Public get their say on drinking water

The public are being asked for their views on a list of more than 100 possible drinking water contaminants that may be regulated in the future.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the draft Contaminant Candidate List to give people 90 days to have their say on the 104 named substances.

It includes 93 chemicals, such as those used in commerce and pesticides, and 11 microbes, after EPA experts examined approximately 7,500 potential contaminants.

Those that made this year’s shortlist – the third that EPA has published – were identified for their potential to pose health risks if released into drinking water.

EPA’s assistant administrator for water Benjamin Grumbles said: “EPA is casting a broader scientific net for potential regulation of chemicals and microbes in drinking water.

“The proposed list of priority contaminants will advance sound science and public health by targeting research on certain chemicals and microbes and informing regulators on how best to reduce risk.”

Among the microbes on the list are commonly known bacteria such as salmonella and Legionella pneumophila, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The chemicals on the list include the fungicide formaldehyde, methanol, which is often used as an industrial solvent, and nitroglycerin, which is used in pharmaceuticals, as well as well as in the production of explosives.

It also includes more obscure chemicals such as acetochlor, triphenyltin hydroxide (TPTH) and permethrin, used in pesticides and herbicides.

From May 4 to 10, the American Water Works Association will run this year’s Drinking Water Week to promote the health benefits of tap water.

Kate Martin

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