A lot of us tend to associate unsafe drinking water with third world countries or special limited cased in the U.S. like Flint Michigan. But a report in today’s USA Today suggests that it is far from being a limited problem. the USA Today article says that 63 million Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water.
This appears to affect rich and poor, urban and rural, north south east and west alike, although the article points out that it is often the smaller, more rural areas that lack the resources to deal with water issues.
In several Southwestern states, 2 million people received groundwater tainted with arsenic, radium or fluoride from their local water systems, with many exposed to these chemicals for years before hundreds of small, low-income communities could afford to filter them out. Some still haven’t cleaned up their water.
Contamination in rural areas from these naturally occurring chemicals, found in the bedrock of aquifers, made Texas, Oklahoma and California the top states for EPA drinking water quality violations during the past decade…
…This report is part of a project on drinking water contamination in the United States produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For the complete Troubled Water project, visit troubledwwater.news21.com.
But wait a minute! Didn’t the Roaming Parkers just this past week recommend that everyone get a Nalgene bottle and start drinking tapwater! Yes, and I think it’s still a pretty valid generalization that we are accustomed to having clean, healthy water readily available in the U.S. However, with these issues looming, it’d be smart to take a few steps to protect yourself…
- Take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s database of water system violations in the US. It’ll give you an idea about the size of the problem in your local area.
- Check out the CDC’s website about Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water. This will give you some vital info about dealing with biological hazards.
- Start looking at filter systems for your drinking water, like this one by Brita.
The bottom line – You should still get a reusable water bottle – just be more careful about what you put in it!