What’s In Your Water?
With the holiday season in full force, families are gathering to share in some laughs and share a meal together. For many, holiday cocktails and hot chocolates are the drink choice of the evening, but one substance which encounters everything from a peppermint martini to a Christmas ham is water. This begs one question: do you know what’s in the water your family is ingesting this holiday season? We did some research into Nebraska’s water system and found that it was rated one of the lowest in the country consistently over the last few years by multiple sources, specifically for Omaha and the Metropolitan Utilities District. There are currently 9 contaminants in Lincoln, Nebraska water systems which exceed the national average as of an EPA assessment from January to March of 2017. This week and next week, we’re going to explore these 9 main contaminants found in the Nebraska water system, where they come from, and the damage they can cause to the health of you and your family members.
Note: Information from this article and next week’s article comes from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG’s website states: “We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.” Their work created a free online database which publishes information from public water tests. For Lincoln, NE, all levels of tap water contaminants were in accordance with national standards during its latest assessment.
Bromate is any type bromite byproduct which contains the chemical compound BrO3. While it does still fall below the legal level for the amount of Bromate allowed in a public water system, Lincoln water still has over three times the national average of the compound. Long term exposure to the byproduct caused kidney failure and cancer in lab rats. Bromate in water is typically a byproduct of a disinfectant used during ozonation, the process by which drinking water is disinfected.
A type of methane-based chemical compound, Bromodichloromethane has been used as a flame retardant and wax. It also appears in drinking water in Lincoln, NE at twice the national average. Bromodichloromethane has been linked to cancer and may cause pregnancy issues in high quantities. Like Bromate, it is typically introduced to drinking water during its sterilization process.
One of the highest levels of any contaminant in Lincoln, NE drinking water comes in the form of chloroform. The legally acceptable level of chloroform in a public water system is 12.5 ppb (parts per billion). Lincoln, NE water contains 11.2 ppb. That’s over 4 times the national average of 2.57 ppb. It was commonly used as an anesthetic until researchers discovered the health hazards associated with the drug. Chloroform is a possible carcinogenic which can cause liver and kidney issues from prolonged exposure.
Read about the six other contaminants found in Lincoln, NE water systems next week. For more information on other Nebraska water systems and their contaminant levels, visit https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/index.php#.WiB2c0qnHIU and enter your zip code. Call Quality Water Services to talk about water treatment options.