News / City Life

New data shows that NYC’s tap water is chock-full of toxic chemicals

New data shows that NYC’s tap water is chock-full of toxic chemicals
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/Darwin Bell

New York City praises the quality of its tap water as "world-renowned," but a new trove of data tells a bit of a different story.

Earlier this week, nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group released a database detailing the toxic chemicals that are present in drinking water systems across the country. The data, sourced from the Health Department and an assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency, shows that New York's drinking water doesn't quite meet health guidelines. 

Six different contaminants that are connected to cancer were detected at levels that exceed guidelines established by public health authorities. None of those toxins, which include chloroform, bromodichloromethane and dichloroacetic acid, exceed legal limits but nonetheless pose slight health risks for New Yorkers. The health guideline for chloroform, for example, is one part per billion, which the EWG claims poses a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer. The level for the chemical in New York City's water is 30.9 parts per billion, so that's a bit concerning.

At the end of the day, New York's drinking water gives us the world's best bagels and pizza, so it can't be that bad, right?  

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Comments

3 comments
Jose P

NYC tap water is SAFE, sustainable and so much more environmenatally friendly than buying bottled water or filters. The information released by EWG is a scam and scare tactic to get people to buy water filters.  They provide the links to filters that remove the various contaminants they are claiming are in the drinking water.  For the latest accurate information about the drinking water get it from here... http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/drinking_water/wsstate.shtml . Don't get it from people who are trying to make donor's rich.  And take it from me from as a consulting drinking water expert and engineer.  

Ronald B

@Jose P Why would you assume that a NYC website is more objective than the Environmental Working Group? That group has NEVER been associated with any scam or financial kickback. Consumer Reports, a totally reputable magazine, sometimes cites their data. You are making an unfunded accusation. That's so easy to do today, in the current political environment, where inventing facts and making false accusations is routine. 

Ronald B

@Jose P I meant unfounded accusation, not unfunded. And I forgot to add "why assume that a NYC website is objective about ITS OWN WATER QUALITY" Obviously they have every motivation  to skew the data in a positive direction, though I don't know whether they actually do that. Just saying that they're hardly independent..