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We’ve all heard stories about tap water being contaminated with chemicals from fracking operations, pesticides, heavy metals, etc., but how do we really know?
It turns out that most of us drink far more tap water than we realize. In fact, our bodies absorb over 90% of the contaminants found in tap water. This means that even though we may not feel sick after drinking it, we’re probably absorbing these harmful substances without knowing it.
That’s where this article comes in. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about tap water and help you decide whether you should switch from tap water.
Where does tap water come from?
The water supply system for your home consists of a main line running through your neighborhood, which carries water from the city’s treatment plant (or reservoir) to your house. The water travels through smaller lines leading to your faucets.
Your local water company treats the water at its source by removing impurities such as arsenic, lead, mercury, radon, chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, bacteria, viruses, and other toxins. It also adds minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and sulfur to make the water safe to drink.
Once the water leaves the treatment plant, it flows into large reservoirs called aqueducts or dams. These are located throughout the area served by the water utility. They collect water from many different sources and then transport it to the distribution system.
Most cities have multiple reservoirs so they can provide water during times when there isn’t enough rainfall. For example, if it rains heavily one day, the rainwater fills up the reservoir and doesn’t flow into the pipes until the next time it rains.
The water stored in the reservoirs is treated again before it reaches your home. Most utilities use chlorination to kill any remaining germs and bacteria.
How is tap water treated?
In addition to treating the water at the source, most municipalities add disinfectants to their water supply. Chlorine kills germs and bacteria that cause illness. However, some people are sensitive to chlorine, and others find it unpleasant tasting.
To avoid adding extra chemicals to the water, some communities rely on ultraviolet light instead of chlorine. UV-C radiation has been proven effective against bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
However, UV-C radiation only works on microorganisms that are visible to the naked eye. Bacteria and viruses that are too small to be seen with the human eye cannot be killed by UV-C radiation.
Some communities use ozone gas to treat their water. Ozone breaks down organic compounds in the water and helps remove bad tastes and odors.
Other communities use hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide is an unstable compound that decomposes quickly once exposed to air. To prevent this, it must be added to the water just prior to delivery.
What’s In Tap Water?
Tap water is not only free, but it’s also healthy and delicious. But there are some risks associated with drinking tap water.
First, most municipal water systems use chlorine to kill bacteria and viruses in the water supply. Chlorine is effective at killing germs, but it doesn’t remove heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals used in manufacturing processes. These substances may be found in our tap water, and they’re often dangerous to human health.
Second, many municipalities add fluoride to the water supply to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is toxic to humans, especially children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends no more than 1 mg per liter of fluoridated water. However, some cities exceed this limit.
Third, some municipalities add nitrates to the water supply to improve its taste and appearance. Nitrate is a natural fertilizer found in soil, but too much can cause blue baby syndrome in infants. Some experts recommend limiting nitrate intake to 10 parts per million (ppm).
Finally, some municipalities add chloramines to the water supply to control algae growth. Chloramine is a chemical compound containing nitrogen and chlorine. While it helps reduce algae growth, it also causes skin irritation and breathing problems.
To protect yourself against these dangers, consider buying bottled water instead of relying on tap water. And when you drink tap water, try to avoid consuming it directly from the faucet. Instead, use a filter.
If you live in an area where the water quality isn’t great, you should still drink filtered tap water because it contains fewer toxins than unfiltered tap water. To filter tap water, purchase a home filtration system.
Contaminants in Your Tap Water
Tap water is free.
But it may contain contaminants such as lead, arsenic, mercury, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, radon gas, nitrates, and fluoride.
If you’re concerned about these contaminants, here’s some information you need to know.
Lead and Arsenic are toxic substances that can cause brain damage, heart disease, cancer, and birth defects if consumed over long periods of time. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous to children.
Mercury is another toxin that causes serious health problems. Mercury is found naturally in small amounts in fish, but large quantities of mercury can be released into the environment through industrial processes.
Bacteria, Viruses, Pesticides, Herbicides, Heavy Metals, Radon Gas, Nitrates, and Fluoride are all harmful chemicals that can harm human health.
How does tap water become contaminated?
There are many different sources of contamination in our drinking water supply. The biggest source of contamination comes from old pipes and plumbing systems. These pipes were made before modern standards were developed for safe drinking water.
Another major source of contamination is improper treatment of wastewater. Wastewater contains chemical compounds that can contaminate our drinking water.
Finally, there are natural occurrences that can contaminate our water supply. Rainfall carries pollutants from landfills, factories, and farms into rivers and lakes.
Once these pollutants enter our waterways, they can eventually reach our drinking water.
How do we protect ourselves from these contaminants?
We can take steps to reduce exposure to toxins in our tap water. We can install water filters at home, use bottled water instead of tap water, and drink filtered coffee.
However, we cannot eliminate all risk of exposure to contaminants in our tap water. If you live near a factory, landfill, or farm where pollution is common, then you may be exposed to greater risks.
For example, if you live near a factory that produces hazardous waste, then you could be exposed to higher levels of toxins in your tap water.
Is it possible to remove contaminants from my tap water?
Yes, it is possible to remove certain types of contaminants from your tap water. However, removing contaminants from your tap water requires specialized equipment and training.
Most municipalities offer testing services to determine whether your tap water meets federal guidelines for safety.
These tests measure the amount of specific contaminants in your tap water. They also test for the presence of microorganisms that can cause illness.
In addition, some cities provide special programs for residents who wish to filter their tap water. These programs typically involve installing a filtration system at home.
Some people believe that filtering their tap water is unnecessary. But, according to the EPA, there is no evidence that suggests that filtering tap water reduces the number of contaminants in your tap water or improves your health.
Instead, the EPA recommends using bottled water whenever possible. This is because bottled water is safer than tap water.
However, if you must rely on tap water, then you should consider buying a water purification system. There are several options available, including carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, and ultraviolet light disinfection systems.
What components may make tap water unsafe?
Tap water contains many different chemicals and minerals that can cause health problems. Some of these include lead, arsenic, nitrates, bacteria, and fluoride.
These substances can enter our bodies through our skin and mouths, and they can cause serious health issues such as cancer and birth defects. While we can’t always control what goes into our water supply, we can take steps to ensure that we drink clean water by filtering it ourselves. There are two ways to filter tap water: distillation and reverse osmosis.
Is tap water safe to drink in the United States?
Tap water is generally safe to drink in the U.S., though there are still risks associated with consuming it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tap water should always be treated by boiling it for 10 minutes prior to consumption.
Is tap water safe to drink in Canada?
Tap water is safe to drink in Canada. However, drinking bottled water is still recommended due to concerns about contaminants like lead and arsenic. According to Health Canada, the federal agency responsible for public health, the risk of getting sick from consuming contaminated tap water is low. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says that the risk of illness from unsafe tap water is “extremely remote.”
Can you tell if your tap water is safe to drink?
It’s hard to say for sure whether or not your tap water is safe, but there are ways to test it to see if it contains harmful contaminants. The easiest way is to ask your local authority or neighbours.
Another way to check is by boiling your water for 10 minutes. After boiling, let the water cool down and taste it. If it tastes good, then you probably don’t have any problems.
However, if it doesn’t taste right, then you should consider getting another source of water.
Side effects of drinking tap water
There are certain side effects that come along with drinking tap water. For example, it can contain high levels of chlorine which can irritate your throat. It also contains other chemicals that can affect your body negatively.
For instance, it might contain fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay. However, too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis.
This condition causes teeth to turn yellowish-brown. Other possible side effects include stomach upset, headaches, and nausea.
How do I know if my tap water has been treated?
If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, then you need to find out how it was treated. One way to do this is by asking your local authority or your neighbours. They will be able to tell you if the water has been filtered or purified.
If you want to get more information on the process of treating tap water, then you can read up on it online. You’ll learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
Does boiling tap water make it safe?
Boiling water kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and many types of germs. Boiling water is great for making tea, coffee, soup, pasta sauce, and other dishes. But does boiling water kill harmful chemicals?
Yes, it does. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), boiling water reduces chemical contamination by 99 percent. So when you boil water, you’re not only killing off unwanted bugs, you’re also reducing the risk of getting sick from drinking contaminated water.
But there’s another reason to boil water. The EPA says that boiling water makes it safer because it destroys any pathogens that may be lurking inside the pipes.
And here’s some good news: Even though most water systems use lead pipes, the EPA says that boiling water doesn’t change the lead content. So if you’re concerned about lead poisoning, boiling water won’t help. However, it will reduce the amount of lead in your body.
If you’re worried about lead poisoning, you should consider buying a filter or bottled water instead of relying on municipal water. And if you live near a hazardous waste site, you should avoid drinking unfiltered water until the area is cleaned up.
What are the alternatives to tap water?
Tap water is great for drinking, but it’s not necessarily the best option for cleaning dishes, rinsing vegetables, washing clothes, or any number of other household tasks.
Here are some alternatives to tap water that work well for these purposes:
- Countertop filters: These filters remove contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and even radon gas.
- Whole House Water Filter: This type of filter removes all kinds of contaminants from your home’s water supply.
- Reverse Osmosis System: This system uses pressure to force water through a membrane. As a result, it removes almost everything from the water including minerals, dirt, sediment, and microorganisms.
- Bottled water: If you prefer to drink bottled water, then you can buy one at your local grocery store. Or, you can invest in a home filtration system.
- Spring water: Some people think that spring water is healthier than tap water. However, it’s not always true. It depends on where the spring water comes from.
- Rainwater collection: Collect rainwater using an underground tank. Then you can use the water for gardening, flushing toilets, or watering plants.
To reduce pollution from your tap water, you can buy a good quality filter for your faucet. A good quality water filter pitcher is an ideal way to start filtering your drinking water.
If you’re looking for something bigger than a pitcher, a gravity fed water filtration system, such as the BigBerkey, is an excellent choice. It filters out almost everything except bacteria and viruses. To help you choose the right water filter for your needs, read our guide on How to Choose a Water Filters.
In conclusion, tap water is usually safe to drink, and it doesn’t contain anything harmful like arsenic or lead. However, because it has been sitting in pipes for years, it does contain traces of chlorine and fluoride.
These chemicals aren’t dangerous, but they can cause problems if you’re sensitive to either of them. So if you want to avoid having to worry about these issues, it’s probably best to invest in a water filter system.
But if you really want to know exactly what’s in your drinking water, you can check out the EPA website here. They provide information on each state’s water quality, including whether or not it contains contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals.