A new report from by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that tap water in America has "widespread contamination from toxic substances such as arsenic, lead and the 'forever chemicals' known as PFAS in the drinking water of tens of millions of households in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."
Advocacy reports can help draw attention to the importance of protecting our drinking water sources and keeping water safe all the way to the tap. But that benefit is too often drowned out by the alarmist tone and the implication that your water is unsafe – even if the preponderance of evidence suggests otherwise.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes guidelines for all public water systems, and if your water provider meets these standards -- which the vast majority do -- you can have a high degree of confidence in the safety of our water. For its report, EWG puts forth its own standards and criticizes “government” for not living up to them.
For most of us, these matters come down to who we trust. A recent survey by American Water Works Association and Morning Consult found that more than seven in 10 Americans (71%) are satisfied with their tap water. However, confidence in drinking water is noticeably lower among respondents with lower incomes, and nearly 40% of respondents said they struggle to pay their water bills on time.
That’s why it’s important that EPA and water providers pay close attention to both the quality and the affordability of the water. People deserve to know not only what’s in their water, but at what level potential contaminants are harmful. And they should be confident that the dollars they spend on water are prioritized to keep them safe.
If you have questions about your water quality, go straight to the source. Your water provider can tell you where your water comes from, how it’s treated, and whether a home treatment device might help with taste or quality concerns. You’ll also be better positioned to interpret what is helpful and what is not in advocacy reports.