Drinking Water Contamination Tips

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What can I do to keep my drinking water from having a heavy, metallic taste?

Improve Taste With an Iron Water Filter

If your tap water has a reddish tint or metallic taste, there is a good chance that your drinking water has a fairly high concentration of iron. The human body actually needs iron to function effectively, and most people don't actually consume as much iron as they need. However, there are much better ways to increase your iron consumption than to be subjected to drinking water with a heavy metallic flavor. While iron isn't unhealthy, there are a number of reasons that iron does not belong in your home's water supply.

In addition to having an unpleasant taste, water that has a high concentration of iron tends to have a bad odor. If your drinking water tastes and smells nasty, you certainly aren't likely to drink as much water as your body needs to stay hydrated. Additionally, using water with a high concentration of iron to wash your clothes and your dishes can cause permanent stains. The presence of iron in your home's water supply can also clog the drains and pipes.

Fortunately, it's not difficult to reduce the concentration of iron in your tap water. When you need to get rid of unwanted chemicals such as iron, water filters can be very effective. Simply install a drinking water filter on your sinks so that your drinking water won't be full of iron. You can also install a whole house filtration system, which will reduce the iron concentration in the water supply to your entire house.

   
Is there a link between chlorine and cancer?

Is There a Link Between Chlorine and Cancer?

While chlorine has not been officially labeled as a carcinogenic agent, a significant body of scientific research indicates the existence of a direct link between the consumption of chlorine and cancer. For years, numerous clinical studies have indicated that there is an association between chlorine consumption and bladder cancer, breast cancer, and other deadly forms of the disease.

Even though some researchers argue that there is no definitive proof that chlorine consumption leads to cancer, it's a fact that there is no reason to believe that that there are any valid health benefits associated with drinking chlorinated water. Since there are no advantages to ingesting chlorine and there is a good chance that the substance is carcinogenic, it only makes sense to avoid putting it into your body.

The good news is that it's very easy to remove this harmful chemical from your water supply. When you install and use a drinking water filter system in your home, you'll be able to keep yourself and your family safe from the risks of drinking chlorinated water.

   
What are the reasons for drinking water contamination?

Learning About Drinking Water Safety

Each American household uses an average of 94,000 gallons of water per year. We often take this convenience for granted. It is in everyone's best interest to be aware of this precious resource in order to conserve and protect it from many risks. Drinking water contamination can come in many forms, such as municipal and industrial discharges, recreational activities or simply natural conditions and events. These can all, in one way or another, be considered a risk to the safety of our drinking water. The EPA has developed a poster that teaches awareness of drinking water safety. It can be ordered from their website at www.epa.gov.

   
What is leachate?

Leachate Facts

Contaminated water is called leachate and is produced when waste becomes saturated with water. Wastes with high moisture content or which receive artificial irrigation, rainwater, surface or groundwater infiltration produce leachate and methane gas. Once a rubbish dump is saturated, annual precipitation of 36 inches per year can percolate around 1 million gallons of contaminated water per acre. In turn, if a leachate reaches ground or surface water it could contaminate water supply wells.

   
How do dumps and landfills affect our water?

How Drinking Water Is Contaminated

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 0.1% and 0.4% of usable surface aquifers are contaminated by industrial impoundments and landfills. These dumps and landfills are a threat to water supplies when water seeps through waste. During this process, it picks up a variety of substances such as metals, minerals, organic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, explosives, flammables, and other toxic materials. Drinking water contamination is the result. In fact, all source water is at risk for contamination.

   
How can I reduce the amount of lead in my water?

Combatting Lead in Drinking Water

The only way to determine if you have lead in your drinking water is to have your water tested professionally. Consumption of lead has been linked to developmental delays in infants and children and kidney problems and high blood pressure in adults.

Lead in water is the result of plumbing corrosion. You can reduce the amount of lead in your drinking water by running cold water through your faucet for a minute or more to flush through any lead that may have collected. Boiling water is ineffective at getting rid of lead. The simplest way to combat lead is with a drinking water filter designed for lead.

   
Do pesticides damage water purity?

Pesticides In Your Drinking Water

A significant cause of water contamination is pesticides. Pesticides enter surface and ground water from crops in agricultural areas. Pesticides are also used on golf courses, forested areas, along roadsides, and in suburban and urban landscape areas. Without proper safeguards pesticides have the potential to seriously threaten many groundwater supplies in the United States. Approximately 50% of the U.S. population obtains its drinking water from groundwater sources and as much as 95% of the population in agricultural areas uses groundwater as its source of drinking water.

   
Which drinking water contaminants are most harmful to children?

EPA Water Standard Limitations

Through the Safe Drinking Water Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for making sure our drinking water meets standards for 90 different contaminants. Although these standards ensure that U.S. tap water is among the safest in the world for drinking, they don't protect everyone. Those with weakened immune systems and some children may be more sensitive to legal levels of contaminants in drinking water. Children are especially sensitive to nitrates, lead, copper, microbial contaminants and disinfectants. To minimize the effects of these contaminants, choose a drinking water filter system that targets these contaminants.

   
What is MTBE?

What is MTBE?

MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a chemical compound that is manufactured by the chemical reaction of methanol and isobutylene. It almost exclusively used as a fuel additive in motor gasoline. A growing number of studies have detected MTBE in ground water throughout the country. In some instances these contaminated waters are sources of drinking water. The EPA released a drinking water advisory document in 1997 that indicates that there is little likelihood that MTBE in drinking water will cause adverse health effects at concentrations between 20 and 40 ppb or below. However, filtration of water is an important step to ensure our water is clean enough to drink.

   
Should I worry about nitrates in my drinking water?

Nitrates in Water

Nitrates are odorless, colorless compounds that can affect the quality of drinking water. Although minimal levels of nitrates are considered safe by the EPA, too many nitrates are unhealthy and can result in infant deaths in extreme cases. Higher concentration of nitrates are found in rural Colorado and in wells that are improperly positioned. Because nitrate levels vary seasonally, those concerned with nitrate levels in their water should have their water tested at several times during the year.

Carbon water filters are ineffective at treating nitrates in water. Boiling water with nitrates causes the nitrates to increase. To rid your water of nitrates, drill a deeper well or use a reverse osmosis water filter.

   
Does road salt affect our water supply?

Winter Water Woes

Road salt is a major cause of contamination of our water supply. In order to melt ice, every winter millions of tons of road salt are spread across US highways. These salts are very soluble in water and move easily into groundwater. As a result, public and private drinking water supplies exceed federal and state limits of contamination by the chemicals in the salt.

   
Are cancer and drinking water related?

Combat Cancer: Start With Our Water Supply

One in every seven people will die from cancer. According to the Center For Disease Control, "death from cancer is increasing more rapidly than is the population.” It is now widely accepted that cancer is an environmental disease. The World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute both suggest that most human cancers, perhaps as many as 90% are caused by chemical carcinogens in the environment, including our healthy water supply. By minimizing or eliminating our exposure to chemical carcinogens, we can significantly reduce the number of deaths by cancer.

   
Can I test my own water?

Testing Your Water Supply

Because water systems can change sources from one day to the next, water contaminants can also vary daily. Although your water system company is required to supply you with an annual report on water contaminant levels, you may want to test your own water more frequently to see how the contaminant levels change.

If you don't want to hire a company to test your water, calling National Testing Labs or Suburban Water Testing to request a water sampling kit. Several different tests are available to target the contaminants you suspect. Once you receive your water quality test in the mail, collect a sample of your water and send it back to the laboratories. Some companies that sell water filter systems will also provide this service.

Comapare the results of your water supply test with the EPA standards. These can be found on the EPA Web site or by calling the EPA Safe Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

   
Can I get rid of flouride in my drinking water?

Flouride Drinking Water Filters

Flouride supplementation in water is a controversial topic. Those opposed to flouridated water argue that because flouride is a carcinogen and a mutagen it is unsafe to drink. Flouride in drinking water also can lead to dental flourosis - a condition that destroys the teeth.

If you are concerned about flouride in the water supply, purchase a flouride drinking water filter. These filters come in a variety of models including those that attach to your faucet and others that connect to the pipes under your sink. Most drinking water filters are carbon water filters that don't effectively remove flouride so be sure that your drinking water filter is specifically designed to remove flouride.

   
How is drinking water contaminated?

What Lies Beneath

Oftentimes, drinking water is contaminated by underground tanks. Fuel oil, diesel fuel, and many chemicals are stored in underground tanks. Over time, these tanks deteriorate and develop leaks. Minute quantities -- about one part per million -- may be enough to cause contamination and unsafe drinking water.

   
How can I make sure the drinking water supply in my home is safe from harmful chemicals?

Make Sure That Your Family's Drinking Water is Safe

Drinking water supply safety is of the utmost importance. Do you know if the tap water coming into your home is safe? Even though you need water to survive, consuming unfiltered water from your faucets can be very dangerous. No matter how clear your tap water is, there is a good chance that the water that flows through your faucets is teeming with substances that pose serious health risks to you and every member of your family.

If you live in a region of the country where tap water has a yellow or red tint and a metallic taste, it's not hard for you to understand the benefits of installing a drinking water filter system. However, even if your drinking water is clear, odorless, and doesn't have a pleasant taste, it is very likely that you are consuming dangerous substances such as lead, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every time you have a glass of water.

The best way to make sure the water you drink, cook with, and use to wash your dishes with is safe is to install a carbon water filter. When tap water passes through a filtration device before you consume it, you don't have to worry about what types of dangerous substances you might be ingesting. Using a water filter is the best way to ensure drinking water supply safety for you and your family.

   
What is the most thorough water filter?

The Best Water Filter

The best water filter for ridding your water of the most contaminants is one that uses "reverse osmosis." Reverse osmosis filters are installed under the sink and require professional maintenance every couple of months. Because they are the most expensive water filter option, you may want to look into cheaper filters that remove specific contaminants such as iron, nitrates, chlorine or lead.

   
How does water get contaminated?

Sources of Drinking Water Contamination

Drinking water is exposed to different contaminants based on whether it comes from surface water (like rivers and lakes) or groundwater (like wells and some public water supplies). Surface water can be compromised by acid rain, industrial waste, runoff from storms and pesticides. Groundwater is at risk from leachate from landfills and septic systems, haphazard disposal of agricultural chemicals and household cleaning products, and certain pathogens. Because groundwater is slow-moving and isn't exposed to the natural cleaning benefits of air, sunlight and micro-organisms, contaminants in groundwater take longer to be cleaned. An effective way to reduce drinking water contamination is to use a drinking water filter system. For best results, find one that is made for the contaminants that are most prevelant in your area.

   
What's a cheap way to improve the taste of my drinking water?

Carbon Water Filter Pitchers

If you're looking to improve the taste of your drinking water and reduce the level of toxins, a water filter pitcher is your most economic water filter option. These pitchers use carbon water filters to trap undesirable elements. The carbon water filters need to be changed periodically - every 6 to 9 months is common - and they don't protect against all bacteria. Still, their affordability and ease of maintenance makes them the most common water filter option in the United States.

   
Can I avoid contaminants by drinking only bottled water?

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

Because bottled water is held to exactly the same standards as tap water, buying bottled water won't necessarily protect you from the specific chemicals, minerals or pollutants that you're trying to avoid. The leeway in mineral and chemical limits is what accounts for the different taste between bottled water and tap water. Read the treatment information provided on the bottled water label to make sure that the quality of the bottled water is worth the extra price.

The only way to make sure you're doing all you can to avoid specific minerals in your drinking water is to purchase drinking water filters that are engineered to filter those minerals. Iron water filters, carbon water filters and more are available to keep you safe from whichever contaminant you are concerned about.

   
Doesn't chlorine kill germs in water?

Chlorine In Your Water: Help Or Harm?

Many water suppliers add a disinfectant to drinking water to kill germs such as giardia and E.coli. Heavy rainstorms cause a higher rate of these germs to accumulate. Your water system may add more disinfectant to guarantee that these germs are killed. Some people who use drinking water containing well in excess of EPA's standard could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose. Some people who drink water containing chlorine well in excess of EPA's standard could experience stomach discomfort.

   
Is there lead in drinking water?

Lead In Your Water Supply

You already know about the dangers of lead in household paint. But perhaps you have not considered how lead can affect your home's water supply. Older homes may use lead pipe for water delivery. Even newer homes (up to 1986) may have lead solder, which is used to seal the water lines. Today, lead can legally leach up to 11 parts per million from faucets and still not exceed the federal standard.

   
Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

Iron Water Filters

If your water tastes metallic, stains your laundry and smells like rotten eggs, you could have an iron problem. Although the water is safe to drink for most people, the side effects of running iron-contaminated water in your home are inconvenient.

Iron is especially common in water that comes from wells. Ferric iron (rust) requires mechanical sediment water filters, while ferrous must be removed by specialized iron water filters. Iron filters also often filter for hydrogen sulfide, manganese and other contaminants, but if you're concerned about chlorine you may have to look for a different filter.

   
How can I find out if my water is safe to drink?

Annual Water System Reports

The vast majority of water systems are considered safe for drinking by the US Environmental Protection Agency. If your local water system falls below EPA standards or if there is an emergency, the water supplier is required to notify you by newspaper, mail, radio or TV. To find out specific information about the contaminants in your water, ask your water supplier for a copy of the annual water quality report. Find the water supplier for your area through the United States Environmental Protection Agency Web site.

It's especially important to review your annual water quality report before you purchase a drinking water filter system. Because different drinking water filters target different contaminants, knowing the composition of your local water can help you choose the best water filter for you.

   
Is taste or smell a good indication of unhealthy tap water?

Secondary Drinking Water Regulations

Even though the United States Environmental Protection Agency sets high standards for drinking water, there is still a lot of room for variation in drinking water composition. To track these variations, the EPA has developed a system of secondary drinking water regulations. These regulations are enforced on a voluntary basis. Some chemicals present in drinking water aren't harmful, but affect the taste or odor of the water or give the water a cloudy appearance. Some contaminants can even lead to discoloration of skin, hair or teeth. If you are experiencing some of these problems with your water, yet you haven't heard of any health warnings related to your local drinking water supply, ask your water supplier about compliance with the secondary drinking water regulations. If you can identify the mineral that's affecting the color or smell of your water, you'll be able to easily choose a drinking water filter system to take care of that specific problem.

   
Why do I need a drinking water filter system if my tap water is clear?

Understanding Drinking Water Contamination

Tap water, no matter how clean it appears, typically contains several synthetic and organic substances that are dangerous if consumed. Most people believe that water that looks, smells, and tastes clean has to be safe for consumption. That's why drinking water contamination is such a serious concern. The water supply doesn't have to look, smell, or taste bad in order to pose significant health risks. Many of the most dangerous substances that find their way into the drinking water supply are invisible, odorless, and tasteless, making them virtually undetectable.

The best way to make sure that the tap water in your home is safe for consumption is to use a carbon water filter to purify the water before drinking it, cooking with it, or using it to wash your dishes. Drinking water filter systems have been demonstrated to be a very effective at removing even the tiniest particles of dangerous chemicals and other substances from tap water. When you install a carbon water filter, you'll likely be shocked to see the quantity and variety of substances that the filtration system captures. You'll surely be glad the contaminants from your home's water supply are trapped in the filter rather than inside your body.

   
Why should I use a carbon water filtration system?

Purify Your Water Supply With a Carbon Filter

When you want to enjoy tap water that is free from contamination, your best bet is to install a carbon water filter system in your home. Tap water contains a variety of different contaminants that pose serious health risks if consumed. Chlorine, radon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other potentially harmful synthetic and organic substances are commonly found in tap water. These substances need to be removed from your home's water supply so you can safely consume drink or cook with it.

When contaminated water passes through a carbon filter before being consumed, the dangerous substances are removed from the water. An activated carbon filter can trap even the tiniest particles, keeping them out of the water that you consume. Using a carbon drinking water filter system is the best way to keep you and your family safe from consuming potentially dangerous chemicals and other substances.

   
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