A report by the EWG released yesterday found that water across the state of Florida contains harmful contaminants that can cause cancer, developmental issues in kids, complications in pregnancy and other health issues. For many of us who are concerned about the environment, we have long suspected this.

“’There are chemicals that have been linked to cancer, for example, that are found above health-based limits, or health guidelines, in the water of more than 250 million Americans,’ said Nneka Leiba, director of Healthy Living Science at EWG.

‘Legal is not safe,’ said Leiba. ‘In many cases, it’s far from safe.’

‘There are more than 250 contaminants across our nation’s drinking water,’ said Leiba. ‘About 160 of those are unregulated. And that’s a big concern, because if a chemical is unregulated, that means it can be present in our water at any level — and be legal.’” 1

In conjunction with outside scientists, the EWG assessed health-based guidelines for hundreds of chemicals found in U.S. water and compared them to the legal limits. (The law often permits utilities to pollute our waters with dangerous chemicals.)

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The following list contains the locations across Florida that have had the most recorded violations between January and March 2017, and their “violation points,” which are based largely on violations of health-based drinking water standards (thanks to the EWG for this list):2

  • Lance Water, Lake City, 122
  • Northgate Mobile Ranch, Mims, 85
  • Strawberry Fields Mobile Home Park, Plant City, 80
  • City of Winter Springs, Winter Springs, 55
  • City of Apalachicola, Apalachicola, 55
  • River Grove Mobile Home Village, Micco, 55
  • High Springs Water Treatment Plant, High Springs, 45
  • Camper’s Holiday, Brooksville, 43
  • Cypress Bay Mobile Home Park, Fort Pierce, 31
  • Marion Correctional Institution, Lowell, 31
  • Lake Utility Services Inc. North, Clermont, 31
  • Southern Comfort Mobile Home Park, Malabar, 30
  • Fumch-Madison Youth Ranch, Pinetta, 27
  • Magnolia Village, Edgewater, 26
  • Wakulla Regional, Quincy, 26
  • Treasure Cove, Leesburg, 26
  • Oak Haven Retirement Village, St. Augustine, 26
  • Boggy Creek Resort and RV Park, Kissimmee, 25
  • Cross City Water Treatment Plant, Cross City, 25
  • Whisper Creek RV Park, Labelle, 21
  • Buttonwood Bay Mobile Home Park, Sebring, 21
  • Country Walk Utilities, Lake Placid, 20
  • City of Coleman, Coleman, 20
  • Hidden Acres Estates, Lorida, 20
  • Lake Utility Services Inc. South, Clermont, 20
  • Lake Fairways Mobile Home Park, North Fort Myers, 20
  • Taft Water Association, Orlando, 20
  • Sun River Utilities, Punta Gorda, 20
  • Morgan’s Mobile Home Park & Fish Camp, Fruitland Park, 17
  • Riviera Beach Utility District, Riviera Beach, 13
  • City of Dania Beach, Dania Beach, 11
  • Martin County Utilities, Jensen Beach, 10
  • City of Pembroke Pines, Pembroke Pines, 5
  • City of St. Cloud, St. Cloud, 5
  • City of Vero Beach, Vero Beach, 5
  • Broward County Water and Wastewater Services, Lauderdale Lakes, 5
  • Boynton Beach Water Treatment Plant, Boynton Beach, 4
  • Tequesta WTP, Tequesta, 4
  • City of Opa Locka, Opa Locka, 4
  • City of Ocala, Ocala, 3
  • Groveland Water Department, Groveland, 3
  • City of North Miami, North Miami, 3
  • Winter Garden Water Department, Winter Garden, 2
  • Tavares Water Department, Tavares, 2
  • FKAA J. Robert Dean Water Treatment Plant, Florida City, 2
  • Minneola Water Department, Minneola, 2
  • City of Sanford, Sanford, 2
  • Venice Water Department, Venice, 2
  • City of Winter Park, Winter Park, 2
  • City of Holly Hill, Holly Hill, 2
  • Northwest, Lakeland, 2
  • St. Johns County Utilities, Ponte Vedra Beach, 2
  • Village of Palm Springs, Palm Springs, 2
  • City of Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, 2
  • City of Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, 2
  • North Miami Beach, North Miami Beach, 2

The following contaminants were tracked across the state of Florida by the EWG at levels above health limits:3

  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) (linked to bladder cancer, skin cancer and fetal development issues). Found above health guidelines at 1,405 utilities.
  • Chromium (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 306 utilities.
  • Radium-226 (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 739 utilities.
  • Radium-228 (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 359 utilities.
  • Chlorate (linked to impaired thyroid function, which can be harmful during pregnancy and childhood). Found above health guidelines at 239 utilities.
  • Arsenic (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 571 utilities.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFHPA) (linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, and thyroid changes). Found above health guidelines at 15 utilities.
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) (linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, and thyroid change). Found above health guidelines at 28 utilities.
  • Uranium (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 118 utilities.
  • Strontium (linked to bone cancer and leukemia). Found above health guidelines at 33 utilities across the state.

The contaminants below were detected above legal guidelines at water departments across the state:4

  • Trihalomethanes (linked to bladder cancer, skin cancer and fetal development issues). Found above legal limits at 32 utilities.
  • Haloacetic acids (linked to cancer and interference with fetal growth). Found above legal limits at 15 utilities.
  • Thallium (linked to liver damage, central nervous system damage, hair loss, harm to the male reproductive system). Found above legal limits at two utilities.

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To see which contaminants have been found in the water in your state, click here to access the public database released by the EWG. First, select the state where you live, and you’ll see state-level data. For more local info, enter your zip code. From there you’ll be directed to a page showing the water utilities in your county. Then, you can select your town to see which contaminants are putting your family at risk.

Until now, this type of searchable database by state wasn’t available. A BIG thank you to the EWG. (Now THERE’S a website I’d donate money to.)

Now you know

Once you know about the high levels of dangerous contaminants lurking in your water, the next question becomes, “What can I do to protect my health and the health of my family?”

Buy a water filter.

The EWG also provides a guide to buying water filters on their site. And so does my better half.  There are many types of filters, so you’ll want to do your research and figure out which filters work best for whatever chemicals you are trying to eradicate. The most effective filters should have a certification from the Water Quality Association and NSF International.

Remember though, filters do not remove everything.

Good luck.

Sources and References

  1. Tampa Patch, July 26, 2017.
  2. Tampa Patch, July 26, 2017.
  3. Tampa Patch, July 26, 2017.
  4. Tampa Patch, July 26, 2017.