An update to a 2021 report from the Environmental Working Group reveals tap water contains contaminants linked to cancer, brain damage and other serious health harms in a database released Wednesday.
The database contains evidence of contamination from toxic substances, such as arsenic, lead, and chemicals known as PFAS in drinking water of tens of millions of households in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a release from the Environmental Working Group.
The database also underscores the need for stricter federal water quality standards and a request for funding for infrastructure improvements nationwide.
“EWG’s Tap Water Database offers a panoramic view of what drinking water quality looks like when the federal office meant to protect our water is in an advanced stage of regulatory capture,” EWG President Ken Cook said in a release.
Environmental Working Group researchers and scientists spent more that two years collecting and analyzing U.S. water contaminant test data from nearly 50,000 water systems.
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water has demonstrated for decades that it is utterly incapable of standing up to pressure from water utilities and polluters to protect human health from the dozens of toxic contaminants in America’s drinking water,” Cook said in a release.
To access the database, visit www.ewg.org/tapwater/ for safety assessments developed by Environmental Working Group scientists.
“With more funding, stronger federal safety standards and a greater focus on helping historically disadvantaged areas, safe water could finally be a given for all communities across the country,” Cook said in a release. “Until then, EWG’s Tap Water Database will continue to be a key part of our work to help consumers and communities learn about the true scope of the problem, empower themselves and advocate for better water quality.”
The database also explains the standards the Environmental Working Group has created for tap water contaminants, and provides guidance for choosing effective water filters to reduce pollutants.
“Our government needs to wake up to the fact that clean water is a human right, regardless of race, income or politics,” noted consumer advocate Erin Brockovich said in a release. “Achieving true water equity means getting everyone — every single person — in this country access to affordable, safe tap water they can trust will not poison them and their loved ones.”