In Flint Michigan in 2016, a federal state of emergency resulted after lead was leached from aging pipes into the tap water of up to 100,000 residents.
"Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. As a result, between 6,000 and 12,000 children were exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems." ~Source: wikipedia.com
The Safe Water Drinking Act Protects Us, Right?
Only in part. The act regulates 91 contaminates.
But there are 60,000 chemicals used in the USA, all of which can potentially find their way into source water.
Prescription Drugs in your Tap Water?
There are over 4 billion prescriptions filled every year in the United States.
Where do all those drugs go? A lot of them are excreted in the urine, the stool, or leftovers are tossed into the garbage of flushed down the toilet.
"When Health Canada sampled tap water across Canada, researchers found ...traces of acetaminophen, codeine, antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and anti-epileptic compounds, and dozens of other chemicals in drinking water that comes from rivers and lakes." ~Source: cbc.ca
Many of these substances are water-soluble with no color, no taste, and no odor, meaning you could be consuming them for years and not even know it.
Chlorine Kills Bacteria in Tap Water
Municipalities use chlorine to kill bacteria that comes from sewage and other sources that may have made its way into drinking water.
But when we drink this water it also kills the health-enabling bacteria that live in our guts. An imbalance of healthy bacteria in one's digestive system has been linked to depression, obesity, and autism. All three are on the rise.
It Gets Much Worse - Cancer
Disinfection of drinking water with chlorine has reduced the number of waterborne diseases dramatically.
However, chlorine combines with organic material in water and in your body to form disinfection byproducts - like trihalomethane. These are dangerous because they increase cancer risk or even directly cause cancer.
"Fourteen to sixteen percent of bladder cancer cases is caused by disinfection byproducts" ~Source: lenntech.com
It Gets Much Worse - Like Cancer
With ever-increasing numbers of contaminants, tighter budgets and aging infrastructure the job of guaranteeing healthy drinking water has become nearly impossible.
Citizens who want to be sure of the healthiness of their water will need to be proactive and responsible for ensuring the safety of the water that they drink and bath in.
What Does it Mean For Your Tap Water?
In short, no one believes the government is reckless or negligent with respect to public health when it comes to tap and drinking water safety for their citizens. (Although, as you can imagine, there have been lawsuits from what happened in Flint.)
The system of sourcing, purifying and delivering tap water is incredibly complex.