by Amanda Woods: Contaminated tap water — containing arsenic and other chemicals…
could be to blame for more than 100,000 cancer cases in the US over a lifetime, a new study revealed.
The Environmental Working Group study, published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Heylion, analyzed contaminant occurrence in the nation’s drinking water from 2010 to 2017. Researchers determined that most of the cancer risk comes from arsenic, disinfectant byproducts and radioactive contaminants.
“We want people to realize that water that meets legal specifications may still cause health risks based on the latest science,” lead study author Sydney Evans told The Guardian. “This is a concern nationwide, whether urban or rural, with a small or large [water system].”
The number of cancer cases from water contamination specifically pales in comparison to the total number of cancer cases — the American Cancer society reported about 1.7 million new cases in 2018.
However, water contamination is behind a high percentage of cancer cases caused by environmental factors, Olga Naidenko, VP of science investigations at the Environmental Working Group, told The Guardian.
While the US has largely eliminated biological contaminants like E. coli — which is more common in developing nations — from its water, other contaminants can still make people sick, the research revealed.
“Water contaminants present in large communities contribute a significant share of overall cancer risk associated with drinking water,” the study says.
Researchers analyzed water quality profiles for more than 48,000 community water systems — not including information for about 13.5 million American households (or 14 percent of the population) that get their water from private wells.
New York has a “medium” occurrence of arsenic in its drinking water, according to the research. Arizona was reported to have a “high” concentration, and North Carolina to have a “low” amount.
Researchers recommend that people check their own local water reports and determine whether a filter is necessary.