'Don't boil your water': Environmental expert weighs in on Philadelphia water concerns after chemical spill

A chemical spill sparked a mad dash for bottled water, leaving many Philadelphia residents confused and concerned about the safety of the water in their own homes and local restaurants.

Officials say 8,100-12,000 gallons of a water-based latex finishing solution leaked upstream of the Baxter Treatment Plant Friday night. The plant provides drinking water for 975,000 Philadelphia customers.

The Philadelphia Water Department now says tap water is safe to drink and use until midnight Monday after a bottled water advisory was issued Sunday, clearing grocery shelves across the city.

Dr. Arthur Frank, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Drexel University, joined Good Day on Monday to shed some light on the developing situation.

"What we’re talking about here is a huge amount of dilution as it entered the Delaware, and so I suspect even if somebody ingested minute quantities of this or got it on their skin, it’s not going to affect their skin, nor is it going to cause them any stomach upset," Frank said.


Several questions remain regarding potential advisories as the midnight deadline looms Monday.

Frank says additional testing is being conducted due to the possible affect water flow could have on contamination, however he believes resident shouldn't worry.

"Dilution factor will be so great that the amounts, even if there are any to be found, would not pose a risk," he said.

When asked if he would drink the water in Philadelphia, the environmental expert said, "If it was me, I would probably not be concerned about drinking the water from the tap right now."

To anyone who is concerned about the city's tap water at this time, Frank recommends a carbon filter, but is urging resident not to boil their water.