Often, at conferences, on this web-site and in my meetings with many patients, I’m asked, “Isn’t there a problem with tap-water? What kind of water should you drink if you have cancer?” In order to answer this question, I gathered a team of toxcicology and environmental scientists, oncologists and epidemiologists and we’ve been working on it for several months. We’ve reviewed more than a hundred articles from scientific journals as well as many reports from governmental bodies; we’ve queried more than forty outside experts and together with the French branch of the World Wildlife Fund (which has been particularly active on the question of drinking water) we’ve laid out a common position and recommendations.

Our conclusions are simple. Just as we should be careful about the kind of water we give to infant babies, we need to be careful what kind of water we give to a person whose health is more vulnerable because of an illness such as cancer that can be sensitive to a variety of contaminants. Although tap-water is, on average, of high quality in the US as in Europe, too many areas do still have tap-water that exceeds regulations for nitrates (because of agricultural fertilizers and manure) and pesticides. Thus, access to contaminant-free tap water cannot be blindly trusted.
Our water also contains increasing amounts of traces of medications that shouldn’t be there. The effect of this on human health has not been measured, but these traces are capable of changing the sex of fish and tadpoles in rivers, and their presence (to varying degrees) in drinking water is disturbing.
For people who are concerned about this, we’ve formulated several recommendations. The main ones are
1. Check the levels of nitrates and pesticides in your tap-water with the local authorities (in France, these tests are obligatory and their results must be made public).
2. If they are excessive, drink bottled water if possible (recycling the plastic bottles) or use a good-quality filter (remembering to change the filters at appropriate intervals less they release all the contaminants once they become saturated…)
3. Insist with your local authorities that they should protect the catchment areas for drinking water, especially through organic farming and by appropriate treatment of waste from medical treatment centers.

Shortly after we published the recommandations stemming from of our joint study with the WWF, the Endocrine Society (an international body of scientists and physicians) published a report reaching very similar conclusions. And the two-time Pullitzer Prize awardee and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof published a powerful column on the issue as well. Clearly, this is a matter than will gather momentum in the coming months. Let’s hope this attention will put more pressure on our local governments to better protect the environment, and especially our water supplies, from the unacceptable contaminations.

* Pr. David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD, Author of Healing without Freud of Prozac (or The Instinct to Heal) and of Anticancer
* Bernard Cressens, Scientific Director, WWF-France
* Pr. Jean-Claude Lefeuvre, Professor Emeritus, National Museum of Natural History, Former President of the French Institute of Biodiversity, Author of three governmental reports on the quality of raw water for distribution through the national network: 1981, 2000, 2005
* Pr. Luc Montagnier, MD, Nobel Laureate (Medicine, 2008)
* David Carpenter, MD, PHD, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, Unviersity Albany, SUNY, USA
* Pr. Devra Lee Davis, PHD, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, USA
* Pr. Franco Berrino, MD, PHD, Medical Oncologist, Director of the Preventive and Predictive Medicine Department of the National Cancer Institute (Italy)
 * Annie Sasco, MD, PHD, Director of the Epidemiology Unit for Cancer Prevention, French National Institute of Medicine and Medical Research, and University Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2
* Pr. Jean-Marie Pelt, Biologist, President of the European Institute of Ecology, Member of the scientific committee of the Rhin-Meuse Water Agency
* Pr. Gilles-Eric Séralini, PHD, Biologist, President of the Scientific Committee of the CRIIGEN, co-director of the Risque Assessment Unit, MRSH, University of Caen
* Jean-Pierre Cravedi, PHD, Biologist, Director of the Xenobiotics Laboratory, Toulouse, France, Expert with the European Agency for Food Safety
* Benoit Roig, PHD, Biologist, Ecole des mines d'Alès- Coordinator of European KNAPPE Project on the presence of pharmaceutical agents in the water supply (Knowledge and Assessment on Pharmaceutical Products in Environmental Waters)
* Gauthier Chapelle, PHD, Biologist, former Scientific Officer of the Polar Fondation
* Philippe Desbrosses, PHD, Organic farmer, Expert consultant with the European Union   
* Pr. Lucien Israël, MD, Professor emeritus of Medical Oncology, Member of the National Institute of Moral and Political Sciences (France)
* Thierry Dorval, MD, Medical Oncologist, Institut Curie, Paris, France
* Jean-Loup Mouysset, MD, PHD, Medical Oncologist, Sub-specialty in Environmental Sciences as applied to Health, Polyclinique Parc Rambot-Provencale, Aix en Provence
* Philippe Presles, MD, Director of the Moncey Institute for Prevention, Paris, France, Author of “Prevention”.
* Pierre Souvet, MD, Cardiologist, President of the Association for Health and the Environment, France