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Drinking Water Safety

Do I Really Need To Be Concerned About Drinking Water?

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While the United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, all sources of drinking water contain some naturally occurring contaminants. The quality of drinking water varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives.

At low levels, many contaminants generally are not harmful in drinking water. However, for people with a weakened or compromised immune system, microbial contaminants such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Microsporidium, can pose serious health risks.

While tap water that meets federal and state standards generally is safe to drink, threats to drinking water quality and quantity continue to exist. For example, a 1993 outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was attributed to high levels of Cryptosporidium in the water supply despite filtration and disinfection. More than 400,000 people were affected. More than 4,000 people were hospitalized and as many as 100 died.

If you are uncertain as to whether you should be taking any special precautions ask your health care provider, and/or consider contacting your local health department and water utility to see if there are any special considerations that you should be taking.

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