Researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, DC, used a new approach to analyze cumulative cancer risk due to carcinogens in tap water across the U.S. This study is the first to apply a “cumulative cancer risk framework” to the analysis of tap water contaminants for the whole of the U.S.
The analysis drew on water quality data from 48,363 community water systems across the country, not including private wells. The analysis revealed that the most significant impact on cancer risk came from arsenic, followed by byproducts of disinfection. Study author Sydney Evans says “drinking water contains complex mixtures of contaminants, yet government agencies currently assess the health hazards of tap water pollutants one by one.” However, in the real world, people are exposed to various combinations of chemicals, making it important to study the combined effects of these pollutants.
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