Environmental group finds chemicals linked to cancer in water

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An environmental group has found several different PFAs and GenX chemicals in tap water linked to terminal illnesses.

The Environmental Working Groups’ new water database helps identify health risks in drinking water. EWG is an organization that aims to identify health risks in everyday products.

The group says the legal limit for the contaminant in tap water has not been updated in almost 20 years.

The database shows 19 contaminants in drinking water in the City of Jacksonville, and of those, 11 exceed the organization’s safety guidelines.

“One of the things that we really want people to understand is this gap between what is legal and what is safe,” says Sydney Evans, EWG science analyst.

Evans explains that over time, the chemicals have been proven to be linked to bladder cancer and can cause problems with safe pregnancy outcomes.

John Himsworth, City of Jacksonville water treatment plant superintendent, reassured reporters that city water is safe.

“It has a high mineral count and an odor, so we use nanofiltration which is commonly used with bottled water. And we filter out a lot of those — roughly 90% — of those minerals,” Himsworth said.

Jacksonville also has a deep-water aquifer that officials say is purer than most filtered bottled water.

“The water is very pure and the only thing that’s required is disinfection itself. All the other standards are naturally met,” Himsworth said.

EWG says the chemicals found in the water are various forms of PFAS and GenX chemicals.

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