In their official annual report, President Obama’s Cancer Panel recommends the use of home water filter devices to decrease exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. While municipal water systems are tested on a regular basis and homeowners are encouraged to test their wells for contamination, studies find that there are still numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are ingested through drinking water. The report says that control of environmental cancer risks is hampered by conflicting or inadequate exposure measurement and ineffective regulation of chemical exposures. And, while disinfection of public water supplies has dramatically reduced waterborne illnesses, research indicates that long-term exposure to disinfection by-products such as trihalomethans may increase cancer risk.
In addition to man-made dangers, there are naturally occurring problems with drinking water. For example, most of the inorganic arsenic in drinking water is from natural sources. Even though it is “completely natural”, this ingested arsenic has been linked with skin, lung, bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers.
The President’s Cancer Panel’s report, titled “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risks: What We Can Do Now” indicates that “individuals and families have many opportunities to reduce or eliminate chemical exposures.” Some of the suggestions made by the Panel include:
Filtering home tap or well water to decrease exposure to known or suspected carcinogens. Also, when water must be stored or carried, stainless steel, glass, or BPA-and phthalate-free containers should be used.
In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. Further, approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from cancer. In addition to causing cancer, many of the chemicals that the panel studied also interfere with normal hormonal function. Also distressing is the fact that many cancers are increasing in children. The report states that “pound for pound, children take in more food, water, air, and other environmental substances than adults.”
How do we combat the millions of contaminants facing our bodies every day? The first step is to become informed. Second, we take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families. The Water Quality Association recommends purchasing water treatment products that have received the Gold Seal certification for being able to remove a variety of contaminants. Finally, we must each take a stand for our community. Every person can choose to be the voice that demands responsive policy making and responsible industry.
To read the full report, click here