Fear Of The Unknown: The Effect Of Water Contamination On Health
In April 2015, James Rouse died from Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by the waterborne bacteria legionella.
An outbreak in the area had caused 16 people to die.
Jasmine Spearing-Bowen/News21 After officials found a brain-eating amoeba in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, in June, resident Tara Kopelman has taken extra precautions such as using nose plugs in the shower.
Some of the regulated contaminants sickening people in the U.S. include naturally occurring bacteria and parasites such as giardia, cryptosporidium and legionella, which are responsible for the majority of waterborne disease outbreaks.
The CDC reports that 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ occurred in the U.S. in 2015, and the number of cases has risen since 2000.
It’s often difficult to make a definitive link between certain illnesses and contaminants found in drinking water.
That means health officials in states don’t test or report on many contaminants that sicken people across the U.S. “I think health organizations declaring water as safe to drink is a bit reckless,” said Bowcock, the water treatment expert.
Chlorine is the most common chemical used to treat contaminated water, but some water treatment experts say it isn’t used because it’s the most effective method, but because it’s the most inexpensive.
She said her scalp psoriasis started about the time chlorine burnouts were used in response to a brain-eating amoeba being found in the water system.
“In my experience, most of these cases settle, as people don’t want it in the public domain that their water systems are contaminated.