Tighter rules on arsenic in water saved lives



After the Environmental Protection Agency introduced tighter limits on arsenic in public drinking water in 2006, there was a 17 percent decrease in levels of arsenic in the urine of people served by public water systems that complied with the rule, the researchers found.

Not only that, but there were an estimated 200 fewer cases of lung and bladder cancer a year after the tougher rules were put in place.

Levels of arsenic in the urine of people who used private wells did not change, according to the study published Oct. 23 in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Arsenic is a carcinogen that naturally occurs in drinking water across the United States. The study findings highlight the important role that government drinking water regulations play in reducing toxic exposures and protecting health, the researchers said.

"EPA regulation was associated with a significant decrease in urinary arsenic concentrations among Americans who use public water systems," said study author Anne Nigra, from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.


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