Is Drinking Tap Water Safe?
With so much advertising for bottled water and water filtration systems, it's reasonable if you're wary of the water coming out of your kitchen faucet. Although some cities' water includes trace quantities of pollution, most healthy individuals may still drink from the tap in most places, and tap water is still the most cost-effective and easy option to stay hydrated.
Trendy bottled water brands continue to dominate supermarket shelves, but the environmental effect of all that plastic is substantial: Apart from the vast quantity of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions required to power manufacture and transport, the majority of plastic bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled. For these reasons, many individuals prefer tap water to bottled water.
While tap water quality varies by place, there are certain fundamental concepts that apply in most cases, as well as site-specific information that can help you decide if tap water is good for you.
What pollutants could be present in tap water?
All drinking water (even bottled water) may fairly be anticipated to contain minor quantities of various pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, just because pollutants are present doesn't imply the water you're drinking is unsafe to consume. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes legally enforceable standards known as National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs), which limit the amount of contaminants in drinking water that come from industrial chemicals, bacteria and parasites, fertilisers, and other potentially harmful sources.
For pollutants that may cause aesthetic consequences such as skin or tooth discolouration, or pollutants that may affect the taste, odour, or colour of drinking water, there is a second set of non-enforceable recommendations known as National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs). NSDWRs are not mandatory for water systems to follow, although certain states may choose to do so as enforceable requirements. Visit water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants for more information on the EPA's Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).
How can I tell if the water I drink is safe?
Your water supplier should provide you an annual water quality report by July 1 each year, detailing where your water originates from and what's in it. The EPA also has the power to monitor all public water systems and establish enforceable health guidelines for pollutants in drinking water.
Although the agency's oversight does not guarantee that your water is free of all toxins, it does ensure that they do not represent a major health concern. If there is a breach of the requirements, or if the water supply becomes polluted with something that might cause acute sickness, your water provider is expected to notify you as soon as possible and give alternate drinking water options.
By perusing the list of water systems in your state on the EPA website, you may locate the name, address, and phone number for your water system. Furthermore, each municipal water system that serves more than 100,000 people must publish its Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) on a publicly accessible website.
Who could be harmed if the water is contaminated?
The majority of healthy people are able to consume tap water without any problems. However, certain people are more vulnerable to negative health consequences if water is polluted. These are some of them:
- Women who are pregnant
- Children that are very young
- People in their eighties and nineties who suffer from chronic diseases
- People with impaired immune systems (as a result of HIV/AIDS, organ transplantation, chemotherapy, and so on).
If you're in one of these high-risk categories and you're worried about contamination, talk to your doctor about whether you need take extra measures or look into other options.
What other options do you have besides drinking tap water?
There are options if you're in a high-risk category or reside in a city where water quality is a problem:
If your tap water is polluted, bottled water may be a decent temporary option, but only if you pick a reputable brand. The FDA regulates bottled water as a food, which means it needs source identification and limits the amount of impurities allowed, as well as acceptable manufacturing practises for boiling and bottling and labelling. However, unlike the EPA with public water suppliers, the FDA does not have the authority to oversee a mandated testing programme; it can only order a recall if a problem has been identified, thus there is no guarantee that every bottle sold is safe.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted 1,000 separate tests on more than 100 brands of bottled water in 1999, concluding that bottled water isn't necessarily purer or safer than tap water, and that some brands even contained elevated levels of arsenic, bacteria, or other contaminants.
Furthermore, bottled water is hundreds or thousands of times more expensive per gallon than tap water, so if you're going to spend the money, go with a reputable brand. The International Bottled Water Association provides access to quality reports from key brands.
You should also think about the environmental consequences of a long-term bottled water habit: Apart from the energy and fuel used in bottle production, around 75% of bottles wind up in landfills, lakes, and seas, where they do not degrade. Consider purchasing a refillable bottle instead if your tap water supply is not in jeopardy.
Note: Don't be bothered about carbonated bottled water's reputation for reducing calcium absorption if you enjoy it. There is no evidence to back up this assertion.
In terms of safety and cleanliness, filters and bottled water are comparable. The following are the four primary types:
- Activated carbon is a substance that may be used to eliminate certain organic pollutants.
- Ion exchange units, which may remove minerals that make water hard, such as calcium and magnesium
- Nitrates, sodium insecticides, and petrochemicals may all be removed with reverse osmosis devices.
- Distillation units produce distilled water by boiling water and condensing steam.
If you're going to buy a filter, be sure it eliminates the toxins you're worried about. Make sure the filter is verified independently by the Public Health and Safety Body or a comparable organisation. Finally, replace the filter at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Note: You'll need a "point-of-entry" filter if you wish to filter all pollutants from all of your home's taps. Otherwise, a kitchen sink “point-of-use” filter will suffice.
Boiling tap water can be successful, but it relies on the contaminant(s) that has to be removed. Germs can be killed by high temperatures, but lead, nitrates, and pesticides are unaffected. Boiling, on the other hand, can actually increase the concentration of those pollutants by reducing the volume of water while keeping the quantity of pollutants constant.
Tap water-related health benefits and risks
Tap water, in general, has the same health advantages as any other sort of water: it keeps you hydrated, aids blood flow, lubricates joints and other tissues, and is required for many biological processes that keep us alive. However, as Stewart points out, certain locations' tap water may include fluoride, which may benefit oral health (but may not be doing as much as we initially thought it did).
So, what about the dangers to one's health? As previously stated, if your tap water originates from a well, it may not be safe for persons who are at high risk of infection, such as those who are undergoing chemotherapy, HIV-positive, or pregnant, according to Stewart. In certain circumstances, she recommends speaking with your doctor to determine the best water option for you.
We should also emphasise that not all municipal water systems, like those in Flint, Michigan, and sections of New Jersey, are doing enough to keep the local people safe. Of course, these are unique circumstances and instances in which tap water has been considered dangerous, but they are not the norm. Keep an eye out for any water-related warnings in your area. For example, you may receive news that your city has issued a boil-water warning, which requires that all drinking water be boiled before consumption, generally for a specified period of time following an event such as a water main break.
The basic truth is that, in most cases, tap water will suffice.
Is it true that boiling tap water purifies it?
While boiling water assures that there are no bacteria present, it does not purify tap water.
If towns had only one major aim, it would be to ensure that no germs are present in tap water. In fact, bacterium is the only pollutant for which a zero presence level is required by law.
Boiling water does not remove additional impurities such as heavy metals, medicines, herbicides, insecticides, other organics, or inorganics. One may argue that boiling tap water just increases its pollutant density.
Disruptive skin conditions caused by tap water.
Your persistent skin disease might be caused by tap water - I've worked with a lot of people over the years on their hair and skin problems, and when a customer or client is having trouble figuring out what's causing chronic acne, severe dry skin, rosacea inflammation and/or extreme sensitivity, and/or dull, dry, brittle damaged hair conditions, and we've seemingly addressed all other aspects necessary for optimum skin health, such as diet, stress, exercise/circuit, and so on, I'm stumped. I ask that they cease cleansing their skin with tap water and instead use a dry cloth to do so. This means not rubbing tap water onto their skin to remove oil cleanser and not removing the oil with a tap water-soaked towel (read more here on my Dry Oil Cleansing Method). The inflammatory reaction slows, and the skin's immunity, acid mantle/protection, and balance are restored as a result of eliminating the polluted tap water. A good water filtration system or cleansing with distilled or bottled spring water can help restore skin health in some circumstances, but because all water purification induces trans epidermal water loss, stopping all water can be highly beneficial.
- Returning to tap water, our water supply has been determined to have over 2000 different hazardous substances.
- Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers are poisonous and exceedingly damaging to human, animal, and environmental health. They are carcinogenic and horrible for the skin, causing contact dermatitis, rashes, and triggering scalp disorders, eczema, and a variety of other problems.
- Hard water, which contains calcium, lime, and other heavy minerals, damages the acid mantle, causing irritation, redness, and dermatitis, as well as causing hair loss and dehydration.
- Pharmaceuticals - Prescription medicine may be found in the water of most large cities. Antibiotics, mood stabilisers, hormones, and so on. All of these toxins are harmful to our health and skin.
- Chlorine - It produces itchy, red, irritated skin and breaks down the protective acid layer on the skin and scalp, as well as dehydrates hair, removes colour, and causes significant damage to follicles, among many other probable adverse effects.
- Chromium 6 - a recognised, confirmed carcinogen found in most tap water in the United States - may produce allergic reactions on the skin, rashes, and a variety of other disruptions and hazards to human health and welfare.
- Fluoride is a mineral that is added to most water supplies for the purpose of supporting dental hygiene. This is a blatant falsehood; the FDA isn't attempting to assist us have healthy teeth. Fluoride is a neurotoxic, which means it harms the nervous system.
- Obviously, our contaminated water poses a significant risk to our health on a daily basis, in addition to altering the equilibrium of our skin, scalp, and hair, since many of these chemicals collect in our bodies. In an ideal world, our houses would have high-quality water filtration. Carbon filtration paired with reverse osmosis is optimal, although it might be costly. Coconut Shell Carbon is preferred since it is created from a sustainable resource, whereas most carbon filters are manufactured from coal. Carbon filters will remove pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine, but not fluoride or nitrates, which are removed through reverse osmosis. I understand that there is a lot of information and that it may be daunting; the best thing we can do is make sure we have a filter in our showers and for our drinking water, and that we change the filters on a regular basis. There are several low-cost water filters available to suit any budget.
Tap water's advantages and disadvantages
When deciding between tap water and bottled water, factors to consider include the water's safety, flavour, cost and availability, and environmental effect.
The sections below detail the benefits and drawbacks of tap water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, drinking water in the United States is among the safest in the world.
In reality, according to the NGO Food & Water Watch, tap water in the United States is tested more frequently than bottled water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of determining and establishing limits for the quantity of pollutants that can be found in tap and ground water. Chemicals and microbes are examples of this.
The Safe Drinking Water Act establishes the requirements. Water providers are required by federal law to notify the public if there is a safety problem with tap water.
According to the Environmental Working Group, though the EPA is in charge of setting tap water standards, not all toxins are regulated (EWG). According to the EWG, contamination level guidelines haven't changed in over 20 years.
People may verify the quality of their tap water by requesting a copy of the Annual Water Quality Report (or Consumer Confidence Report) from their local water provider, comparing it to the EWG's guidelines, or doing both.
A person can increase the safety of their present tap water by using carbon filters or a more effective reverse-osmosis system.
Most individuals can't tell the difference between tap water and bottled water in blind tasting testing.
For example, when the tap water was chlorine-free, the majority of participants in a 2010 research published in the Journal of Sensory Studies couldn't detect the difference between six different bottled mineral waters and six different municipal tap waters.
Regardless of the source, most individuals liked water with a medium mineralization. Only 36% of the participants could tell the difference between bottled and tap water.
Even if certain tap waters do not taste as good as bottled waters, this does not indicate that they are of inferior quality. It might be due to chlorination or an increase in mineral content.
Using a filter to enhance the taste of tap water is one alternative. Another alternative is to fill each glass with ice and a piece of lemon.
Cost and ease of use
It is simple and affordable to drink tap water. To acquire safe and cold drinking water, simply turn on a faucet.
Tap water is also accessible for free in restaurants and public drinking fountains.
Impact on the environment
Water corporations use a variety of procedures to cleanse public drinking water using chemicals to prevent pollution. The water is then pumped into holding tanks.
A person is also more inclined to wash a glass of water by hand or in a dishwasher after drinking it.
All of these stages will necessitate the usage of chemicals and energy, both of which have an environmental impact.
Even still, according to a study on the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's website, the environmental effect of drinking tap water is significantly lower than that of bottled water.
Is it Safe to Drink From My Tap Water?
We take our drinking water for granted all too frequently. That is, unless it starts to taste or smell strange, or a boil order is issued, or we hear reports of polluted water flowing from the tap owing to ageing pipes or pollution. The fact is that tap water is generally safe to drink, with the exception of incidents that might cause pollution. However, it is not always the case that tap water is pleasant to drink. There are a few things you can do to learn more about what goes into your water, how to improve your water quality, and how to utilise filtration devices to keep your tap water pure.
There are a few government guidelines in place to assess the purity of water for residential use. The quantity of chemicals, minerals, and organic things (such as bacteria) allowed in the water is usually limited by these guidelines.
- Chemicals found in tap water are frequently, but not always, associated with water treatment. These chemicals are meant to eliminate germs before it gets to your house, but they don't always dissolve once they're in the water supply. Tap water contains chemicals such as liquid chlorine, calcium hydroxide, and fluoride. Other compounds, such as arsenic salts, may also be present.
- Minerals are naturally present in tap water as it travels from the source to your tap. Minerals like Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium are often found in water and, in the proportions found in water, are really beneficial to your health. Old pipes, on the other hand, can corrode and leak hazardous substances into the water supply, such as lead.
- Bacteria appear when pipes rupture or contamination happens in some other way. Boil orders are commonly issued at this time; the boiling kills any germs present in the water. Chemicals used to clean water usually destroy these germs, but this isn't always the case, especially in the event of an accident.
On their own, none of these things are inherently harmful. According to studies, water that maintains minerals like calcium and magnesium is really better for humans than water that is depleted of all minerals. Similarly, bacteria-killing chemicals used to purify water aren't typically hazardous in tiny doses, and they protect us from becoming sick when we drink from the tap. So “clean” tap water is water that may include trace minerals and elements, as well as evidence of chemical treatment, but does not include bacteria, mould, or other organic components.
Water Quality Issues at the Water Tap
The major problem is that we, as customers and homeowners, have no influence over the quality of our tap water until it reaches our residence. That gives a lot of room for mishaps that affect the quality of your water. Clean water regulations and standards are set at the federal and municipal levels. The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 gave the EPA authority to set criteria for safe drinking water from lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and other sources. No one is allowed to dump contaminants into drinking water as a result of this. Local governments, on the other hand, are responsible for enacting the standards, maintaining water infrastructure, and enacting repairs as necessary.
Water may be tested and filtered right at the tap.
It's quite easy to test the water at the tap. Several vendors produce trustworthy tests that will examine your water for minerals, chemicals, and organic compounds. If you opt to buy a filter or purchase one online, be sure it checks for bacteria, lead, nitrates/nitrites, chlorine, and the pH of the water, among other things. You may choose between kits that provide findings immediately in your house or kits that allow you to submit samples to laboratories for testing and reporting, depending on your level of faith in a testing kit. Local plumbers may also have more advanced testing procedures that can provide you with reliable results the same day.
- Separate filtration, such as a pitcher with a built-in water filter. Simple and inexpensive. Short-term solution for water that isn't necessarily polluted.
- A filter that connects to the faucet and filters the water as it is dispensed. This is a bit more dependable and handy than a separate water filter.
- A filtration system installed beneath your sink and connected to your water supply as it enters the house through the wall. These filter systems are more complicated than pitcher or faucet-attached variants, and they use incoming cold water to produce a secondary, filtered water source.
- A filter system connected to the house's cold water supply (a "whole house" filter). These are the most "heavy-duty" filters, and they may be designed to filter out certain chemicals or microorganisms.
Make sure you pick a system that doesn't eliminate all minerals while filtering your water (like some reverse-osmosis filters). This can potentially degrade the quality of your tap water by removing nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Solid filters will frequently keep or reintroduce beneficial minerals while eliminating undesirable treatment and pollution by-products.
Keep the quality of your tap water high.
Tap water is typically safe to drink, barring accidents or supply mismanagement. That doesn't mean you shouldn't learn about what's in the water and how to reduce the effects of pollutants and germs with appropriate filtration. Buying the appropriate filter for the correct chemicals is critical if you want to maintain your tap water quality good.
Above all, remember that tap water includes numerous minerals that are beneficial to your health. It is not an indication of pollution if your water contains calcium and sodium. So, find a method to strike a compromise between great-tasting water that's clean and fresh right out of the tap and a filtration system that protects you from boil orders, broken pipes, and germs.
Is it safe for newborns to drink filtered tap water?
We're frequently asked if tap water, particularly filtered tap water, is suitable for newborns.
As parents, we are all quite worried about our children's well-being. Two of Tapp Water's co-founders are new parents, so they spent a lot of time investigating this issue before making a choice. We shall provide our findings and conclusions in this paper.
Because babies under the age of six months should not drink tap water, this page only discusses water for baby formula and drinking water for babies older than six months.
The quality of drinking water varies by location. After boiling, public tap water in most of Europe and many other nations across the world is safe to drink, but you never know.
Recent cases of lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, and PFOA contamination in the Veneto area of Italy demonstrate that water may be polluted even when local governments declare it to be safe.
Another issue is newly discovered pollutants, such as microplastics, which have been detected in over 80% of all tap water. We just don't know what effect it will have on human health, but we do know that it will kill microorganisms.
Is tap water safe for newborns and infant formula?
For the time being, doctors say that newborns can drink tap water. For babies, the NHS in the United Kingdom, as well as most other European health organisations, suggest tap water rather than bottled water.
The Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety's Scientific Committee has suggested that "Suitable for the preparation of infant food and newborn formula":
- Must fulfil the chemical criteria for mineral water requirements (see Royal Decree 1798/2010, Annex IV, paragraph 1, Part B, and Regulation (EU) No 115/2010).
- Annex I of Royal Decree 1798/2010 specifies the organoleptic and purity requirements.
- Boron (0.5 mg/l), calcium (150 mg/l), cyanides (10 mg/l), chloride (100 mg/l), CO2 (250 mg/l), copper (0.2 mg/l), chromium (5 mg/l), fluoride (0.5 mg/l), magnesium (50 mg/l), manganese (50 mg/l), nitrate (10 mg/l), nickel (20 mg/l), dry residue (1,000 mg/l), sodium (100 mg/l), sulph
Drinking tap water is safe if you use the appropriate filter.
Drinking tap water is safe and healthful if you use the proper water filter at home. Actually, bottled water isn't as safe as you would believe. According to several studies, most water in plastic bottles contains microplastic particles that are hazardous to both you and the environment. Microplastics can release toxins directly into your bodily cells when ingested by the body. Many of these substances are endocrine disruptors, which can pose a severe risk to pregnant women and their unborn children.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy to note that 25% of bottled water purchased in a store is nothing more than glorified tap water. The bottled version is more expensive due to further filtering and the addition of carbon dioxide for the sparkling effect, but it still comes from the same source. How can you identify the difference between the two? Examine the labels carefully to see if a source of water is listed.
Before reaching your tap, tap water must pass through a complicated system of filtration and disinfection in order to be consumable. Microplastics and certain diseases, however, can get through even with that technology. Let's not even talk about the harsh chlorine flavour and odor that your water could have. That's why we're working hard at ocean to make tap water completely safe to drink for you and your family.
Our ocean One gadget, which connects directly to your tap, features a strong filtering mechanism that removes 99 percent of microplastics and other important pollutants. Our gadget filtration system is 15 times more efficient than any other pitcher filter in filtering out all the bad things in your tap water and making it safe to drink.
Water from the tap is less expensive and may be filtered, flavoured, and carbonated at home.
One argument in favour of bottled water is that it is portable and easy to transport. If you pre-fill your bottle at home, filtered tap water can also work! Consider this: there is nothing more handy than tap water: it is inexpensive, and you can fill your bottle with just about whatever amount you desire in one go.
You can save a lot of money by drinking filtered tap water instead of bottled water, and you may flavour it with whatever you like. However, we recognise that you may not always have time to slice a lemon, cut some fresh fruits, or carbonise your water before consuming it. That is why we devised a simple and practical solution.
Things to Do to Prevent Water Contamination
There is no one technology that can remove all pollutants from water. If you do decide to build a system, you should first get your water tested by a qualified laboratory to determine what's in it.
You must maintain your water filtration system, regardless of the one you pick; otherwise, pollutants will build up in the filter, making the water quality worse than it would be without it.
It's vital to understand that a home water filter won't protect you from contaminated water. If this occurs in your region, follow the recommendations of your local water authority until the water is deemed safe to drink again.
In most locations, most healthy people can still drink from the tap, and tap water is still the most cost-effective and convenient way to remain hydrated. The EPA creates legally enforceable standards known as National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs), which restrict the number of pollutants in drinking water that come from industrial chemicals, bacteria and parasites, fertilisers, and other potentially hazardous sources. If water is contaminated, certain people are more susceptible to harmful health effects. Although bottled water is regulated by the FDA as a food, there is no guarantee that every bottle is safe.
Be sure to add a whole house carbon filter to filter any tap water at every tap in your home.