Are you using a water filter in your kitchen? If not, it’s time to get one.
by Rik Snuiverink
There are more newspaper headlines every day about a collapsing infrastructure and unsafe drinking water, leading to growing debate about the water our families drink, and whether we should be using water filters, bottled water or the tap water that the EPA spends time and money keeping up to standard. When you really examine those three options, though, the choice becomes clear.
Water filters protect you and your family
Tap water contains more contaminants than you might think, and US residents face a one in four chance of their tap water either not meeting EPA standards or being improperly monitored. By using a water filter, you can be sure you are eliminating as many as possible. There are a variety of filter around, but the levels of efficiency in terms of exactly what they filter out and to what extent can be highly variable. One filter provider is Big Berkey and the advantage of a Berkey water filter is that it will remove more toxins and chemicals, including fluoride, chlorine, parasites and lots others, while at the same time leaving the essential minerals in place that your body needs.
Is the situation really that bad, though? Surely the EPA regulations are there to ensure that tap water is safe to drink as it is? Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple. Here are seven reasons it makes sense to filter:
1.) Filtered water tastes better
You’ve heard the phrase “trust your senses” – well don’t underestimate the importance of your sense of taste. Most people agree that tap water doesn’t taste as good as filtered or bottled water. Aside from the fact that water that tastes pure is nicer to drink, the fact that tap water tastes “a bit funny” should be enough to get you thinking.
2.) Tap water contains chlorine
You wouldn’t put a splash of bleach into your drinking water. But that is, in effect, what the municipal authorities have done already. Of course, drinking trace amounts of chlorine is far less harmful than ingesting the bacteria it is put in there to kill, a fact that has been scientifically proven, and according to the EPA, the small amounts of chlorine in drinking water (around four parts per million) pose “no known or exposed health risk.” But, ideally, wouldn’t you prefer water with neither bacteria nor chlorine? Then you definitely need a water filter.
3.) Tap water contains carcinogens
The irony is that despite the chlorine that goes into our water supply, there are still chemicals in there that can cause serious health problems. One three-year study uncovered 300 contaminants. You can take a look at what the research uncovered for Williamsburg here – contaminants including bromodichloromethane, chloroform, chromium and dichloroacetic acid sound less than inviting. Yet despite their presence, the water actually meets EPA regulations. Further evidence that whether a town’s water meets the regulations or not, a water filter is a wise investment.
4.) Often, there are even worse things
The above pollutants are ones that the EPA assures us do not constitute an immediate threat of serious illness. However, there have been thousands of cases across the US in which water has been found to not even meet the EPA minimum requirements, including 12,000 health-based violations every year that affect on average some 27 million people. Contaminants including pharmaceutical products, industrial run-off and organic matter from leaves, animals and even humans have all been found. Fortunately, any and all of these will be removed by a water filter.
5.) And the situation is deteriorating
Most of today’s water distribution infrastructure was created in the years immediately following the second world war, and the network around Williamsburg is no different. The fact is, it has now been in place for more than 60 years, and is reaching the end of its useful life. Obviously, this will affect the quality of the water. Engineers have estimated that America needs to spend more than a trillion dollars over the next 25 years to bring the system up to code. In the meantime, we need to do what we must to provide good quality drinking water to our families. And that means making full use of water filters.
6.) Looking closer to home
While it is easy to blame the government and municipal authorities, there is a good chance that if we looked a little closer to home, the story would be no better. Many of the homes in and around Williamsburg were constructed in the early 20th century. If you live in one of the old colonials, how confident are you about the safety, cleanliness and condition of your water pipes? Lead from old piping can leach into the water, which can be enormously harmful to babies, children and especially fetuses, as it affects brain development. According to advice from the WHO, the younger the child, the greater the risk, so if you are pregnant or have young children, a Berkey water filter is even more important.
7.) Better than bottles
Bottled water is one of the great frauds of the 20th and 21st centuries, and the saddest thing of all is that it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price. For one thing, it is only tap water that has been filtered – although of course, the nature of filtration is not usually advertised so it is likely to contain more unwanted ingredients than water that has been through a water filter. For another, it costs around 15 times more per gallon than using water filters.
But the biggest tragedy of all is the immense and lasting environmental damage caused by the manufacture and disposal of all that plastic. Manufacturing every single water bottle releases 160g of CO2 into the atmosphere – that’s the same as driving your car 2km. And despite efforts from environmental bodies, less than a third of those bottles are recycled, with most going to landfill. It is arguably this generation’s most shameful legacy.
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