Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review: Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink

Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink by Seth M. Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The USGS (United States Geological Service) has an interesting Water Science School document called "The Water in You: Water in the Human Body." In it we learn that all told, the human body is composed of about 60% water. Some organs and tissues have higher water content than others, for instance, our lungs are about 83% water, kidneys about 79%, brain and heart about 73% and even our bones are about 31% water. One should consider where that water comes from and what is in that water that makes up us. Do you want your lungs, kidneys, brain, etc to become saturated with any contaminants? A quick look at Flint, Michigan and you can see that, no, you do not want unsafe drinking water in your body. But how safe is America's water? Reader, you should be asking this question in your town, your state, and of your legislators. And you should go armed with facts.

Troubled Water, my non-fiction read for September, provides a deeply unsettling look at drinking water in America. Siegel explains in rich detail the gross inadequacies of the Environmental Protection Agency, whose abbreviated list of about ninety "regulated contaminants" is dwarfed by more than 120,000 compounds, pharmaceuticals, and plastics that could influence water quality and safety. No one is looking for those contaminants. No one regulates them. And we are not just talking about tap water from a public source or a private well whose watershed may be contaminated by decades of manufacturing runoffs. Bottled water is just as poorly regulated. In fact, in many instances, it is totally unregulated. So if you were drinking bottled water thinking it was safer, you might want to think again. From perfluorinated contaminants to estrogens to microplastics, the drinking water in this country is something that should concern every citizen. It affects humans, our pets, our crops, and the plant and animal protein we consume. In short, the poorly regulated and analyzed so-called potable water problem affects everything around us.

This book is extremely accessible and any layperson can and should read it. The important thrust of this book, pushing the EPA to do more to protect Americans by regulating drinking water more consistently, efficiently, and with the public interest in mind, is something that should be on every citizen's mind. And further, setting local and state standards for better filtration of drinking water, so that unregulated contaminants don't find their way into our food supply and kitchen water. Because clearly, relying on the slow-moving EPA is a foolhardy thing.

An excellent book.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

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