24/04/2023 – Utilities / Water / Denmark / Tap Water / Chemicals / Bluewater / Pollution
Study in Denmark points to declining tap water quality even in developed countries
News that hundreds of different chemicals had been found in a new study of Danish waterworks underlines consumer fears that tap quality can no longer be taken for granted, according to Bluewater – a leading innovator of water purification solutions.
The study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Danish water and wastewater company Novafos was published in the journal Environmental Pollution. The researchers tested water being processed at three separate Danish waterworks, and found TCP, a toxic chlorinated substance used as an insecticide that can be carcinogenic, and melamine, which is used in the plastics industry and can damage the bladder and kidneys.
Detection of TCP, melamine and other harmful chemicals
According to analytical chemist Selina Tisler, an assistant professor at the Copenhagen University Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, other compounds potentially harmful to health when in high-enough concentrations were also detected, including many other chemicals that no one knows the toxicity of such as benzothiazole, a compound used in car tires and on artificial turf pitches, that has shown high toxicity in cell tests and has apparently never been found in Danish groundwater.
The researchers emphasised that they only have indications of how large the concentrations of individual chemical compounds are and therefore no health risk can yet be established with regards to tap water consumption.
More research and monitoring required
Bluewater’s Communications Director, David Noble, noted that the water tested from the Danish waterworks complied with all existing applicable regulations, “which indicates that consumers may well be drinking tap water that is potentially damaging their health and well-being”. He said Bluewater, which produces and sells under-sink reverse osmosis water purifiers able to remove chemicals such as PFAS, TCP, and melamine, believes more research is urgently required by national authorities “to identify exactly what chemicals are getting into our tap water and the health threats posed”.
The Danish study, led Jan H. Christensen – a professor at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences – concluded that broader monitoring was required as a major weakness in screening today is that public water agencies only require monitoring for a limited number of predetermined substances. The study’s authors said that despite a massive focus on PFAS substances and pesticide residues in Danish drinking water, little attention is paid to the hundreds of other chemical compounds in groundwater.
More information on the study
Selina Tisler et al, Non-target screening of micropollutants and transformation products for assessing AOP-BAC treatment in groundwater, Environmental Pollution (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119758
Journal information: Environmental Pollution
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