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Newly Found Chemicals May Be Poisoning Your Drinking Water

If the water coming from your local town isn't dangerous enough, scientists have detected a pair of new nitrosamines -- drinking water disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that can be up to 1,000 times more carcinogenic than trihalomethanes.

After tracking water processed at a Canadian treatment plant and three points downstream, researchers found high levels of four nitrosamines, including a pair of new ones (N-nitrosopiperidine and N-nitrosodiphenylamine). Even worse, the level of nitrosamines increased as water traveled through the system, a sign, scientists said, nitrosamines were forming faster than they were breaking down, perhaps due to excess chloramines.

Unfortunately, FDA scientists believe their agency will require local utilities to measure only six nitrosamines, and not the new ones Canadian researchers found. And other researchers took the results with a grain of salt because they believe the plant tested had abnormally high levels of nitrosamines.

Even if you install a reverse osmosis filter, that alone may not protect you from contaminated water in your laundry room or shower. That's why I recommend having your water analyzed.

Environmental Science & Technology November 8, 2006