Is Tap Water Safe?

Running water is a luxury in most parts of the world, especially clean and clear water, treated in high-tech facilities and pumped into homes. Yet, faucets and fridges are accessorized with filters; the bottled-water industry is booming, and many parents won’t even mix baby formula with tap water. So, is everyone being overly cautious and ruled by convenience or is tap water truly something to be weary of?

tap water

Looking into a glass of tap water, it appears harmless. On a molecular level, you’d expect nothing but hydrogen-oxygen bonds, right? But that’s not the case. According to the BioIdentical Hormone experts, traces of at least 12 other compounds have been identified in tap water, including arsenic and fire retardant.

But hold on.

Let's look at the cycle of tap water. Large pools of water are drawn by irrigation systems, then pushed into a coagulation center. This is where the water is separated from dirt and something called “alum” is added to it so other stubborn particles will break free. Then it goes through a filtration process to remove the smallest of chemicals. Finally, it goes through a disinfecting stage where chlorine is added, and then it’s stored. (via EPA)

The water that moves through the treatment facilities comes from nature’s cycle of precipitation and evaporation. The water that sprinkles lawns in the summer will eventually find its way through the ground and into the streams or evaporated into the air and moved out to another city. Continuing with this example, think about the chemicals found in lawns, like those from fertilizers, pesticides and weedkillers. Those will travel with the water into the treatment facility.

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So how is it possible that there are still so many chemicals in tap water even after all of that? The process isn’t perfect. Minute levels of harmful compounds will slip through the filtration system and into storage. Yet, it's still considered to be "safe" by governing agencies. According to the EPA, both organic and inorganic compounds are found in tap water after it goes through the cleaning stages, including cyanide, flouride, mercury, lead and xylenes. Most of these lead to nervous system, liver or kidney problems.

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The biggest threat from tap water, though, seems to be the contaminants’ affect on the endocrine system — in other words, hormones. Going back to the study findings from BioIdentical Hormone experts, BPA is one of the most common contaminants in water and comes from the landfills supersaturated with plastic. BPA is linked to hormone imbalances, heart problems and fetal or infant development. Kind of ironic considering bottled water comes in plastic bottles, but most companies have switched to BPA-free packaging.

boy drinking water

Bottom line. Tap water is considered generally safe by the EPA so long as it is cleaned in a municipal treatment center. Even though there are still contaminants in it, there isn’t a high enough level to do any real harm. Pregnant women, people with lowered immune systems (HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy patients) and children should avoid drinking tap water. If you’re curious about what’s in your water, you can call the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791. (via WebMD)

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