The advocacy organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) today published a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Heliyon that uses what it describes as a “novel analytical framework” to estimate that U.S. tap water could cause 100,000 cases of cancer over approximately 70 years. The report was released publicly via a press release and many news media outlets have run associated stories. The primary contam inants cited by the paper are arsenic, disinfection byproducts and radioactive elements, such as uranium and radium. However, the paper employs a “cumulative cancer risk framework” — analyzing potential impacts from co-occurring contaminants — concluding that cancer risks in water are similar to risks from air pollution. The paper also suggests small water systems and those that rely on groundwater are at a higher risk than larger water systems. Utilities may recall from a previous AWWA advisory that EWG published a similar paper on California drinking water. If contacted by media about this report, AWWA recommends utilities observe sound risk communications principles in your responses: • Acknowledge that people may be concerned by reports arising from the paper in the Heliyon journal. Emphasize to media and consumers that you are committed to public health protection. • Make clear that your water meets all federal and state standards for safety. Point out that your utility also seeks out and monitors for unregulated contaminants to stay ahead of potential health risks. • Avoid speculating on the merits of the novel analytical framework. Instead, focus on how water risks are assessed and managed, using the rigorous scientific framework of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and your state (or Canadian equivalents). • Note that reducing risk simultaneously across multiple contaminants is already embedded partially in the current SDWA; as a matter of law, EPA must consider the benefits of removing non-target contaminants when assessing costs and benefits. o The nature of water treatment technologies is such that even SDWA standards that are nominally targeted at one contaminant remove other contaminants with similar characteristics. • Invite media and consumers to learn more about your local water quality by providing them with consumer confidence reports and other web-based information or connecting them to the appropriate utility contact. • If possible, contact your local health department and/or a trusted academic voice to collaborate on a response. Questions? Contact Greg Kail , AWWA communications director, or Steve Via , AWWA director of federal relations.