News Feature | December 11, 2017

Research: Latino Americans Don't Trust Tap Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

bottled water reg new

Research shows that Latinos are more likely to distrust tap water compared to other groups.

“Numerous studies have found that Latinos’ consumption of tap water is significantly lower than non-Latinos’ consumption in places with predominant or growing Latino populations such as Northern California, Denver, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee,” News21 reported. “These studies indicate that many Latinos believe their water is unsafe, don’t like the taste or the odor, or repeat the cultural patterns from their home countries, where tap water isn’t safe to drink.”

Avoiding tap water comes with health risks, since some people substitute water with sugary drinks. Latinos develop Type 2 diabetes more frequently than whites, the report said.

“Paloma Beamer, a researcher at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, led one of those studies in Nogales, Arizona. Beamer said nearly 80 percent of the 90 Latino residents surveyed didn’t drink tap water, and most of them thought it was as unsafe as drinking and driving, and more unsafe than smoking. They relied on bottled water and water-vending machines,” the news report said.

“Latinos in Tucson responded similarly. According to the 2013 American Housing Survey, Latinos were more likely than whites and African-Americans to distrust their tap water and buy bottled water to replace it,” the report continued.

A previous News21 story examined water and wastewater conditions for immigrant Latinos living along the Texas border.

About 840,000 immigrant Latinos have settled in “colonias,” News21 reported. A lack of access to adequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure are two things that make living conditions difficult for colonia residents.

News21’s Troubled Water project examines drinking water issues across the country.

To read more about the public’s comfort level with utility services visit Water Online’s Consumer Outreach Solutions Center.

Image credit: "24.365_bottled_water" Todd Morris © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/