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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

WSJ on the Quality of Drinking Water

This morning the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the quality of tap water. Trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, unregulated chemicals such as industrial solvents, and even the chemicals used to clean drinking water are causing increasing concern.

Bottled water, the story reports, is not the answer because not only is it expensive but, as was reported earlier in the year, much of bottled water is tap water. Filters are useful but not 100 percent effective, and again there is a cost.

Stopping contamination, as opposed to trying to remove it, seems more logical. In this area, states have had to step in because the executive branch of the federal government is under control of people who don't believe in government (recall that these are the folks who wanted to end Social Security), and special interests who oppose new regulations are extremely influential in Washington. California has acted, according to the WSJ, because an ingredient used to make rocket fuel during the Cold War has been found in many of the state's water systems.

Political will can be rallied when rocket fuel is in the water, but let's not wait that long to seriously act to address new challenges to water quality.

"Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink." Above, the Pacific coast, Mexico.

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