UC Study Finds Safe Drinking Water Remains Out of Reach for Many Californians

An estimated 371,000 Californians — about 1% of the state’s residents — rely on drinking water that may contain high levels of toxic chemicals such as arsenic, nitrate or hexavalent chromium, according to a study from the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

In a news release issued Tuesday by UC Berkeley, researchers said the results of the study likely understate the number of people impacted by unsafe drinking water, as the study included just the three chemicals.

The study is the first to quantity the average concentrations of multiple chemical contaminants in both community water systems and domestic well areas statewide, according to the news release.

The team has released an online Drinking Water Tool that policymakers and members of the public can use to look up where their water comes from, as well as map areas of the state where groundwater sources are likely contaminated with unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrate, hexavalent chromium and 1,2,3-Trichlorolopropane. Read more about JPB Fellow Lara Cushing’s research.