Co-Occurrence of Metal Contaminants in United States Public Water Systems in 2013-2015

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 26;18(15):7884. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18157884.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency monitors contaminants in drinking water and consolidates these results in the National Contaminant Occurrence Database. Our objective was to assess the co-occurrence of metal contaminants (total chromium, hexavalent chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, cobalt, and strontium) over the years 2013-2015. We used multilevel Tobit regression models with state and water system-level random intercepts to predict the geometric mean of each contaminant occurring in each public water system, and estimated the pairwise correlations of predicted water system-specific geometric means across contaminants. We found that the geometric means of vanadium and total chromium were positively correlated both in large public water systems (r = 0.45, p < 0.01) and in small public water systems (r = 0.47, p < 0.01). Further research may address the cumulative human health impacts of ingesting more than one contaminant in drinking water.

Keywords: co-occurrence; environmental exposure; environmental monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water* / analysis
  • Humans
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis
  • Water Supply


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water