Toxic chemicals found in drinking water supply to thousands of homes in UK


People living in one particular county, south Cambridgeshire, are most at risk and are supplied by utility firm Cambridge Water where high levels of toxins were found.

Toxins in drinking were high in one English county
Toxins in drinking were high in one English county

Toxic chemicals have been found in drinking water which could increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Exposure to the poisons could spark a range of serious health conditions such as high cholestoral, type 2 diabetes and other conditions such as obesity which can lead to heart disease.

Those living in one particular county, south Cambridgeshire, are most at risk and the county is supplied by utility firm Cambridge Water.

The company last June cut off a supply containing four times the ‘legal limit’ of perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS).

But the firm has not revealed how long people had been piped water before it was cut.

Cambridge Water has not revealed how long people had been piped water before it was cut
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The contaminated water, it assures customers “never reached taps” and was instead “blended with other sources”.

Those living in the area say they were never informed about the discovery last summer, The Guardian reported.

An estimated 1,000 people in the supply area are understood to have been affected.

Residents of Stapleford and Great Shelford, where around 7,000 live, have heard “nothing at all” from Cambridge Water.

And the title reports that while investigations happened, it “had not told the community”.

An estimated 1,000 people in the supply area are understood to have been affected
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The Drinking Water Inspectorate limits PFOS to 100 nanograms per liter (ng/l).

Elinor Cordiner, head of drinking water quality and compliance at Cambridge Water, said sample surveys had happened to determine if there was any risk to customers after January 2021.

But it claimed all of the locations, apart from one, fell within tier 1, which the company says is the ‘lowest risk’ category.

A site at Duxford Airfield was in the tier 3 category, and tier 4 was the highest.

Affected houses were supplied by an acquifer which had PFOS levels at almost 400ng/l – four times the legal limit.

The site was removed from supply as a “precautionary measure”
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Ms Cordiner said in a statement “water supplies from this source have always been blended with other sources before reaching our customers”.

She added: “This means that levels of PFAS at customer taps were at, or around, the tier 1 (lowest risk) level.”

The site was removed from supply as a “precautionary measure” and Cambridge Water is “in the process of installing additional treatment at the site”.

It said: “We confirm that we have not breeched any legal limit… We can assure customers that all drinking water in our supply region was, and remains to be, in line with expected safe levels.”

The Guardian reports that Cambridge Water said it was “unable to guarantee a blend below 100ng/l for our customers at all times”.

But Tony Fletcher, associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, described levels in Duxford as “grossly exceeding” recommended drinking water limits.

PFOS, he said accumulate in the body and it takes a long time to remove them.

The aquifer sits close to Duxford airfield. and these sort of locations are known to be potentially significant sources of PFOS according to the The Sun.

Duxford airfield said no banned substances “are knowingly used anywhere across our estate”

PFOS has gradually phased out since the early 2000s after harm to the environment and human health.

However, it is persistent in the environment. Due to its design, it never breaks down, dubbed a “forever chemical”.

Water toxins in Duxford area ‘exceeded’ the recommended limit
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Humans only come into contact with PFOS through contaminated food and water.

A report from Public health England states: “studies with animals fed PFOS or PFOA for a long period showed effects on the stomach, liver and thyroid hormones”, but there is sparse information from human studies.

At very high levels, animals exposed for prolonged periods were at risk of cancer.

Jamie DeWitt, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at East Carolina University in the US, said people who had drank water over a sustained period have increased risk of certain types of diseases.

These she said included cholestorol changes and lower vaccine antibody responses.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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