High Levels of Cancer-Causing Chlorine Pollutants Found in U.S. Water Supplies

bathChlorine is regularly used to disinfect public drinking water supplies, a measure public health officials stress is necessary to keep the water safe from various water-borne diseases. Yet, during the chlorination process toxic disinfection byproducts are created, many of which linger in the water you drink, shower and bathe with.

And while there are a total of 600 disinfection byproducts that have been identified by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists, legal limits for levels in tap water have been set for only 11 of them.

What is also concerning, as pointed out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is that legal limits, or MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level), for these toxins are “established as a balance between health, treatment cost and feasibility.” They are not, therefore, intended to be a true safe level of exposure. Instead, the MCL of a disinfection byproduct actually allows more contamination that the truly safe level, which is what the EPA calls its “public health goal.”

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