The Environmental Working Group found levels of the chemical 1,4-dioxane above health guidelines in five Indiana utilities. In a new report, the national environmental advocacy organization is raising concerns about the unregulated toxic chemical found in drinking water systems across the country.
While dioxane isn’t uncommon — it’s used in manufacturing processes and it’s a by-product found in cosmetics — it is also a likely carcinogen and can cause kidney and liver damage.
Five Indiana utilities near Evansville, Columbus and La Porte had levels of dioxane above recommended health guidelines.
Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, who helped write the report, says there’s no legal limit to how much dioxane can be in drinking water and most utilities don’t filter the chemical out because it’s expensive. And, she says, household water filters are ineffective.
“So if you live in an area that has contamination,” says Stoiber, “you should contact local officials and voice your concerns and push for source water protection.”
Stoiber says there is some hope of tighter regulations for dioxane. It’s on a list of 10 priority chemicals to evaluate under the recently updated federal Toxic Substances Control Act.