Posted on Apr 30, 2019, 7 p.m.
The Environmental Working Group has conducted a first of its kind study to investigate risks associated with all contaminants in California state’s public water systems collectively which has revealed that toxic pollutants in their drinking water could cause more than 15,000 cases of cancer.
A new analytical technique was used to quantify combined health impacts of toxic contaminants and carcinogens in more than 2,700 community water systems across the state of California, findings were published in the journal Environmental Health.
“This cumulative approach is common in assessing the health impacts of exposure to air pollutants but has never before been applied to drinking water contaminants. Right now, policymakers set health limits one chemical at a time. This doesn’t match reality. Multiple contaminants are often detected in drinking water across the U.S.” saya Dr. Tasha Stoiber.
The state of California’s projected lifetime cumulative cancer risk should be considered as being conservative, according to the researchers, because contaminants can become even more toxic when they are mixed together compared to potency of individual chemical components.
“This could and should be a big deal. We need to prioritize the treatment of our tap water. This novel approach to risk assessment offers a significant improvement over the current model and, if adopted, will be a huge step toward improving public health. It will help communities and policymakers evaluate the best options to treat drinking water.” explains Dr. Olga Naidenko.
Water systems serving smaller communities with fewer than 1,000 people were found to pose highest risks where there is an increased exposure to arsenic. To provide safer drinking water to all California residents, especially to those in higher risk areas communities are in need of improved infrastructure.
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