Let's be honest-most of us give little thought to the source of our tap water, how safe it is, and who regulates it. We simply rely on the federal government and various state and local agencies to protect our drinking water. We trust that our water is safe and clean.
Thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), we here in the US have some of the safest tap water in the world. Originally passed by Congress in 1974, it protects public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply. In fact, the SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.
So what does this mean for you? Your water is safe and you never have to think about it, right?
- Since 2004 testing by water utilities has found over 300 pollutants in the tap water we drink-including arsenic, lead, murcury, BPA, asbestos, and Teflon..
- More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to SDWA and can legally be present in any amount.
- The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans and increasing their risk for birth defects, cancer, organ toxicity, hormone disruption, fertility problems, allergies, and other health effects.
- The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.
The EPA itself admits that the government can do more to protect the public water supply. They recommend that citizens:
- reading our annual water quality reports
- reviewing our communities' drinking water test results
- press public and local officials for increased enforcement of regulations and improvements to water quality and infrastructure.
You can easily take the matter of safe water into your own hands, though. Yes, you should educate yourself; yes, you should be mindful of if not active in water quality issues.
Yes, you should filter the water that comes from your tap-a simple water filter can reduce and even remove contaminants from your tap water.
Have questions about the contaminants in your drinking water? Check out ewg.org, keep reading the fridgefilters.com blog, or give us a call at 800-683-8353. (We LOVE talking about this stuff. Seriously.)