Water, Unfit To Drink

When added to water, chlorine can form chloroform, because this water can contain runoff from lawns or farms. So states a study by the Environment Working Group and Public Interest Research Groups, that was released on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 02. This increases the health risks of miscarriages, neural tube defects, reduced fetal growth, as well as other health risks.

The above report states; "By failing to clean up rivers and reservoirs that provide drinking water for hundreds of millions of Americans, EPA and the Congress have forced water utilities to chlorinate water that is contaminated with animal waste, sewage, fertilizer, algae and sediment."

C. T. Howlett , executive director of "Chlorine Chemistry Council"; said government agencies found no compelling link between reproductive hazards and chlorinated water. He said that environmental groups' study "may unnecessarily alarm the public and, in particular, pregnant women, about risks that are not supported by scientific evidence."

Dr. Robert Morris, an environmental epidemiologist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston said millions could be at risk if the pregnancy studies are proved. ---That body of literature isn't necessarily conclusive but people ought to be aware of it. It's pretty clear that some of these compounds can be pretty bad actors. The fact that these levels are as high as they are is certainly something to be concerned about".

Houlihan, an environmental group spokesman, stated that women in small towns generally face twice the risk from drinking high levels of the byproducts.

There are an estimated 181,000 industrial surface impoundments [lagoons]; 16,000 industrial landfill sites [containing hazardous waste]; 18,500 active municipal landfills; and 20-million septic systems in the United States. Virtually all are located in rural areas. 3.5 to 21-million pounds of pesticides reach ground or surface water. Thirty-four states had industrial agricultural nonpoint source pollution as a major cause of non-achievement of state water quality goals, twenty-nine states site this pollution of groundwater as a major concern, citing agricultural pesticides and septic tank seepage as specific concerns.

Normal agricultural use has led to residues of 46 different pesticides in the groundwater of twenty-six states. A potential pollution problem can reach a well miles away through underground water currents.

In the Midwest United States there is estimated to be many thousands of buried storage tanks containing motor fuels and chemicals. According to the EPA it is estimated that 10-25% of the underground storage tanks are leaking.

"The EPA requires water utilities to keep levels of 80 potential contaminants below legal limits. But even when water meets all regulations it still may not be suitable for everyone to drink." [David Schardt, Nutrition Action Newsletter].

1. MTBE Contaminated Drinking Water
2. http://www.epa.gov/ow/
3. Nutrition Action Healthletter
"Water Water Everywhere" Issue: June 2000
By David Schardt

Margot B is a web designer as well as the author of numerous articles and a book.