Got arsenic? Social disparities in drinking water quality

Running around between sessions at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting, I’ve found myself relying heavily on the drinking fountains scattered throughout the convention center. I repeatedly refill my bottle and go on my way, taking for granted my ability to slurp down safe, clean water.

Although many people in the United States don’t often think water quality is a major issue, access to safe drinking water is an emerging problem in this country, says Isa Ray, associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. During her Monday afternoon talk at the meeting, Ray showed that water systems in the San Joaquin Valley that serve higher proportions of minority residents, or that serve areas where residents are not homeowners, have higher levels of contaminants.

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