Water is one of the few things in life that’s almost free. Unfortunately, there’s been increasing concern about the safety of tap water. Although some people respond to tap water safety concerns by turning to bottled water, bottled water may be as much of a problem, partially because of the plastic bottles that are used to hold it. It’s thought that plastic bottles may leach plasticizer into bottled water and other liquids, particularly if they’re stored in a warm environment. Plus, some brands of bottled water have been shown to be more contaminated than tap water. Should you be concerned about tape water safety? Is tap water safe to drink?
Whether your tap water is safe to drink may depend upon where you live. Although you might expect the most chemically contaminated tap water to come from large cities, it seems to be the smaller, rural areas that have the greatest potential for unsafe tap water. Rural areas often lack the financial backing to keep their water treatment plants outfitted with the best technology, plus there may be a higher risk of the water supply being contaminated with agricultural chemicals and pesticides.
Most water treatment plants in large cities use state-of-the-art technology to remove impurities from the water and also perform regular testing for contaminants. This isn’t to say they remove all impurities from the water since there are potentially harmful contaminants they aren’t even required to test for. Surprisingly, even pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics and other prescription medications have been found upon testing tap water. There’s also the issue of the chlorine used by water treatment plants to kill bacteria in the water. Chlorine has been associated with a variety of health problems including an increased risk of cancer and miscarriage and is present in most municipal tap water supplies.
Tap water safety may also be compromised if you get your water from a well or have old pipes in your home. Well water can be a source not only of microorganisms, but also nitrates which have been associated with a variety of health problems. It’s recommended that well water not be used in the preparation of formula for babies due to the potential for nitrate poisoning. This is particularly true if you live in an agricultural area where fertilizers are commonly used which can leach into the well water. Old pipes in the home can be a source of significant lead contamination which can be particularly dangerous for babies and young children.
If you’re concerned about tap water safety in your area, request a free copy of your water quality report from your local water supplier. You can also check to see if you local water report is available online at the EPA website. If you have young children, are pregnant, or anyone in your household has compromised immunity, consider getting a high quality water filter for home use. This can give you added peace of mind.