Report Reveals Arsenic Levels Higher in Hispanic Communities Public Water System

Researchers at Columbia University conducted a study of arsenic concentrations in public water systems nationwide. Their findings were published in a December 2020 report entitled “Environmental Health Prespectives” according to The report revealed that arsenic levels in public water systems serving Hispanic communities and in the Southwestern U.S. remain higher than the nationwide average. NOI Research Group posted information about the report via twitter @NOIResearch.

The Environmental Health Perspectives report examined data from 2006 to 2011, reviewing approximately 13 million records. According to, data was collected from 290 million water service users which represents 92 percent of the total U.S. population served by public water systems. In total, information was gathered from 139,000 public water systems in 46 states, Washington D.C. and Native American Tribes. 95 percent of all public water systems in the U.S. were represented, according to

Anne Nigra, Environmental Health Scientist and lead author of the report began the time study with 2006 data because that was when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was to start enforcing its requirement to lower arsenic maximum containmant levels. The maximum contaminant level for arsenic in public water systems was to be lowered from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. The fact that primarily Hispanic communities continue to exceed the EPA maximum contaminant level raises environmental justice concerns.

“There is no safe level of arsenic in drinking water” said Nigra. She added “We actually know very little about inequalities in public drinking water quality across the U.S.” According to the World Health Organization arsenic is “the most significant chemical contaminant in drinking water, globally,” Chronic exposure to the highly toxic carcinogen can cause serious health conditions including diseases of the heart, lung, liver, and brain.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here