National database shows contaminants in your tap water

What’s in your water? A national database released by the Environmental Working Group shows that most tap water across the U.S. has contaminants.

Some of those are linked to health problems, including cancer. EWG senior science adviser Olga Naidenko said the contaminants can affect your health slowly over your lifetime, but children are especially vulnerable.

When you drink water, you expect it to be clean. The study leaves some parents, like Jeremiah and Kirsten Ross, wondering if "compliant" means safe.

"Atrazine, chlorate, chromium, radiological contaminants, and total trihalomethanes," Jeremiah read from the list for local contaminants in Paducah’s water. Places all around Kentucky have similar contaminants. You can search your zip code and see what comes up.

The contaminants are hard to pronounce and hard to imagine in your cup of water.

"Water is supposed to be the safest thing that we drink," said Jeremiah. He said as a father he wants to make sure what he gives his kids is healthy.  

The report said filtering your water can remove some of the contaminants, but not all. Naidenko said in order to fix this national problem, we need to invest in our drinking water infrastructure.

John Mura with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Kentucky’s water meets all the regulations, but he can’t tell you how to feel about it.

"One should always be cognizant of what is in your water," Mura said. "I can’t tell you how safe or how not safe to feel…overall, Kentucky’s water is safe and clean and reliable."

The report lists five contaminants of concern in Paducah’s water, and there may be more where you live.

Jeremiah said he doesn’t want to risk his family’s health. "Thyroid and cancer and radiological contaminants. I would rather not drink that myself," he said.

EWG notes that your water does meet safe drinking water standards and federal regulations.

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