In The News
New York Times reveals water for 20% of Americans in federal violation
Following a comprehensive New York Times report today revealing that twenty percent of Americans face water in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Water Quality Association today urges consumers to explore installing final contaminant barriers in their homes. The newspaper reported since 2004, “the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.” The New York Times report follows in the wake of Associated Press studies last year showing that up to one in six Americans might be ingesting some level of pharmaceuticals in their drinking water. “Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available to treat drinking water,” said Peter J. Censky, executive director of WQA.
Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these “point-of-use” systems the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly available. While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the US EPA, the New York Times has reported that there have been more than half a million violations of the Clean Water Act since 2004.
Fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal official s“Home filtering systems act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking,” Censky emphasized. WQA provides Gold Seal certification for products that remove a variety of contaminants. These products are tested according to independently developed standards of the highly respected ANSI (American National Standards Institute). In addition, consumers can find locally certified dealers by visiting WQA’s Find A Water Professional feature. Dealers are certified though rigorous study and testing. More information about contaminants is also available at WQA’s Water Information Library, which includes a search function. Visit wqa.org to take advantage of these features. WQA is a not-for-profit association that provides public information about water treatment issues and also trains and certifies professionals to better serve consumers. WQA has more than 2,500 members internationally.
One in six Americans may face issue, AP reveals — Following a new Associated Press report that shows at least 46 million Americans may have pharmaceuticals in their water
The Water Quality Association is encouraging consumers to educate themselves on possible solutions. According to a September 10 AP report, almost one in six Americans may be affected by pharmaceuticals in their household water. Since an initial AP report in March, positive tests were reported in 17 areas, including Reno, NV; Savannah, GA; Colorado Springs, CO; and Huntsville, AL. Results are pending in three other areas. WQA, a not-for-profit alliance of water treatment companies, has become a resource for consumers and public policy makers seeking information about the issue. WQA offers an online fact sheet with answers to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water, available at wqa.org. WQA has also joined a task force to develop independent testing standards that will be able to tell consumers what devices are successful at removing many of these newly discovered contaminants.
Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking water, according to Joseph Harrison, technical director of WQA. Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these “point-of-use” systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly. While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the U.S. EPA, home filtering systems act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking, Harrison said. While specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals, many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging contaminants. The most recent test results, added to data disclosed by communities and water utilities for the March AP report, produce the new total of Americans known to be exposed to drinking water that contains trace levels of pharmaceutical compounds. Boston, Phoenix and Seattle found no detections of pharmaceuticals in their drinking water supplies, according to AP.
Cities that reported finding pharmaceuticals in their supplies detected substances similar to those found in other cities’ supplies and reported on in March. One such substance is the anti-convulsant carbamazepine. According to AP, the overwhelming majority of US cities have not tested drinking water for pharmaceuticals. One of them, New York City, maintains that testing “is not warranted at this time.” WQA has been called on to provide information about the issue in several states. Just last week, Harrison testified before the Illinois State Senate subcommitte on Public Health about the problem. Independent surveying conducted for WQA has shown a high level of consumer concern.
In March, after initial AP reports, a scientific survey conducted for WQA found that 45 percent of respondents feel very concerned and 23 percent somewhat concerned about pharmaceuticals in their water. More than 80 percent were aware of news reports on the issue. However, the AP reported in May that municipalities rarely inform their residents when pharmaceuticals are found in drinking water.