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Why You Might Be Hearing Scary Things About What's In LA Tap Water

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(Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
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Environmental Working Group, an activist environmental group, just updated its public database of tap water test results. And it's making some local water systems' drinking water look problematic.

The group collected water quality test results from drinking water systems all over California. And then it compared the quality of the water to its own, much stricter, set of health guidelines.

You can look up your own water system by zip code here.

For example, Pasadena's system meets all state and federal legal standards for water quality. And that's duly noted on the activist group's website.

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But it also says Pasadena water has 13 contaminants that exceed what EWG's own guidelines say is healthy, including things like arsenic and uranium.

"We want people to know that 'legal' does not necessarily equal safe," said EWG Science Analyst Sydney Evans. "Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean that the water necessarily meets the latest health guidelines."

She said the guidelines used by EWG are derived from scientific studies and some public health goals, including California's that are not yet part of the legal water standards

The group wants consumers to question their water quality and pressure policy makers to adopt more stringent standards.