American Cities With the Most Contaminated Water

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Access to clean water is limited in many nations around the world, but even in the United States, water quality is an issue. Contamination from chemical toxins, heavy metals, and microbial pathogens has affected water supplies from coast to coast. (These are the companies polluting our water the most.)

Most recently, Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi, have been in the news for this problem. From April 2014 to June 2016, Flint’s water was deemed extremely dangerous to drink. Last summer, flooding in Jackson triggered a warning that drinking water there was risky, and residents were told to boil water before they use it.

In March 2022 when the EPA made an unprecedented move: It put forth a groundbreaking proposal for the establishment of the inaugural national drinking water standard. This standard aims to address the perilous presence of six synthetic chemicals that pose a significant threat to human health.

To compile a list of the 30 American cities with the most contaminated water, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data collected by WaterFilterGuru, a site that tests and reports on water filtration products. Using data from the Environmental Working Group, an activist NGO, analyzing water quality in 70 cities across the U.S., the site created an index giving a weight of 20 to the number of contaminants that exceed EWG health guidelines, total contaminants, and violations issued in each quarter from April 2019 to March 2021. Other factors, such as the levels of specific contaminants in the water, drawn from the environmental testing and data site SimpleLab, were given a weight of 8.

Click here to see the American cities with the most contaminated water

The specific hazardous contaminants vary among cities. Among the notable chemicals found to be concerning are bromodichloromethane, total haloacetic acids, total THMs (trihalomethanes), and chloroform. These substances have been associated with an increased risk of developing cancer in various organs. (These are the most common cancers in America, and their survival rates.)