The quality of drinking water is an issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
In 2013, the Food and Water Watch conducted a study on the chemicals found in U.S. drinking water, which saw some alarming results.
The study found that over 200 contaminants were present in the drinking water of U.S. communities, including chemicals such as chlorine, lead, and pharmaceuticals.
Tap water can contain various contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemical pollutants.
The level and type of contaminants present in tap water can vary depending on the source and the treatment methods used by the water authority.
Some tap water may also have traces of drugs in it. This can happen when medications are not disposed of correctly, or sewage overflows.
The most common contaminants in tap water include chlorine, lead, and arsenic. Chlorine is a disinfectant used to kill bacteria and other microorganisms, but it can also react with organic matter to create potentially hazardous byproducts.
Lead is a heavy metal that can leach into tap water from aging pipes and fixtures, while arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in some water sources.
Other contaminants found in tap water include nitrates, fluoride, and organic compounds. Nitrates are chemicals used as fertilizers and can get into the water supply. Fluoride is a mineral added to some water sources to help keep teeth healthy.
Pesticides and herbicides are also organic compounds found in tap water and medicines that were not thrown away correctly or got into the water supply through sewage overflows.
One of the most concerning findings was the presence of hormones, which can disrupt the endocrine system and lead to various health problems.
According to the study, these chemicals are not only harmful to human health but can potentially harm aquatic life and the environment.
Despite these findings, the Food and Water Watch notes that the U.S. needs adequate regulations to ensure drinking water safety and that the federal Safe Drinking Water Act has not been updated since 1996.
Consumers can protect their health by investing in a water filtration system, drinking bottled water, or researching the quality of their local water supply.
Benefits of Using a Water Filter
Using a water filter can make tap water taste better and reduce your risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals. Filtered water can have a better taste than unfiltered water, as some pollutants can affect the taste of water.
Using a water filter can also reduce exposure to contaminants because the filter can eliminate many of them.
Using a water filter can also help save money, as filtered water is often cheaper than bottled water. Also, a filter can help reduce waste because you won't have to use as many plastic bottles.
Lastly, using a filter can help save water because water that has been filtered can be used again for other things, like watering plants or washing dishes.
How to Choose the Right Water Filter
Choosing the right water filter can be tricky because there are so many different kinds. The type of filter you choose will depend on the contaminants in your tap water, your budget, and the level of convenience you are looking for.
A pitcher filter may be the right choice if you are looking for an inexpensive option. These filters are easy to use and can reduce chlorine and other large particles. However, they do not remove heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants.
A reverse osmosis system may be the right choice if you are looking for a more comprehensive solution. These systems are more effective at removing various contaminants, from heavy metals to pharmaceuticals. However, they are more expensive and require more maintenance.
Alternatives to Using a Water Filter
If you do not want to use a water filter, a few alternatives can help reduce your exposure to contaminants. Boiling water can kill some bacteria and viruses, but it is not effective at removing heavy metals, pesticides, or other pollutants. Additionally, some contaminants, such as arsenic, are not affected by boiling.
Another option is bottled water, which can be expensive and wasteful. Also, bottled water may have some of the same contaminants as tap water, so it may only sometimes be safer.
Finally, you can opt not to drink tap water and only drink beverages such as coffee and tea, usually made with filtered water.
Tips for Keeping Your Tap Water Safe
To ensure that your tap water is safe to drink, there are a few steps you can take:
- It is vital to test your water for contaminants regularly. This can be done at home with a laboratory or at-home testing kit.
- You should install a water filter to reduce exposure to pollutants.
- You should follow all local water regulations and safety standards.
The findings of the 2013 Food and Water Watch study highlight the urgent need for improved regulations and stricter drinking water quality standards.
It is time for the government to take action and ensure all Americans have access to safe and clean drinking water. In the meantime, it's up to you to take precautions to protect yourself from public water sources.