We live in an age when we are getting bombarded with information, which is both good and bad. The good thing is that we can learn about many things we never could before and get information from across the globe.
However, there is a ton of false information out there that can mislead us. One of the topics that have caused a lot of controversies is tap water. Many sources have said that it’s so polluted that we can’t afford to drink it any longer, while other sources said it was all a conspiracy theory.
What is actually the case? Is tap water safe to drink, and can we fix it if it’s not?
Potential contaminants in tap water
All the major health agencies say that water can have tiny amounts of contaminants. Just because there is a small amount of them within water doesn’t mean that drinking it would cause any health issues.
Every country has an agency that sets the standards for tolerated contaminants in tap water from industrial chemicals, fertilizers, parasites, bacteria, and other dangerous substances. The problem is that these standards are different from one country to another, so just because the standards say your water is safe doesn’t mean that it is.
There is also no clear evidence of what level of contaminants are allowed within tap water. The authorities might say that your water is safe, but it may still have certain amounts of dangerous chemicals.
For example, there is evidence that the drinking water in the US has a growing amount of drugs in it as the result of the rampant opioid abuse and drug trafficking. People process the opioids, but traces of the drugs are left in their urine and make their way to the sewage treatment facilities.
On the other hand, some more nefarious individuals will even flush large amounts of illegal drugs down the toilet to avoid getting caught. These pharmaceuticals and drugs can lead to all kinds of consequences that are still unimaginable.
How to know your water is safe
Most countries give their citizens annual water quality reports. In the US, for example, this report is mailed on July 1st to every citizen. Most authorities monitor water constantly, and in some cases, they offer their results online.
You can always check if your water has any contaminants. Authorities won’t allow people to drink water that can cause serious harm. However, this doesn’t mean that your water will be completely safe, so make sure to inspect your water from time to time.
Check for taste and odor. If there’s cloudiness or turbidity, this also means that your water is contaminated. Cloudy water usually means there are some chemicals or pathogens in the water, and people often have hard water in their homes.
It’s usually caused by the build-up of substances within the pipes, faucets, or sinks. Hard water can cause all kinds of issues, including kidney stones.
Bottled water as a temporary solution
Drinking bottled water is generally safe. Even though government agencies set standards for these “products”, they are not always completely safe. The biggest concern is the plastic located in the water. Since plastic is the cheapest option for water containers, most manufacturers use it.
Research shows that over 90% of bottles have microplastic contamination that’s much higher than in tap water. In some cases, this water also has carcinogens, mold, and e.coli. It’s not safe to use over a longer period, especially as a full-time source of water.
On top of that, buying water can be really expensive depending on the country you’re in.
Use a water filter
It might seem like science fiction, but today you can install a reverse osmosis water filter under the sink all by yourself in a matter of minutes. More importantly, these filters work and can remove harmful substances from your water.
However, apart from reverse osmosis units, there are also distillation filters, ion exchange filters, and activated carbon. All these different types of filtration systems are designed to remove a specific group of contaminants – you can’t expect to use a single one and make your water bulletproof.
After installing a filter, maintain it regularly for optimal performance and make sure that the filter is certified by a reliable organization before buying it.
Tap water is generally safe to use in all first world countries. However, there are certain cities and areas where you should think about using a water filter. First, check how your water is polluted and then choose the right solution that can help you clean your water.