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What’s in Tap Water?

Nothing means more to you than your family, and you want them to have the cleanest water possible. Many families drink straight from the tap, and perhaps yours do too. But did you ever wonder if that water was safe to drink? Although tap water is regularly tested for purity and contaminants, the guidelines governing municipal water supplies are not as stringent as one might think. That’s why installing a water filtration system in your home (or at very least, a filter faucet) is important to ensure the health of your family. 

Tap Water Ingredients

In most locations, the tap water has chlorine added to the drinking water to kill any harmful bacteria or parasites. It may even have fluoride added for protecting our teeth. There are many possible contaminants that our water supply is potentially guarded from including hazardous chemicals from septic tanks, pesticides and herbicides from people’s gardens or lawns, or other harmful substances that can somehow make its way into the water supply.

While chlorine kills most of these harmful substances, there are some parasites it can’t kill such as Cryptosporidium parvum, which can intestinal problems in some people. This pest is found in small quantities in some surface waters, but normally doesn’t make it into the local water supply in large enough numbers to hurt anyone.

More disconcerting is the amounts of chlorine, lead and nitrates that may be in our tap water. Even though the chlorine is meant to help keep the water supply safe, too much of it can also be a bad thing. It can react with the acids from plant material that may fall into the water and form a chemical that is known to cause colon and bladder cancer.

Lead is a very valid concern, especially if the pipes are old and may even still be made of lead in come communalities. Lead is poisonous and can harm a person’s kidneys, nerves and brain. It only takes a gram of lead in 20,000 liters of water to make it undrinkable. If you are concerned about this, you can let your water run for several minutes before using.

Another possible contaminant is nitrates. These are more of a concern for rural communities since it comes from fertilizer runoff.

There can also be what is considered nuisance minerals, they don’t hurt people to drink it, but can cause issues for laundry (iron in the water causes staining), or bad smells (hydrogen sulfide gas makes water smell like rotten eggs), and calcium and magnesium (which cause hard water, and make it hard to get a lather with soap.)

Other Contaminants

Other possible contaminants in tap water include dyes, paints, medications, preservatives, radioactive substances, plus minerals like aluminum, arsenic, asbestos, and more.

Of course, most of these are taken care of by the purification processes at the water plants, but it’s always possible some could get through and cause harm.

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