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What’s In Your Water?
Just because drinking water is clear doesn’t mean there isn’t anything living in it. You may be pondering the question like we were about what is in my tap water?
We all know that drinking water is an essential part of life and extremely important for good health. When you were a baby as much as 78% of your body was composed of water. Even now, as an adult, our bodies are made up of 65% – 70% water.
Drinking more water can help you lose weight an keep you looking and feeling younger. So it might be good idea to know what’s in the tap water you drink everyday.
Also, this same tap water that you use to bath, shower and wash your clothes may contain arsenic, lead, copper, and other heavy metals. It may also contain fertilizer residues, hormones, drug by products, asbestos and pesticides that have leaked into ground water.
In this article we’ll only discuss four of the major ingredients that are found in your tap water.
The 4 Main Ingredients In Your Tap Water
- Chlorine – Chlorine itself is a very toxic poison. Chlorine has a tendency to bind with many other other compounds that would otherwise be inert. They form something called Trihalomethane (THM). When these form in a group they are very potent carcinogens.
When they enter the body, once they form, they don’t like to disassociate very easily. So even if you’re not drinking tap water but you’re showering or bathing in unfiltered tap water – you are still being exposed to a very high rate of these dangerous chemicals on a daily basis.
Chlorine also kills bacteria and small organisms easily because it disrupts cell membranes. Another thing that is important to understand is that you also have beneficial bacteria in your gut which aides in digestion.
For this reason bathing and drinking in a lot of chlorinated water is not good because chlorine kills bacteria indiscriminately and will also kill some of the good bacteria in your gut.
Chlorine is widely used in tap water and studies suggest that long term exposure to chlorinated drinking water is associated with an increased risk for bladder and rectal cancer.
Even though studies are limited on this topic is a good practice to filter tap water. Chlorine is a poison and if you’re constantly exposed to it you’re going to have health issues.
Full house water filtration systems are a great anecdote to fighting your family’s exposure to chlorine in your water.
2. Lead – Lead poisoning can permanently stunt a child’s growth mentally and physically. It can also cause premature death of adults. As much as 20% of lead cases are caused by poisoned lead pipes in homes not lead paint.
Each day millions of homeowners drink tap water that contain dangerous amounts of lead. Babies are even more at risk because their formula is made with water. In fact, 40-50% of infant lead poisonings can be traced back to poisoned pipes.
What can cause this? If the copper pipes in your home are connected with lead solder you could be getting unhealthy amounts of lead in your tap water. This lead is tasteless, odorless and colorless so you won’t even know its there unless you have your water tested.
There’s a ton of education from the Environmental Protection Agency about the dangers of lead paint in the home but there is far less education about the dangers of lead pipes.
In 1988 the federal government begin requiring lead free pipes and solder. However, lead free means that pipes can contain up to 8% lead and .2% solder. This only applies to homes built and plumbed after 1988. There are still plenty of homes throughout the US where people are still exposed to lead through drinking tap water.
In 1997 the federal government required large water suppliers to start chemically treating water to make it less corrosive and protect people who live in older homes, Ever year they collect samples and as long as 90% of them have low lead levels the program is considered a success.
The government’s drinking water protection still leaves plenty of loopholes. Historic homes are perhaps the most vulnerable because they haven’t been extensively updated. Houses built before 1930 are likely to have lead pipes inside in addition to lead supply lines leading to the water main outside.
Although using lead solder on pipes was banned in 1988 some plumbers still cheated and used it after that. If your house was built more than 25 years ago chances are lead solder was used to connect the copper pipes.
Believe it or not brand new houses are another major concern. It takes about five years for a natural film to form and coat the inside of the pipes. That film eventually protects your water from the 8% lead that is still allowed in pipes.
Unless your house is one of the rare ones with none of these risk factors you might want to get your water tested.
You should collect a sample of your water and have it tested for lead. To find a testing lab in your area click on the link. Healthy drinking water should contain no more than 15ppb (parts per billion) of lead. Allowing the water to run for awhile when you turn it on has been known to help flush lead out of the pipes. To get your water tested will cost somewhere between $20 – $100.
So how do you protect yourself? Never drink or cook with water from the hot water tap. Hot water leaches more lead from your pipes. Instead, flip it over to the cold side and heat up any water you’re going to need. This is especially important if you are making baby formula.
First thing in the morning or after work when no one has used the water flush your pipes. Run the water at each faucet until it runs really cold, which means you’re now getting water from the water main at the street. This process can take anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes to flush the lead out.
If you plan on using water filters make sure you buy the ones that are certified NSF International or by the water quality association.
3. Bacteria – Escherichiac coli, E.coli, most strains are harmless and are found in the intestines of healthy animals and humans. However, this particular strain can cause extreme illness.
If E. coli is found in water there is a strong probability of a recent animal waste or sewage contamination. These items may contain many different types of disease-causing organisms.
How does E. coli make its way into your drinking water? Because it comes from animal and human waste its gets there by way of creeks, rivers, lakes and streams. When the same water that you are drinking hasn’t been treated properly you could end up with E. coli in your tap water.
Most home purifiers will kill any dangerous bacteria in your drinking water. However, if you don’t have a purifier at home you can boil any water you plan to consume for at least five minutes.
4. Excreted Drugs – Pain killers, blood thinners, hormones, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs are just some of the substances found in your drinking water. If you swallow it then it can be found in the water.
Fish that are close water treatment plants have been known to feminize. The male will have female eggs in the testis. What causes the male fish to develop eggs? Human hormones, residue from prescription drugs that are flushed into the river.
Scientists are now finding a high incidence of prescription drugs in the waterways.
A lot of the drugs that you take go in you, through you and out of you totally unchanged. So you actually have active drugs going into the water way through urine and feces. In an unpublished survey of tap water across the country traces of prescription drugs in drinking water were found.
Because the drugs show up in such tiny traces you would have to drink hundreds of glasses of water before being exposed to even a normal dose of the drug. Although your tap water has very low concentrations of these drugs, the real concern is the mixture of drugs that you are being exposed to.
The research has not been done by scientists to know if the drugs in water causes significant health risk for humans. The World Health Organization calls this a knowledge gap.
The water that you and your family drink is a very important topic. This article answered the question that you were unsure about – what is in my tap water?
None of us can last more than a few days without water because we would die of dehydration. As you can see from what we shared above, you cannot get a high quality of water supply from tap water.
So what are you options? The highest quality of water you can get is from a mountain spring. There’s no charge to get water from these springs, all you have to do is go there. You can go to Find A Spring to see if a local spring is near you. If you find one this would be the best source of clean drinking water.
Of course there’s some time, effort and energy involved in this process but if you’re able to do this it’s highly recommended.
Next in line is water from a well. Typically, there’s not going to be any fluoride in well water and there are far less contaminants involved. If you’re lucky enough to live in a house that has a well then good for you. Well water will still need some filtration to improve and optimize the system.
However, I’m sure the majority of you reading this article are getting your water supply from the city. We have already discussed the load of problems and concerns that comes from city water.
So I think we pretty clearly established that if you’re getting your water from a municipal water supply that you really do need and will benefit from a filter. Any water filter is better than no filter. If you don’t have a filter then you and your family become the filter.