Sunday, July 20, 2014

Is Tap Water Safe?

Since water comers from various sources and is treated in various ways, the taste and quality of drinking water differs from place to place. But don’t let this fact disturb you since more than 90 percent of water systems pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards for tap water quality.

However, there are certain problems with tap water. After testing municipal water in 42 states, the Environmental Working Group found about 260 contaminants in public water supplies. Among those contaminants were 141 unregulated chemicals that have no safety standards or methods for eliminating them. The EWG blamed EPA for this oversight.

Fortunately, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said these contaminants don’t pose a threat to healthy people. This is due to the fact that most of them exist in small amounts. Only when large quantities are ingested do they spell trouble.  

But the NRDC warned that pregnant women, young children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses and those with weakened immune systems may be susceptible to these contaminants. To be on the safe side, get a copy of your city’s annual water quality report and discuss this with your physician.

Normally, your water provider should notify you by newspaper, mail, radio, TV, or hand-delivery if your water fails to meet EPA or state standards or in the event of a waterborne disease emergency. The notice will tell you about any precautions you should follow like boiling your water.

You can get rid of disease-carrying organisms by boiling your water for about one minute. Another way to disinfect your water is to use common household bleach or iodine. This will give you safe drinking water during an emergency such as floods. Better still why not use a water filter? Water filters are your best defense against dirty water.