How to Find Out What’s in Your Drinking Water

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Water is pretty easy to tell if it’s dirty, right? The color will be off and it will have a smell. Sure, if it is absolutely filthy, but what about water that has colorless, odorless dissolved solids in it? It can look like any other cup of water. How can consumers find out what’s in their drinking water, and is it really a big deal if the water does not have a bad taste?

When it comes to the taste of water, there is no one, objective answer as far as what good water tastes like. Some people prefer the taste of mineral water, which has minerals in it. These minerals give the water a very distinct taste, one that not everyone is a fan of. Does this mean the water is dirty? Not at all, but other bad tastes can be a red flag that something harmful may be in your water.

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With all the chemicals in our environment, it would be foolish to think that none of those chemicals make their way into the water supply. Many water supply companies combat these pollutants by treating the water with high amounts of chlorine bleach. This kills any germ and irritants, but it also leave the water full of chlorine-hence the pool water taste.

There have been studies that have shown everything from dissolved pharmaceutical medication to arsenic in tap water. These same chemicals and others have been found in the water from some bottled water companies. Though it seems store-bought bottled water would have more stringent regulations regarding its sourcing and filtration, the truth is that tap water is the more regulated of the two. Some bottled water companies self regulate (and do a great job of it) but others simple use a fancy label and sell the idea of fresher, cleaner water. Sadly, the two can sometimes be hard to tell apart.

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To learn more about your water supply, a good starting point is to contact your local water department to get access to their testing records. Some companies have this information on their websites. This will give you a baseline for the overall quality of the water in your city, but it won’t give you specifics about the water that flows specifically to your house, and that is what is most important. Even if you do have good water, the piping in your house could be significantly lowering the quality by leaching contaminants as it delivers the water to your faucets.

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Other than testing the water yourself at an independent lab, is there anything else consumers can do to protect themselves from polluted water? Sure, there is. Buy a high quality water filter. Filters come in many different types and fit many different budgets. You can attach them to your faucets or store them in the fridge in separate containers. Some may think filters are a waste of money, but they are certainly cheaper than buying bottled water every day. More importantly, tested home filtered water often tastes better and shows much lower levels of any type of contaminants.

Water filters use various methods to clean the water. A very popular and simple method is to use granulated charcoal as a drain that allow the water to pass whiling catching dissolved solids. The more drains the water has to pass through, the cleaner the water is in the end. Other, more advanced, filters use a mixture of charcoal and carbon-based media to break down the bonds of chemicals like chlorine, allowing it to detach from the water molecules.

We need water. It is absolutely essential for optimal health and functioning. Our bodies use water to cleanse and removed toxins, so we surely can’t afford to drink water that has toxins in it. We owe it to ourselves to make sure the water we drink is as healthy and clean as possible.

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