Did you know that every year from 1982 to 2015, between 9 and 45 million Americans got their drinking water from a source that violated the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency?
So, is drinking tap water safe? Or is it safer to drink bottled water or water from a filtering system? Keep reading to learn more about the water that you're drinking.
What Types of Water Can I Drink?
It is very important to drink water. Water can help your body maintain normal body temperature, lubricate your joints, and aids in getting rid of waste (such as urination, sweat, and bowel movements).
Each day you need to make sure you are drinking enough to replace all the water that you lose through urination, sweat, and bowel movements. That means that on hotter days you need to drink more. But what type of water is available and which is the best one?
You can drink tap water, filtered water, or bottled water. Tap water is available across the United States and is pretty safe to drink. It is also a lot cheaper than buying bottled water.
Filtered water is tap water that you can purify. Some people choose to purify their tap water because it can help to get rid of additional bacteria or parasites in the water. Some people also prefer to drink filtered water because it tastes and smells better.
Bottled water can be bought in most stores. It is often filtered, similarly to what you can do at home with a filter yourself, however, it costs a lot more. A study conducted by World Wildlife Fund International found that bottled water isn't any safer than tap water.
Is Drinking Tap Water Safe?
Water in some cities contains more pollutants than tap water in other cities. However, most healthy adults are able to drink the water without it affecting their health. So, if you're wondering is tap water safe to drink, then, for the most part, it is.
The tap water that you get from your taps at home goes through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA monitors public water systems and enforces health and safety standards to ensure that drinking water is safe to drink. They do this by stating that water should contain no more than a certain amount of contaminants.
Your tap water might not necessarily be completely free from contaminants. It just means that the EPA has checked that any level of pollutants in the water won't pose any serious health risks to those drinking or using it.
Sometimes water suppliers might encounter problems with their water. If your water supply becomes contaminated with something that could cause immediate illness, then your water supplier needs to inform you immediately, so you'll be the first to know whether it is safe or not. Your water supplier will offer you suggestions for drinking safe water.
Your water supplier also has to inform you of any violations in the water that could impact your health within 24 hours.
What Can Cause Water Contamination?
Water contamination can be caused when bacteria or parasites get in the water, this can be from human or animal fecal matter. Water contamination can also happen when chemicals from industrial waste or from sprayed crops get in it.
Minerals such as lead or mercury can also go into water supplies from natural deposits underground, and this can also contaminate the water. Lead from old lead pipes that water runs through can contaminate water too.
Water contamination might affect certain people more than others. People who are more vulnerable include those who are undergoing chemotherapy, people with HIV or AIDS, transplant patients, children and infants, and pregnant women and their fetuses.
If you are concerned about your tap water then you can contact the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline and ask them for more information about your drinking water and find out about the quality and safety of your water.
Public water suppliers also release reports about their drinking water quality every year in July. These reports usually contain where your water is coming from and what is in it. You can also find these reports online on your water suppliers' website. After reading the report, you can also contact your supplier and ask them any questions you have.
What Happens to Your Health When You Drink Contaminants?
Different contaminants can affect your health in different ways. It also depends on your immune system. Sometimes boiling water can make it safer to drink, as it can kill germs. However, if you have contaminants in your water such as lead or nitrates then boiling your water won't help.
Cryptosporidium is a pathogen that can get into water supplies. If you drink this in your water it can cause gastrointestinal disease. This disease can be fatal.
Nitrates in water can cause risk, especially to infants. Intestines convert nitrates into nitrites and these can stop the blood from transporting oxygen. Infants don't have enzymes in their system yet that can restore the blood's ability to carry oxygen, which is why nitrates can be particularly dangerous for infants.
Lead is another contaminant that can cause problems in infants and children, such as physical and mental developmental problems. Adults who have been drinking lead-contaminated water can also experience kidney problems and high blood pressure
If you want to ensure your water tastes better and is free from impurities then have a look at how a reverse osmosis system might be right for your household.
Invest in a Water Filtration System
The answer to is drinking tap water safe is yes it is. However, as you can see the quality of your water might not make it taste or smell nice.
If you don't like your tap water then you might choose to invest in a water filtration system. There are many to choose from, so do your research and make sure you find the right one for you.
Be sure to check out more of our insightful articles, which are all about lifestyle, travel, and home improvements, if you found this one useful.