Drinking Water Regulations Should Ban Unsafe Chemicals From Entering Public Systems

For Immediate Release

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Contact: 

Julie Anderson (202) 683-2467

Drinking Water Regulations Should Ban Unsafe Chemicals From Entering Public Systems

WASHINGTON - “The latest New
York Times article in its “Toxic
Water” series continues to detail the consequences of the Bush
Administration’s poor record on safeguarding the nation’s water and highlights
the immediate need for the Obama Administration to protect this critical public
resource. Though the article calls on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
to update the Safe Drinking Water Act, requiring the regulation of hundreds of
chemicals increasingly entering our water supplies, much more is needed to
protect our waters on the front end of this process.

“Water supply preservation requires a considerable
number of new initiatives to regulate these chemicals — or remove them to a
level safe for drinking — but it also requires government to prevent the
contaminants from entering our water in the first place.  Industry
has been allowed to discharge potentially harmful chemicals into our water
supplies, leaving the public to clean up the mess. Today, more than 60,000
chemicals are used within the United States. The government should ensure they
are safe before permitting their use by industry.

“Without
additional funding, water and sewer systems cannot meet more stringent
standards, even if they are authorized to do so by law. Based on EPA's
final arsenic rule, it could cost an additional $700 million nationally to set the arsenic standard to the lowest
feasible level, and without
federal support, the typical household served by a small community water system
could have to pay an extra $400 or more a year.  As standards become
increasingly stringent, we must work to ensure that the resulting treatment
costs do not force families off public water systems.   

"The Safe Drinking Water Act should be updated and additional
funding should be allocated for water infrastructure. Despite this need, bottled
water remains a bad alternative to tap water, as studies have demonstrated
significant contamination in bottled water as well.  Bottled water has a negative environmental impact and is
exorbitantly expensive. For residents who are concerned about water quality, we
recommend using a filter as a much better alternative to bottled water.

“We need to pass H.R. 3202, the Water Protection and Reinvestment
Act, which would create a dedicated source of funding to help public utilities
meet important new quality standards. With a renewed federal commitment,
we can improve our water systems and protect public health to ensure safe,
clean and accessible water for all communities.”

 

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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