*Reporting based on an in-depth survey of tap water in 42 states, from 1998-2003
Most distressingly, state governments and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declined to prosecute the majority of offenders that flout the Clean Water Act, which regulates the integrity of the nation's bodies of water. With 40 percent of U.S. community water systems in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act, which sets drinking-water quality standards and is directly linked to the Clean Water Act, 23 million people received low-quality drinking water.
10. New Mexico
Between 1998 and 2003, nearly 3,000 violations of tap water regulations were reported in New Mexico. About 1.3 million people drank water that contained amounts of arsenic
Ninety-two contaminants, primarily from industrial sources, and a smaller portion resulting from sprawl and urban pollutants, were detected in the Ohio tap water. The population exposed to substances in excess of safe limits: 9.6 million residents.
The biggest culprits: industrial pollutants. Analysis showed that 9.3 million residents were exposed to total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) -- and 8.8 million were exposed to amounts over health-based limits
In Nevada, 85.9 percent of water systems violated the health-based drinking water standards
6. New York
One hundred and four contaminants were detected in New York State tap water, including nitrate, barium, copper, chloroform and lead. More than 800,000 New Yorkers were exposed to amounts of chloroform. Water that contained contaminants that exceeded health-based limits was served in 418 communities.
More than 17 million Texans were exposed to contaminants that exceeded healthy limits. Nearly 12 million citizens in over 1,000 communities turned on their taps to water that included, among other compounds, excessive and potentially dangerous amounts of bromodichloromethane, a byproduct of disinfectants that can cause gastrointestinal or liver toxicity, kidney toxicity and neurotoxicity.
Among the 17 million people exposed to a combination of over 107 contaminants, 9.2 million were exposed to the mineral barium, which seeps into water from drilling and mining runoff as well as erosion of natural deposits.
Over 11 million Floridians also may have consumed radium-226, a radioactive element found around uranium deposits in their water.
3. North Carolina
In this state, 6.1 million citizens were exposed to 59 contaminants that exceeded the EPA's limits. Nitrate, which can have a negative impact on kidneys, blood, the heart and the reproductive systems, was the most common contaminant. The suspected carcinogen enters water through fertilizer runoff, leaching septic tanks and erosion of natural deposits. Bromodichloromethane showed up in amounts that exceeded health limits in 373 communities
One thousand eighty-nine local water systems serve nearly four million people in America's cheese capital. Of those systems, only 51 produced uncontaminated water. The most prolific of the 118 contaminants detected were copper, lead and barium -- from drilling, mining, industrial waste, corrosion of household plumbing systems and the erosion of natural deposits.
The Golden State's local water systems showed 145 contaminants, nearly half of which exceeded health limits set forth by the EPA, water that was primarily contaminated by industrial waste, like nitrate, and to a lesser extent acetone and lithium
States With Dirtiest Taps
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