At this point most people know there are trace levels of a
variety of contaminants present in their drinking water. The quality of our
water is adversely affected by pollutants and pesticides from factories and farms
as well as naturally occurring contaminants. Contaminated water is not a new
problem, but scientists are starting to discover another link in the chain of
chemicals found in our drinking water, prescription drugs.
This time, though, it is not the fault of a big bad corporation
polluting our water. The traces of pharmaceuticals found in water sources
downstream from sewage treatment plants seems to indicate that many people are
flushing away their expired and unneeded medications. Tests on the water have
found by-products of anti-depressants, antihistamines, and anti-seizure drugs
make up the highest percentage of prescription drugs in the water supply.
Even in low doses these chemicals are not the kind of things
we want in our drinking water. The EPA is now testing to assess the risk of
drinking these chemicals to humans, but study results will not be available
until next year.
If you do not already use a water filtration system it is
definitely something to consider. Water filters carry a relatively low price when
compared to how many gallons of clean drinking water they provide consumers.
The best part is that your water will not only be safer to drink, but it will
taste better too!
Let’s face it, we have to have water to survive, but where
should we go to find safe, clean, great tasting drinking water? I read an article in the Washington Post that
does a really good job of highlighting this dilemma and also offers some water
quality facts that everyone should know. I highly recommend it to anyone who
wants to get a better picture of the water quality issues we face.
To start with what options do we have? Fortunately most of
us have access to some form of reliable water supply; unfortunately this same water
source most likely contains contaminants of some variety. Even in cases where
the water you draw from the tap has been tested and treated to remove harmful
contaminants there can still be trace levels of chemicals (such as chlorine) and
other particles that are not filtered out before reaching your faucet. Trace levels of some contaminants are
considered “safe” for human consumption, but there are many more that are
currently unregulated and could be present in your drinking water without
anyone throwing up a red flag.
The potential safety hazard posed by drinking contaminated
tap water has driven many consumers to drink bottled water instead. While
bottled water sales have boomed in the U.S. over the last decade some estimates
show the price for bottled water is astronomically higher than that of tap
water. A cost you could easily choose to pay for safe drinking water, but the
reality is that the “higher quality” found in bottled water is in many cases a
myth. Some companies simply bottle tap water and sell it in a pretty plastic
bottle, while others have been forced to perform product recalls when toxins
including mold and bacteria were found in their products. This type of
contamination of drinking water is possible because bottled water quality is
not regulated by the EPA and in many cases is subject to far less stringent
The final option is easily the best choice if you really
want the safest, cheapest and best tasting drinking water. A quality carbon
based water filter can help remove many of the contaminants found in tap water
making it much safer to drink and even improving taste. Water filtration
systems are available for virtually any water quality issue and the savings
when compared to the cost of bottled water will pay for the cost of the filter ten
times over. It’s a simple choice.
Warnings have been issued to boil water before using it for drinking or cooking due to flooding in parts of Massachusetts and Tennessee.
Please be sure to follow appropriate safety procedures if you live in an area where your drinking water has become contaminated. Here are some helpful tips to follow…
- There may be unknown contaminants in water that may or may
not be on list of impurities removed by an installed filter. Fridge
filters do not remove minerals, for example.
Immediately turn off water connection to fridge
- Replace all filters (faucet, fridge) that were installed when water went bad, after 'all clear' is given.
- Toss all ice as it may be contaminated.
For helpful instructions on emergency disinfection of drinking water you can visit the EPA website here.