Challenge

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Inorganic Matter Contaminates Drinking Water and Irrigation Sources

Drinking and irrigation water sources in the US are polluted and clogged by inorganic matter. Inorganic matter can be naturally occurring such as clay, sand, or silt, which clogs water systems. Inorganic pollutants also include heavy metals and metalloids such as lead, mercury, copper, and arsenic. Some of these pollutants can be screened out but others are still found in drinking water today.
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People Impacted
$ 64B
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the problem
Nature and Context

Exposure to inorganic contaminants can lead to increased cholesterol, kidney damage, hair loss, skin irritation, and cancer. In 2015, there were 1,505 violations in community water systems serving 1,312,643 people.

the impact
Negative Effects

Lead is one example of inorganic matter. Modern science shows that even low levels lead can impair the brain development of fetuses, infants, and young children. The damage can reverberate for a lifetime, reducing IQ and physical growth and contributing to anemia, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, and behavioral problems. Large doses of lead exposure in adults has been linked to high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease, and reduced fertility.

While action by the water utility is required once the level of lead in public water supplies reaches 15 ppb (parts per billion), the EPA acknowledges that there is no safe level of exposure to lead.

attributions
Data Sources
  1. Natural Resources Defense Council Report: Threats on Tap - https://www.nrdc.org/resources/threats-tap-widespread-violations-water-infrastructure

  2. NRDC Report: Flint Water Crisis - https://www.nrdc.org/stories/flint-water-crisis-everything-you-need-know#sec-whyis

  3. US Environmental Protection Agency

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