Uranium and arsenic are in drinking water — but some communities have it worse than others

Two warning signs are posted on a gate that’s been chained shut. A sign on the left reads: “Danger Abandoned Uranium Mine Keep Out.” Another sign on the right says: “Notice Restricted Area Authorized Personnel Only.”
Signs warning of health risks are posted outside the gates of an abandoned uranium mine in the community of Red Water Pond on Monday, January 13th, 2020. | Image: The Washington Post / contributor via Getty Images

A new analysis of uranium and arsenic contamination in drinking water shows ugly evidence of how environmental racism persists in the US. Counties with more Latino residents and American Indian residents have been burdened with “significantly higher” concentrations of arsenic and uranium in their drinking water, the new research shows. In some of the most contaminated areas in the US, larger proportions of Black residents have also been linked to more of the toxic metals in public water systems.

“The racial and ethnic makeup of your community should really not be connected to the quality of the water that you drink. And this is something that needs to be taken very seriously,” says Irene Martinez-Morata, lead author of the research…

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Author: Justine Calma