Clean Water and Reproductive Justice: Lack of Access Harms Women of Color
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Access to clean, potable water is critical to people’s daily lives. People need safe and reliable water to drink, to bathe, to wash their hands, to cook, to survive and, ultimately, to prosper. Despite the necessity of water, millions of individuals living in the United States face the daily reality of exposure to contaminated water sources that present serious risks to reproductive and overall health; this exposure is sometimes due to systemic problems that involve race and class. Unsafe water in marginalized communities can cause serious illness, including cancer in adults and children, and can damage children’s nervous systems and hinder brain development. Unsafe water can also interfere with people’s reproductive health, for example by increasing the chances of experiencing infertility or jeopardizing a person’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy.