Is Your Water Safe to Drink?By Bradley SaulCreated 2010-05-26 14:01
Is Your Water Safe to Drink?Author: Dr. Alan Goldhamer 
In 1989, Congress struck a blow to the Safe Drinking Water Act when it stipulated that public drinking water supplies must be made available "economically." This requirement meant that standards involving contaminants must consider not only the quantity of contamination but also the cost of removing contaminants.
When drinking water is declared "safe," it means only that the water's purity meets government standards. Now that the requirement of "economy" has been thrust into the drinking water safety equation, it is questionable whether we can count on government standards to protect our health.
In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that some 40 million Americans were using drinking water containing potentially hazardous levels of lead. Acute lead poisoning can cause severe brain damage and even death. Effects of chronic, low level lead exposure are subtle, and infants and children are most vulnerable. Learning disabilities and hyperactivity have been associated with lead exposure, as have increased blood pressure, stroke, loss of hearing, chronic anemia, nerve damage and infertility.
Current government standards permit 50 ppb (parts per billion) of lead in drinking water. A stricter standard of 7.5 ppb has been recommended, but it is estimated that it would cost $5 billion to accomplish this. To reduce the lead in public water to 5 ppb would cost an estimated $21 billion.
Is it worth the cost?
There is no "safe" level of lead in drinking water. And keep in mind that the government's 50 ppb standard only applies to water as it enters your house, not how it comes out of your tap.
Most lead enters the water from home plumbing. Plumbing installed before 1930 most likely includes lead pipes. Even in homes built more recently; the solder used to connect copper pipes may contain lead.
Unfortunately, lead is merely one of the possible contaminants in your water. Testing by an independent laboratory may disclose that there are unacceptable levels of other toxins. Fortunately, there are various methods of home water treatment available for specific problems.
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