What’s In Your Water?

Groundbreaking Investigation Finds Alarming Levels of Arsenic, Lead and Toxic Chemicals in U.S. Tap Water

A joint investigation by the Guardian and Consumer Reports found drinking water samples from systems servicing more than 19 million people in the U.S. contained unsafe levels of multiple contaminants.

On Tuesday, the Guardian released the results of a nine-month investigation conducted jointly with Consumer Reports (CR) which showed alarming levels of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and chemicals from plastic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water samples across the U.S.

According to the Guardian, millions of people face serious water quality problems in the U.S. because of contamination, deteriorating infrastructure and inadequate treatment at water plants.

As part of the study, CR and the Guardian selected 120 volunteers to provide tap water samples which were then tested for heavy metals like lead and arsenic, contaminants and PFAS — a group of compounds found in hundreds of household products that are linked to learning delays in children, cancer and other health problems.

The samples came from water systems that service more than 19 million people.

Here are four key findings from this report:

  • A total of 118 of 120 samples analyzed had concerning levels of PFAS, arsenic or lead exceeding safety thresholds set by CR scientists and other health experts.
  • Almost every sample had measurable levels of PFAS and more than 35% of samples contained the potentially toxic “forever chemicals,” at levels that exceeded CR’s  maximum safety threshold.
  • About 8% of samples contained arsenic at levels above CR’s recommended maximum.
  • One tested water sample in New Britain, Connecticut, had a lead concentration of 31.2 ppb — more than double the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level of 15 ppb, and 25 ppb higher than the water quality report sent to people who use the water.

In response to the findings, EPA spokesperson Andrea Drinkard said 93% of the population supplied by community water systems get water that meets “all health-based standards all of the time” and that the agency has set standards for more than 90 contaminants. That includes arsenic and lead but not PFAS.

However, according to an analysis of more than 140,000 public water systems published by the Guardian in February, millions of people in the U.S. are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including limits for dangerous contaminants.

‘Forever chemicals’ (PFAS) in tap water

CR’s results showed PFAS in 117 of 120 samples tested, from locations across the country. Two CR samples had PFAS levels above the federal advisory level of 70 ppt, with the highest amount at 80.2 ppt.

PFAS chemicals have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the U.S. since the 1940s, according to the EPA. They can be found in food packaging, commercial household products, stain and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick cookware, polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, fire-fighting foams, oil and plastics industries and contaminated drinking water.

PFAS chemicals seep into water from factories, landfills and other sources. They’re often called “forever chemicals” because they can accumulate in the body and don’t easily break down in the environment.

An investigation into the health effects of PFAS involving research of 69,000 people revealed a “probable link” between exposure to a type of PFAS chemical and six health problems: high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and testicular and kidney cancers. Research has also linked PFAS to learning delays in children.

As reported by The Defender, science suggests links between PFAS exposure and a range of health consequences, including possible increased risks of cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, liver damage, kidney disease, low birth-weight babies, immune suppression, ulcerative colitis and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

At least 2,337 communities in 49 states have drinking water known to be contaminated with PFAS, according to a January analysis by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization.

Despite evidence of widespread contamination and health risks, the EPA has not set an enforceable legal limit for PFAS in drinking water. It has established only voluntary limits, which apply to just two forever chemicals — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) — at 70 parts per trillion combined.

Harvard environmental health professor Philippe Grandjean has suggested that the limit should be just 1 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, citing his 2013 research published in Environmental Health.

Most municipalities don’t test for PFAS, and when they do, it’s only on a small scale.

Toxic arsenic in tap water

Almost every sample CR tested had measurable levels of arsenic, a common groundwater contaminant, including 10 samples with levels between 3 and 10 ppb, according to the Guardian.

CR scientists and environmental advocacy groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have said the limit should be 3 ppb or lower, but the EPA allows arsenic in drinking water up to 10 ppb to balance the costs for water system operators against reducing health risks.

Research suggests exposure to minimal levels of arsenic can pose long-term health risks. A 2014 study in Environmental Health found that arsenic at 5ppb or greater was associated with reduced IQ in children.

As The Defender reported in March, arsenic was “ranked number one among substances present in the environment that pose the most significant potential threat to human health,” according to a congressional report that resulted from an investigation into heavy metals like lead and arsenic found in baby food.

According to the report: “Exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children. Toxic heavy metals endanger infant neurological development and long-term brain function.”

Dangerous level of lead in tap water

Concerns of lead in drinking water first made national headlines during the Flint, Michigan water crisis in 2015. Scientists and the EPA have agreed there is no safe exposure level for lead, though the EPA’s action level for lead is set at 15 ppb.

While New Britain’s annual water quality report for customers indicated that its average lead level was 6 ppb, one sample tested by CR showed lead concentrations of 31.2 ppb, more than double the EPA’s action level of 15 ppb.

Lead typically works its way into drinking water through lead pipes leading to peoples’ homes or in the homes’ plumbing. An estimated 3 to 6 million homes and businesses in the U.S. still get water through older lines that contain lead, according to EPA estimates, and an unknown number of homes have plumbing fixtures made of the heavy metal.

It is well established that inorganic arsenic and lead found in tap water are neurotoxic and can result in reduced IQ as well as adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — two conditions that have been steadily climbing for several decades, reported The Defender.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, lead can also cause reproductive issues, low bone density, poor kidney function, cognitive decline and negatively impacts every organ system in the body. High levels of exposure can cause encephalopathy or death.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified no “threshold or safe level of lead in blood.”

Next steps — solving the problem

Although people can seek cleaner drinking water by using filters and home filtration systems that remove dangerous contaminates, CR says fixing the problem shouldn’t be up to consumers.

The NRDC has called on the Biden administration and Congress to enact legislation requiring the expeditious removal and replacement of lead lines and to take immediate steps to address PFAS contamination in drinking water.

from:    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/arsenic-lead-toxic-chemicals-tap-water/?utm_source=salsa&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=8a2338f9-c91c-4d41-816c-8533cf90d2d8

Checking out Fizzy Water

Sparkling Water Contaminated With Chemicals Linked To Eczema, Immune Suppression, Cancer, and Birth Defects

When you look at the ingredients on most sparkling water, like Perrier or Topo Chico, the ingredient list is pretty simple. It’s just carbonated water. So what could possibly be unhealthy about that?

A year and half ago, I found Topo Chico and it was the best thing ever. There’s was something that I loved about the bubbles way more than any other sparkling water I had tried, it was downright addictive! I was drinking one or two bottles every night after my daughter would go to bed, it was my “night cap”… and around the same time, I started developing pesky eczema around my eyes.

I didn’t think they were related at all, until I went on a massive elimination diet to try to figure out what it was…

I eliminated a lot and tried everything, and never suspected Topo Chico, until I had exhausted all my options.

I talked to my integrative doctor about it, my dermatologist, and even went to my acupuncturist and asked him, do you think my eczema could be related to sparkling water? He was dumbfounded – and said, no I’ve never heard of that.

I told him something just isn’t right about this and so I stopped Topo Chico cold turkey for a while, and long and behold, my eczema cleared up.

But I still on occasion would drink it here and there.. because I wasn’t quite sure.

Until now. Fast forward to late 2020.

Consumer Reports came out with a new report about sparkling water that left me stunned that several of the doctors I follow online (like Dr. Christian Gonzalez and Dr. Ana Marie Temple) started to share.

They tested 45 brands of bottled water (including 12 sparkling waters) and found “PFAS” chemicals in several of them – including the Topo Chico I was personally buying!

Consumer Reports found the most PFAS in Topo Chico. 

They also found levels over the 1 ppt recommended limit in other popular sparkling waters, like Polar, Bubly, Poland Spring, Canada Dry, LaCroix, and Perrier. To make sure they got reliable results, they independently tested 2-4 unopened samples of each variety, which were blind-coded to preserve their identities.

Here are the worst offenders:

  • Topo Chico (now owned by Coca-Cola) (9.76 ppt)
  • Polar Natural Seltzer Water (6.41 ppt)
  • Bubly Blackberry Sparkling Water (2.24 ppt)
  • Poland Spring Zesty Lime Sparkling Water (1.66 ppt)
  • Canada Dry Lemon Lime Sparkling Seltzer Water (1.24 ppt)
  • LaCroix Natural Sparkling Water (1.16 ppt)
  • Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (1.1 ppt)

What are PFAS chemicals contaminating our water and how do they harm our health?

PFAS stands for a group of over 5,000 toxic fluorinated chemicals that have been used in manufacturing by big corporations (and by governments) for decades. These have now contaminated our environment and drinking water.

Exposure to PFAS are linked to all kinds of tragic health issues:

  • Suppressed Immune System (2)
  • Testicular Cancer (3)
  • Liver Tumors (4)
  • Thyroid Hormone Disruption (12)
  • Delayed Mammary Gland Development (5)
  • Decreased Vaccine Antibody Response (6)
  • Increased Cholesterol Levels (7)(8)
  • Atopic Dermatitis (15) (Ahhhh – this was why I had ECZEMA!!!!)

PFAS chemicals stick around forever…

For decades, the chemical company DuPont used “PFOA” (perfluorooctanoic acid) to make non-stick Teflon and 3M used “PFOS” (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) to make Scotchgard and firefighting foam. These chemicals escaped from their factories, poisoning our drinking water. Even though companies no longer use these two substances, we are still paying the price.

PFAS substances are persistent – and don’t just disappear. They stick around in our environment and in our bodies when we consume them. That is why they are called “Forever Chemicals”.

You’ll now find PFAS in all major water supplies in the U.S., but some areas are worse than others. (9)

PFAS are not regulated by the government. It’s a free for all. 

PFAS chemicals are found in all kinds of products – like nonstick pans, food packaging, cleaning products, carpets, clothing, and more.

Instead of creating strict limits, the EPA issued “voluntary” guidance that allows 70ppt (parts per trillion) of two of the most dangerous PFAS chemicals (PFOS and PFOA) in drinking water.

This is WAY TOO MUCH according to many natural health experts. The consumer advocacy group, Environmental Working Group, says the limit should be 1ppt. (10)

And, other advocacy groups like the NRDC say that 1ppt is even too high! (11)

The FDA has no regulations either, so if PFAS chemicals end up in bottled water no one will be held accountable. The FDA can’t even act until after the EPA sets a standard for drinking water, and it’s anyone’s guess how long that will take.

This is what makes the testing done by Consumer Reports so concerning.

 

 

Most of the non-carbonated bottled waters they tested had low levels of PFAS, except for two:

  • Tourmaline Spring Sacred Living Water (4.64 ppt.)
  • Deer Park Natural Spring Water (1.21 ppt)

What about heavy metals in bottled water?

Consumer Reports only found heavy metals in one brand of water: Starkey Spring Water, which is owned by Whole Foods. (13) It contained arsenic (a known carcinogen) nearly at 10 ppb, which is 3 times what Consumer Reports advises as safe: 3 ppb.

James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports says a single bottle won’t harm you, “But regular consumption of even small amounts of the heavy metal over extended periods increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and lower IQ scores in children, and poses other health issues as well.” (13)

The least contaminated brands…

The sparkling waters with the least amount of PFAS detected included San Pellegrino Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (0.31) and Spindrift Raspberry Lime Sparkling Water (0.19 ppt). Although I don’t like Spindrift, since it’s in an aluminum can.

As always, I highly recommend choosing bottled water that is packaged in glass, to avoid chemicals that are used in plastics and cans from leaching into your water.

One of my favorite bottled water brands, Mountain Valley Spring Water in the green glass bottles wasn’t tested by Consumer Reports. However, the water quality report on their website shows it is tested for Arsenic, PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS substances, and none were detected in their water. (14)

Make sure you spread the word about this very important investigation!

Since our governmental agencies are doing absolutely nothing about PFAS in our water, I’m so thankful for advocacy groups like Consumer Reports who are doing the work in testing products for harmful substances and raising awareness.

Please share this post to warn your friends about sparkling water brands contaminated with health-wrecking chemicals. 

And, stop buying bottled water from brands that are allowing these harmful chemicals in their water. They won’t change until they get enough public pressure to do so, and their bottom line is affected. We can make a difference together