Concerns about water quality

Published On: Jul 12 2012 09:23:20 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 15 2012 02:23:24 PM EDT
Bottled water

You're not alone if you're concerned about the water you and your family drink. A survey by the Water Quality Association found that three-quarters of Americans don't believe their household water supply is as safe as it could be. In a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, 47 percent of respondents reported they won't drink water straight from the tap.

Environmental problems have an enormous impact on water quality. Water runoff from industrial plants and farms, acid rain and other forms of pollution have tainted groundwater and surface water supplies in many areas of the world. Population growth, urban and suburban sprawl, and industrial and agricultural expansion continue to stress fresh water supplies.

Water contamination problems, epidemic in the developing world, also routinely occur in highly industrialized nations. In the last half dozen years, numerous cases have been recorded in the United States, affecting tens of millions of consumers in more than 1,000 communities.

Some of the most serious incidents have involved bacteria. A 1993 outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee affected more than 400,000 residents and caused more than 100 attributable deaths. Other virulent pathogens have also intruded into municipal water supplies with alarming frequency.

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