Top 5 Potential Toxins In Tap Water
Should You Be Concerned?
When you turn on your tap, you assume the water is safe to drink. There are regulations in place that set safety standards in place for your water – all covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act. So why is there so much news about contaminated water, and should you worry? What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
Although much of the water provided to the public in the US meets national safety standards, treated water can contain heavy metals and environmental pollutants such as lead, mercury, pharmaceuticals, herbicides and pesticides. We’ve written about how that can happen. The good news is you can protect yourself and your family through the use of a water filter. These are the top five toxins to pay attention to and remove using a NSF certified water filter.
1) Heavy metals (lead and mercury)
Lead is a chemical element that is considered a heavy metal, with symbol Pb (from Latin: plumbum) and atomic number 82. It is used to make batteries, bullets, in building construction and is common in older plumbing. Lead is a neurotoxin and there is no safe level of ingestion. In severe cases, lead poisoning can lead to major health problems including death. Even exposure to trace amounts over time can cause serious symptoms.
Mercury is a global pollutant that ultimately makes its way into waterways through coal-fired power plants. It can also end up in your drinking water through more natural causes like rain, snow and air pollution. Mercury is another neurotoxin and is stored in your kidneys, blood, brain and liver.
Most of us prefer not to think about it, but the fact remains that pharmaceuticals are in drinking water, and the amounts are increasing as our population grows. Pharmaceuticals enter the water supply when people flush them down the toilet, or when prescribed medicine is not completely processed by a patient’s body. They are prescribed to millions of people every day and when the human body cannot process an entire prescribed dose, the rest is eliminated through urine. Many studies in the last ten years have detected pharmaceutical compounds in treated wastewater. A recent government study shows over 80% of waterways tested in the United States show traces of common medications such as acetaminophen, hormones, blood pressure medicine, codeine, and antibiotics. Aquasana drinking water filters are NSF certified to remove pharmaceuticals from water.
3) Herbicides and pesticides
Atrazine, a popular pesticide, is a toxic chemical used to kill weeds. It is mainly used on commercial row crops, such as corn and sugar cane, but is also used on lawns and golf courses. It is attractive to farmers because it lasts for about 40 days in the soil. When rain or watering causes run-off, Atrazine can infiltrate surface and ground water.
An estimated one billion pounds of pesticide is used each year in the U.S. and a percentage ends up as runoff in streams, rivers, and lakes. A recent United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) study showed pesticides are widespread in streams and groundwater sampled throughout the country. USGS found that more that 90% of water and fish samples from streams sampled in the U.S. contain at least one pesticide.
4) Chlorine and chloramine
Chlorine is the most common chemical used to treat water. It is used to disinfect water and is part of the sanitation process for sewage and industrial waste. Chorine may be commonly used, but is also a serious contaminant. Chlorine has a valuable use in sanitizing water, but it is also a chemical, and one your body doesn’t need. Chlorine treated water kills bad bacteria, but it also kills good bacteria. This can be a problem for someone’s overall health and wellness.
Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. Although water filtration plants typically use the safest form known as monochloramine (NH2C1), chloramines exists in two other forms called dichloramine (NHCl2), and trichloramine (NCl3). Experts state that monochloramine may inadvertently convert into one of the more dangerous forms, depending on pH value, temperature, turbulence, and the chlorine to ammonia ratio.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water utilities to control levels of regulated disinfection byproducts, and allows each water utility to choose the most effective approach of disinfecting water as long as it meets EPA standards.
A collaborative research project with the University of Texas School of Engineering helped Aquasana become an industry leader in developing water filtration products that effectively reduce chloramine contamination. Among these products are the groundbreaking chloramine-reducing filter pitcher system, the Clean Water Machine, the AQ-5300 under-the counter system and the EQ-400 whole-home system.
5) Industrial chemicals
Industry is a huge source of water pollution. Many industrial facilities use freshwater to carry away waste from plant and into our water systems. Industrial waste often contains many toxic compounds that damage the health of aquatic animals and those who eat them. Some toxins in industrial waste may only have a mild effect whereas others can be fatal.
Aquasana’s NSF Certified drinking water filters remove over 77 harmful contaminants from water including chlorine, chloramines, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents, lead, asbestos, and mercury while preserving healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. From whole house, to countertop, to under counter and our newest addition: our filter bottle, we have a variety of price points and options to meet every need.
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