Toxic Waters

Friday, November 20, 2009

New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg discusses his series "Toxic Waters," about the state of drinking water in the United States, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s negligence in enforcing the Clean Water Act. You can read the series "Toxic Waters" here.
You can find information about water pollution by state and by zip code here.


Charles Duhigg

Comments [23]

nyscof from New York

Study Links Fluoride in Water Supplies to Preterm Births in New York State

Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York Rachel Hart, BA, MPH, et al. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY

Nov. 25 2009 08:45 AM

Maggie- The filter you have is likely an activated carbon filter. The Chlorine used by water companies for water purification is inorganic and will not be abated by the activated carbon filter.

Nov. 20 2009 12:48 PM
Chris from Suffolk Long Island

Can you please run a follow-up on the topic mentioned about the sewage runoff on Long Island caused by the south shore flooding a few years ago. The water treatment plant overflowed and the solid materials went into the streets of the towns along the south shore and into the drains (into the bay) as well as into basements, lawns, crawl spaces, etc...
NY State and Suffolk County are doing very little about it except to try and delay the investigation, reparations, and solution to future problems.
Your guest mentioned the story comes out tomorrow.

Nov. 20 2009 12:47 PM
j from b'klyn

as far back as the Clinton Admin., I happen to pick up the Journal of Morbidity and Mortality, the gov.t's official death and illness stats, and farmers had the 2nd highest rate of cancer per profession/per capita in the US [truck drivers were 1st, lung cancer]. So this info has already been around for at least 20-30 years.
Also, BPA/bisphenol A is the additive to make clear plastics that is dangerous. has several water and health studies cited. enjoy? and good reporting NYT!!

Nov. 20 2009 12:45 PM
Sophie from manhattan

Maggie.. not all home filters are the same. Be sure you read the label as to what it says it does. Multi-Pure filters are good for most things.. except pharmaceuticals.

Nov. 20 2009 12:41 PM


As an engineer who works in the environmental industry I can say with authority that this guy’s level of knowledge is novice at best. He is pushing a political agenda with the type of knee jerk uninformed inaccuracy typical of a reporter.

In listening to this interview it is evident that you are more knowledgeable that him.

Please end this interview ASAP.

Nov. 20 2009 12:40 PM
Steph from NY

can your guest comment on the allegations that we might run out of water due to privatization?

Nov. 20 2009 12:39 PM
eliza from midtown

I just found this link with a zip code look up:

Nov. 20 2009 12:38 PM
Maggie Nelson Burchill from Westport, CT

I recently installed a very good home filter in our main water line, but I can still smell the chlorine in our water. How come?

Nov. 20 2009 12:38 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

For many years, New York State *refused* to publish data, particularly a map, detailing cancer hot spots across the state. We have one of the most corrupt and most incompetent state governments in the country, so it is no surprise that we aren't doing very well on this.

Nov. 20 2009 12:36 PM
Sophie from manhattan

Quality of water in major metropolitan areas.

Nov. 20 2009 12:35 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Again to Bo from Prospect Heights. For New York State, check this out:

Nov. 20 2009 12:34 PM
Sophie from manhattan

Local drinking water information

Nov. 20 2009 12:34 PM

To Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY:

No, the zip code lookup is not at

Nov. 20 2009 12:33 PM
Sophie from manhattan

Nov. 20 2009 12:33 PM

I have tried to get in touch with NYC department in charge of water supplies. I've read their information online and there was no direct number. Every road led to "call 311" . I asked for further information about fluoridation during some calls to 311. They neither could provide more information, nor provide contact information for the department.
Although 311 has many benefits, it seems that you are not able to get through to particular departments and their contact information is no longer provided.

Nov. 20 2009 12:32 PM

If it difficult to prove water contamination culpability if there are, e.g., five plants on a given river, why not make those five plants share the responsibility of any contamination found?

That is, each plant must contribute one fifth of the cleanup. This would incentivize industries to collaborate in preventing these contaminations from happening in the first place.

Nov. 20 2009 12:31 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

To Bo from Prospect Heights: I think the web address is


The federal government has talked about chemically tagging materials (like certain fertilizers) so that terrorists using such chemicals could be tracked. Couldn't something similar be done for the de facto murderers of the chemicals, pesticides, etc., industries.

Nov. 20 2009 12:31 PM
Bo from Granville, NY

Leonard, could your guest please clarify where on the New York Times website one can lookup one's water safety by zip code?

Nov. 20 2009 12:19 PM

The river water is not turned to steam. It is used for cooling.

The water used for the steam is puiifyed and its chemistry high percision.

Nov. 20 2009 12:19 PM
Bo from Prospect Heights


Nov. 20 2009 12:18 PM

Leonard, could your guest please clarify where on the New York Times website one can lookup one's water safety by zip code?

He mentioned (which redirects to, but I don't find the lookup there.

Nov. 20 2009 12:16 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

This interview has many parallels to Mr. Lopate's interview with John Wargo of Yale.

Perhaps the WNYC website would benefit from crosslinking to related interviews (or even to other programs, like NOW on PBS or the Times, both of which have done a lot on this topic).

Nov. 20 2009 12:14 PM

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