April 24, 2018
You may assume that your tap water is safe to drink because it looks and tastes fine, but do you really know for a fact that there’s nothing harmful lurking in your water? The truth is, until you test it, you won’t know for sure. Water testing is important for the health of everyone in your household. While the U.S. has one of the safest water supplies, there are still plenty of areas that have unsafe drinking water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “tap water can reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.” Drinking water that has unsafe levels of these contaminants can result in both acute and chronic health effects, including cancer, liver or kidney problems, and reproductive issues.
There are 4 main types of contaminants to be aware of: physical contaminants which can be seen by the naked eye, chemical contaminants that can be man-made or natural, microbiological contaminants like bacteria and viruses, and radiological contaminants that give off radiation. While a complete list of contaminates could fill a book, below we’ve listed 10 of the most common tap water contaminants that you should be aware of.
- Aluminum-While low exposure won’t harm health, too much can be harmful
- Arsenic-A human carcinogen that can also harm the cardiovascular and nervous systems
- Bacteria & Viruses-These can include, but aren’t limited to coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium and can cause flu-like symptoms as well as gastrointestinal issues
- Chlorine-The EPA requires treated tap water to have chlorine to help prevent contamination, but in high levels this decontaminant can become a contaminant, causing health issues
- Copper-Can cause gastrointestinal illness, and in severe cases, lead to anemia, liver poisoning, and kidney failure
- Fluoride-While present in most treated tap water, in unsafe amounts it can cause skeletal fluorosis which leads to bone fragility
- Lead-Can cause serious health affects including brain and kidney damage. Children are especially at risk for lead poisoning
- Mercury-Long-term exposure can cause kidney damage
- Uranium-Over-exposure to this mineral can cause kidney damage and an increased risk of cancer
- VOCs-Also known as Volatile Organic Compounds, these solvents can increase the risk of cancer, harm the nervous system, and hinder the reproductive system
None of the above sounds desirable, and most of it is downright scary. Before you swear off drinking water (which is vital to our health), know that there are ways to make sure that your drinking water is safe. Start with a water test to see what’s present in your tap water. For peace of mind, consider installing a whole house water filter. Doing so will ensure that everyone in your household is drinking and using clean water.
Have more questions on how you can get pure, great tasting drinking water in your home? Feel free to contact us! Our highly trained water technicians are here to help!