What's In Your Water

It is not likely you would get sick from regular tap water. The United has some of the safest water supplies in the world.
Water contamination can still occur because of stuff like unauthorized discharge of sewage, or overflow of waste water. 
Uranium, Radon and Arsenic are minerals that occur naturally but can be fatal in drinking water. The use of pesticides and fertilizers; manufacturing of heavy metals, cyanide or malfunctioning equipment at water treatment plants can also cause contamination to a water supply.
Having access to safe drinking water is a basic right. Getting plenty of water every day is beneficial to maintaining optimal health.
If you are concerned about the health of your family and are not sure what is coming out of your tap water, if you suspect lead or if there is a smell, color change in water, clothes or faucet fixtures are dirty you should test. If you pay a water bill then your water is maintained by a public water system and you must be notified if the supply is contaminated. Usually they will send a water quality report out every year. But with lead you would test different faucets because water quality testing is general and can not consider the condition of individual pipes in your home.

 

American Hydra strips test for the following: 

Residual Chlorine- Is a small amount of chlorine that is left from the safe amount added to water to kill bacteria and some viruses that cause disease and/or diarrhea.
pH-Is a measure of how acidic regular water is. 0-14 is the pH range and 7 is neutral. Less than 7 is acidic. pH is a good indicator of chemical changes in water. Acidity is a mixture of elements and gases. Pure water should have a pH of 7.
Total alkalinity-20-200mg/L should be the level for safe drinking water. Total alkalinity is what neutralizes acid and makes the water safe for drinking. 
Hardness-Is the measure of how much mineral like calcium and magnesium has dissolved in the water.
Iron-Is born in dark murky conditions and can clog pipes and screens. May leave brownish stains on clothing and cause a bad taste to water.
Copper- Said to be good for arthritis and is an essential nutrient in the body. ICopper makes a longer lasting pipe too.The problems are that high levels in drinking water caused by low pH levels passing through copper pipes make corrosion. Copper corrosion can be treated with RO Revers Osmosis water treatment filters. See here.
Lead-Can cause Cardiovascular effects in adults, increased blood pressure, decreased kidney function and reproductive problems. In children can cause brain damage, convulsions, attack the central nervous system and can be fatal.
Nitrate-Is a common groundwater contaminant occurring in rural areas from fertilizers, septic systems and from where manure is stored. Is harmful to how blood carries oxygen in babies which causes blue baby syndrome. The skin turns blue other characterizations include seizures, diarrhea, short breath and can be fatal.
Nitrite-Another common groundwater or well water contaminant.  Is toxic to most life forms; can cause blood disorder in infants; alters hemoglobin; deprives blood of oxygen; impact reproductive and developmental systems and is caused by sewage.
Bromine-Is found in nature but we have used so much over the years in agricultural chemicals, dyes, pharmaceuticals and insecticides, that the buildup can cause damage to our nervous system or gastrointestinal. The symptoms would be like throwing up or nausea.
Total Chlorine-Is for or disinfecting drinking water. 4ppm/L is the maximum
allowable amount to kill bacteria any more is too much and will cause breathing difficulty, tightness in chest, eye irritation wheezing and coughing.
Cyanuric Acid-Is used to clean the chlorine in pools to keep them sanitary.  Safe levels in drinking water can not exceed 20mg/L to 30mg/L.
Chromium-Can cause cancer to the reproductive system of males and females. Typically from inhaling but has been known to contaminate a drinking water supply.
Fluoride-Is present in most all waters. Drinking water needs 0.7mg/L (milligrams per liter) to provide the oral health benefits of fluoride. Only lab analysis will determine your level. 

 

The list and post is general and in no ways comprehensive. I would encourage readers to research what is running through your tap.

There are  so many aspects of testing, contaminants and there effects including body weight. Also too many variables in choosing a filtration system to do an in depth study in a blogpost.

The governments have set water quality standards that measure safe levels of contaminants. MCLs  or Maximum Contaminant Levels. If your drinking or household water comes from groundwater/well click here for more information on testing.

If there is lead or other contaminants you would want a filter that removes those particular contaminants. Not all filters are created equal. Check out a list of some common filters and the contaminants they remove here.

Once you find out what is in your water consider an individual faucet type filtration system, a simple pitcher for your drinking water or a home water treatment system.

Testing

Test water every year for nitrates and pH levels; every three years for chloride, iron, hardness or corrosion. 

County health departments kits test for bacteria or nitrates. Also state certified lab or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 for further testing.

The testing agency will provide the sample collection containers. Follow their instructions to the letter.

Coliform bacteria -Test if you have reoccurring gastro-intestinal illness.

pH, lead or copper - Test if you suspect your household plumbing contains lead.

residues, soap does not lather - Test for hardness. 

bad taste or smell - Test for Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion and metals.

nearby gas drilling - Test for chloride and sodium.

This list is general as there are many contaminants and different test to determine the presence of them. The EPA sets standards and regulations for the presence and levels of over 90 different contaminants in public drinking water. EPA does not set standards for private groundwater wells. Owners are responsible for making sure their water is safe from contaminants.

 

When did we even become a nation of bottled water? Is it really necessary? I hope this helps you understand the depth of what your family expectations are in either bottled or tap water.  Water is the Elixir of Life. We are said to have some of the safest drinking water in the world. So why is there hardly anyone drinking it? I challenge all to testing your tap and bottled water regularly to be certain you do not purchase contaminated water unknowingly.

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