pipelines.
TWENTY: The drinking water infrastructure may never get fixed
The aging water infrastructure may never get fixed because of the enormous amount of effort and cost it would take to upgrade it, with estimates exceeding ONE TRILLION dollars over the next 25 years just to replace the old lead pipes and broken lines.
The ONE TRILLION-dollar estimate does NOT include any work on old sewage facilities or upgrades to existing water treatment plants.
Regardless of your politics, you can see the difficulty in requiring states to replace the aging infrastructure of more than 1.2 MILLION MILES of water main across the United States.
The best solution to America’s water problems
Get a whole-house water filtration system.
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- Get peace of mind.
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