Where do you get your drinking water? From the tap? Do you know what’s in your water? A 2016 Gallup Poll found that 61 percent of Americans said they are worried a “great deal” or a “fair amount” about the safety of their drinking water. And you should be worried, too.
We know we should be drinking a fair amount of water each day; we can’t survive without it. But, unfortunately, we can’t tell our water’s cleanliness just by looking at it. Today’s water hazards are invisible, and so much more dangerous. Metals, solvents, pesticides, repellents, pharmaceuticals, personal-care products – all are more common in the water supply. Even in trace amounts, it adds up quickly.
Many of these toxins have known health effects, like increasing risk of cancer or learning disabilities. Part of the reason we’re finding more of these contaminants is because technology has improved. We can detect even smaller amounts than in the past. If you drink tap water, you can visit the EPA’s Safewater site (www.epa.gov/safewater/) to see if your community’s Consumer Confidence Report is available. This report lets you know what tests have been done to local water and what contaminants have been found.
But, you don’t have to swear off drinking water, as the U.S. still has some of the safest drinking water in the world. To make sure you’re doing your part, consider a water filtration system. There are many types of filtration devices out there, some more expensive and complex than others. Two of the most common filter types use carbon or reverse osmosis. You can go to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and check out what they offer. Some systems are installed on the faucet, some under the sink. The simplest, and least expensive, of all is a carbon filtration water pitcher. Here are some of the brands you might find out there:
- Pur- carbon
- Aqusana – carbon
- Instapure – carbon
- Pelican – carbon
- Watts Premier – reverse osmosis
If you think the answer is to just drink bottled water, then think again. It’s estimated that 25 percent of bottled water is tap water. And besides, all those plastic water bottles filling up landfills – not so eco-friendly.
The other thing to think about is how you can protect our water supply. Never flush medications or other substances (cleaning agents, pesticides, paint, automotive products) down the toilet, where it ultimately will contaminate the water. Please, do your part in protecting our most important resource.