Your tap water is probably not as clean as you think.
We all know that water is essential for survival and maintaining health, but if you're drinking straight out of the tap, there are some things you should be aware of. When you drink tap water, especially municipal water, there are loads of additives, including beneficial minerals (like magnesium), and harmful contaminants like lead, mercury, pesticides and trace amounts of prescription medications. It can be a witches' cauldron of potentially harmful unknowns. One common misconception is that boiling tap water will remove all trace substances; it will kill off any living organisms, but it won't actually remove any contaminants in the process. However, there are some options to mitigate your exposure.
You may be wondering how the water from your tap could possibly be so dirty. Well, simply put, it has most likely traveled several miles, through pipes which can pass along lead, chlorine, ammonia etc. before finally arriving to your home. The problem is, we may not know exactly which contaminants are present in our water. The Environmental Working Group investigated the nation's drinking water supply over the course of 3 years and found that 85% of the population's water contained more than 300 contaminants, more than half of which are not regulated by the EPA.
Now, you may be thinking bottled water is the holy grail at this point. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, bottled water is also not regulated by the EPA and there are no studies proving that it's any safer than the water from your tap! Not to mention the resources that are used to produce and transport the water, and the contaminants leached from the plastic bottle itself into the water.
Some of the most common water chemicals & contaminants...
Adding fluoride to drinking water is a process that began back in the 1940’s to help reduce tooth decay. It sounds like a noble cause but fluoride is a neurotoxin and an endocrine disruptor. It can harm the thyroid gland and calcify the pineal gland. Fluoride is toxic, and several countries have banned the practice of adding it to water.
Chlorine is known to be a sanitizing agent, and has been added to drinking water as a purification technique, despite not being completely safe. Chlorine bonds with water, including the water in your gut, to produce poisonous hydrochloric acid. Long term effects include memory loss and impaired balance.
Corroded pipes can release up to ten times the allowable amount of lead into the water. Lead is extremely toxic, especially to children and can cause developmental issues, stunted growth and even brain damage.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element, which does not mean that it's safe. It can find its way into our water supply as a byproduct of mining practices. Unfortunately, it is an extremely efficient traveler and transfers easily from wind to water. Mercury exposure can cause brain damage, blindness, nerve damage, muscle loss and a host of other conditions.
5. Prescription Medications
If you're drinking public water, you are ingesting trace amounts of hormones, antibiotics and other prescription medications. When wastewater is treated, most contaminants are cleared, but the process cannot remove all excreted substances. Although levels are low, the risk of ingesting trace prescriptions over the course of a lifetime are unknown.
Now that we've gone over the gloom and doom, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you don't already have a home water filtration system, you may want to look into one. There are several options depending on your budget and your level of concern. You can go as far as to install a whole-house filtration system, or you can go the more minimally invasive route and invest in an individual drinking water and shower filter unit.
For drinking water, you have a few options:
- You can choose an undercounter unit that will be tucked away and do a great job at filtering out contaminants. There is some installation required, and the initial cost may be slightly off putting, but there are other options.
- You could opt for a countertop filter which uses water pressure to force the filtration process and results in healthier, better tasting water. These require minimal installation, little space and are cost effective.
- Lastly, you could opt for a water pitcher filter which is great if you're low on counter space, and working within a budget. These fit easily in your refrigerator and are very simple to use.
When it comes to showering, there are a few things to consider:
Your skin is incredibly absorbent, which means any of those nasty water chemicals can enter your bloodstream. Now, you could install a shower water filter which will help mitigate exposure. These are cost effective and simple to put into place. If that isn't an option, try to reduce the time spent in the shower and reduce the temperature of the water so that pores don't absorb as much.
Your morning shower should not include daily exposure to chlorine, carcinogens and vaporized chemical contaminants being absorbed into your skin and breathed into your lungs. Without a shower filter, it does.
We hope this information is useful to you! Investing in a water filtration system of some sort is a good idea whether you live in an area with town water, or if you use well water.