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Health and Fitness News

Water Wise

Ever wonder what’s in your water? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look.

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely blessed to live in a part of the world with clean tap water. Thirsty? Need to wash dishes or take a shower? Just turn on the faucet and out comes water, fresh clean water that is essential for life. Since your body is made up of more than 50 percent water, it’s needed for all basic bodily functions, so don’t take it for granted.

In the United States and many other countries, the public water supply is monitored and maintained by government agencies. Safety standards are put in place to regulate its cleanliness. Most of the time you don’t have to worry that you’re drinking contaminated water that will make you sick. But a closer look at tap water shows that while you’re told it’s safe for drinking, it’s not free of all contaminants.

Be an informed consumer and know what’s in your drinking water and take steps, if necessary, to fend off any potential liquid dangers.

Tap Water

Water utility companies get their water from nearby lakes, springs, and rivers. It’s possible that bacteria and parasites end up in the water supply from animal or human fecal matter. But the potential contaminants don’t end there. Chemicals from industrial plants, nitrates from agricultural fertilizers, or chemicals from crop dusting may make their way to your water. Lead or other harmful minerals that naturally occur in the environment or that are improperly disposed may also be in your water. Sometimes contamination occurs inside your own home because of old pipes or breaks in the water line. Even pipes advertised as “lead-free” contain some amount of lead.

Additionally, while government agencies monitor levels of many contaminants to ensure water’s safety, some contaminants aren’t monitored or regulated. People with compromised immune systems or young children are most at risk from their harmful effects.

Bottled Water

More and more people get their drinking water from bottles. However, you shouldn’t assume that bottled water is safer than tap water. Because there’s usually not a guarantee your bottled water is any safer than tap water. While bottled water is regulated like a food and manufacturers quit using plastic bottles made with BPA, there are still allowable levels of chemical, microbial, and radiological contaminants.

Well Water

Millions of people get their drinking water from a private well. Not regulated by the government, the safety of well water depends on its location, regular maintenance, the quality of its water supply, and nearby human activity. To ensure it provides safe and fresh water for years to come, have your well water tested regularly.

Potential Dangers

The danger of contaminated water depends on the type of contaminant. Pathogens may cause disease or gastrointestinal illness and nitrates may hinder the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Lead can cause neurological problems, behavioral issues, or physical development delays in kids or kidney problems in adults. Certain chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, or kidney failure. In short, contaminated water can cause a host of problems, so if you’re experiencing odd symptoms, it may be worth your while to test your water supply.

Safe Water

A water filter is the best way to protect your family from harmful contaminants. There are numerous types of filters to choose from, each offering protection from different types of contaminants. There’s no one filter that will eliminate all contaminants so in order to know what kind of filter to use, first have your water tested at a certified laboratory.

And contrary to popular belief, boiling water will not make it safer to drink. It may kill germs, but not other harmful chemicals. In fact, since the amount of water lessens as it boils, the contaminants become more concentrated.


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