As it turns out, Flint isn’t the only area in the United States with shady public water utilities issues. High levels of arsenic persist in water levels for thousands of Texans, but state authorities continue to tell residents that the chemical — which has been identified as a carcinogen — is nothing to worry about.
The Environmental Integrity Project has released a report, called “Don’t Drink the Water,” allegedly proving that for 82,000 residents in 34 communities across Texas, the levels of arsenic in the drinking water has exceeded safety standards, and has been an issue for the last decade. The offenders are mainly small towns and state prisons, and the most egregious chemical levels can be found near San Antonio.
After the report was released, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the Environmental Protection Agency has insisted that these violation levels are not considered health threats and “is not an emergency.”
“Drinking water standards are set to protect people drinking 2 liters of water per day for 70 years,” the agency said in a statement. “Out of the 65 water systems cited in the study, all but two are currently under enforcement, or have undergone enforcement, either by the TCEQ, EPA, or Texas attorney general.”
However, environmental groups believe that continued drinking or cooking with the tainted drinking water could have serious adverse short and long-term health effects.
“The problem is that continuing to consume water that violates Safe Drinking Water arsenic limits year after year – sometimes at levels that are three, four, or even eight times the standard – will significantly increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and other health problems,” EIP executive director Eric Schaeffer told The Dallas Morning News.