Enough evidence exists out there to suggest that current water quality conditions have deteriorated massively on a Global scale… and yet we STILL receive emails and inquiries from (unsuspecting) folks like ‘MargoCA’ who asked, “Our local water company sends out notices telling us our water is FINE but then sites like your tell us we are in danger of getting sick, getting cancer etc. The water we get from ########### county complies with all the EPA laws so how can you say we are in danger?”
Thank you, Margo, for your inquiry and you raise a very good question: Can you trust the quality of your tap water since the EPA regulates its quality?
The EPA only regulates and forces water treatment facilities to test for a select number of potential drinking water contaminants… that have already shown to modern science, beyond the shadow of a doubt, their harmful nature if consumed in drinking water.
The EPA adds new chemicals and contaminants (some which occur naturally in our environment, believe it or not) as scientific methods of analysis get better and mankind learns more about the harmful effects of chemicals, toxins, and pollutants it has directly or indirectly added to the environment.
Years ago we did not have advanced spectrometers to analyze water down to parts per billion levels for chemicals and compounds that we could not taste, smell, or feel — so we didn’t KNOW some of the compounds the EPA now regulates heavily even existed.
Additionally, some of the contaminants the EPA recently discovered in our water supplies and started to regulate, like the growing number of VOC’s (volatile organic contaminants), didn’t have names in the past because the industrial processes that create them did not, yet, exist… and in the short time that we have known about them we have not, yet, had enough time fully understand the long and short term health effects caused by exposure to them.
When it comes to water quality, Margo, mankind put itself on the wrong side of the learning curve and now spends an enormous amount of time learning how to correct the environmental evils that our lust for ‘bigger, better, faster, more’, usually derived from the latest technological or chemical breakthrough, has created.
We blindly reap the benefits afforded us by the newest and most convenient products on the market without ever considering the downside to them. Good example: While bottled water may not (usually!) contain undesirable compounds like DBP’s (disinfection byproducts), our early use of bottled water products caused landfills to grow in size much faster than their designers anticipated.
Granted now most people do recycle their bottles, but we had to first learn from our mistake before we could do anything about it. The same principle applies to all the chemicals and pharmaceuticals we create on a daily basis.
Moral of the story?
We will choose not to trust in a bureaucratic, behind the times, often backwards thinking, politically motivated organization’s rules to keep our water safe and clean. The EPA and other organizations who strive to keep drinking water safe may mean well, but their reach can only extend so far and cannot keep up with the blistering pace of today’s technological innovations.
Oh, and one more thing before we go: Water treatment plants, like everyone else these days, have limited budgets and the EPA knows this. Therefore we can only assume that the EPA prioritizes the contaminants it makes them test for into a list with limited spots… and that means some contaminant levels that ought to get checked will not get checked because they didn’t make the list.
So should you worry about the quality of your water, Margo? That’s entirely up to you.