Should I Be Concerned?
Water Regulation is No Guarantee of Water Safety
When you turn on the tap, you expect the water coming out to be safe. As we’ve seen in countless news stories though, this isn’t always the case. Although municipal water supplies are regulated, this still doesn’t guarantee that while en route from the reservoir to your home, nothing will be leached into your water. It also does not protect against emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and hormones, that are not yet regulated by the EPA.
Top Waterborne Contaminants Include:
Some of the most common drinking water contaminants across North America include Lead, Mercury, Chloramine, Organic Chemicals (including pesticides, gasoline and detergents), and Emerging Contaminants (including pharmaceuticals and hormones).
For more information about each of these contaminants keep reading.
Lead exposure, especially in young children, can have both physical and behavioral effects. Even with low levels of exposure, lead has been linked to nerve damage, learning disabilities, decreased kidney function, hypertension, birth defects, and many more issues.
It’s because of this that EPA has set a maximum lead contaminant level goal of zero under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that they believe any presence of lead could be harmful. One of the reasons lead is so dangerous is that it can bioaccumulate in your body, meaning that while any exposure can impose health risks, these risks will continue to increase over time as your body stores additional lead.
While inorganic forms of Mercury are less likely to cause harm to adults, they can still cause issues for children and potentially be passed from mothers to their unborn children.
Organic Mercury Compounds are much more harmful as “they are easily absorbed into the blood through the digestive tract and, at high levels, can damage the nervous system and kidneys.” When children are exposed to high levels of mercury, it can lead to lifelong development issues.
Chloramine is a common disinfectant used by water treatment plants throughout the country. Unfortunately, if not properly removed, chloramine left in water can lead to multiple problems including causing and/or aggravating respiratory issues, skin reactions like rashes, flaking, drying, etc, and can also cause dry or red eyes. If chloramine levels are high enough, they have even been linked more serious problems in the digestive system and kidneys.
Organic Chemicals (Pesticides, Herbicides, Detergents, VOCs)
Organic chemicals are a group of chemical compounds that are used in many products “such as pesticides, gasoline, dry-cleaning solvents and degreasing agents.” These chemicals find their way into our water sources through both runoff, and by being flushed down drains daily.
Typically these will only impact your health when exposure occurs over long periods of time, but they can lead to cardiovascular problems as well as reproductive problems.
Emerging Contaminants (Pharmaceuticals, Hormones)
According to the EPA, contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), are increasingly being detected at low levels in surface water. These chemicals are being found to impact the endocrine system leading to a variety of health effects caused by fluctuations in hormonal health.
How Do I Find Out What Contaminants are in My Drinking Water?
Knowing this, how can you make sure that you and your family are protected? Thankfully there multiple routes you can take that are relatively easy.
Get Your Water Tested
First, get your water tested. This is the best way to get an accurate picture of what’s in your water today.
When looking for a test, be sure to avoid TDS meters and look for an option that will test for a wide range of actual contaminants and not just dissolved solids. The reason you want to avoid a TDS meter is because it will only be looking for minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) in your water and not the things that really matter.
At-home test kits are available, but you can also contact your local water authority for a reference to an independent lab where you can send a water sample to for testing.
Consider Adding Water Filtration
Another easy way to protect you and your family is to purchase a point-of-use or whole house water filtration system that has been independently certified for the reduction of a wide variety of contaminants.
WaterChef offers some powerful options, including the EVO100 Whole House System, the U9000 Under-Sink System, and C7000 Countertop System. All of these filter systems have been third-party tested and certified through either WQA or IAPMO, two of the most highly regarded testing laboratories in the water filtration industry. This means you can have confidence that your filter system is doing what we claim, as it has been rigorously tested and verified by a trusted independent source.