The Truth Behind Tap Water: Is It Bad For Your Health?
Drinking bottled water is a luxury nowadays. According to The Sustainability Office at Harvard University, bottled water costs 3000 times as much as tap water. To put it simply, the usual costs of tap water are around $0.02 per gallon, while bottled water has an average price of $0.64 per gallon, depending on its brand.
And because bottled water is not affordable for everyone, people prefer to consume tap water instead.
But how confident can we be of its quality?
Contaminants Found In Tap Water
Some of the most common contaminants found in tap water include lead, which can produce permanent brain damage in children, and PFOA, which has been linked to cancer.
The quality of tap water mostly depends on the area where you live. In some cities, tap water may contain high levels of contaminants, while in other areas it may have a low amount of pollutants.
Therefore, even if tap water passes through a municipal water treatment plant before it reaches your house, in its composition can also be found substances such as arsenic, chlorine and fluoride.
Excessive consumption of each of these the substances listed so far can have harmful effects on your health.
- PFOA - Also known as Perfluorooctanoic Acids, these synthetic compounds accumulate over time in your body and decomposes very hard, which is why they are toxic to the human body. PFOA substances are usually used to manufacture other products and can easily get into your water if you live near a factory.
- Lead - Most of the time, lead gets into the water that people consume due to corrosion of pipes and fixtures. Lead is also harmful to adults. If exposed to a high level of lead, people can suffer from cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension, decreased kidney function, or even reproductive problems.
- Arsenic - This is a naturally occurring mineral present in drinking water in all 50 states. Excessive exposure to arsenic from drinking water can cause bladder, diarrhoea, vomiting, lung and skin cancer as well as harm to the skin and lungs.
- Chlorine - This is the main cause of the unpleasant taste and smell of tap water. Consumed in higher doses, chlorine can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, itchy skin, and other harmful side effects. However, chlorine levels up to 4 ml/L are considered safe in drinking water.
- Fluoride - This substance is found in all waters. In fact, fluoride is now used in the public drinking water supplied to about 3 out of 4 Americans and its main purpose it's to prevent tooth decay.
Numerous studies in recent years based on water quality have linked fluoride from drinking water to many health issues such as dental fluorosis, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, severe acne, or even cancer.
And now comes the big question – Is it safe to drink tap water? Well, as you have seen, there are a variety of contaminants in tap water.
Even if these are only present at levels that do not pose high risks for human consumption, there are cases where drinking tap water is contraindicated. Therefore, new-borns, pregnant women, the elderly, people with a weakened immune system or chronic diseases should avoid consuming tap water.
Tap Vs Bottled Water
The differences between bottled water and tap water are not noticeably big. Even if Americans invest money in bottled water because they think it is healthier than tap water, this is not exactly true.
Many of them prefer bottled water over tap water claiming that it has a better taste and smell. Yet, in a 2018 blind test, people could not tell the difference between bottled and tap water.
To better highlight the similarities between the two, we'll reveal something you probably didn't know - some brands of bottled water actually use ... tap water. Therefore, 64% of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources.
If you are reading this article and wondering if it is safe to drink tap water, we are here to tell you that not even what you find on store shelves will keep you away from health risks because bottled water is NOT free of contaminants. The water you see in the good-looking bottles at the supermarket may contain microplastics – some chemicals that can also harm your health.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that bottled water has a major impact on the environment. In fact, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. This number will jump another 20% by 2021 and will create a huge environmental crisis.
This means that if you drink bottled water you will only spend money that you could use on something else, accumulate more chemicals in your body other than those already existing in tap water and also contribute to environmental degradation.
The Best Water Filtration Solutions for Drinking Water Today
You can never be one hundred percent sure of the quality of your water, even if it is bottled or tap water. Therefore, in order to stay away from all the health risks that drinking water can bring you, you should use a water filtration device regardless of the water source in your house. Here are three of our recommendations based on the highest ratings and positive feedback from users.
ZeroWater 10 Cup Water Filter Jug With Advanced 5 Stage Filter
This water filter pitcher an excellent and quick way to remove tap or bottled water contaminants at home. Its 5-stage filtration system is designed to deliver pure-tasting water for drinking and cooking based on the ion exchange technology.
The pitcher can reduce lead, PFOAS, and other contaminants, and includes an extra quality mater that lets you taste your water to make sure that harmful substances have been removed from its composition. It is also BPA-free, which makes it a great choice if you have a newborn in your family.
Here are the contaminants removed by each stage:
- The first - suspended solids that give your water a cloudy appearance like dust and rust;
- The second - additional suspended solids;
- The third - organic contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, chlorine, chloramine, and stops bacteria from growing;
- The fourth - inorganic compounds, metals, non-metals, and radiological contaminants;
- The fifth - remaining suspended solids.
PUR (PFM400H) Chrome Horizontal Faucet Mount
If contaminated water is a problem in your home, you can combat it starting directly from the source using this faucet. By attaching it to your sink, you will have easy and quick access to cleaner, great-tasting filtered water.
It is certified to reduce over 70 contaminants, including 99% of lead, 92% of agricultural pesticide, and 96% mercury. That means you will never have to buy bottled water again. This water filtration technology uses both activated carbon and ion exchange for better results.
Even if its maintenance requires filter replacement every three months, the costs will not be higher than the ones generated by the purchase of bottled water.
LifeStraw Go 2-Stage Water Filter Bottle
If you are a big fan of traveling, you must add this bottle to your backpack. Its replaceable 2-Stage filter makes it a great choice for hiking, travel, and emergencies.
Think about how many bottles of water you should buy for an 8-hour hike. Or better, think about the effort of carrying them all.
Because it is using a carbon filter, this bottle can remove 99% of waterborne bacteria, protozoan parasites, and more without adding any chemicals to your water.
It does not require batteries and has no moving parts and it is a great alternative to iodine tablets and bulky purifiers that are usually used in camping. However, even though it is recommended for traveling, we cannot deny that it is just as effective in treating water at home.
How About the Water Flowing Through the Pipes of Your House?
If you care about the water you consume, you should also think about the water that flows through the pipes of your house. The taste and smell of your water are no longer important in this case, but its quality can affect your daily activities that involve water usage.
Hard minerals and contaminants from the water in your house have a direct impact on the life of your appliances, the efficiency of the soaps and detergents you use, the water pressure in your house, and even on the fabric of your clothes.
To avoid all these damaging effects, you should also use a system that filters water throughout your home, not just the one you consume.
Our Yarna water descalers CWD24, CWD30, and CWD48 can do a great job together with the devices you use to filter drinking water. These water filtration systems are specially designed to protect your pipes and appliances from the unfavorable effects of hard water.
Using electric impulses to treat your water, our electronic descalers prevent the minerals in your water from adhering to the inside of your showerheads, faucet aerators, dishwasher, and any other appliance that uses water. These can be easily installed without any moving parts and will need no intervention on your part after they have been set up.
The Bottom Line
Tap water is neither the most harmful, nor the healthiest option for you. At the same time, bottled water is not as safe as most people may think.
As you have seen, the only way to be completely sure that the water in your house is free of any contaminants is to filter it with a system specially created to do this.
Moreover, if you want all the water in your house to be high quality, including the one that flows through the pipes and appliances, you can use an electronic water descaler along with your drinking water filtration system for optimal results.