Tap Water May Increase Cancer Risk – Michael Hunter MD

Trihalomethanes in water may increase your risk of bladder cancer.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Your body weight is more than fifty percent water. Without water, you couldn’t maintain a normal body temperature, lubricate your joints, or get rid of waste through urination, sweat, and bowel movements.

Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause muscle weakness and cramping, a lack of coordination, and an increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In fact, water is so important that a person couldn’t last more than five days without it.

If you are like me, you do not often think about the water we drink. We turn on a tap, fill a glass, and drink. But is the water you’re drinking safe or would bottled water be safer? Could your water be contaminated, if is so, are there implications for your risk of getting cancer?

Today, we turn to a recent study that showed that toxins in our water may indeed raise our cancer risk. In the research study, investigators collected recent annual average levels of a chemical (trihalomethane) in municipal drinking water in twenty-eight European countries from routine monitoring records and assessed outcomes for individuals aged twenty years and older from 2005 through 2018.

Now, the provocative research conclusions of the investigators:

Exposure to trihalomethanes in tap water increases the risk of bladder cancer and may be responsible for one in twenty bladder cancer cases in the European Union (EU), according to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Trihalomethanes are one of the most common disinfection byproducts found in drinking water after chlorination, and previous studies have linked these chemicals to bladder cancer.

The European Union (EU) has set the maximum level of exposure to trihalomethanes at 100 micrograms per liter. The researchers found that the average exposure was far below the maximum permissible limit at 11.7 µg/L, although the maximum limit was exceeded in nine countries: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

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