Water Filters, Why Do We Need Them?
A few weeks ago we gave you some tips on finding a water filter, but are they really a necessity? Every day we turn on our faucets and often don’t think twice about the water that comes out. We just assume it’s perfectly safe to use and consume; that it’s adequately purified by our municipal water treatment facilities. But this isn’t always the case, so there are many factors to consider when it comes to water quality.
1. Outdated water treatment and infrastructure.
Water treatment is considered to be one the greatest public health achievements of the last century, yet water treatment facilities continue to rely on the same methods that have been around since World War I. These antiquated water treatment methods, designed to kill certain microorganisms, aren’t effective against common contaminants, like industrial chemicals and heavy metals. In fact, some methods actually create more dangerous contaminants called disinfection byproducts, which have been linked to things like developmental and reproductive problems, DNA damage, and cancer, but it doesn’t end there. Aging and corroding pipes can cause contaminants, like lead, to leak into the water they carry. If you’re thinking that’s probably not a common occurrence, think again. Lead is one of the most common contaminants in drinking water.
2. Chemical use is at an all-time high.
As a society, we’re using more chemicals now than ever before. Millions of pounds of agricultural and industrial chemicals are produced and used every year and studies show they’re finding their way into our water supplies. According to the Environmental Working Group, over 240 million people in almost every state have drinking water contaminated with agricultural and industrial pollutants like pesticide and fertilizer ingredients, plasticizers, solvents, and propellants.
3. Pharmaceuticals are tainting our water supplies.
What comes to mind when you think of mood stabilizers, antibiotics, or hormones? Probably not water additives, right? Well, according to an investigation conducted by the Associated Press, that's exactly what they are. It’s estimated that at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals have been released into municipal water supplied to 46 million people across the United States, and that’s just one study. How does this happen? There are many ways, but two main contributors are bodily excretion and improper disposal. Our bodies can only absorb a certain amount of the drugs we consume so the remainder is excreted via bodily functions, and most unused and expired drugs get flushed down the toilet and into the sewers, eventually making their way into our drinking water.
4. Unregulated contaminants and lax laws.
Because federal law regulating tap water is over 30 years old, most contaminants found in water today have no health standards and aren’t regulated at all. So we can consume water deemed unsafe by scientists, legally. The Safe Water Drinking Act regulates just 91 contaminants, yet hundreds have been found in our water supplies. By failing to set new water safety standards, our governmental agencies allow widespread exposure to contaminants that pose serious health risks to Americans every day.
But if my water tastes and smells okay, doesn't that mean it's clean?
The answer is no. Many common contaminants like arsenic, benzene, and hexavalent chromium, are tasteless and odorless, so don’t count on your senses to detect them in your water.
When you consider these things it’s pretty evident that as consumers, we need take the quality of our water into our own hands. Investing in a home water filter is a necessary step to minimizing your exposure to the plethora of health hazards linked to water contamination. This will ensure that the water you’re using and consuming on a daily basis is safe and healthy for you and your family.