Our bodies are comprised of about 60 percent water, and to stay healthy, we need to drink 8-10 glasses of it a day—even more than that in summertime. But how safe is our drinking water? From lead paint in older homes to an overabundance of chlorine in a municipal supply, there may be many toxins lurking in the water we consume every single day, and it’s scary to think that monitoringwater quality has only been happening for a little over a century! Read on to see how water safety has evolved over the years, and how you can ensure that your own drinking supply is clean and healthy.
Michael Schroeder, health care expert at Angie’s List, offers some important tips about how to keep your drinking water safe and healthy:
Test your water, and read your utility’s water quality report
If you get your drinking water from a well, you should have it tested regularly by a state-certified environmental testing lab to account for ever-changing conditions, including contaminants like coliform bacteria and nitrates, that can seep slowly through the soil into underground aquifers. Despite federal regulations that set limits on contaminant levels in drinking water, public systems routinely exceed these. Read up on any violations in your utility’s annual Consumer Confidence Report, also sometimes called the Water Quality Report.
Filter your water
Filtering water at home provides another line of defense against contaminants that get past the local utility. Formuzis calls reverse-osmosis the “Cadillac” of in-home water purification technology. You can also buy filters at non-Cadillac prices that target specific contaminants that concern you.
Keep your home’s plumbing updated, and don’t poison the well (or reservoir)
Paint flecks aren’t the only carriers of the toxic metal in older homes. If you have lead pipes in your home, it’s past time to change those out. Lead from pipes can contaminate water, which can cause developmental problems in children and compromises kidney function in adults. Avoid using pesticides on your lawn, and take used oil or antifreeze to a service center or recycling station. Don’t flush unused medications either, which can further contribute to the trace amounts of pharmaceuticals that can end up in drinking water.
Additionally, when directed by local government or health authorities, follow all orders to boil water from the tap. Boil-water advisories typically go into effect in response to concerns about drinking water contamination, such as after a large main break or natural disaster.
Article and infographic via Angie’s List
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