Total water intake includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water that is part of the food. Among which, drinking water counts the largest portion of our everyday water intake.
Drinking water comes from a variety of sources including public water systems (tap water), private wells, or bottled water. Safe and healthy drinking water intake is important for optimal health.
Knowing the contaminants of tap water
Tap water is the most important drinking water source of American. The tap water that American are consuming every day contains many contaminants above a healthy level, even if in compliance with EPA standards. Currently, 10 cyanotoxins and 20 additional contaminants that are not regulated by EPA are under EPA monitoring, and there are more that are not monitored. The complete current Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) can be found on EPA website. CCL lists water contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in tap.
One way for homeowners to find out what kind of contamination may be present in their water supply is to obtain a copy of their water quality report or consumer confidence report. There is a handy tool from Environmental Working Group that helps to identify contaminants in your water supply.
Health concerns of contaminants in tap water
Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the data collected from EPA and state agencies. Based on the drinking water tests conducted from 2010 to 2015 in 50 states, 267 contaminants are detected among 500 tested contaminants. According to the analysis of EWG, contaminants detected included:
- 93 linked to an increased risk of cancer.
- 78 associated with brain and nervous system damage.
- 63 connected to developmental harm to children or fetuses.
- 38 that may cause fertility problems.
- 45 linked to hormonal disruption. Hormonal disorder may cause infertility issues.
Filtrate tap water before consume
Some of the contaminants found in the public water system are under regulation and the others are not. When the facilities of the public water system have issues occur, contaminants level may raise unexpectedly, e.g. 2015 lead scandal.
How can we make sure the tap water we consume is clean and safe? An in-home water purification system can effectively reduce the presence of many contaminants.
Types of in-home filtration system
There are different types of filtration system available on the market.
- Mechanical Filtration does not have effectiveness in removing chemicals
- Reverse Osmosis Systems will remove microorganism, common chemical contaminants and reduce most of the others, including organic and inorganic. May waste 2/3 of water.
- Distillation Systems will remove microorganism, common chemical contaminants and reduce most of the others, including organic and inorganic.
- UV Treatment does not remove chemicals.
- Softeners do not remove microorganisms.
Choose your filtration system
Reverse osmosis and distillation systems are the winners for in-home water purification.
- Reverse osmosis systems are available as plumb-in and countertop; the plumb-in type needs installation, but the filtrated water comes out of the faucet just like tap water; the countertop type works out of the box but needs manual operation every time.
- Distillation units work almost out of the box, but this process is energy consuming and needs manual operation every time.
Which type to choose depends on your preference. We picked the plumb-in reverse osmosis for in-home purification because of the convenience of operation.
Reverse osmosis systems come with different after reverse osmosis filters. An alkaline and/or mineral filter might be useful since water after reverse osmosis filtration is acidic (PH 4 – 5) and carries almost no mineral. Alkaline and mineral filter adjusts the PH to a slightly alkaline level and adds beneficial minerals to the final water flow. Acidic water may lead to tooth erosion and cause sensitivity. Plus, reducing acid load and drinking alkaline water may bring health benefits. Although the benefits are still in debate, there is no known harmful effect of consuming slight alkaline water (PH 8- 10).
We recommend selecting a system that meets NSF standards. A water tester is necessary to examine the working condition of your filtration system.
Following are some filtration systems and testers available on amazon.