The people of Flint, Michigan, still don’t have clean drinking water, and now a new report shows they aren’t alone.
The drinking water of some 14 million Americans is contaminated with a cancer-causing industrial solvent called Trichloroethylene, or TCE, according to a new EWG analysis of tests from public utilities nationwide. EWG’s Tap Water Database, which aggregates test results from utilities nationwide, shows that in about half of the systems it monitors, average annual levels of TCE were above what some health authorities say is safe for infants and developing fetuses.
More than 400 of the government’s Superfund sites have TCE contamination that can spread into groundwater and threaten drinking water supplies. Drinking TCE-contaminated water has been linked to birth defects, hormone disruption, increased risk of cancer, and more. The EPA’s legal limit for TCE in drinking water is 5 parts per billion. That limit was set back in 1987, and researchers believe TCE could be harmful at much lower levels.