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Tap Water Puts Californians at Risk
(from October 31, 2002)

A recent report by Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that tap water in several California cities poses health risks from contamination, including from pesticides. These risks are especially significant to children and pregnant women.

The report, What's on Tap? examined water from Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. They found that major sources of pollution come from farm and industrial effluence. In Fresno, where health risks were cited as the worst of the four cities, water contained pesticides in combination with industrial chemicals and nitrates, a product of fertilizers. Dr. Beatte Ritz of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UCLA School of Public Health, said of Fresno water, "Last year the city itself told pregnant women to avoid drinking it. That's good advice."

In past studies, Fresno has had poor tap water quality results. NRDC reports that the banned pesticide dibromochloropropane (DBCP) was found in well samples in 2001. In some cases these wells were taken out of service only after as long as six months of sampling. Other pesticides found in the city's tap water include ethylene dibromide and trichloroethylene.

Read NRDC's report What's on Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U.S. Cities (Early Release California Edition)

For more information regarding pesticides in drinking water, please contact Beyond Pesticides.