China Battles Known Carcinogen In Tap Water

Sharon Kleyne Applauds Chinese Efforts To Clean up Drinking Water. China Working Hard To Clean up Polluted Water.

Water advocate Sharon Kleyne loves China and is proud of the job the country is doing to clean up its tainted drinking water. Yet Kleyne knows it is a monumental task. “With its massive population of more than 1.3 billion,” said Kleyne, host of the syndicated radio program The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, Global Climate Change and Your Health on VoiceAmerica sponsored by Nature’s Tears® EyeMist®, “and on the heels of its unprecedented growth in the last fifty years, maintaining fresh water supplies became more and more difficult.”

Indeed. According to a study conducted late last year at Tsinghua University, China’s tap water contains a dangerous amount of the carcinogen known as nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). This carcinogen is a byproduct of the chlorination process the Chinese have used to make water safe for consumption. But water testing revealed that China’s NDMA levels were 3.6 times those in the U.S. and even more than those in Europe.

As a result, most Chinese do not drink tap water, though many still use it in cooking. Researcher say that even cooking with tap water is dangerous. Neither water filters nor boiling are effective in neutralizing the NDMA. Experts point to the necessity to chlorinate ground water, which is so contaminated in China that 80 percent of it is not fit for human use of any kind.

Much of this groundwater has become polluted over the last several decades due to unregulated industrial waste and poor agriculture practices, but China is working to reverse this situation. Stricter regulations prevent the kind of rampant industrial pollution that took place decades ago and agriculture has begun to veer away from excessive reliance on chemicals.

“It will take time,” said Kleyne, “but I’ve no doubt that China will solve this water crisis.” Experts in China agree, though they add that it will take diligence and patience because the damage is so extensive. They note that infrastructure, especially costly new water pipes, must also be part of the long-term solution. “We face some of the same issues in the U.S.,” said Kleyne, “especially with regard to replacing water pipes. Just ask the people of Flint, Michigan.”


Would you like to share your thoughts on China’s water crisis and the steps the government is taking to solve it? What are your thoughts on water infrastructure? Are you worried about your own tap water? If you have comments or stories you’d like to share, we’d like very much to hear from you! You can easily reach us in the following ways. 800-367-6478 ~ Fax 541-474-2123 or on Twitter at @sharonkleynehr


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