We often think of clean water as an issue that only people in rural parts of the world deal with, but in reality our city and municipal water supplies can be just as much of a problem. Look at the recent issue in Flint, Michigan, where there was so much lead in the water that the citizens were told to stop drinking it and get tested for lead poisoning. It’s a real problem, one that many underestimate. It turns out that water isn’t just water, it’s a compilation of how a city or municipality clean and distribute water.
Chemicals to Look Out for in Water
You’re probably aware that there is some chlorine in your tap water, and in some places it is in such high amounts that you can actually smell and taste it. Mmmm, pool water. There are also other chemicals in your water, from fluoride to salt to added minerals and even ozone. These are used to disinfect the water so that it can be distributed back out. Why does it need disinfecting? Well, the same water we drink is what comes from sinks, wells, anywhere else that water naturally flows. Most municipalities do not recycle toilet water, thankfully. But any water has contaminants in it when it comes back through the cycle, so the water treatment centers have to get the “floaties” out, and all the other stuff.
It turns out, though, that water treatment plants aren’t quite as effective as they thought. A sample of city water can show anything from paper and food waste in the water, drug residues from pills that get tossed out, and even fecal matter. If you want to know that you’re not drinking someone else’s poo water, here are a couple of things you should do:
Test Your Tap
Get strips from your local hardware store to test the mineral and chemical content for water. Some people even use hot tub test strips because they’re much more sensitive to the presence of chemicals. See what’s in your water, and do your research. Fluoride has long been touted as “excellent for dental health,” but long-term studies aren’t so clear.
If you have a high presence of any chemical in your water, do your research. Then, buy a filter.
Pick a Filter
Pick a filter that works based on what is present in your water, not just a basic filter. There are so many options (that we will cover in a future blog post), but we generally do not recommend having any faucet filters, or using any “big brand” filters like Brita. These don’t filter out the components that can actually be harmful, and they cost an arm and a leg. Do your research and see which filters are the best options for you; don’t be afraid to invest a little money into a great system. These things can save your life. There are even travel filters so you never have to drink gross tap water again!