General Ripper in the movie “Dr. Strangelove” said he was afraid “precious bodily fluids” could be contaminated by the Communists, so he drank only distilled water or rainwater. He might have sounded a bit nutty at the time, but the latest report on US tap water might make the movie seem less comical. The Environmental Working Group released a report last month that had some disturbing data:
In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals — more than half — are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.
Our investigation reveals major gaps in our system of public health protections when it comes to tap water safety. Federal programs that allocate grants and low-cost loans to prevent water pollution and protect the rivers, streams, and groundwater that we drink are sorely underfunded.
When you consider how important clean water is to the national infrastructure, the data suggests serious shortcomings that threaten to undermine US security.
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, as quoted by Salon, called clean drinking water “a key ingredient to keeping people healthy and our economy strong.”