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“Is tap water safe?”

This is the thought most of us have when drinking water from the tap or drink tap water at the restaurant / bar when we have no choice.

There is so much confusing and contradictory information about tap water.

This is why I think it’s about time someone looked at all the evidence and gave some kind of conclusive answer or at the very least clarify some of the myths and misconceptions.

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Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

The first thing to note is that both forms of water are safe to drink although bottled water is likely to have gone through a further filtration process. Some people consider that bottled water tastes better then tap water and doesn’t create limescale if used in your kettle.

However, the biggest disadvantage of bottled water is the cost both in terms of finances and to the environment. It is thought that imported water brands use 300 times the CO2 emissions per litre when compared to the energy used to create tap water. It also takes around 162g of oil and 7 litres of water to manufacture a 1 litre bottle.

The other side of this are pitifully low recycling rates. For instance, some 14 billion plastic bottles still end up in the UK landfill every single year.

Read: 8 Best Bottled Water And Why They’re ALL BAD For You

Read: Here is Why You Should Beg, Borrow, Steal This Best Faucet Water Filter

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What Is In Your Glass of Tap Water?

Like most people, you probably take your glass of water for granted and assume it contains nothing but… erm water, right? After all, water is one of the few things we consume that contains zero calories so it doesn’t contain anything right? Wrong.

Did you know that even the cleanest-looking glass of water isn’t necessarily clean? Sadly, the biggest dangers lurking in the water you drink can not always be smelled with your nose, tasted or even seen. Invisible impurities in your drinking water can come from many different places.

Read: Why Granulated Charcoal Filters Will Change Your Life

Read: Reverse Osmosis For DUMMIES

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What’s In Your Drinking Water?

Many prominent scientists have looked at every day water and noted the amount of substances that is contained in the average glass of tap water. Of course, there are many natural minerals and nutrients that organically occur within water but most drinking water (especially tap water) have had many things added to them. In most cases these chemicals have been added to clean and purify the water, but in some cases government authorities add things to tap water to improve the health of the population e.g. fluoride. The following is a sample list of some of the things that are sometimes added to the water supply:

  • Liquified chlorine
  • Calcium hydroxide
  • Sodium silicofluoride
  • Aluminium sulphate

Even if the water leaves the source in a reasonably clean state, you must remember that water travels through pipes and the cleanliness of the tap itself is pivotal to the cleanliness of the water you receive from the tap. Especially tap outlets which suffer from both rust and limescale.

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What’s in Tap Water?

Tap water is treated with many chemicals that kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. The following list is a list of some of the typical content that you might find in tap water.

Typical Tap Water Content

  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Fluorine compounds
  • Chlorine
  • Pesticides
  • Hormones
  • Nitrates
  • Salts of:
    • mercury
    • arsenic
    • barium
    • aluminium
    • copper
    • cadmium
    • lead
    • radium

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Water Quality: What Contaminants Are in Tap Water?

Water can be affected by dirt and other contaminants in many different ways. For example, it could contain microorganisms like parasites and bacteria that come from human or even animal fecal matter. Water could also contain chemicals from industrial waste like pesticides, nitrates that are used in fertilizers or some harmful minerals like lead or mercury.

 

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Tap Water In The US

If you are in the US, it might be useful to note that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has set minimum testing schedules for specific pollutants in order to make sure contamination levels are safe.

Water Hardness Map America USA
Water Hardness Map America USA

 

Public water suppliers regulated by the EPA need to send out a “drinking water quality report” every 1st of July each year.

The report is sometimes called the  “Consumer Confidence Report” or CCR for short. This report will tell you where your water comes from and what’s in it. If you don’t get one or think you might have misplaced it, then ask for a copy from your local water supplier.

Remember that you can also call the EPA’s “Safe Drinking Water Hotline” on 800 426-4791 to get any further information and/or ask questions about the safety and quality of your tap water.

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Tap Water In The UK

In the UK? Well companies like Thames Water go to lengthy extents to explain how clean your drinking water is on their website

They also have a tool that lets you put in your post code to check how clean the water in your area is. If you worry about water hardness, their website allows you to input your post code and get a diagnosis of how “hard” the water in your neighbourhood is.

If you need to contact Thames Water regarding any concerns you might have regarding your tap water I have added all their contact information below.

Contact Thames Water

Call Thames Water Email Thames Water Write Thames Water
You can call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 – 24 hours a day.

Textphone: 0800 316 9898. 0800 numbers are free to call from UK landlines, but may be chargeable from mobiles. Rates vary depending on your network and call plan.

If you are trying to contact them from outside the UK, call +44 1793 366011.

Click here to use this form to contact Thames Water by email. Water Quality
Thames Water
PO BOX 286
Swindon
SN38 1TUThey aim to respond to all letters within ten working days.

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Water Quality: Contaminants in the Pipes?

In rare occasions, your tap water could become contaminated due to damage in the water supply line.Effects of Hard WaterOne of the most dangerous problems that could occur is lead getting into the water from pipes. Even ”lead-free” pipes can contain around 8% of lead.

“The best way to avoid lead contamination entering your tap water is to only use water from the cold tap and to let the water run for a minute before using it.”

Do this every time you get water for cooking, drinking, filling up the kettle or even making baby formula.

 

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So Is Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Mr Water Geek ThinkingWith all things considered, the short answer is yes. Broadly speaking tap water is safe for you to drink.

It is also the eco-friendly option when compared to bottled water and you don’t have the risk of BPA contamination with plastic bottles.

However, it also contains some non-harmful substances added by government authorities (e.g. fluoride) or appear (e.g. oestrogen). You are also vulnerable to drinking “hard water” that will create limescale in your kettle or coffee machine.

If any of these is an issue for you then you might want to consider buying a portable water filter jug or installing a home filtering system so you have control of the content and quality of your drinking water.

> > One of the cheapest and quickest fix is a Charcoal Filter Bottle to filter your tap water to remove further impurities.

 

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Some Products That Might Help….

ProductBest FeaturesPrice Range 
BRITA Marella Cool Water Filter Jug

- Easy to use.
- Filters water very quickly (in a few seconds).
- Fits into the inside of your fridge.
- Very easy to buy replacement cartridges.
- Highest rated and best seller online.
$$
Oasis Artesian Reverse Osmosis Bottleless Water Dispenser (Hot & Cold)
- Five Stage EZ Turn (Easy open/close) Reverse Osmosis filtration system.
- Plug in and play.
- 2500 Gallon useful life expectancy on each carbon GAC filter.
- 1500 gallon useful life expectancy on sediment filter.
- 2 year life expectancy on membrane.
$$$
Black + Blum Eau Carafe
- Aesthetically pleasing.
- BPA free tritan plastic.
- Stainless steel clasp and silicon strap
- Includes x1 active charcoal (6 months life).
$$
Aquasana's Whole House Water Systems
- Aquasana Rhino exceeds NSF standards.
- Removes 97% of chlorine.
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings.
$$$$




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