Protect your health by testing and filtering water

Gulp…gulp…gulp. You drink a glass of water. It’s zero calories. It’s good for your health and hydration…right?

But do you really know what’s in the water that comes out of the tap?

An estimated 85 percent of people drink water from the tap, according to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group.1 But it might not be as clean as you think.

Tap water that comes from a municipal water sources goes through a filtration process at a treatment plant. That’s the first way tap water is treated.

But before it’s sent through the pipes to your home, tap water typically gets treated with disinfectants like chlorine to eliminate additional contaminants.2

And then you’re good, right? Turn on the tap, fill a glass, and drink up. Not exactly.

Research shows most tap water contains trace amounts of chemicals and impurities from things like:3

  • Lead pipes and old infrastructure
  • Disinfectants
  • Medications
  • Personal-care products
  • Chemicals used in plastics and manufacturing

And that’s a problem. Even exposure to trace amounts of chemicals and contaminants in water can raise the risk for certain types of cancers, including: liver, lung, bladder, kidney, and rectal cancer.

In fact, one recent study found that contaminants in tap water may be linked to more than 100,000 cases of cancer, even though it meets regulation requirements.4

Are you starting to get the picture? Tap water isn’t as clean as you might think. If you want to protect your health, and drink cleaner water, here are some things you can do:

  1. Test your tap water
    So what’s really in your tap water? There’s only one way to find out…test it. Here’s how:

    • Check with your county health department to find out if testing is available to check for bacteria or nitrates.
    • Use an at-home test kit (available online and at home-improvement stores) to find out what’s really in your water
    • Hire a professional from a state-certified lab or contractor to test your water for contaminants
    • Call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 for more information.
  1. Use a water filter
    If you get your drinking water from the tap, use a water filter. Lots of options are available. The most common include:

    • A water filter for the tap you drink from, or
    • A pitcher with a filter for drinking water.

    Most water filters remove contaminants (like: chlorine, zinc, and hydrogen sulfide) that can give tap water a funny taste or smell. But the best water filters also remove lead.

  1. Drink bottled water, but…
    If you want to drink filtered water free of contaminants, drinking bottled water makes sense, right?
    But here’s the thing…Some bottled water comes directly from municipal water sources. Meaning, it’s not any more filtered than the water that comes out of your tap. Before you chug a bottle of water, take a closer look at the label. Check the manufacturer’s website to learn how its water is treated and filtered. If it comes directly from a municipal water source, find another option. Want to protect your health and limit your exposure to harmful contaminants? Test and filter water you drink from the tap.

Recommended Posts