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EWG study indicates widespread nitrate pollution
WQA says in-home water filtration can serve as affordable barrier

LISLE, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2018) 
A new Environmental Working Group study indicating widespread nitrate pollution in U.S. drinking water -- at levels linked to increased cancer risk -- underscores the need for in-home water filtration, the Water Quality Association said today.

“The consumer plays a vital role in ensuring good quality drinking water in the home,” said WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser. “In-home treatment provides a final barrier to many contaminants not removed by centralized treatment or that can be picked up in service lines along the way to your residence, or that occur in private well water supplies.”


In a report released Oct. 2, 2018, the EWG analyzed tests of public water systems and found that 1,700 communities across the U.S. regularly have nitrate levels that the National Cancer Institute says can increase the risk of cancer. Two-thirds of those systems, serving more than 3 million Americans, have no nitrate treatment process.


Centralized treatment to reduce nitrate to safe levels in all affected communities could cost as much as $765 million a year, with the highest cost in communities that can least afford it, EWG says. In the smallest communities, the group calculated that nitrate treatment could add more than $50 a month per person to the cost of drinking water.


Undesser points out that home filtration devices or systems can remove nitrate or other contaminants. “A certified water professional can recommend a variety of treatment systems to meet a homeowner’s specific needs and budget,” she said.

Most nitrate contamination is from animal waste or fertilizers. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act sets the legal limit for nitrate in drinking water at 10 parts per million, but recent National Cancer Institute research indicates that drinking water with more than 5 ppm or more of nitrate increases the risk of kidney, colon, ovarian and bladder cancers. Other studies have demonstrated a link between nitrate and blood disorders in infants.

The WQA offers a technical fact sheet on nitrate/nitrite at Homeowners concerned about nitrate in drinking water can have their water tested through a certified water-testing laboratory. Consumers can check with WQA to find a water quality professional or connect with a certified testing lab through the USEPA ( 



WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. Since 1959, the WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

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