The New York Times continued its months-long probe of the nation’s water pollution with a story today examining the healthfulness of drinking water supplies around the country.
Here’s how it starts:
The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal.
Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times.
But not one chemical has been added to the list of those regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2000.
The story focuses on Los Angeles, but the Times’ database allows you to search testing results for every water system in San Diego County. A caveat, though: Some of test results are from before drinking water was treated, the Times says, and some contaminants were removed before the water would’ve been delivered to taps. (And the graphics don’t specify when that occurred, limiting what you can glean from them.)
The results still offer an interesting insight into what’s in our raw, untreated drinking water supply, even if it’s yanked out in treatment plants. Here are testing results for the city of San Diego, the state’s fourth-largest water system, and here are results for all water agencies in the county.
— ROB DAVIS