6 Reasons You Need to Filter Your Water
Home water filters are becoming more popular all the time. Are they a necessity, or are they just a luxury?
Here are 6 important reasons that you should consider buying a filter for your drinking water:
1. Invisible Contaminants
Sure, the water coming out of your kitchen faucet looks clean and clear. But have you thought of this?
If your water comes from a public water supply, it's first disinfected at the water treatment plant. That's good. But then it flows through miles of pipeline before it gets to your house. Along the way, it can pick up contaminants like pesticides and industrial run-off.
The same thing goes for well water. It might look and taste clean but have dangerous levels of contaminants.
And if you have a house that was built before 1986, there's a good chance that you have lead pipes or fixtures with lead solder. That lead can leach into the water and give you lead poisoning.
The right kind of water filter can take care of these harmful pollutants.
Many other contaminants show up in drinking water, but PFCs have been in the news a lot lately.
According to an article by the Environmental Working Group (EWG),
"Drinking water supplies serving more than 5.2 million Americans may be contaminated with two perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, at levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency now deems safe, according to an EWG analysis of EPA test data."
PFC pollution comes from industrial plants, military bases, airports, and wastewater treatment plants. Military and civilian airports use a lot of firefighting foams that contain PFCs. When they wash away the foam, the runoff gets into the groundwater and pollutes it.
These chemicals can cause developmental delays in children, fertility problems, changes to the immune system, and certain cancers.
Reverse osmosis and granulated activated carbon (GAC) or carbon block filters are the best way to remove PFCs from the water.
Many cities in the US have been adding fluoride to the water supply for decades as a way to combat tooth decay. However, the practice has come under question as recent research has determined that consumption of fluoride can cause many health problems.
Little children are especially vulnerable. If they drink formula made with fluoridated water, they can consume up to 100 times more than the daily limit recommended by the Institute of Medicine. The American Dental Association also recommends not using fluoridated water for formula because of the risk of dental fluorosis.
True, chlorine does disinfect the water supply, and that's important. But you don't want to drink it. According to an article from Scientific American, "researchers have now linked chlorine in drinking water to higher incidences of bladder, rectal and breast cancers."
The easiest way to get the chlorine out of your water is by using a carbon-based filter.
And don't forget about your shower! Your skin readily absorbs chlorine and other contaminants from the water. If you want to protect your skin and hair, consider installing a shower filter in your bathroom.
Even if your water doesn't have fluoride or other contaminants, sometimes it just tastes bad. It's hard to motivate yourself to drink those 8 glasses of water a day if it tastes and smells nasty. And bad tasting water makes bad tasting coffee, tea or whatever else you might make from the water.
If all you're concerned about is the taste, you can go with an inexpensive carbon filter like a Brita pitcher. Or for convenience, you could get an undersink carbon block filter.
6. Bottled water isn't as good as you think.
Bottled water is not regulated by the EPA. The FDA oversees bottled water that's sold nationwide. Water bottled and sold within the same state is regulated by the state.
Bottled water plants don't have the same safety requirements as municipal water supplies. For example, they don't have to test for coliform bacteria nearly as often as city water plants do.
City water must be disinfected and filtered to remove pathogens; bottled water doesn't.
City water must be tested for cryptosporidium and giardia viruses; bottled water doesn't.
Although you don't hear about bottled water outbreaks often, they do happen. The CDC has a list of 14 reported outbreaks over the last 20 or so years that were associated with bottled water. All caused acute gastrointestinal illness brought on by bacteria, chemicals, or "unidentified agents".
If you're concerned about fluoride or chlorine in your water, don't assume that bottled water is the answer. If it comes from a municipal water source, it might have those contaminants in them.
Bottled water is also expensive, wasteful, and bad for the environment. In spite of all the recycling programs in the US, about 2/3 of used water bottles end up in landfills and the ocean. Not cool.
A better idea is to filter your water and take it with you in a non-toxic reusable bottle.
There are plenty more reasons to filter your drinking water, but these 6 should be enough to convince anyone.
What about you? Do you use a water filter? If not, why not? Let us hear from you in the comments below.