Everyone knows that water straight from the tap isn’t as pure and clean as we used to think. Sometimes the impurities are harmless, and sometimes they are quite dangerous to your health.
If you are seriously concerned, you can start drinking bottled water, install a home drinking fountain for filtered water, or even get a filter system for the entire home. Firstly, you should learn a little more about the typical impurities you are likely to find in your home water.
All drinking water has some degree of dissolved mineral content, and it’s perfectly natural. Even so, they would still be considered impurities in the water, especially if they are in high amounts (known as hard water). Typically, we’re talking about calcium, magnesium and sodium. None are generally harmful to drink, and tend to be a bigger problem for the plumbing. The dissolved minerals accumulate on taps and fixtures, creating that white crust you often see on faucets or shower heads.
This refers to a fairly wide range of compounds, many of which are technically natural but are still quite harmful. They also come from local pollution, particularly mining and industrial operations. Some of the more common examples are:
Low levels are unfortunately normal, but if you have high concentrations of these metals in your water, you are taking a health risk with every sip.
Chlorine and Fluoride
Though they are different chemicals, they’re being listed together because they are unique as intentional additives to most drinking water supplies. Chlorine is added in the purification process to kill bacteria and pathogens, and fluoride is added as a medicinal ingredient to improve dental health. Health concerns about both are constantly up for debate, but a lot of people prefer to filter them out to be safe. Getting rid of the chlorine certainly improves the taste if nothing else.
Pesticides and Herbicides
These agricultural contaminants have become a too-common impurity in a lot of drinking water. They end up in the local ground water from large-scale farming applications and then aren’t properly filtered out during treatment.
This is a similar problem as the pesticides, where the water isn’t being treated thoroughly enough to remove all the various chemicals that are now ending up in our water sources. Medicines that are improperly disposed of are leaching into the soil and ground water, and they also end up in our wastewater and sewage since many products are excreted from the body naturally. These pharmaceutical chemicals end up remaining in the supply until they reach your tap.
Rust and Sediment
Lastly, you may have low levels of rust or sediment in your water, which are somewhat different than all the chemicals we’ve been talking about. These contaminants aren’t great for your health but they are certainly not as toxic at heavy metals or pesticides. You just need a standard water filter (even just the jug kind) to strain out the particulates. Generally, these come from the plumbing in your home rather than from your actual water source.