Don’t drink to this: New York City is one of the country’s most toxic towns, according to a Forbes.com survey.
The website ranked the 80 largest metro areas, with New York coming in fourth. Philadelphia, which is considered to have the worst water quality, was at the top of the toxic heap, followed by California cities Bakersfield and Fresno.
Forbes said Gotham has the third-worst water quality nationwide based on the health index it used. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, has identified chemicals in the city’s drinking water that are linked to chronic health problems.
Forbes also looked at air quality, toxic release measures and the number of area Superfund sites, homes to hazardous waste.
Last year, the EPA designated the 1.8-mile Gowanus Creek Canal in Brooklyn as a Superfund site after finding pesticides and other cancer-causing chemicals, though the city already has plans to clean it.
Forbes.com, however, cautioned that high levels of toxicity do not necessarily mean increased health risks. “It’s very difficult to actually measure levels of exposure,” said Morgan Brennan, of the website.
A spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said it had not seen the rankings yesterday and declined to comment.