The Scary Truth About Federal Water Regulation
As American citizens, we put the quality of our water into the hands of the EPA, but should we trust that they are faithfully doing their job in keeping us safe?
Cheating the Tests
Each city in America is required to submit an annual water report, so the EPA can make sure the contaminants in the water do not exceed the legal limits. Unfortunately, there are little ways that the cities often cheat the system to make the water seem safer than it is. To the city, it does not matter if the contaminants rise over the legal levels a bit, because the water only has to be legal when it is tested. The contaminant levels can rise and fall without the city caring; they need to make sure the standard does not have any violations when the water is tested. Even then, the water often has several dangerous violations. In this case, the city tries to make it very difficult to find a copy of the year’s water report.
Legal but Dangerous
Just because contaminant levels are considered legal, it does not mean they are safe. A city’s water can have no violations but still be dangerous to drink. Many of the contaminants that are legal are extremely dangerous for human health. Several pollutants are allowed to be in the water at levels that are way beyond what is safe. On top of this, several water pollutants are not included in the list of regulated contaminants but are still found in water and are hazardous to human health.
Believe it or not, disinfected water is still dangerous. While the disinfection process may very well eliminate some hazardous contaminants, the process itself is harmful. The way they purify water is by adding even more pollutants! They will add chlorine to the water to kill harmful bacteria. They are just solving one problem by creating another. This form of disinfecting is not new; chlorination has been the predominant form of water disinfection for over 70 years. It is convenient and cost-effective. Drinking chlorine is extremely dangerous to the human body and can cause some serious long-term effects. Chlorine is designed to kill living organisms. Obviously, if you drink something intended to kill, there are going to be some issues. It kills cells and tissues in your body while increasing the risk of cancer.
In 2016, lawmakers were fighting to convince the EPA to reduce the legal level of lead in public water. They wanted to reduce the amount of lead allowed in drinking water drastically. They argued that the legal level was still hazardous to people’s health, especially children’s. This fight has yet to be won. Lead regulations have not been altered since 1991.
Safe Drinking Water Act
The Safe Drinking Water Act was designed to regulate water contamination and make public water safe to drink. Unfortunately, even with this act, the public water in America is far from the quality it should be. This act was passed in 1974, modified in 1986 and 1996, and has yet to be touched since then. It has been over 20 years since the water contaminants list and regulations have been modified. A lot has changed in 20 years, and so should the act. There have been several more dangerous water contaminants found that have yet to be regulated. The legal levels of several pollutants also need to be reevaluated to ensure that the water we drink is completely clean and safe.