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Are there pesticides in your drinking water?

In recent years, several documentary films, including the Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., have raised public concern about the potential of agricultural chemicals in food. But how do conventional farming practices affect the other nourishment people consume every day—our drinking water?

Agricultural runoff can contaminate

A lot of people know that chemicals used in farming, like pesticides and weed killers, can seep into the soil, and eventually, into the food people eat. But there’s more: When toxic chemicals are spread over agricultural fields, and then followed by rain or irrigation, the agricultural runoff flows into nearby rivers and streams. These waterways may be source water for drinking or they may feed into larger bodies of water that serve as source water.

Impaired water quality

In 2013, as reported by National Public Radio, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that “agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality.” In this capacity, it’s becoming a major issue for water treatment plants, too. One treatment plant in central Missouri spends millions of dollars every year to reduce agricultural runoff in the drinking water for 70,000 people.

Dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico

Nowhere is the impact of agricultural runoff more pronounced than where the great Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1972, scientists first declared the water in this area to be a “dead zone.” As the Mississippi flows through several states with heavy agricultural production, the runoff enters the water stream. Once it reaches the Gulf and begins to move more slowly, the chemicals present in the water inhibit oxygen and kill marine life.

The dead zone is evidence of the deeply detrimental effects of agricultural runoff on clean water. The Coway Aquamega water purification systems have been designed to address this problem in household kitchens everyday. As the Coway Aquamega 100 and 200 models filter water at the kitchen tap, they reduce chemical herbicides and pesticides, including alachlor, atrazine, 2,4 D, dinoseb and others, by 97 percent or more.