You can no longer assume that the tap water coming out of your faucet is safe. A great resource to learn about possible chemicals in your water is EWG’s Tap Water Database (https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/). Easy to navigate, all you need to do to find the contaminants in your area’s drinking water is type in your zip code.
Since water is a fluid resource, it is important to have your drinking water tested periodically to make sure there are no changes and no new contaminants infecting your supply. Contaminants often do not affect the color of your water, nor do they necessarily affect the taste. The only way to know what’s going on in your water is to test it. To find the state-certified laboratory in your area, call the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations safe drinking water hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or visit www.epa.gov
Get a Water Filtration System – Even a Simple Pitcher with Filter Helps!
Once you know what you are dealing with, you’ll be able to make better decisions about what kind of water filter meets your needs and budget. There are different filters for specific water filtration needs. Until you know the quality of your water, the simplest and most affordable fix is to buy a pitcher with a water filtration system. The pitcher filtration system is fairly simple. You fill the pitcher from the tap and the water runs through a filter, making it cleaner. The upside to pour-through pitchers is that they are portable, but the downside is that their water-filtration capabilities are limited as to what they can filter. If you go this route, make sure you change the filter regularly. There are more advanced options to consider including, a countertop gravity water purification system, such as a Big Berkey or a ProPur Big, which removes everything from viruses and bacteria to chlorine and fluoride, but still leaves the good minerals. Alternatively, you could opt for a temporary filtration mount that hooks up to your kitchen sink’s water faucet using carbon technology. Aquasana, Brita, Culligan, Dupont, and PUR make faucet filters certified to remove contaminants, such as asbestos, chlorine, lead, insecticides, and trihalomethanes.
A more permanent and expensive option is to install an under-the-sink water-filtration system. There are many systems from which to choose, with prices ranging from hundreds to several thousands of dollars. Many will eliminate a wide variety of contaminants such as chlorine and chloramine. Reverse osmosis filters offer the broadest filtration. They also remove the minerals from your water that make it “hard.” This can be beneficial if you prefer soft water; however, it also removes good minerals, such as calcium. My personal favorites are Kangen and Perfect Water. My Kangen filters also balance the alkaline levels of my water, which help lower the acid in my stomach.
The last and most expensive option to consider is a point-of-entry filtration system. In this case, the system is placed on the main water line before it enters the plumbing system. These are generally more expensive than filtering water as you use it, but they create clean water not just for drinking, but also for all of your other water needs. If you can afford to do it for your own home – or if you can convince your landlord or company to do this for you – a point-of-entry system is the optimal way to ensure that your overall quality of water is the best. EWG’s Water Filtration Guide is a useful resource that helps navigate water filtration choices (www.ewg.org/ tap water/water-filter-guide.php).