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Purdue University Professor Investigating Drinking Water Safety

Purdue University Professor Andrew Whelton says drinking water safety, despite what many people might think, is not well understood.

Faucet

Photo: Danny Melwani (Flickr)

Whelton says his team will publish the results of the study in a way that’s easy to understand for home owners and builders and government regulators.

A Purdue University professor is investigating drinking water safety with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The research measures health impacts in average homes.

Purdue University Professor Andrew Whelton says drinking water safety, despite what many people might think, is not well understood.

“A lot of the declarations about drinking water safety are not actually based on science, they’re based on hope,” Whelton says.

Whelton’s team will use a special building in West Lafayette that has monitors on every single water tap. They’ll collect real time data about how water flows through the building and how clean that water is.

Different pipe materials—lead, copper, plastics—leach different chemicals and allow for the growth of different bacteria. Whelton says scientists and government officials don’t have a good understanding of how these materials impact people’s health.

“So all these questions make it very unsettling for a home owner and a parent who wants to make the right decisions for their families,” Whelton says.

Whelton says his team will publish the results of the study in a way that’s easy to understand for home owners and builders and government regulators.

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