Do You Know What’s in Your Drinking Water?
If You’re Not Sure, You are Not Alone.
A recent survey from NSF International found that most U.S. consumers (55 percent), are either concerned about or do not know what is in their drinking water, and that even of those concerned, nearly half of all consumers “do not take steps to filter or treat their home’s drinking water.”
Contamination of your water can occur through human activity or even naturally. This means that everything from the rainstorm last week to the pipes that are delivering your water can impact what you actually drink; even the chemicals used to clean your water can make a difference.
With so many people having worries about the potential contaminants in their water, you would think that the ways to obtain this information and how to protect our families would be common knowledge, but most of us don’t know where to start. That’s why we’re here to help…
Step One: Find Your CCR
If your water is connected to a municipality in the US, they are required to provide you with a Consumer Confidence Report each year. This water quality report will let you know where your water is sourced from, what contaminants have been found, and how they rank against current EPA Standards. This will give you a baseline as to what is happening with the water in your area.
After reading your CCR, if you still have concerns about contaminents that are specific to your home, you can go one step further and have your water tested. Many local water authorties will be able to provide you with the contact information of a local and independent lab but of course the test will not be free. You can also purchase a DIY test kit from most home improvement stores or online.
If you choose the DIY route, make sure to get the right test for your concern; a test for hard water doesn’t necessarily let you know if there are worrisome contaminants coming out of your faucet, and a TDS meter is usually a poor measure of water quality, since it only tests for total dissolved solids (usually attributed to the amount of calcium, potassium, and magnesium present) – these are beneficial minerals that are known to support good health.
“Most people purchase the wrong equipment because they skip this very important step, and then they’ve wasted money and resources on a system that isn’t making their water any safer.”James P. McMahon, Ecologist
Step Two: What Filter is Right for You
Once you know what’s in your water, the next step is to figure out what type of water filter is right for you. Unfortunately, not all water filters are created equally. Do your research and make sure that your choice addresses your actual needs. If you’re worried about contaminants such as lead, mercury or pharmaceuticals, you’ll need a system that’s more robust than one only meant to remove chlorine.
Sadly, the water filtration industry is riddled with dishonest manufacturers that make false and/or misleading claims. Choosing a system that has been independently validated by one these trusted labs will ensure that your filter has gone through the rigorous testing protocols that confirm that the performance claims made by a manufacturer are accurate. Don’t risk your family’s health by assuming a filter system’s performance claims are true. Make sure it is independently tested and certified.
Step Three: Don’t Forget Your Shower
Now that you’ve found your filter of choice for drinking water, don’t forget about your shower. Chlorine absorption is often an overlooked culprit that can strip away our bodies’ natural oils and proteins, causing many of your dry skin, dull hair, and weird rash frustrations.