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Carcinogenic Chemicals in the Water Supply: Is Your Tap Water Safe?

Bottled water contaminants

The popular Oscar nominated film Erin Brockovich first piqued our interests about the contamination of carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals in our water supplies. The more recent Oscar winning documentary film Gasland reminded us that contamination is still occurring in various water supplies all over the country and the world. According to the documentary, we can't rely on government officials for the protection of our water supplies, so it's important that we educate ourselves about the possible contaminants that can surface in them, what kind of damage they can do and how to recognize their presence in our tap water.

Recently, numerous studies have been conducted in order to determine exactly which chemicals are showing up in the water supply and exactly how dangerous these chemicals are. These studies have shown that the most prominent chemical contaminant in tap water all over the country is hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen and can start eating away at the body after only a relatively small amount of exposure. Other types of carcinogens and neurotoxins found in water supplies include: benzene, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, lead, dimethyl disulfide, carbon disulfide, Napthalene, trimethyl benzene and the list goes on.

Detecting these contaminants isn't very difficult because many people can either smell or taste the difference in their drinking water, or begin noticing changes in their health condition pretty early on. If you suspect your tap water may be contaminated with one of these carcinogens or neurotoxins, the best thing you can do is, obviously, stop drinking the water. Furthermore, you should make sure that any alternative water sources are safe by properly filtering them before drinking. Another blatant sign of water contamination is any unusual changes in your health. They usually start in the form of stomachaches, headaches and dizziness. The symptoms then progress to a loss of the senses of taste and smell and begin progressing even further to full body aches and acute pains until finally you can suffer serious brain damage or develop a fatal cancer.

Because these chemicals are so dangerous in making one more prone to cancer and other diseases, it's important to stay alert and be aware of any changes you notice in your water supply, however minor they may seem. You should be especially cautious if there are natural gas wells or any drilling activity around your home. This basically guarantees that natural gas has contaminated your water. If you discover this, you should stop drinking your water immediately and search for alternatives in the form of tanks or bottled water from the nearest grocery store. Next, you should contact your local government officials to get this problem analyzed and resolved immediately. Go to the media to make your story impossible to be ignored.

According to the Clean Water Act of 1972, the public waters and sources of drinking water for the people of the United States are protected from exposure to all forms of pollution, including the dumping of toxic chemicals. According to the Gasland documentary, former Vice President Dick Cheney passed a law that exempt companies like Halliburton from adhering to the Clean Water Act when drilling for natural gas. As a result, widespread pollution of harmful carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemicals has contaminated the water supplies of several American households all over the United States.

These chemicals (listed above) are some of the most dangerous chemicals for humans to ingest. Many of them have a noticeable difference in taste and smell when compared to pure water; however some of them are not always as blatantly detectable. Lead and arsenic, for example, are both odorless and tasteless when mixed in with drinking water. It's a scary thought that carcinogenic chemicals could be lingering in your water supply going undetected until it's too late. The best thing you can do it is to be alert and test your water as often as possible.