There are many contaminants found in drinking water that have been treated at the local water treatment plant. One group of the most misunderstood group of contaminants is carcinogens. In this article, we will explain what carcinogens are, how they get in your water, and how you can get rid of them.

What are Carcinogens?

Carcinogens can occur in nature, or they could be man-made substances. You may already know some of these materials; they include asbestos, UV radiation, nickel compounds, tobacco smoke, wood dust, and others. According to The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), direct contact with a carcinogen may not cause cancer. The more important factors are the type of carcinogen you came into contact with and the length of the contact time. But, every carcinogen has been analyzed and tested to prove that it can be a cause of cancer with varying degrees of danger.

Why Are Carcinogens in the Water Supply?

There are many sources of carcinogens, including nutrition, air pollution, UV light tanning beds, chemical fumes, certain cleaning products, and more. But, we don’t hear enough about the risks of carcinogens in drinking water supplies. A 2019 study carried out by the Environmental Work Group (EWG) was a groundbreaking piece of work in this area.

The study analyzed a wide selection of water quality data to create a cancer risk framework. Water was tested from more than 48,000 communities across our nation, and private wells were excluded from the study. This study found that the highest risk of carcinogen exposure was related to arsenic and certain disinfection byproducts. Smaller communities that source public water from groundwater were also at higher risk of exposure. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 cancer cases are related to the consumption of drinking water that contains carcinogens.

Your drinking water can contain many contaminants that affect the taste, odor, quality, and other characteristics. The local water treatment plant removes many contaminants that are classified as a threat to health by the EPA. Basic disinfection is achieved with chlorine or chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) why can create byproducts. Further study is needed to establish if there is a link between certain types of cancer and chlorine byproducts. But, the other contaminants present can also damage your health and other aspects of your home life.

What is the Solution?

The problem of carcinogens and other contaminants in drinking water supplies cannot be solved at the water treatment plant. We simply don’t have the investment in infrastructure or the systems in place to remove certain contaminants. Some of the contaminants that are removed can re-enter the water through cracks and breaks in the water delivery network. Underground pipes are vulnerable to certain types of damage, and it can take a while to fix a break. The only lasting solution is to install a water filtration system in your own home as a last line of defense.

If you want to improve the quality of your water, contact your local water treatment specialist for expert help and advice today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.