A new study finds that drinking tap water in California over the course of a lifetime could increase the risk of cancer.

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime. These contaminants include chemicals such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health.

“We need to look at contaminants as a group — not just one at a time. It’s more important to analyze co-occurring contaminants to understand the real world exposure,” said lead author Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist with EWG. She explained that cancer risks are typically determined at the individual element level.

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