If you haven’t heard already, let us be the first to warn you: pesticides in drinking and bathing water supplies are no longer just a hypothetical problem. Homeowners across the US are finding their water tainted with pesticides that have been banned for many years – and the problem isn’t just limited to those who use well water. Because it’s impossible for the U.S. EPA to set maximum contaminant levels for every pesticide or toxic substance on the market, your city water treatment plant might be unknowingly delivering you tainted water as well.
The most recent news of pesticide contamination comes from Stamford, CT, where 31% of private wells tested have been found to be contaminated with Dieldrin and Chlordane. In addition to being carcinogenic, both pesticides bioaccumulate through the food chain (don’t eat the fish!), are easily absorbed through the skin in bathing water, and cause health issues such as migraines, convulsions, dizziness, and irritability. And even though they have been banned from use in the U.S. for more than 30 years, residents have reported levels in their water that are likely to cause both short-term complications and an increased risk of cancer.
Unfortunately, the case in Stamford is not isolated. We read almost daily of another U.S. city that’s struggling with contaminated water supplies. As a homeowner, whether you use a private well or city water, you have the responsibility to care for the water you drink and bathe in, and testing for suspected contaminants can give you a false sense of security if the test comes up negative. With more than 84,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S. today, and thousands more that have already been banned, it’s impossible to know what might be in your water. So what should you do? Exercise caution when using pesticides or other chemicals, get the word out to friends and neighbors on responsible chemical use, and above all install a whole-home water filter for your bathing water, and a point-of-use filter for your drinking water.