By Kennedy Shelley
What is the risk of drinking water in the US?
Well most of us think that as long as we don’t live in Flint MI, we should be fine.
But a new analysis from the Environmental Working Group that was published in Heliyon may make you rethink this idea.
Their analysis shows that our water supply creates a lifetime risk of cancer that is significant.
The cumulative effect of trace elements in our tap water might be leading to hundreds of thousands of cancer cases.
The scientists analyzed water from more than 48,000 communities across the US and the amount of cancer-causing material found in the water was staggering.
This did not include those who use private wells for their water.
What made this study different than the way the government currently looks at water safety is they looked at how different chemicals react.
Government water safety standards only look at one element, for example, arsenic.
You obviously don’t want too much of it because that would make the water poisonous.
But what about low levels combined with other chemicals? Does that make the new combo potentially dangerous?
The study said:
“Drinking water contains complex mixtures of contaminants, yet government agencies currently assess the health hazards of tap water pollutants one by one,” says first and corresponding study author Sydney Evans, an EWG science analyst.
“In the real world,” she adds, “people are exposed to combinations of chemicals, so it is important that we start to assess health impacts by looking at the combined effects of multiple pollutants.”
The bottom line is that when you look at the different chemical compounds that are in our water supply, statistically it will cause over 100,000 cases of cancer.
Now, who will get it, and what type is the big question. But it points out that we should give thought to our water before mindlessly drinking straight from the tap.
Investing in a home filtration system might help minimize your risk.
This study comes at the same time that the Lancet just released a study which showed cancer is now the leading cause of death in developed countries.
At one level, the Lancet study is good news. It shows that many people are taking action to mitigate some preventable forms of death (heart attack, stroke, and accidents).
But as fewer people smoke, and as we get better at treating heart attacks and as more people improve their diet and exercise, we now need to take a look at some of the toxins we ingest regularly to see if we can make improvements there.
Not all cancers are caused by environmental toxins, some are caused by viruses such as HPV (see this article in Freedom Health News).
And there is good news on the cancer front, we are getting better at detecting and treating it. But it is still far better to avoid it altogether if possible.
The water study was conducted over seven years and analyzed water from many parts of the country, so trying to figure out if your water is as dangerous as Flint Michigan’s is impossible to determine.
But it does make the point that while we don’t get the same diseases as those in developing nations who have contaminated water supplies, we do have other risks.
And paying attention to our water supply is good for our overall health.