What’s in the local water that you’re drinking everyday? We assume water supplies across the U.S. are perfectly safe, but the news out of Flint, Michigan would suggest otherwise. Just because the water they’re drinking is odorless, colorless, and tasteless doesn’t mean it’s safe. The ugly truth is that there is a lot of bad tasteless, odorless, and colorless contaminants that can be found in your local water supply. The EPA regulates over 90 contaminates found in local drinking water, but there are still many potentially hazardous ones that go unregulated. The Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) includes contaminants that are not subject to current national primary drinking water regulations:
- Benzyl Chloride
- PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid)
- PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid)
In addition, a recent study by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that a broad range of chemicals found in residential, industrial, and agricultural wastewaters commonly occurs in mixtures at low concentrations downstream from areas of intense urbanization and animal production. The chemicals include human and veterinary drugs, (including antibiotics), natural and synthetic hormones, detergent metabolites, plasticizers, insecticides, and fire retardants. One or more of these chemicals were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled.
So what can you do to ensure you are drinking safe water?
- Test Your Water – If you get your water from a well you need to have it tested regularly by a state certified environmental testing lab. They will test the water for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and lead.
- Read Your Utility Water’s Quality Report– Here you can find out if there were any violations to the set limits of contaminant levels in your drinking water.
- Keep Your Home’s Plumbing Up to Date– Make sure that your home does not have lead pipes which can contaminate water. It is also recommended to replace corroded copper pipes as well. Long-time exposure to copper that exceeds EPA-mandated maximums for drinking water can have adverse affects on the liver and kidneys.
- Make sure to not poison your well or local reservoir– Make sure you do not use too much fertilizer or pesticides on your lawn, or not properly dispose of oil and antifreeze. These chemicals can seep into the ground water if not monitored and properly disposed of.
- Drink Bottled Water or Boil Water– The FDA regulates the safety of bottled water, however there is no scientific evidence that it’s healthier than what comes out of your tap. Boiling water will sterilize it against micro-organisms but does not remove toxic micro-organism by products, rock sediments, heavy metals, or motor oil contaminants.
- Use a Water Filter-This can weed out contaminants that get past your local water utility. Use a reverse osmosis multi-stage filtration system. Reverse Osmosis works to remove dissolved substances from your water. It is capable of rejecting salts, sugars, proteins, dyes, particles, heavy metals, dissolved organics, and disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). Sediment filtration removes sediment and particles from your water, while carbon filtration helps reduce contaminants that can cause unpleasant taste and smell, including chlorine.