Showing posts with label bottled water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bottled water. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What’s in Your Tap Water?

If you want to learn more about your tap water but don’t know where to start, check out these resources, list of possible contaminants, and suggestions for keeping your tap water safe for your family.

Is tap water safe to drink?

That might depend upon where you reside. A study by the National Resources Defense Council questions the safety of drinking water in U.S. cities.  Possible contaminants include:

Lead, which poses health risks, especially to pregnant women and young children.
Germs, which may be dangerous especially to individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and young children.
By-products of chlorine treatment. These toxins may cause cancer and reproductive problems.
Arsenic. This toxin can cause cancer, skin problems, birth defects, and reproductive disorders.
Radon, the rocket fuel perchlorate, other carcinogens, and toxic chemicals.
Nitrates. Above 10 ppm, nitrates can present health risks for infants less than 6 months of age. The level of nitrates in tap water may rise due to rainfall or agricultural activity.

Where can you find information regarding the safety of your tap water?

Every city is required to supply public reports regarding the safety of water. Check with your water supplier for specific information on your area. Additional sources:

National Resources Defense Council
U.S. Geological Survey
The Environmental Working Group

How to ensure tap water safety:

1. Have water tested periodically.
2. Check reports from your water supplier.
3. Consider a water filter system. Check out to determine the best filter for your household.
4. Decide if bottled water may be a better choice for your family.

How can you test your tap water?

Home water testing is a simple way to monitor your home’s tap water safety. Visit this site for information.

How can you protect your tap water?

Remember anything you put on the ground or down a storm drain can make its ways into groundwater or other water sources.
Be careful of using fertilizer, and pick up promptly after your pets.
Keep up with care of your vehicles. Oil, antifreeze, and Freon that have leaked from a vehicle can wash away, winding up back in the environment.
Call 911 if you witness an accident or intentional dumping that may result in an environmental hazard.

What is hard water?

Hard water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. The scale for hard water is as follows:

0 - 5 grains/gallon = soft water
6-10 grains/gallon = moderately hard water
> 11 grains/gallon = hard water

Is hard water hazardous to your health?

Since they’re not hazardous to your health, the minerals in hard water don’t need to be removed from your water. However, mineral deposits, the white spots or streaks that appear on faucets and fixtures, might prove to be a household nuisance. It can be more difficult to make “suds” with hard water; some individuals claim hard water has a negative effect on their hair and skin.

Is cloudy tap water a problem?

Cloudy water, also known as white water, usually clears up quickly and is harmless. Air bubbles, or the pressure of water in the pipes, might cause cloudy water.

With the amount of information available regarding your water supply, it’s not difficult to keep tabs on the quality of your tap water to ensure safe use for you and your family.

Be Wize & Be Healthy

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is There Danger Lurking in Your Tap Water?

According to Unicef, lack of access to clean water kills children at a rate equal to a deadly jumbo jet crashing every four hours.  You may be thinking, “Thank goodness, that’s not something I need to worry about here in the U.S.!”

But hold on a sec; before you assume your own tap water supply is safe, don’t forget there may be real risks in your own water supply – risks that don’t make the evening news but that could make you sick.

Common problems with tap water additives

Fluoride in water – good or bad?
We all know the reasons that municipalities add fluoride to water supplies; as we’ve been told for decades, the fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.  But is fluoride served up via tap water safe for us? Doubt grows in the scientific and healthcare communities. Here’s why:
  • Fluoride is naturally dangerous to humans, only considered safe in miniscule quantities. But when it reaches us by tap water supply, the amount we consume is controlled by the amount of exposure we have to fluoridated water. Not only do people drink different amounts of water, but we get it in other beverages, in foods, and in fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouth rinses, which can add up.
  • We are also being exposed externally to fluoride when we are bathing, showering, or doing dishes.  Long-term exposure to higher levels may cause skeletal fluorosis: a buildup of fluoride in the bones, which can lead to joint stiffness and pain, or even to weak bones or fractures in older adults. Some reports show that up to 41 percent of American children between 12 and 15 have some form of dental fluorosis.
  • A 2012 Harvard study confirmed several dangers from fluoride, including neurotoxicity, negative impacts on memory and learning, and adverse affects on cognitive development in children.
  • The ADA reports a connection between fluoridation and cancer.
  • The US National Toxicology Program found evidence of fluoridated drinking water causing osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
  • As many as 25 studies indicate that fluoride can reduce your IQ.

While not all study results agree, enough show evidence of risk that it’s becoming increasingly hard to disregard the concerns.

Chlorine – added for your good, but also presenting health risks

To protect drinking water from disease-causing organisms, water suppliers often add chlorine to drinking water. But is it safe?

Not all Contaminants purified at the plant

Drugs get through municipal water treatment

An Associated Press investigation found a number of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

According to the report, these can end up in your tap water because most treatment plants are not capable of removing all drug residue. When we take pills our bodies absorb some of the drugs, but the rest passes through and is flushed down the toilet. Even though the wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes, the treatment doesn’t catch all the contaminates, which can then end up back at drinking water treatment plants.

Pipes between water treatment plants and your faucet

Even if you’ve got a state-of-art water treatment facility in your community, the water passes through great distances in pipes before it reaches your tap.

  • Does your home have copper pipes?  Studies show that copper pipes can be a risk to your health. Excess copper in your body can produce stomach or intestinal distress.  And if you have the genetic disorder Wilson’s disease, you are even more sensitive to the effects of copper.  Newer pipes present the greatest risk because, over time, mineral scale linings will coat the copper pipes, reducing copper dissolution in water. But the mineral lining can take years to form.  Read more about copper health risks from the EPA.
  • If you don’t have copper pipes, you may still be at risk if there are any pipes between the water plant and your home with lead.  The EPA says lead is often used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder.  Lead health risks include delays in physical and mental development and measurable deficits in attention span and learning abilities in babies and children. In adults, it can increase blood pressure or cause kidney problems.

Other Water Contamination Issues

Other tap water contamination issues include:

Solutions to Avoid Tap Water Risks

With so many known potential dangers within your tap water, here are actions you can take to protect you and your family:
  • Bottled water. While bottled water reduces risk, its problems include high cost and the pollution impact of the discarded bottle.
  • Water supply services. Though not as cheap as tap water, getting large jugs of water from a local supplier is cheaper than small bottles and produces less waste. Be aware that water has a shelf life, and can develop mold over time.
  • Purify your tap water. A simple carbon-based water filter, though not able to remove all contaminants, will absorb chlorine and other contaminants. A more expensive reverse osmosis filter in your home is much more effective at contamination removal.  Both types require maintenance to stay functional.
To summarize, before you think that unsafe drinking water is someone else’s problem, do your homework. Consider getting a home test kit, or employ one of the straight tap water alternatives above to be safe.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer