Following the well-publicized Flint water crisis, millions of Americans find it difficult to ignore the possibility that their water isn’t safe to drink either. According to a poll taken by the Associated Press, only 47% of Americans still believe their tap water is safe. Approximately 33% said they were “modestly confident” in their water supply, and 18% said that they weren’t confident at all. Are these fears unfounded, or are Americans wise to worry?
More than half of the people interviewed thought that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan represents just the tip of the iceberg, and there have been other incidents which suggest Americans are smart to look more closely at this issue.
Two years ago, a chemical spill left 300,000 residents of Charleston, West Virginia without tap water, raising new concerns about the ability of the United States to maintain its high quality of drinking water.
The National Resource Defense Council has also put nineteen additional cities’ water under serious scrutiny, stating that many citizens are drinking water contaminated with industrial chemicals and arsenic. Out of date plumbing systems are largely to blame – just like what caused the Flint water crisis.
Furthermore, only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Many are agricultural pesticides and herbicides, but not one has been added to the watch list since 2009.
For the last decade, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly-used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease.
When half of America thinks Flint’s crisis could be their crisis, it turns out they are absolutely correct.
Meanwhile, more than 6 billion gallons of water per day are wasted as water infrastructure goes unrepaired. Further, companies like Nestle continue to draw water from the Great Lakes for free, and then sell it back to residents, just like the company did to residents of California during one of the worst droughts in history. Even more crazy? Obama has been selling our water to China while citizens of Michigan and California go thirsty.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.