Saturday, September 19, 2009

Safe Water Neglected at Expense of Public Health

The last thing you want to think about on vacation is being exposed to poisons and toxins. But with contamination in the US drinking water, it is not only possible, but probable.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a shocking investigation of widespread pollution in America’s waterways, and the effect of contamination on the health of millions of US citizens. It is an eye-opening account of how big coal and other industry giants often treat our public waterways as a dumping ground for chemicals and waste, compromising the safety of unsuspecting consumers, and about the government’s inability to do anything to prevent it.

The findings are startling: An estimated one in 10 Americans read more at Healthy Children Blog.

What you can do:

  • Check your destination for water pollution before you visit to see if you need to bring a filter or stay in a facility with filtered water. Sedona, AZ, for example, has no violations and good drinking water. Annapolis, Md, on the other hand, has violations all over the place. The New York Times has a national database of water pollution violations that is more comprehensive than those maintained by states or the EPA. Using an interactive version, you can look up any community, including your vacation spot, to find out which areas have been cited as polluters or fined.

  • Use a filtered-water pitcher, from companies like Brita or PUR Water or a portable filter like those REI sells for hikers. While I'm not crazy about adding more plastic to the planet, our health comes first.

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