Pollutants and Pathogens Present in Drinking Water of Major Cities Worldwide

Over the past 10 years the contamination of water in urban areas has been of increasing concern. The drinking water of the United States contained thousands of occurrences of toxic lead, arsenic, atrazine (pesticide), trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids (chlorination byproducts), and perchlorate (from rocket fuel) according to a 2001 study. In Canada, the deaths of 7 people in Walkerton, Ontario due to E. Coli bacteria highlights the growing problem of water contamination in urban areas.

The European Environment Agency sees Nitrate contamination as the most common threat to drinking water in Europe. In a 2003 report they stated “at least 12% of citizens in EU15 countries were potentially exposed to microbiological and some other undesirable contaminants that exceeded Maximum Allowable Concentrations as laid down in the EC Drinking Water Directive, in the years reported.” Even more alarming is that the long-term effects of pollutants in our water have had little study.

Source: European Environment Agency, CBC, WWF