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German Environment Agency's Study Reveals Alarming Contaminant Levels in Freshwater and Drinking Water

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A comprehensive literature review encompassing 55 studies conducted between 2000 and 2019 has unveiled troubling findings regarding the quality of our freshwater resources and drinking water. The study, carried out by the German Environment Agency, focused on substances registered under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) and their potential impact on the environment.

The review identified a startling 639 chemicals known to be contaminants in various water sources. These contaminants were found in river bank filtrates (114 substances), groundwater (338 substances), raw water (212 substances), and even drinking water (385 substances). Notably, every second substance compromising drinking water resources was registered under REACH, a European Union regulation governing chemical safety.

Equally concerning is the fact that 24% of these substances fall into the new CLP (Classification, Labeling, and Packaging) hazard categories of PMT (Persistent, Mobile, and Toxic) and vPvM (very Persistent and very Mobile). When focusing solely on raw water sources, this proportion surges to 32%.

In stark contrast, the REACH registration database indicates that only 1.9% of substances are categorized as PMT/vPvM based on CLP criteria, highlighting a significant discrepancy between registered chemicals and those with potential environmental hazards.

These findings underscore the urgent need for heightened scrutiny of chemical contaminants in our water supply and raise questions about the effectiveness of current regulations in safeguarding our drinking water. Public health and environmental agencies may now face increased pressure to reevaluate and strengthen regulatory measures to protect our precious freshwater resources and ensure the safety of our drinking water.

Link to Final report PMT/vPvM assessment of REACH registered Substances Detected in Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent, Freshwater Resources and Drinking Water



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