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Los Angeles California Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Los Angeles, California

Southern California, home to half of the state's population, depends on the State Water Project, the Colorado River Aqueduct and the Los Angeles Aqueduct supply for about half of its supply. California's vast agricultural industry is also dependent on water projects, both large and small. The Los Angeles Aqueduct carries water from the Eastern Sierra Nevada to Los Angeles. The construction of the aqueduct marked the first major water delivery project in California. The city purchased 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land in the Owens Valley in order to gain access to water rights. Is Los Angeles' tap water safe to drink?

Source: City of Los Angeles

Contaminants Found in LA's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Arsenic

Arsenic is a potent carcinogen and common contaminant in drinking water. Arsenic causes thousands of cases of cancer each year in the U.S. Click here to read more about arsenic.

Bromate

Bromate is a carcinogenic disinfection byproduct formed when source waters containing bromide are treated with ozonation or sodium hypochlorite. Studies of laboratory animals show that bromate damages DNA and causes cancer in multiple organs. Click here to read more about disinfection byproducts.

Chromium (hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. Read more about chromium (hexavalent).

Radiological contaminants

This utility detected Uranium. Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform. 

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — moreso than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes.


Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of Arsenic in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.004 ppb for arsenic was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer. 

Health risks of Bromate in excess of the health guidelines 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.1 ppb for bromate was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Chlorite in excess of the health guidelines 

Change in blood chemistry: The health guideline of 50 ppb for chlorite was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against change in blood chemistry.

Health risks of Chromium (hexavalent) in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Radiological contaminants in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Health risks of Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in excess of the health guidelines 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Water Contaminant Levels in Los Angeles, California Compared to Other Regions

Arsenic

 - Health Guideline: 0.004 ppb

 - National: 1.33 ppb

 - State: 2.94 ppb

 - Los Angeles, CA: 1.20 ppb

Bromate

 - Health Guideline: 0.1 ppb

 - Los Angeles, CA: 3.77 ppb

 - National: 0.834 ppb

 - State: 1.0 ppb

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

 - State: 1.69 ppb

 - Los Angeles, CA: 1.09 ppb

Radiological Contaminants

 - No standards exist for this contaminant

Fluoride

 - Health Guideline: None

 - State: 0.350 ppb

 - National: 0.440 ppb

 - Los Angeles, CA: 0.738 ppb

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 20.1 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Los Angeles, CA: 29.0 ppb

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April Jones

A hiker, blogger, clean living enthusiast, and water quality expert...

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