Arsenic and Old Laws
A Scientific and Public Health Analysis of Arsenic Occurrence in Drinking Water, Its Health Effects, and EPA's Outdated Arsenic Tap Water Standard
This February 2000 report analyzes data collected by water systems in 25 states between 1980 and 1998 and compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The study finds that millions of Americans drink tap water from systems that have been shown to contain arsenic, a known toxin and carcinogen, at average levels that pose unacceptable cancer risks. This report includes a summary of the adverse health effects of arsenic in drinking water by Dr. Paul Mushak, an eminent expert on the subject, based upon a 1999 National Academy of Sciences report. The report also contains detailed recommendations on what the EPA and water systems should do to reduce arsenic in drinking water and safeguard the health of the American public.
NOTE: While the information concerning the arsenic standard was correct at the time this report was published, the EPA has since reduced the arsenic standard for drinking water from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb.
Check the map
For an overview of the geographic distribution of arsenic problems in 25 states
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary and Recommendations
Chapter 1: Arsenic Found at Levels of Concern in the Tap Water of Tens Of Millions of Americans in 25 States
Chapter 2: An Overview of the Scientific and Health Issues Raised by Arsenic Regulation
Chapter 3: Conclusions for Safe Regulation of Drinking Water
Report Credits and Acknowledgements
Appendix A: List of Public Water Systems in Which Arsenic Was Found in the 25 States Reporting Data
States that reported data: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah
Table 1: Arsenic Levels in Tap Water Systems in 25 States: Low and Best Estimates
Table 2: Lifetime Risks of Dying of Cancer from Arsenic in Tap Water
Table 3: 46 Largest Water Systems With Arsenic Levels Over 5 ppb (Ranked by Largest Population First)
Table 4: Highest Average Arsenic Levels in Water Systems Serving Over 10,000 (Ranked by Largest Population First)
Table 5: 50 Public Water Systems of All Sizes With Highest Average of Arsenic Concentrations
Figure 1: National Arsenic Occurrence Map
Figure 2: State Average Arsenic Concentrations for Systems Finding Arsenic
Figure 3: Number of Tap Water Arsenic Samples, and the Lowest Level of Arsenic Required to be Reported, By State (Reporting Limits)
Figure 4: Percent of Population Drinking Arsenic at Significant Levels Served by Large vs. Small Systems
For printed copies of this report, see our Publications List.
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