Millions of Americans could be drinking radioactive water

A new study shows that 22,000 public services in all states reported presence of radioactive particles in water

Millions of Americans could be drinking radioactive water
A study published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) warned about the presence of radioactive elements found in US public water systems between 2010 and 2015, and which could be threatening the health of more than 17 million Americans.

In many parts of the world it is usual to drink water directly from the tap, and although some cities claim that their water sources are potable, the consumer may be ingesting chemical substances harmful to health, which are obtained during the route made by water through the pipes until reaching the tap.


In the United States, 22,000 public services from all of the 50 states reported the presence of radioactivity in water, which if drinked, could put pregnant women  at risk, and even contribute to the development of cancer.


However, according to the EWG, the US authorities seem not to be very interested in solving the problem, since the non-profit entity accuses the current candidate of the White House's principal environmental policy adviser, Kathleen Hartnett White, to have manipulated data meant to show the number of citizens who would be at risk of developing cancer or contracting other diseases due to the quality of water they drink from the tap.


The EWG urges then to promote the change of the federal standard for radiation levels allowed in water, which were made in 1976 and are monitored and established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although there is no official data of people who may have developed health complications from drinking tap water in the US, the EPA recognizes that 70 cases of cancer out of a million people are linked to water supply.


Ad portas of a world without drinking water


According to a World Bank report published in 2015, it is estimated that Earth population increase, poor consumption practices and climate change, get as a result that in 2050 about one billion people have to live in cities with no drinking water. Although it sounds like a distant fact, Cape Town, located on the west coast of South Africa, announced a few days ago that it could be the first city in the world to run out of drinking water. The city has a period of three months to stock up its water supplyes before its inhabitants do not see water running down the tap again.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a maximum of 50 liters of water per day per person, however this figure is exceeded worldwide, especially in Latin America. In Argentina, each person spends an average of 317 liters of water per day, in Peru 250 and in Mexico 366. According to WHO, about 850 million people do not have access to drinking water. Latin America has almost 31% of the total sources of drinking water in the world, however it can be one of the most affected by climate change, multiplying the frequency and intensity of droughts in many regions.



Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda 

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