Cancer Causing Chemicals Could Be Present In Drinking Water, Study Shows

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A recent study from the University of New Mexico raises serious concerns about the drinking water in the United States suggesting that toxic contaminants may be present in the water, potentially posing a cancer risk. Furthermore, tribal lands and minority communities are the most affected.

Contaminates due to human activities pollute water sources

Dr. Johnnye Lewis, an emeritus professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the principal investigator for the Navajo Birth Cohort Study said that a group of experts in handling specific contaminants observed that, due to various factors, these substances do not consistently maintain safe levels in drinking water sources.

Various contaminants under question are arsenic, chlorinated disinfection byproducts, lead, fracking fluids, nitrates, PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances), and uranium. Some of these, including inorganic arsenic, nitrates, and uranium, are recognized as carcinogens, while others, like fracking fluids and PFAS, are a result of human activities and have uncertain long-term effects, with PFAS being particularly persistent in the environment.

Dr. Lewis stated that he believes there was apprehension, albeit not of this magnitude, and it has since escalated to its current state. This resembles a common societal pattern where actions are taken first, and later efforts are made to rectify the situation. He says that this approach is typically considered ill-advised.

Interaction of contaminants in water resources intensifies harmful effects

The research highlights concerns about the interaction of various contaminants in water sources, which can potentially intensify their harmful effects. Dr. Lewis explains that understanding the effects of contaminant mixtures is a challenge, as it varies between different communities.

Despite the assumption that large water systems can mitigate these issues, many Americans lack this safeguard.The research identiifed an estimated 150,000 public water systems within the United States, and among them, approximately one-third are community water systems catering to around 320 million American citizens. A striking 91% of these systems serve populations numbering less than 10,000, collectively encompassing roughly 52 million individuals. Additionally, more than 43 million Americans depend on private wells as their primary water source.

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