Millions of Drinking Wells Worldwide Could Run Dry

Over-pumping, drought, and climate change are all factors depleting global groundwater resources. Up to 20 percent of the world’s drinking wells might be encountering impending doom. Without clean, fresh drinking wells, billions of people could be in a water crisis.

According to research published in the journal Science, construction records from 39 million wells scattered across 40 countries were analyzed. The depths were examined and compared to groundwater levels, supported by data from previous studies.

Debra Perrone, a water resources expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, co-authored the study and said, “We found that this undesirable result is happening across the world, from the western United States to India.”

The researchers found that millions of wells reached less than 16 feet below the water table, putting them susceptible to running dry. At least six to 20 percent of the wells evaluated appear to be in peril. Especially in places already afflicted by drought, the remaining wells can dry up quickly, perhaps up to a meter or more a year. 

To help address the problem, digging deeper wells is a temporary solution, but these wells are much more expensive to build and maintain. 

The study said, “As groundwater levels decline around the world, only the relatively wealthy will be able to afford the cost of drilling deeper wells and paying for the additional power required to pump groundwater from greater depths. Lower-income families, poorer communities, and small businesses, including smaller farms, will experience progressively more limited access in the many regions around the world where groundwater levels are in decline. The consequences of millions of wells running dry, and perhaps millions more in the decades to come, would be severe and unparalleled at such a scale in human history.”

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Michiganders Advised to Avoid Foam on Lakes and Rivers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a press release warning residents to stay clear of foam on Michigan lakes, rivers, and streams. The foam is typically associated with bacteria or chemicals, specifically per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which resembles shaving cream and is bright white. The foam can blow onto beaches and pile up on shorelines. In contrast, naturally-occurring foam is typically seen in bays, eddies, or river barriers. It’s also off-white or brown and smells somewhat earthy or fishy.

Rinse or wash off foam as soon as contact is made, especially if PFAS contamination is suspected.

PFAS is an emerging toxic chemical and can be found in:

  • Food: packaged, processed, or grown in PFAS-contaminated areas
  • Household products: stain and water repellent fabrics, nonstick products (Teflon), waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a significant source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases)
  • Workplaces: production facilities or industrial buildings using chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, or oil recovery
  • Drinking water: near manufacturing plants, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, firefighter training facilities
  • Living organisms: fish, animals, humans, etc., where PFAS can build and persist over time.

PFAS can cause a multitude of health issues and are dubbed as “Forever Chemicals” because they never break down once they are released into the environment. PFAS are found in 99.9% of all Americans’ blood. They build up in our blood and organs, increasing the risk of cancer, harms fetuses, changes liver enzymes, increases cholesterol levels, while decreasing vaccine response in children, and more.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS said, “Although current science shows that the risk of PFAS getting into your system from contact with skin is low, you can minimize exposure to PFAS by rinsing or showering after you are done with your recreational activities. In general, washing hands and rinsing off after swimming will help to protect people from chemicals and bacteria that may be in waterbodies.”

MDHHS recommends people of all ages steer clear of foamy water, including young children. PFAS foam typically has a much higher concentration of chemicals than what is generally seen in everyday environments. Dogs and other pets should also not come in contact with – or swallow – the foam.

To remove PFAS from your drinking water, contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Survey Shows Water Use Surge During Pandemic

According to a study conducted by J.D. Power, customer satisfaction with water services remained steady through the pandemic despite skyrocketing usage. The U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is now in its sixth year and rates contentment among suburban consumers of 90 water utilities that supply water to no less than 400,000 customers. The survey was conducted in four waves between June 2020 and March 2021.

Major regional service interruptions, increased water consumption, and elevated utility bills have resulted in no change in customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Survey. Usage has increased roughly six percent nationwide, and customer satisfaction is at a high 737 out of 1,000 points.

Andrew Heath, senior director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power said, “Between the massive weather event in Texas and the overall heightened sense of anxiety among consumers who have been spending more time at home and consuming more water, the past year has put local water utilities to the test. Despite recent efforts to improve communications and ramp up digital customer service channels, water utilities still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering valuable, proactive communications to help their customers through challenging situations. For example, the widespread service interruptions in Texas really put a spotlight on just how vulnerable utilities can be to adverse weather events.”

The study is reported in four geographic regions and two size categories: Midwest Large, Midwest Midsize, Northeast Large, Northeast Midsize, South Large, South Midsize, West Large, and West Midsize. Six factors and 33 attributes are used to measure overall satisfaction including: quality and reliability, price, conservation, billing and payment, communications, and customer service.

Are you unhappy with your water quality? Contact the water experts at Reynolds Water today to get pure, clean water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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$35 Billion Water Bill Passed in Senate

A $35-billion measure to purify the United States’ water systems passed overwhelmingly in the Senate. The 89-to-2 vote is evidence that lawmakers in both parties support infrastructure initiatives. Now that the bill has passed in the senate, it will go to the House of Representatives.

“We’re trying to work in a bipartisan way whenever we can – and this bill is a classic example,” said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “It doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do the whole thing bipartisan, but we’ll do as much as we can.”

The newly approved legislation would authorize funding to repair and support the water supply throughout the United States. Those that have long been neglected, such as people who reside in rural and tribal communities, also suffer from poor sanitation and unclean drinking water. Lead pipes would be removed from schools, and infrastructure would be updated to be more resilient to the impacts of severe weather and global warming.

“I don’t want to overplay it, but I think it’s definitely a major positive,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican from West Virginia.

According to policy experts, environmentalists, and urban planners, the subsidies toward America’s deteriorating water systems is way past due. A 2018 study examined 30 years of data and found that as many as 10 percent of communities have poor water systems (health-based violations), which affect roughly 45 million people yearly. Moreover, over two million United States residents do not have access to drinking water or sanitation services, according to a 2019 report compiled by the United States Water Alliance.

The Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act were both accepted in the 1970s, but federal investment has drastically declined. In 1977, capital spending in the water sector was at 63 percent versus nine percent in 2017.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced the new Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act. She said, “Access to clean water is a human right. Every American deserves access to clean water no matter the color of their skin of the size of their income.”

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Another ‘Forever Chemical’ Called 1,4 Dioxane Found in Ann Arbor

Popular in the second half of the 20th century, 1,4-dioxane was used in pharmaceutical ingredients, filters, metal degreasers, and more. In toxicity studies, laboratory rodents given the chemical in their drinking water developed liver cancer. The United States National Toxicology Program classifies 1,4,-dioxane as a human carcinogen. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also deemed the synthetic chemical a likely carcinogen.

In the United States, production of 1,4-dioxane has diminished, though certain companies import it from Germany to supply customers. Even as the use of 1,4 dioxane declines, the chemical is not disappearing. Water monitoring data collected from 2010 to 2015 shows that more than seven million people in the United States in 27 different states had utility-supplied tap water with detectible levels of 1,4-dioxane according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

There is currently no federal limit on 1,4 dioxane in drinking water, and removing it is challenging. When released into the air, the chemical poses a cancer risk. However, it doesn’t float through the air often or evaporate easily. It dissolves completely in water, even at high concentrations, making it difficult to remove.

Traditional groundwater treatments filter water through granulated activated carbon to remove chlorine and other contaminants. This technology is not applicable to 1,4-dioxane. Many communities have water tainted with worrisome levels of 1,4-dioxane. After leaking out of landfills or as a result of unregulated industrial practices, 1,4-dioxane may infiltrate public aquifers.

In Ann Arbor, between 1966 and 1986, 1,4-dioxane was filtered into groundwater through lagoons that held wastewater from the manufacture of medical and industrial filtration equipment at Gelman Sciences, which has since closed. There is currently litigation regarding the underground plume of 1,4-dioxane headed for the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s main source of drinking water.

Cleaning products, laundry detergents, and shampoos still contain 1,4-dioxane as an unintentional impurity from surfactants, typically rinsed down the drain.

To learn more about the chemicals that might be in your water or gain solutions to these issues, contact the water experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Six Significant Benefits of Using Iron Filters

Most well owners know that iron is a common culprit of maintaining clean water. Brown, tinged-colored glasses of drinking water or bright orange streaks in toilets and bathtubs are signs of an iron issue. Stains, discoloration, and foul odors and flavors mean there is iron in your water. Iron can clog pipes, reduce household water pressure, ruin the taste of coffee, tea, and other beverages, and stain appliances including the sidewalk and siding surrounding your house.

Iron enters water through the earth’s crust, as it is the most abundant mineral and perhaps causes the most nuisance in water across the globe. Rusty, corroded plumbing is also responsible for letting iron leak through into well water. Three forms of iron exist: ferric, ferrous, and bacterial. Each type requires a different iron filter or treatment process. When exposed to oxygen and water, iron begins to oxidize and deteriorate, turning into rust.

To properly and effectively remove iron from your water, an iron filter is your best bet. Iron filters remove stains, reduce contaminants, and purify water.

  1. Removes Rust: Appliances can rust and corrode quickly if iron is present, and excessive sulfur gives off a rotten egg smell. Sulfur, manganese, and iron are all removed with filters.
  2. Eliminates Sediments: The small particles that can be found at the bottom of a glass of water or a bucket are considered impurities. In large quantities, they can cause water to be unsafe to drink. Iron filters remove sediment as tiny as 20 to 40 microns resulting in pure, clean water.
  3. Low Maintenance: Iron filters have an automatic controller that initiates a regeneration cycle based on the amount of water passing through the system and the number of days used. Trapped particles are flushed out during this process, so the homeowner only needs to check them twice a year to ensure they are working correctly.
  4. No Stains: If you are tired of seeing yellowish-orange rust stains in your bathroom, an iron water filter might be for you. Household pipes, showers, and appliances will sparkle, along with your clothes – especially whites – which will last much longer.
  5. Chemical-Free: Most iron filters do not use chemicals. Instead, they employ ozone as it is environmentally friendly and easy to use.
  6. Pure, Clean Water: This might be an obvious reason, but iron water filters considerably enhance drinking water quality.

Without chemicals, sediments, odors, or stains, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t install an iron filter sooner. Contact the experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today to install an iron filter in your home or business.

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Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Your City’s Water Supply Could Be Targeted

The following is an excerpt taken from the Wall Street Journal by Dave Weinstein on Feb 26, 2021.

“I first saw the inside of a water-treatment plant in 2015. I was conducting a site visit at a municipal facility in New Jersey, where I was the state’s director of cybersecurity. It wasn’t an inspection; the plant manager had asked me to visit.

Analog machinery had given way to digital systems, and critical water-treatment processes were now automated. The plant required little human intervention in day-to-day operations. Thanks to remote-access technologies, more maintenance and monitoring activities were being performed off-site by a third party.

All of this was great for efficiently, especially for the resource-limited operation, but what about the risk? Optimizing for cost and speed meant connecting more digital and networked technologies to the plant floor. Security was no longer simply a matter of gates, guards, and guns. It had become a matter of bits and bytes.

In early February, someone tried to poison the water supply in the Gulf Coast city of Oldsmar, Fla. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff, a hacker gained remote access to Oldsmar’s water-treatment-plant network and briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide in the water by 100 times – enough to cause death or serious injury to anyone who drank or touched it. Thankfully a technician noticed the anomaly and booted the hacker off the network before any damage was done.  

What happened in Oldsmar fell just short of the nightmare scenario. The average person is unaware how dependent the country’s critical infrastructure has become on digital technology. At power plants, waterworks and all manner of public utilities, special-purpose computers known as human-machine interfaces connect to ruggedized-process controllers that regulate actuators to spin turbines, rotate robotic arms, or, in this case, open valves to release sodium hydroxide.

Oldsmar wasn’t the first cyberattack against water infrastructure. In April 2020 Israel’s National Cyber Directorate urged all water-treatment companies to change their passwords on critical systems. In 2016, according to a report by Verizon’s security unit, hackers with ties to Syria gained access to a water utility in an unknown country and managed to ‘handicap water treatment and production capabilities.’

Redundant controls and a bit of good luck shouldn’t diminish the severity of this cyber threat to public health. The plant operator was tipped off by a mouse arrow moving across a screen and making changes to critical water-treatment processes. But what if the operator didn’t have the benefit of a visual aide to observe the hacker in real-time? What if the human-machine interface was manipulated by malware to report ‘all clear’ as the hackers increased concentration of sodium hydroxide to lethal levels? Would the breach have been detected before someone drank or bathed with the corrosive adulterated water?

The answer and the problem are inextricably linked. Detecting toxic water en route to consumers requires sensors in the distribution network. Those sensors must be connected so they can communicate and transmit data for either humans or machines to take preventative actions. Anything that is connected can be manipulated. Should we rip the sensors out lest they be hacked? Of course not. Instead, we must reduce vulnerability by extending security to all parts of the network, even those that seem beyond the reach of malicious actors.

‘I just don’t trust those computers,’ the New Jersey plant manager told me in 2015. We should all be untrusting when it comes to technology, but not at the expense of its embrace. The zero-trust mindset made all the difference for the city of Oldsmar.”

To read more, check out the original opinion article from the Wall Street Journal. To protect yourself and your family from chemical-laden water, contact the water purification experts at Reynolds today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Chromium found in Drinking Water Pipes links to Cancer

The 2000 film “Erin Brockovich,” based on a true story, launched the carcinogen hexavalent chromium into the spotlight. Water supplies in California were tainted with the chemical, which caused a plethora of residents in Hinkley to succumb to cancer and all sorts of other deadly diseases.

A new study is bringing this chemical back to light by analyzing the process in which it infiltrates the drinking water supply, specifically when commonly used chlorine disinfectants corrode cast iron water distribution pipes.

Chromium occurs naturally and is often added to countless products. Its toxicity varies depending on its state. More than 200 million people in the United States drink tap water with chromium concentrations above .02 ppb, according to the Environmental Working Group. The state of California has set this part-per-billion level to ensure that fewer than one out of a million exposed people will get cancer in their lifetimes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate chromium levels in drinking water.

In the past, scientists hypothesized that chromium found in drinking water came from outside the distribution system, emerging from natural sources such as groundwater, surface water, or industrial pollution. However, environmental engineer Haizhou Liu and his team at the University of California, Riverside, noticed that reactions within water pipes might raise chromium levels at the tap.

Sections of cast iron pipes from two drinking water systems were obtained for the study. Cast iron is the most common type of pipe, and it contains significant amounts of added chromium, which acts as an anti-corrosive.

The scientists discovered that scales of flakes from within the pipes produced chromium. “The oxidation of chromium in the scales by chlorine disinfectant accounts for most of the formation of hexavalent chromium released into the solution,” Liu said.

“Now that we know that cast iron pipes are a potential source of hexavalent chromium, utilities need to think proactively to use less reactive disinfectants and limit the amount of chromium allowed in new drinking water pipes,” said Lynn Katz, an environmental engineer at the University of Texas.

To learn more about hexavalent chromium, visit Erin Brockovich’s website. To install a water filter in your home, contact the experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Hacker Tried to Poison Town’s Water Supply

In Oldsmar, Florida, a city of 15,000 people in the Tampa Bay area, a hacker remotely accessed the water treatment plant and adjusted the lye levels in the city’s drinking water, raising it to more than 100 times the normal level.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, “It’s a bad act. It’s a bad actor. It’s not just a little chlorine, or a little fluoride – you’re basically talking about lye.”

A remote access software program called TeamViewer was used to infiltrate the water treatment facility. The intruder entered the system twice: 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. It is unclear whether the hacker entered the system by the use of a password, though it is required to use the system remotely, according to the assistant city manager Felicia Donnelly.

The hacker’s efforts were immediately caught by the system’s operator, who reduced the levels within the system. No significant changes were noted in the city’s water supply; the public was never in danger. The intrusion lasted between three and five minutes, according to the sheriff. 

Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, said the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.”

The incident highlights how critical infrastructure systems are to hackers due to online and remote-use programs. Experts have warned that these programs can be exploited by hackers looking to harm or inflict bioterrorism. Nationwide, water plant operators (including those at dams, oil, and gas pipelines) have welcomed the digital technology transformation, allowing contractors and engineers to monitor temperature, pressure, and chemical levels from remote work stations.

During the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in Israel, officials reported hackers affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps made a failed attempt to hack the country’s water supply and adjust the chlorine levels. Such attacks date back to 2007, when the United States and Israel conducted a joint attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, disabling nearly 1,000 uranium centrifuges.

The former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs, said, “Unfortunately, that water treatment facility is the rule rather than the exception. When an organization is struggling to make payroll and keep systems on a generation of technology created in the last decade, even the basics in cybersecurity often are out of reach.”

Gualtieri said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Secret Service are involved in the investigation, but the county itself is using an in-house lab for the forensic analysis. Officials stressed it would have taken 24 to 36 hours for the water to be fully contaminated. When levels are out of limit or range, a number of alarms will sound, alerting staff.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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Are Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water a Health Risk?

In 2008, the Associated Press (AP) conducted a five-month investigation and published a three-part series documenting a wide array of pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones) that were present in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans. The concentrations were minuscule but left scientists concerned.

How do pharmaceuticals end up in our water? When people take medicine, some gets absorbed by the body; what doesn’t gets flushed out through our urinary tract, ending up in our sewage systems. Moreover, leftover drugs are oftentimes flushed down the toilet in full-form and eventually into our water supply.

Treatment facilities are not required to test for pharmaceuticals or filter them out. The AP National Investigative Team sorted through hundreds of scientific reports, meticulously filtered through federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants, interviewing over 230 officials, scientists, and professors. The largest 50 cities in the United States, along with another dozen other major smaller communities, were surveyed in the study as well.

“You have to drink water. And bottled water isn’t any better than tap water,” said Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany. He said most tap water treatments do not filter pharmaceuticals; however, activated charcoal filters remove most chemical compounds.

Since 2008, little research or information has been published regarding this issue. Follow-up articles are virtually non-existent from the press. Despite the overwhelming silence, several scientific reports have examined the human health risk of drinking pharmaceutical-laced water.

Surface water, groundwater, and drinking water across the United States are tainted with pharmaceuticals from discharges from wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, leaking sewer lines, landfills, animal feeding operations, and crop fields where biosolids are used.

Seven human health risk assessments of pharmaceuticals in drinking water throughout the United States and Canada were reviewed by the American Council on Science and Health. “None of these studies reported a potential health risk from exposure to pharmaceuticals in drinking water,” the site said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also conducted a study[1], reporting that the ratio of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is so minimal that they pose a low risk to human health.  “Concerns over pharmaceuticals in drinking water should not divert water suppliers and regulators from other priorities for drinking water and health, most notably microbial risks such as bacterial, viral, and protozoan pathogens, and other chemical risks, such as naturally-occurring arsenic and excessive levels of fluoride,” the article states. The site also explains that pharmaceuticals in drinking water are an emerging issue, so the WHO will continue to examine studies as applicable and update the guidance provided when necessary.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

[1] Original Article: https://who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases-risks/risks/info_sheet_pharmaceuticals/en/

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