If you are drinking your water from the tap, most of the water is safe to consume.
A few water pollutants, however, can pose a risk to your health even if they are under the government’s legal limit.
These chemical additives are especially dangerous to people with cancer and AIDS, small children and pregnant women.
While federal law requires water utilities that serve more than 10,000 customers, to send an annual report explaining what’s exactly in the water, an understanding of common contaminants and pollutants can help you make the best decisions about your household water supply.
Common Water Pollutants
Look out for the following pollutants in your tap water:
- Chlorination byproducts: Chlorine in your tap water kills germs, but it also reacts with the organic substances in water to form chloroform and other types of trihalomethanes – which are carcinogens that some studies say may be linked to miscarriages. If the levels of trihalomethanes in your tap or shower water is higher than 75 micrograms per liter, it is best to use a shower filter or drink filtered water.
- Arsenic: This natural substance is found in the Earth’s crust and is typically discovered in well water. Because exposure to arsenic can increase your risk of cancer, federal laws have decreased the legal drinking limit for arsenic-laced water to 10 parts per billion. If your water utility serves 10,000 customers or more, you may find information about arsenic found in your drinking water by reading the local newspaper or looking for water reports in your neighborhood library. People with a very small water system, or who maintain their own well, will have to get their water tested themselves.
- Lead: Tap and drinking water usually leave the treatment plant free of lead. However, this element can be transferred to your water via brass faucets and lead-soldered pipes. The only way to make sure that your water is lead-free is to have it tested. You can contact the EPA’s Safe Water Hotline to find a certified water testing lab in your town. If you know that your tap water’s lead level is higher than 15 parts per billion, buy a water filter to remove the lead efficiently.
- Cryptosporidium: This parasite was responsible for the largest outbreak of disease from a public water supply in the history of the United States of America. If your water system tests for cryptosporidium, you will find this information on your water report. You can get rid of cryptosporidium cysts by using a water filter system or killing the parasites by boiling your water.
Types of Water Faucet Filters to Remove Impurities
If you are concerned about the purity or quality of your water – or you want your water to taste or smell better– investing in a water filter is a safe bet to remove pollutants.
There are various types of water filtration systems to purify the drinking water in your entire home. A water faucet filter attaches to your bathroom or kitchen faucet to filter out lead, sediment and other impurities. Different types of water purification systems target different contaminants and their filters must be changed periodically.