What Actually Is In Your Tap Water?
Your Tap Water is Disgusting…and Deadly
Water is life. Our bodies are 60% water and we’re much more reliant on water than we are on food. We can live without food for weeks—Mahatma Gandhi once fasted for 21 straight days—but three or four days without water will put us in danger of serious health consequences.
But water is ubiquitous, right? We’ve got taps in all of our homes, and if we’re out and about, almost every public space has public water fountains—or at the very least public restrooms with sinks where you could grab a drink if you needed to. As long as you’re not caught out in the dessert, you’re going to have good, healthy water around, right?
What if I told you that “good healthy water” wasn’t as good or healthy as you thought? What if I told you there were things in it that would give you pause?
1 – Chlorine
There’s a reason they use a lot of chlorine in swimming pools. It kills stuff. Chlorine has disinfectant properties that kill germs and algae that would make swimming pools unpleasant and unsafe.
Those same properties are why chlorine is also used to sanitize water in sewage and industrial waste.
And it’s in our tap water. All of our tap water has been treated by someone for something, and it’s almost all got chlorine in it.
Chlorine in water produces hydrochloric acid that damages cells and causes respiratory problems. in 1977 : One study showed that women in seven New York state counties served by chlorinated water ran a 44 per cent greater risk of dying from cancer of gastrointestinal or urinary tract organs than comparable women whose water was not chlorinated.
2 – Arsenic
Arsenic is flat out poison but still used in industrial processes. There are environmental regulations that require it to be disposed of properly, but they aren’t always followed, and the result is a flood of arsenic that finds its way into our tap water.
Arsenic can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and even death in other cases. It also leads to lung cancer, bladder and even skin cancer.
One study of private wells in Michigan, tainted with arsenic in the 10 to 100 p.p.b. range, found increased mortality rates linked to everything from diabetes to heart disease. 2 million Americans are drinking high levels of arsenic in their well water
Arsenic in groundwater is largely the result of minerals dissolving from weathered rocks and soils. Several types of cancer have been linked to arsenic in water. In 2001 the US Environmental Protection Agency lowered the maximum level of arsenic permitted in drinking water from 50 micrograms per liter (ug/L) to 10 ug/L. Source :USGS
3 – Lead
You’ve probably heard of the ongoing disaster in Flint, Michigan, but lead is both one of the most common contaminants in tap water, and one of the most difficult to deal with. It can do untold damage to children, including developmental disorders, deafness, and learning disabilities. It’s also linked to prostate cancer, autism, premature births, and reproductive problems.
Lead can also cause premature birth if ingested during pregnancy. It is also linked to prostate cancer, autism and other reproductive problems in both male and female.
4 – Fluoride
Fluoride is supposed to help build strong teeth, and it the right doses, it does, but the right dose is hard to deliver via tap water. In the wrong doses, fluoride can not only cause tooth loss, but it can also calcify in our pineal gland and damage our thyroid. It’s even linked to ADHD and lowered IQ in children.
fluoride is so toxic that some states have already banned fluoridated water. high levels of fluoride may be toxic to brain and nerve cells. Why do we have fluoride in our water ?
5 – Nitrates
Nitrates are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and newborns. They’re odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so you can’t rely on your senses to tell you if they’re in your water. When nitrates get into the human body, they are processed into nitrites which, in turn, form methemoglobin. Methemoglobin is like hemoglobin with one exception.
Methemoglobin doesn’t have the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin, so if you have too much in your system, your cells aren’t getting the oxygen they need, resulting in methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome. High levels nitrate foul tap water illinois corn belt.
Source: ewg group
6 – Mercury
If you’ve ever accidentally broken a glass thermometer and looked up the regulations regarding disposal of mercury, you’ll be horrified to learn how often it ends up in tap water.
It can lead to brain damage, nerve damage, cognitive disabilities, headaches, muscle weakness, mood swings, muscle atrophy, loss of motor functions, and blindness. In addition to being a byproduct of industrial processes, not everyone is as careful as you are with broken thermometers. You may want to check out our news article You just don’t touch that tap water unless absolutely necessary !
7 – Bacteria
Bacteria are living organisms and there are more kinds of them than you can imagine. Many of them are harmless. Some of them are deadly. The list of bacteria that have been found in tap water include:
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Escherichia coli (e coli)
- Giardia Lamblia
- Hepatitis A
- Legionella pneumophilia
They’re all deleterious to your health, causing everything from fevers, headaches, and diarrhea, to abdominal pain, vomiting, and in extreme cases, death.
in 2013-14, more than 20 drinking-water-associated outbreaks in 19 states were caused by Legionella and resulted in 13 deaths.
If you have separate cutting boards for cutting raw poultry and wash your hands as soon as you handle it, you’re protecting yourself from salmonella, and the same contaminant might be in the tap water you give your children.
For more information about the diseases caused by Tap water in the US, please refer to our article :Tap water and diseases.
It’s Not Safe Because It’s Not Clean
You wouldn’t let your children drink sewage. Apart from being disgusting, it would be like handling your children sharp knives to juggle. It’s not a question of whether they’re going to get hurt, but when.
Much of American tap water used to be sewage. It goes through several processes that are supposed to clean it, purify it, and remove all the contaminants that do us damage. But regulations can only go so far, and are generally enforced retroactively—they rely on those who process the water to follow them and punish those who don’t rather than proactively ensuring our water is safe.
The Scariest Thing Isn’t What We Know
It’s what we don’t.
In February of 2018, a study by Maura Allaire of the University of California-Irvine revealed that public water systems in America are delivering contaminated water to as many as 45 million people. That’s 28% of the population, and even that isn’t the scary part.
The scary part is that the study was based on fewer than 18,000 water systems. That sounds like a lot until you realize that there are more than 160,000 public water systems in the United States. If 28% of the systems they looked at are contaminated, what’s going on in the systems they couldn’t look at?
A 2017 article on the quality of American drinking water included this quote from Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech scientist that helped publicize the water-quality issues in Flint, Michigan:
“This has been tolerated so long, and it is so ingrained in the E.P.A. culture to look the other way,” he said. “They’re going to need outside pressure to act and enforce existing laws.”
Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to alert the public that knowledge about the full extent of contaminated drinking water is unknown. “Much is known about the risk factors for waterborne illness, but the overall occurrence of waterborne illness in the U.S. is unknown”
Bottled Water Isn’t the Answer
Many people who turn away from tap water turn to bottled water, but that’s not always a reliable alternative. Not only does bottled water put an unsustainable strain on our environment, most bottled water is merely tap water that’s been bottled without any extra filtration or purification. We’ve written before about what you need to know about bottled water.
If You Want it Done Right…
The only way to ensure that your water is safe is to purify it yourself and most of the filtration systems that you find at your grocery stores and Walmart aren’t going to cut it. We’ve previously written about how to make tap water safe to drink.
We want to think that our water is safe just like we want to think people are honest and kind, but the nightly news argues otherwise. How often have we seen government officials skimming from public funds, or corporate officers ignoring environmental regulations to boost their profits?
You simply can’t trust that your tap water isn’t full of disgusting things that could make you sick or even kill you. You can’t trust that if anything happens, you have a great health care system at your back because many of the effects of these contaminants are untreatable.
For more about the dangers lurking in your tap water and in order to answer this article’s question, What Actually Is In Your Tap Water, please download our free E-book in the subscription box above.