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Website Aims To Alert Public To Contaminants In Tap Water

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- What's in your tap water?

It's a question an environmental group in Washington DC is trying to make easy for you to find out.

"We found that there are more than 250 contaminants in our nation's drinking water, and some of the contaminants are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems," Nneka Leiba told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

Leiba is the director of Healthy Living Science for the Environmental Working Group, or EWG.

EWG aggregated 30 million test results from 50,000 water companies across America.

By typing in your zip code and selecting your water company, the information is yours.

KDKA typed in a downtown zip code and found six contaminants, but admits EWG's Leiba, "Almost all utilities are in compliance with the EPA's guidance and the federal rules."

"What we're saying is that's not enough," she says. "More than half the contaminants in our nation's drinking water are not regulated by the EPA."

Even though the Environmental Working Group found contaminants in all the water suppliers of Pittsburgh water, officials at the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority say, don't worry, our water is safe to drink.

"It's more than adequate. We have some of the best water, frankly, in the country," says Robert Weimer, executive director of the PWSA.

Weimer says many of the contaminants cited by EWG are by-products of disinfectants required to purify drinking water.

Home filtering systems can remove contaminants but often are not maintained properly by homeowners.

And forget bottled water, which is unregulated .

"They could have contaminants that we would not allow in our drinking water," says Weimer.

But studies like EWG's do help to keep pressure on water companies.

"We're constantly looking for ways to improve water quality," notes Weimer.

If you would like to check your own drinking water, visit EWG's website here:

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