At first, I thought it was fascinating, and then I took a deep dive into what I was looking at — and needless to say, it quickly became extraordinarily frightening and somewhat scary. 

I should preface this by saying that I discovered the website while scrolling through some TikTok videos last night, and I didn't want to believe what I was seeing. 

If you're like me and you think that tap water is safe for consumption, it turns out that it is not. While federal management says that water facilities in Ocean County are meeting their recommendations, they purify their water with harmful chemicals that can cause deadly illnesses, like bladder cancer. 

EWG's National Tap Water Quality Database comprises information about drinking water quality from just about 50,000 community water systems throughout the nation, including right here in New Jersey. 

I was troubled at some of the results that I found when sifting through their database. 

In my hometown of Bayville, chemicals discovered in the tap frightened me and made me spend the money on a carbon filtered water bottle. 

According to EWG's website, "Legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines." 

Below is a snapshot of chemicals found in various Ocean County water systems: 


  • Side Effect(s): Bladder cancer. Pregnancy issues. 
  • Status: No national guidelines. 
  • Use: Flame retardant.


  • Side Effect(s): Unspecified Cancer. Pregnancy issues. 
  • Status: No national guidelines. 
  • Use: Found in fire extinguisher fluids and pesticides. 

Haloacetic acids (HAA5)

  • Side Effect(s): Bladder Cancer. Liver Cancer.  
  • Status:  60 ppb (parts per billion). 
  • Use: Created for water treatment purification. 

Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

  • Side Effect(s): Leukemia. 
  • Status:  5 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). 
  • Use: Natural gas extraction.

Chromium (hexavalent)

  • Side Effect(s): Repoductive system faliure. Cancer. Death.  
  • Status:  5 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). 
  • Use: Dyes. Paint. Ink. Industrial processes. 

According to EWG, the scariest part is that these are just a FEW of the chemicals that can be found in our water. 

"Legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years," EWG says on their website. 

Oh, and if the last chemical sounds familiar - it was the chemical found in the tap water in Hinkley, California, the site famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich worked to enviably sue PG&E back in the 1990s. 

You can search for the chemicals that are in your local tap water by zip code here

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