Tens of millions of people around the world are exposed to unsafe drinking water. Although large cities are highly threatened by pollution, this problem is even worse in rural areas. Some of the most common contaminants in drinking water are Radioactive materials, chlorine, PFOAs, fluoride, and manganese. Exposure to these toxins can lead to cancer.
● Radioactive materials
Radioactive materials may seep into groundwater. Radioactive material does not come from nuclear power plants alone. Some of these substances, such as radium, uranium, thorium, and radon, occur in the wild. Practices such as coal mining and the construction and production of oil and gas can exacerbate these natural isotopes that seep into groundwater. This is especially true in Texas, where large amounts of radium have contributed to the most common water crime in the United States, where exposure to radium has been linked to bone cancer, while other radioactive substances can cause cancers of the lungs, skin, and liver. The kidneys, stomach and thyroid gland.
Chlorine in drinking water may not sound scary, but it can expose people to a parasite called giardiasis that causes diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Not only is chlorine present in swimming pools, it is intentionally added to water supplies to kill germs and pathogens, but when it mixes with other organic compounds, it can produce some harmful by-products. One of these byproducts, a group of chemicals called trimethane (THM), has been linked to kidney problems and an increased risk of cancer. Another type, called haloacetic acids (HAA), causes skin irritation and can also increase the risk of cancer.
● Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is commonly found in “non-stick” or “anti-stick” Teflon pans that prevent your food from sticking to the pan and is identified PFOA) as the chemical of most concern. Sites near chemical plants that use PFOA may see high levels of the chemical in their water supply. The chemical has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, hypercholesterolemia, early menopause, peptic ulcers and other negative health effects.
Too much fluoride in drinking water has been linked to problems with brain development. The US Department of Health has reduced the recommended amount of fluoride in public drinking water systems, but approximately 66% of the US population still consumes the mineral. In 2012, Harvard researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 27 studies, published over a 22-year period, focusing on fluoride exposure and brain development. Their analysis determined that children in areas where drinking water had high levels of fluoride had significantly lower IQ scores compared to areas with lower fluoride levels, and the World Health Organization also determined that chronic exposure to high levels of fluoride may cause muscle or joint weakness. stiffness and pain
Nine million Americans use more manganese through their public water systems than the EPA recommends, and similar to arsenic, manganese is found naturally in the Earth’s crust. While the minerals are more commonly consumed in food, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has determined that about 9 million Americans drink water from public systems, with more than 300 parts per billion manganese (the EPA’s unofficial recommendation). Although scientists are still trying to determine if manganese is harmful to brain and nervous system health, this mineral now poses the greatest risk to children when eaten in large amounts. Studies have shown that early exposure to manganese can cause behavioral problems and mental disabilities.