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Only 47% say US drinking water is safe: Poll

A city employee flushes out a hydrant in Flint, Michigan. (File photo)

Less than fifty percent of Americans are confident about the safety of their drinking water, according to a recent poll.

The Associated Press-GfK poll released Saturday shows that only 47 percent of the US population think water flowing from their tap is safe.

Thirty-three percent said they are modestly confident and 18 percent said they weren’t very or at all confident, the poll found.

People of color and low-income families were more likely to express doubts about the safety of their drinking water.

Forty percent of African-Americans polled and 28 percent of Hispanics compared to whites, 54, were not very confident in their water's safety. Also, less than 40 percent of people, who earn less than $50,000, are very confident.

"Problems that surfaced in Flint, including Legionella and lead, disproportionately affect poor minority communities," said Marc Edwards, a water expert at Virginia Tech who played an important role in documenting the lead problem in Flint.

More than half of Americans believe the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan is symptomatic of widespread problems in the US.

"Of all the water systems in the nation, Flint can't be the only one that's faulty," said Elsbeth Jayne, 28, of Christiansburg, Virginia.

46-year-old Joseph Johnson of Brooklyn, New York, his only drinks bottled water which costs him about $8 a month on two cases.

"I've always been under the assumption that water wasn't 100 percent clean. The Flint situation brought more of the story to the surface," he said on Friday.

Having a population of about 100,000, Flint was drawing water from the Flint River for 18 months in order to save money until a new pipeline to Lake Huron was made available for use.

However, the corrosive water leached lead from the city's old plumbing as the officials failed to add certain treatments.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, whose administration repeatedly negated the threat of the contaminated water, now describes it a "disaster."


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