Carcinogens And Arsenic: What Else Is In Your Tap Water?

Carcinogens And Arsenic: What Else Is In Your Tap Water?

Nothing is more satisfying after a workout than a cup of cool, refreshing carcinogen. Wait.

The tap water we know and love has lately been vindicating its critics—chromium-6, the same industrial chemical contaminating the water when Julia Roberts fought for health as Erin Brockovich, has been found in tap water across the country.

It’s a suspected carcinogen, which may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. According to the NY Times, the EPA is considering establishing a “national drinking water standard for the chemical.” Here’s a thought: What happens if your water is below the standard? How much would it cost to fix it?

More A Hint Than An Influx

But—and this is important—chromium-6 has been found only in trace amounts. There’s less of this chemical than there is arsenic in your water. (Yes, there is likely arsenic in your water—don’t panic yet.) As a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, puts it:

“Large numbers of private wells in the U.S. contain arsenic at much higher concentrations than the drinking water standard. But nobody cares.”

Manage Your Fears

We’re not above being a little spooked, but we’re also not about to pack our apartment full of expensive, wasteful water bottles. If you’re a little anxious that your tap is dispensing more than just water, invest in a filter (Brita comes to mind). If you’re really overreacting, splurge for home water delivery instead of individual bottles. Readers with better ideas, go ahead and pitch them in the comments. But remember, thou who art 70% water: You simply can’t go without.


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