Is Your Tap Water Safe to Drink?
Public water utilities serve millions of people in the United States, but just how risky can drinking tap water be?
Growing up, I often drank water straight from the kitchen tap. It was cold, refreshing and easy to access, usable for cooking as well as consumption. Depending on where you live though, your experience with tap water might be different. City tap water is notorious for containing a variety of contaminants that can discolor and even change the waters taste. What might seem like a harmless act of quenching thirst might be an invitation to a variety of disease and long-term illness. So how can we find out what’s in our tap water?
EWG Tap Water Database
The Enviornmental Working Group is a NGO that, since 2010, has been documenting public water quality analyses from over 30 million state records to identify pollutants. Their reports cover every major public water utility in the United States and are continually adding to their databases. The EWG has a public Tap Water Database where you can enter your Zip code/state and get a report of the quality of water in your area.
Once you choose a public utility in your area, you’ll get a report of contaminants detected above health guidelines, as well as other detected contaminants. You can then further see how the contaminate levels in your water compare to the state and national standard. The EWG report also informs you how dangerous the contaminate is, as well as links to additional testing documentation.
After you’ve adequately scared yourself away from drinking tap water, the EWG website gives you a list of available water filters you can purchase on Amazon (talk about affiliate programs)! There are a variety of filters on the market, depending on how you prefer to control which pollutants you are targeting. For general external water filtering, I recommend a Brita filter and for on-the-tap filtering, I recommend the Brita faucet filter. Both will remove the majority of contaminants and are relatively cost effective when it comes to replacing the filters themselves.
Tap water can seem like an easy fix to quench thirst, but the long term side effects of drinking tap water can be toxic and deadly, depending on where you live. Take a look at the EWG website and evaluate if the water in your area is safe to drink. If not, consider buying a water filter!
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