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Health News Florida

Is your tap water contaminated? This website will let you know

a glass of water under a running kitchen tap.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An newly updated database from an environment nonprofit tracks mandatory annual test reports produced by almost 50,000 water utilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and makes them easily searchable by ZIP code.

In a push for stricter Environmental Protection Agency policies and funding hikes, the Environmental Working Group, through its recently updated database, tracks potentially dangerous chemicals in millions of Americans’ drinking water that are linked to brain damage, cancer and more.

The environmental nonprofit has released the newest version of its database to call attention to “antiquated infrastructure and rampant pollution of source water, while out-of-date EPA regulations — often relying on archaic science — allow unsafe levels of toxic chemicals in drinking water.”

The database collects mandatory annual test reports produced by almost 50,000 water utilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and makes them easily searchable by ZIP code.

“EWG’s Tap Water Database offers a panoramic view of what drinking water quality looks like when the federal office meant to protect our water is in an advanced stage of regulatory capture,” said EWG President Ken Cook in a news release.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water has demonstrated for decades that it is utterly incapable of standing up to pressure from water utilities and polluters to protect human health from the dozens of toxic contaminants in America’s drinking water.”

The EWG points out that legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines, and legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years.

Search for your ZIP code in the EWG Tap Water Database, or look at the whole state.

Some examples from the greater Tampa Bay region:

  • City of Tampa Water Department – 18 total contaminants, including arsenic, chromium, and radium. Six of these exceed EWG health guidelines. Tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.
  • City of St. Petersburg – 15 total contaminants, including arsenic, chromium, and Haloacetic acids. Five of these exceed EWG health guidelines. Tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.
  • Sarasota – 12 total contaminants, including chlorate, Haloacetic acids, and Total trihalomethanes. Four of these exceed EWG health guidelines. Tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.
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