By Theodora Filis
In the last five years, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. Violations of the Clean Water Act have risen steadily across the nation. These violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations that might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.
There are many causes of tap water contamination, ranging from agricultural runoff, to improper use of household chemicals, and everything in between. Few of us realize the extent or impact of these low level synthetic chemicals in the water we use. In the early 1900s‚ before chlorine‚ pesticides‚ herbicides and the tens of thousands of other chemicals we are exposed to every day were in existence‚ the average American possessed a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer; today 1 in 3 Americans can expect to get cancer during their lifetime‚ including 1 in every 2 males.
Our use of man-made chemicals has become so extreme that we can now find traces of these low level SOCs (synthetic organic chemicals) in virtually every public water supply around the world. A recent report by the Ralph Nader Study Group‚ after reviewing over 10‚000 documents acquired through the Freedom Of Information Act‚ confirmed, "U.S. drinking water contains more than 2100 toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.
Toxins regularly found in drinking water samples include PCB's, lead, chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides and prescription drugs. Our drinking water gets recycled all the time and with an estimated 80,000 synthetic chemicals in use today, the situation is worsening.
Coal-ash dump sites pollute drinking water with arsenic, lead and other heavy metals. There are 137 known toxic contamination sites from coal-ash pollution in 34 states. Environmental groups are urging the EPA to set and enforce a national standard to protect the public from coal-ash pollutants.
In New York State alone, 205 water systems have broken the law by delivering tap water that contained illegal amounts of bacteria since 2004. Drinking water tests since 2004 have detected illegal concentrations of arsenic, and tetrachloroethylene (a dry cleaning solvent) . Only three water systems were penalized for bacteria violations.
Home filtration systems can help protect your families heath. The EPA recommends using active carbon filters. The reason for this is that they can remove 99% of all the toxins as they can be chemically bound to the surface of the filter as well as manually removing them. Active carbon filters also leave in the trace elements and improve the taste of the water as well.