Study: Tap water could increase risk for cancer


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(CNN NEWSOURCE/WIAT) — You might want to think twice about filling your glass from the sink.

There may be cancer-causing products in tap water. That’s according to a new report recently published in the journal Heliyon from the non-profit group Environmental Working Group. Researchers say they found 22 carcinogens in tap water, including arsenic, uranium and radium.

“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 a press release on the group’s website. “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.”

For their study, scientists used a novel analytical framework that calculated the combined health impacts of carcinogens in 48,363 community water systems in the United States. In a press release sent out by EWG, it was stated that the assessment did not include water quality information for the 13.5 million American households that rely on private wells for drinking water.

In EWG’s statement, the group said most of the increased cancer risk is due to “contamination with arsenic, disinfection byproducts and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium” and that 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,” the statement read. “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 watchdog group says there may be a health risk, even though most tap water meets the legal standards put in place by the federal government. The study was published Thursday in the journal Heliyon.

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