9 terrifying things that could be lurking in your tap water
- Tens of millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year.
- The problem is most egregious in rural areas, but a few major cities face a widespread threat of contamination.
- Some of the most common contaminants found in tap water include lead, which can produce permanent brain damage in children, and PFOA, which has been linked with cancer.
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Access to clean water may be a fundamental human right, but it's far from a reality in many towns and cities across America.
Even in the wake of the Flint water crisis, which exposed around 10,000 residents in Michigan to lead-contaminated drinking water, an estimated ten of millions of Americans are still exposed to unsafe drinking water each year.
Read more: 11 cities with the worst tap water in the US
The problem is most egregious in rural areas, but a few major cities face a widespread threat of contamination, which could have lifelong consequences for the health of local residents.
Exposure to toxins such as radium or arsenic can lead to cancer, while exposure to lead can produce permanent brain damage in children. Here are some of the most terrifying toxins that pervade America's water supply.
Lead poisoning was at the heart of the Flint crisis, but it's also a problem in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC.
Arsenic has seeped into the water supply in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Radioactive substances can leech into groundwater, which has become a huge problem in Texas.
Elevated levels of copper have been found in Detroit public schools.
Chlorine in drinking water may not sound terrifying, but it can expose people to a parasite that causes diarrhea, cramps, and nausea.
Clean-water advocate Erin Brockovich identified PFOA as the chemical that concerns her most.
Perchlorate is used to make fireworks and missiles — but it could also wind up in drinking water.
Consuming nitrate through drinking water can cause "blue baby disease."
Mercury from industrial waste sites can pollute well water.
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