Posts tagged with "Arsenic"

Testing the waters: Researchers find contaminants in U.S. tap water could cause100,000+ cancer diagnoses

September 23, 2019

How many glasses of water should you drink a day? None, if you get your water from the tap and reside in a major U.S. city, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group announced on September 19.

Indeed, a study that the group claims is the first cumulative assessment of cancer risks due to 22 carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water nationwide has found “a toxic cocktail of chemical pollutants in U.S. drinking water that could result in more than 100,000 cancer cases” annually.

In a paper published in the journal, Heliyon, EWG scientists used a novel analytical framework that calculated the combined health impacts of carcinogens in 48,363 community water systems in the United States—but did not include water quality information for the 13.5 million American households that rely on private wells for their drinking water.

“Drinking water contains complex mixtures of contaminants, yet government agencies currently assess the health hazards of tap water pollutants one by one,” said Sydney Evans, lead author of the paper and a science analyst at EWG. “In the real world, people are exposed to combinations of chemicals, so it is important that we start to assess health impacts by looking at the combined effects of multiple pollutants.”

This cumulative approach is common in assessing the health impacts of exposure to air pollutants but has never before been applied to a national dataset of drinking water contaminants. This model builds on a cumulative cancer risk assessment of water contaminants in the State of California and offers a deeper insight into national drinking water quality. As defined by U.S. government agencies, the calculated cancer risk applies to a statistical lifetime, or approximately 70 years.

Most of the increased cancer risk is due to contamination with arsenic, disinfection byproducts,;and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium, the researchers said.

Water systems with the highest risk tend to serve smaller communities and rely on groundwater. These communities often need improved infrastructure and resources to provide safe drinking water to their residents. However, large surface water systems contribute a significant share of the overall risk due to the greater population served and the consistent presence of disinfection byproducts.

“The vast majority of community water systems meet legal standards,” said Olga Naidenko, EWG’s vice president for Science Investigations. “Yet the latest research shows that contaminants present in the water at those concentrations—perfectly legal—can still harm human health.”

“We need to prioritize source water protection, to make sure that these contaminants don’t get into the drinking water supplies to begin with,” Naidenko added.

Consumers who are concerned about chemicals in their tap water can install a water filter to help reduce their exposure to contaminants.

Research contact: @EWG

Consumer Reports: Bottled water produced by Whole Foods, Dr. Pepper has high arsenic content

April 19, 2019

An April 17 report published by Consumer Reports  warns that the arsenic levels in popular brands of bottled water are dangerously high.

That cR study finds that 11 brands out of 130 contained detectable amounts of arsenic in them, making them potentially hazardous to drink over the long run.

Over the past few years, as consumers have worried more about the quality of municipal tap water, bottled water has surged in popularity and is now the nation’s best-selling bottled beverage. But the CR investigation has found that in some cases bottled water on store shelves contains more potentially harmful arsenic than tap water flowing into some homes.

“It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water,” commented James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. “If anything, bottled water—a product for which people pay a premium, often because they assume it’s safer—should be regulated at least as strictly as tap water.”

Current federal regulations say that bottled waters must have arsenic levels no higher than 10 parts per billion. HoweverConsumer Reports says several experts think that arsenic levels in bottled water greater than 3 parts per billion constitute a health risk.

In the test, four brands showed detectable levels of arsenic (below 3 ppb); while six brands had arsenic levels of 3 ppb or higher. Those six brands include:

  • Starkey (owned by Whole Foods),
  • Peñafiel (owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper),
  • Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water,
  • Volvic (owned by Danone), and
  • Two regional brands, Crystal Creamery and EartH₂

What’s shocking,  however, is that one of those brands–Peñafiel, owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper–had an average of 17 ppb.

In response to CR’s reporting, Keurig Dr. Pepper said it will suspend bottled water production for two weeks at its Mexico facility, but a recall is not planned. However, Consumer Reports has recommended that the company should recall the contaminated products immediately, and if they do not, the FDA should step in.

In the meantime, if you’re worried about the arsenic levels in your bottled water, Consumer Reports has a list of bottled water brands that you should stick to due to the fact that all the brands had arsenic levels that were nondetectable or below 3 parts per billion. Those brands that Consumer Reports considers to be safe include:

  • Aquafina
  • Arrowhead
  • Dasani
  • Deer Park
  • Essentia
  • Evian
  • Fiji
  • Glaceau Smart Water
  • Ice Mountain
  • Kirkland (Costco)
  • Life WTR
  • Market Pantry (Target)
  • Nestlé Pure Life
  • Niagara
  • Poland Spring
  • Propel

Research contact: @ConsumerReports