There are concerning levels of contamination in public water systems across Iowa, according to an environmental group that sets its own health standards.
Water from more than 700 Iowa utilities had levels of certain contaminants above health guidelines set by the Environmental Working Group, which are not legally enforceable. EWG senior scientist David Andrews says government regulations aren’t keeping up with the science.
“The EPA hasn’t set any new legal limits in over two decades and yet during that time period, our scientific understanding of how chemicals interact with our body, which chemicals are found in the environment, it’s progressed an incredible amount,” Andrews says, “and we’re now learning that many chemicals are impacting our health.”
Only a few of the utilities exceeded legal limits in the past few years for radium, selenium, and arsenic, but Andrews argues the established federal limits are extremely outdated. “Impacting our health and causing harm to infants, adults, at concentrations that weren’t of concern three or four decades ago,” Andrews says. “So that’s where people should be very concerned is the fact that there have been no updates to the system or very few updates and we really think there needs to be.”
Iowans can search the website by ZIP code to get more information on the water in their area.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)