Is the Safe Drinking Water Act Keeping Us Healthy?


Last week, the New York Times ran a story claiming that the Safe Drinking Water Act (passed in 1974)  may not be keeping us as safe as it purports, mainly because it only regulates for 91 chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that close to 60,000 contaminants are within the nation’s water.  For this reason, the water may be legal, yet still be a cause for concern.

Some local systems have tried to use tighter regulation of their drinking water, but this has not always been successful:

Some officials overseeing local water systems have tried to go above and beyond what is legally required. But they have encountered resistance, sometimes from the very residents they are trying to protect, who say that if their water is legal it must be safe.

Dr. Pankaj Parekh [director of the water quality division for the City of Los Angeles] has struggled to make his case. “People don’t understand that just because water is technically legal, it can still present health risks,” he said. “And so we encounter opposition that can become very personal.”

There is a great video worth checking out on the Times’ page with the story, so I encourage all of you to read through it.

Post your thoughts below.

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on December 21, 2009, in Media Coverage, Public Infrastructure, Urbanism, Water and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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