PUBLISHED:December 17, 2014

Salzman analyzes strengths and predicts pitfalls on the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was signed into law on Dec. 16, 1974. On the 40th anniversary of that signing, Professor James Salzman reflects on the law’s effectiveness in an essay for Slate, concluding that the SDWA was groundbreaking in ways that may be taken for granted today, but also that it faces significant challenges going forward.

Read "A Toast to the Safe Drinking Water Act" in Slate

Salzman also discussed the impact of the SDWA during a daylong conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 9. (Video of his presentation is available here.)

Salzman, the Samuel Fox Mordecai Professor of Law at the Law School and the Nicholas Institute Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, has focused a significant amount of his research and writing on water quality issues. In his book Drinking Water: A History (Overlook, 2012) he examines the history, science, and commodification of accessible drinking water.

More from Salzman on keeping drinking water safe:


Prof. James SalzmanOn NPR's Weekend Edition
Americans prefer their water clean, but not pure

"…there are over 60,000 chemicals in commerce in the United States and only a fraction of those have had really significant toxicity testing."