Expats in Spain warned over dangerously contaminated tap water

Published:  16 Jan at 6 PM
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British expats in Spain are now being warned of the dangers of drinking tap water.

According to a recent study, Spain’s municipal tap water is amongst Europe’s most dangerous to drink. The study, aimed at identifying chemicals in tap water, was carried out by scientists at Barcelona’s Institute for Global Health, and included samples from all the 27 European Union member states with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria. The group of chemicals found in the Spanish sample are believed to cause bladder cancer.

Spain’s tap water contained the fourth highest level of trihalomethanes – THMs- in Europe at 10.9 per cent, with Cyprus’s levels the highest at 23.2 per cent, Malta’s at 17.9 per cent and the Republic of Ireland’s showing 17.2 per cent. Researchers also found just stopping drinking tap water doesn’t prevent its harmful effects, as showering or bathing can also be risky via open skin pores due to steam. The study doesn’t suggest any protective measures for the expat community, most of whom are older and therefore more at risk.

As regards the lowest levels of THMs, Denmark seems to have almost totally eradicated the harmful chemical as its level was lower than 0.1 per cent, with the Netherlands also scoring 0.1 per cent and Germany at 0.2 per cent. As regards the risk of bladder cancer, one in every 20 cases diagnosed in Europe could be the result of drinking unsafe water. For British expats living on the Costa del Sol, saving rainwater to drink as a result of the above should be straightforward over the next several days as strong storms with heavy rain are forecast.
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