Water Facts

Water Quality

  • Around 43 million people in the U.S. use drinking water from private wells. 20% of surveyed wells contained enough contaminants to affect human health.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey reports in a press release dated March 23, 2009 that more than 20 percent of private wells surveyed contained at least one contaminant at a high enough level to raise health concerns.
  • "The Environmental Working Group's analysis of nearly 20 million drinking water tests conducted by water suppliers nationwide between 2004 and 2009 revealed hundreds of pollutants in U.S. tap water."
  • Most data was obtained from state water authorities, showing that utilities serving less than 10,000 people tested for an average of 67 pollutants, while larger utilities tested for an average of 89.
  • Between 2004 and 2009, water suppliers across the U.S. detected 316 contaminants in water supplied to the public. The list of detected contaminants includes:
  • 97 agricultural pollutants, including pesticides and chemicals from fertilizer- and manure-laden runoff;
  • 204 industrial chemicals from factory discharges and consumer products;
  • 86 contaminants linked to sprawl and urban areas or from polluted runoff and wastewater treatment plants;
  • 42 pollutants that are byproducts of the water treatment processes or that leach from pipes and storage tanks.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the 315 chemicals found in the nation's drinking water over the last five years — a total of 201 — are unregulated.
  • Among the unregulated contaminants detected in water supplies between 2004 and 2008, 168 have been linked to cancer, 54 to reproductive toxicity, 67 to developmental toxicity, and 35 to immune system damage.
    -The Environmental Working Group

Chlorine in our Water

  • Exposure to vaporized chemicals in the water through showering, bathing and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking the water.
    -Duff Conacher, Center for Study of Responsive Law. Troubled Waters on Tap.
  • Tests show you can absorb more toxic chlorine from a 10 minute shower than drinking 8 glasses of the same water.
    -Paul C. & Patricia Bragg. Healthy Heart: Keep Your Cardiovascular System Healthy & Fit at Any Age

Water and the Earth

  • Less than 1% of the world’s freshwater is available for human consumption.
  • Although almost ¾ of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5% of this is fresh water. Most of the freshwater is trapped in the polar icecaps. 97.5% of the world’s water supply is saline, inaccessible or otherwise unavailable for human use.

Bottled Water

  • According to the Pacific Institute, "bottled water typically costs a thousand times more per liter than high-quality municipal tap water."
  • Bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water.
  • About 22 percent of the [bottled water] brands [tested by the NRDC] contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.
  • Studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time.
  • There are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water.
    -National Resources Defence Council
  • According to "National Geographic," Americans drink more bottled water than any other nation, purchasing an impressive 29 billion bottles every year. Making all the plastic for those bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil annually.
    -National Geographic