Water is an essential component of our lives that we need in a plentiful amount to sustain a living. Without an adequate amount of it, we will probably be unable to survive. All that on one side, when we are drinking water, we generally assume it to be safe. Meaning by, we perceive it to be clean, free from any harmful substances.
Well, if the glass appears crystal clear and there is no odour whatsoever, we are inclined to drink it!
However, to our surprises, we often tend to overlook what might be present inside that our naked eyes can not capture. There might be traces of contamination that are perhaps putting our lives at a great risk This is exactly what an independent non-profit research organization: Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggested.
The research found the Californian Drinking water to be contaminated with hundreds of harmful substances. The contamination level remains so high that it can potentially lead to over 15000 cases of cancer in about 20 years!
Californian Drinking Water & Contamination Levels
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) over the years has involved itself in different environment related studies. One such research was carried out between 2011 and 2015 where EWG collected samples from 2700 community water systems. These systems provided access to drinking water for Californian residents.
On examination and determining the quality of the drinking water, EWG found traces of around 250 contaminants. Simply put, the water had dangerous levels of chemicals and harmful substances present. Which unfortunately people could not see from their naked eyes. However, what is even more startling is that contaminants can be responsible for causing cancer among individuals.
Two-thirds of the samples had unprecedented levels of carcinogens present. According to the lead author Tasha Stoiber, the findings should alert the residents living in California. Most have drinking water available from systems that are not cleared of contamination. As a consequence, the lives of people are at stake. If nothing is done about the problem on an immediate basis, we may witness as many 15,000 cancer patients within the next 20 to 30 years. The figure is just a rough estimate and is likely to go up considering the intensity of the issue.
Which areas are most affected?
While the system for which samples were collected supplies drinking water to the majority of the California area. However, some regions have been hit more severely by the problem than others. Small towns on the outskirts of San Bernardino and Fremont had a water supply with the highest contamination. The drinking water was even known to have traces of Hexavalent Chromium and other radioactive substances. However, the water system served about 1500 residents and not a major chunk of the population.
In addition, the region of Central Valley was also not free from the problem. In fact, is among the most affected areas in California. The drinking water that was available for people in the area contained great levels of arsenic compounds. Experts believe the situation arose as a result of groundwater pumping where the water was never really filtered.
Metropolitan urban centers like San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles have also been engulfed within the problem. Fortunately, due to the presence of better water treatment plants, the issue is not as severe compared to rural areas.