City of Midland and city of Odessa water utilities test positive for traces of cancer causing contaminants between 2010 to 2015, all within legal limit

(KWES) - Do you really know whats in your local tap water supply?

Well, its a question the non-profit organization called the Environmental Working Group or EWG has made easier to answer.
"This was all available data that was compiled into a database that was user friendly and Americans could log into and become more aware of what contaminants may be present in their water," says Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist for the non profit.
Between 2010 and 2015, the city of Odessa water utility, and the city of Midland water utility each had positive tests for 11 cancer causing contaminants, though each level was under the federal legal limit.

So I spoke with Brent Barron, the lab manager from Environmental Labs in Midland where they test water and soil, for his thoughts about what was found.
"I've been doing this for a long time and nothing here seems all that shocking," says Barron
He says the contaminants listed mainly come from two sources, naturally occurring contamination into water wells from surrounding soil, and leftover by-products from water treatment processes.
"as long as they're under the federal legal limit, 99% of the population should be alright," says Barron.
Meanwhile Temkin, says there are a lot of considerations that go into setting a federal legal limit "of course they consider health and safety, but other considerations are economic and technical feasibility."
According to her, that's why the EWG bases its guidelines from standards set by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. "California takes a one in a million cancer risk its difficult to extrapolate but that's the risk lit they use, the EPA limit is I believe  70 times higher than that."
Though she admits there's a gray area in processing those numbers "these are based on a large scale population, so you can't say in a population of 100,000  X amount of people will develop cancer."

For a full list and more information about those contaminant visit the EWG's tap water database at

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