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How safe is U.S. drinking water compared to other countries?

In the height of the hot summer days of August 2017, USA Today published a disconcerting headline: 63 Million Americans Exposed to Unsafe Drinking Water. The article explained that nearly 20% of Americans, from rural California to urban New York City, had been “exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once in the past decade.”

For environmental researchers at Yale and Columbia, the article’s findings were likely not surprising. For the past twenty years, academics from these institutions, supported by the World Economic Forum, have published an annual Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI “ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality” – and includes drinking water safety.

In the 2018 EPI report, ten countries share the #1 ranking for drinking water. The United States counts among the top ten nations in safe drinking water; however, its score is slightly less than perfect. Many of the top countries for safe tap water score a perfect 100, but the U.S. comes in at 98.48.

This less than perfect score, along with news stories like the one covered by USA Today, point to a serious issue in U.S. drinking water: the deteriorating infrastructure used to deliver water into American homes.

In 2016, the consulting firm Deloitte published an article entitled, The Aging Water Infrastructure: Out of Sight, Out of Mind? In it, they quoted a report by the American Water Works Association that outlined, “cast-iron pipes that were laid in the late 1800s have an average lifespan of 120 years; pipes laid in the 1920s, constructed using different manufacturing techniques, have a lifespan of 100 years, and pipes laid during the post-WWII economic boom are expected to have a useful lifespan of about 75 years.”

In other words, now is the time for the United States to replace and update our water infrastructure. Until we do, the declining system will make Americans vulnerable to water contamination.

Rather than wait for progress on this issue, many families have easily installed the Coway Aquamega 100 water purification system to provide unlimited, safe drinking water in their homes. The Coway Aquamega 100 filter easily connects to your water source (kitchen faucet or under the sink) to provide purified water at the closest point to consumption possible. In doing so, it removes 99.99% of water contaminants, including lead, caused by issues like aging water infrastructure.