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What You’re Not Being Told About Your Tap Water

What You’re Not Being Told About Your Tap Water [1]

Image source: HealthyDebates

We drink it, we wash with it and we water our garden with it. Yet what exactly is in our nation’s tap water and is it really safe?

Tap water comes from surface water (including reservoirs, lakes and rivers) or groundwater (from artesian and deep wells). Before it comes through our faucets, however, most tap water has gone through a cleaning process designed to destroy bacteria and parasites. Many US cities rely on turn-of-the-20th century systems and out-of-date technology to deliver this “clean” water to our homes. The aging and, in many cases, deteriorating water network includes pipes that can easily break and inadequate filtering for 21st century chemicals and other toxins.

Government regulations require communities to create and publish annual reports about the safety and quality of their drinking water. The problem is that some of these reports may contain incomplete or misleading information. Another problem is the Environmental Protection Agency’s weak standards for what is safe and what is not safe.

For example, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that arsenic is present in the drinking water of 22 million Americans at average levels of five ppb (parts per billion), which is half of the EPA standard that went into effect in 2006.

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Many scientists, however, believe that this number is arbitrary and that there is no safe level for arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic has been linked to certain cancers, to birth defects and reproductive problems.

But it’s not just arsenic. Here are some of the other toxins that are common in tap water:

Image source: theshawnstevensonmodel [3]

Image source: theshawnstevensonmodel

In many cities, municipal water supplies are threatened by industrial or sewage contamination. Other cities are susceptible to agricultural pollution containing pesticides, sediment and nitrogen. Additional contamination can come from sediments from floods and debris from wildfires.

The above list just scratches the surface of the contaminants in tap water. In fact, one study of municipal water supplies revealed more than 2,000 toxins.

(To read our previous story about the drugs that are in your drinking water, click here [4].)

Many commercial brands of bottled water contain nothing more than tap water. So what is a concerned citizen to do? One solution is to purchase and use an effective home water filtration system. Another option is to obtain fresh water from a gravity-fed natural spring. There are a surprising number of them throughout the country. You can check websites such as findapspring.com to locate the one nearest you.

In addition, here are a few other tips to help you drink cleaner, safer water:

An informed and involved public is the best way to keep our water supplies safe. Read your community’s report. Ask questions and urge your legislators to strengthen standards on the safety of our public drinking water.

Do you trust tap water? Share your thoughts on the safety of drinking water in the section below:

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