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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency, reports of Americans falling ill from drinking tap water are rare, and mostly involve people who are already in frail health. But it is not known how many people suffer unreported stomach upsets from bacterial contamination, or even more serious problems, like long-term exposure to contaminants like lead, from drinking tap water.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the community water systems that supply drinking water to most Americans. Every water system is required to publish a yearly “consumer confidence report” detailing contaminants or violations of water quality standards. You can see the report for your water system by contacting the system directly. To find your water system,

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In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

Read the entire article published in The New York Times:

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 12, 2009

A judge ordered a man to pick up trash for 300 hours after he was caught leaving jugs of water in the desert for illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico. The man, Walt Staton, is a member of the group No More Deaths. He was cited for leaving the jugs in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. A federal jury in June convicted him of littering. Mr. Staton was also sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation, and he is banned from the refuge for a year. He could have been sentenced to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. Federal prosecutors had requested a $5,000 fine.

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