The United Nations is sponsoring the 26th annual World Water Day on March 22, 2019 with a focus on the urgent need to provide clean and safe water to all those around the world. In 1992, the United Nations first recognized that all humans, in every country around the globe have the right to fresh, safe water that is accessible and affordable. Safe water is free from harmful bacteria, parasites, and sediments that lead to disease and deadly health complications, such as Hepatitis A, salmonella, E. Coli, dysentery, reproductive issues, neurological disorders, cancer, and parasitic infections.
More than two billion people around the world lack access to clean water supplies. Close to 800 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhea linked to contaminated water supplies. Countless people die from complications of infection associated with unsafe water. The lack of clean water also limits the potential of children’s education and work opportunities for adults who cannot bathe or properly wash their clothes. Livestock and crops are lost each year due to the lack of water in some areas, creating malnutrition and loss of income for the families that rely on farming to sustain them.
The sheer act of collecting safe water is especially hard for women and children that travel long distances to collect water that must still be boiled before use. More than 800 women die each year from complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth due to unsafe water supplies. Millions of people have had to leave their homes and migrate to areas with fresh water supplies.
Surprisingly, the problem with clean water is not limited to impoverished communities. The U.S. Clean Water Act of 1972 and 1974 mandates that all citizens have access to safe water that is free from harmful pollution and contaminates. Even with this law, U.S. water supplies are continuously failing inspections for drinking water that is contaminated with known carcinogens and other elements that pose a serious risk to our health.
New York is one of the first states to require testing of all drinking water in their public school system. In 2016, water testing in the state’s schools showed that 82 percent of the water sources had unsafe levels of lead. Over 2.7 million children are enrolled in New York public schools, which means close to three million children are being exposed to lead poisoning on a daily basis.
Old lead pipes and antiquated water mains are one source of contaminated water, but air and water pollution are also contributing to our unsafe water supplies. A coliform bacterium responsible for gastrointestinal complications was found in dairy farms in Wisconsin. Many water supplies are contaminated with PFOA and PFOS. Rivers in Iowa recently tested positive for nitrates found in fertilizer. Lead, mercury, and uranium, and other toxic substances have been found in water supplies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, and North Dakota where fracking is prevalent. Many fresh water streams, ponds, and lakes across the country have harmful levels of pesticides and pollutants that affect our fish and wildlife.
Those harmed by contaminated water may be entitled to compensation through an environmental or toxic tort lawsuit. Consultation with an environmental lawyer could lead to compensation for injuries.
If you have been harmed by contaminated water, call the Pennsylvania environmental lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, South Jersey, and across the nation.