Content of the material
- What Are the Health Risks of Tap Water?
- Tap Water Contaminants
- Water Treatment Chemicals and Byproducts (City Water)
- Well Water Treatment and Testing
- Other Water Contamination Sources (with examples- EWG 2018)
- Our Own Homes
- Insurance, Insurance, Insurance!
- Can You Keep Brita Out of Fridge?
- What Can You Do?
- The (Avoidable) Dangers of Fluoride in Our Water Supply
- More Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Fluoride
- What Drinking Water Sources are Available?
- Tap Water Facts
- Bottled Water vs Tap Water
- Is Delivered Dispenser Water Safe?
- Is Drinking Well Water Safe?
- Is Drinking Rain Water Safe?
- Is Drinking Spring Water Safe?
- All You Need to Know About SodaStream Bottles
You should not drink the tap water in Albania. Instead, buy bottled water and use the tap water for brushing your teeth and cooking.
What Are the Health Risks of Tap Water?
NRDC does caution, however, that “pregnant women, young children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses and those with weakened immune systems can be especially vulnerable to the risks posed by contaminated water.” The group suggests that anyone who may be at risk obtain a copy of their city’s annual water quality report (they are mandated by law) and review it with their physician.
Tap Water Contaminants
It seems like we have created quite the mess for ourselves! Between the chemicals used to treat our water, the byproducts that result, pollution, and finally, decades of industrial waste… it’s a wonder we have any clean water left to drink on this Earth!
Water Treatment Chemicals and Byproducts (City Water)
As a result of the water treatment process, there are some nasty chemicals and substances that are used, commonly known as Disinfection Byproducts or DBP.
- Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) – Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform (EWG, 2018).
- Chlorine/Chloramine – Chloramine, an aggressive disinfecting agent comprised of chlorine + ammonia, used as an alternative to chlorine in some city water treatment facilities. They use chloramines for two big reasons: (1) chloramine is less reactive, so it does not create as many disinfection by-products as chlorine, and (2) chloramine is more persistent, and remains in the treated water through the distribution network all the way to the taps in the homes the treatment facility serves (Aquasana, 2018).
- Chlorate – Chlorate ion is a known byproduct of the disinfection process, forming when sodium hypochlorite or chlorine dioxide are used.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current reference concentration indicates that ongoing exposure to chlorate ion at levels of more than 210 parts per billion per day can lead to an enlarged thyroid.
- Fluoride – Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added by local utilities to drinking water.
Well Water Treatment and Testing
- Make sure to test your well water as needed, or at least annually!
- Pre-mix a half gallon of bleach with 3-4 gallons of water in a 5 gal bucket (dedicated well bucket).
- Pour it in, let all faucets run until you smell the presence of chlorine.
- Try to schedule the treatment when you know you will be away from the house – on a weekend or at least let it sit overnight, so all pipes etc are disinfected.
- Then let faucets run until the chlorine odor has weakened and dissipated. This will purge all the “chlorine” from the pipes.
- If you are still concerned with water quality or contamination in between well water treatments, consider a Well Water Whole House Filtration System – same as the “city water” system below, BUT includes the UV disinfection and filter media is a different mix.
Other Water Contamination Sources (with examples- EWG 2018)
- Naturally Occurring – Chromium, Nitrate, Nitrite, Strontium, Molybdenum, Vanadium, Radium.
- Runoff and Sprawl – Nitrate, Nitrite, Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS).
- Industrial – Chlorate, Chromium, Strontium, Molybdenum, Vanadium, Radium, Chlorodifluoromethane (Freon 22), Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS).
- Agriculture – Chlorate, Nitrate, Nitrite.
- Chemical Plumes – like dioxane, trichlorethylene, and the newly discovered PFOA and PFAS (common chemical in waterproofing, non-stick coatings, firefighting foam, food wrappers, etc.
- Water Table Contamination – from, dumping, landfills, military bases, fracking, etc.
- “Superfund” Sites – from military bases, petroleum, and chemical refineries, firefighting training grounds, airports, etc.
- Infrastructure – As our cities age, so do the pipes. As a result, rust, corrosion, sediment, and other organic matter can accumulate and make it to your tap![videopress 9ELqJhKF]
Our Own Homes
Yes, our own homes can pose a risk, even if the water left the treatment plant 100% clean!
In addition to the “infrastructure” bullet above, remember the Flint, Michigan lead crisis? Each home’s pipes and plumbing played a critical role in elevated lead levels, along with improper water treatment procedures.
This should be taken into consideration as we repair, restore, and maintain our homes!
Furthermore, according to USA Today (2017), lead testing required by the government, is only an “indicator” of whether homes with lead pipes and plumbing may be at a higher risk for lead contamination. Testing can include samples (small towns) – as few as five or 10 taps per year, or 50 to 100 taps (larger cities). As a result, this seems inadequate, for proactive lead prevention!
So, what are the dangers posed in and around our homes?
- Lead service pipes from the street – can leach lead and heavy metals if water is too “acidic” or “corrosive”.
- Home plumbing infrastructure – just like the lead service pipe example above, your home’s pipes can “leach” contamination from:
- Copper pipe corrosion (“acidic” water).
- Lead solder used (pre 1980s) for joining copper piping.
- Galvanized pipes prone to rust and corrosion (from the inside).
- Brass-based faucets, fixtures, and fittings that aren’t “lead safe” – some are still made today!
- PVC (plastic pipes) and the associated chemical glues used during installation.
- PEX piping – PEX hasn’t been in use long enough to assess the long-term effects on water quality. In theory, it can’t be much worse that PVC.
Typically, drinking water isn’t contaminated with lead when it leaves the treatment plant. Rather, it becomes contaminated as it travels through old, aging, and lead service lines…and on to individual properties with lead plumbing fixtures inside homes.
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance!
Travellers diarrhea, giardia, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera. Don’t leave the country without taking out adequate travel insurance which covers health and medical while you’re overseas. If you have no idea where to start, head on over to our post which details what to look for when purchasing international health insurance. I can’t stress the importance of traveling with international health insurance enough. Which countries is it safe to drink tap water?
We go through Tim Jennings at Individual Health for insurance with #GeoBlue – they have a network of elite doctors in over 180 countries, a hugely helpful mobile app for when you’re sick abroad, and make their best attempt to arrange direct payment no matter which medical provider you see.
No-one wants to get sick on vacation, though when it comes to consuming water, some people will run into problems no matter where they go. For more information on insurance with #GeoBlue contact Timothy Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or click for a free quote.
A woman cleans her pots in a river while her child watches. Photo taken by Irene Scott for AusAID. A woman cleans her pots in a river while her child watches. Photo taken by Irene Scott for AusAID.
Can You Keep Brita Out of Fridge?
If you are wondering whether you can keep Brita out of the fridge, look no further. In this post, you will find out whether you can leave the pitcher on the counter or you need to keep it in the fridge at all times. You will also find examples of seemingly safe…
What Can You Do?
Many people have been turning to bottle water in order to avoid drinking tap water. At first glance, this would seem to make perfect sense, except for the expense of buying bottled water. However, the main problem with any type of bottled water is the containers which they come in. The plastic which are used to make the containers contain chemicals are well. These chemicals are absorbed by the water when it comes in contact with the container. The chemicals in the plastic containers have also been proven to cause cancer.
The best way to guarantee that you are drinking water which is pure would be to install a carbon filter water purification system. These are proven to be a cost effective and easy way to get the best drinking water possible for you and your family. All you have to do is to simply install your system and you will be turning your chemical filled tap water into a toxic free source. A carbon filtration system is the best way to remove chemicals and purify your drinking water. It will remove almost 100% of the toxins and leaves you drinking water with only healthy minerals.
You should not drink the tap water in Montenegro. Instead, buy bottled water, and use the tap water for brushing your teeth and cooking.
The (Avoidable) Dangers of Fluoride in Our Water Supply
For more than 50 years, much of the world (including the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand) has embraced a policy of lacing public water supplies with a chemical substance known as fluoride that mainstream dentistry claims is helping to prevent tooth decay.
Some water contains natural sources of fluoride. This is not the same as the harmful fluoride added to many municipal water supplies
But the science seems to suggest that this policy is not only outdated but woefully misguided, and that fluoride may actually be a major risk factor in the development of cancer and other health problems.
After pouring through the evidence myself, I’m also convinced that consuming synthetic fluoride chemicals via municipal drinking water is not the best option if you’re trying to remain healthy and cancer-free. The risks far outweigh any “perceived” benefits, and yet most Americans who live in urban and suburban areas have no choice but to drink and bathe in water that contains what can only be described as an industrial waste product with a laundry list of potential health risks.
More Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Fluoride
In addition to filtering your water, here are some other steps you can take to reduce the amount of fluoride in your body.
- A natural detox that includes the nutrient selenium will help stop the effects of fluoride accumulation and flush it from your body. You can find selenium in Brazil nuts (most highly concentrated source), mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, fatty fish and shellfish (including sardines, oysters, tuna), liver, meat and poultry, eggs, and cottage cheese. A good food-based selenium supplement is another option.
- Tamarind (an ancient remedy in Ayurvedic medicine) helps to flush fluoride buildup through your urine when you use the leaves to make a tea.
A 2002 study in India found that tamarind improved the excretion of fluoride
- Drink plenty of fluoride-free water and enjoy an infrared sauna! This is an incredible method to reduce toxins in your body overall because it breaks them up from your fatty tissues so your body can expel them.
- Switch to safer cookware. Non-stick cookware concentrates the effects of fluoride and is a known cancer-causing agent. Use stainless steel, glass, or ceramic for safer cooking.
- Avoid processed foods and beverages (especially soft drinks), which are manufactured using fluoridated water. Choose fresh, natural foods washed in filtered water whenever possible.
- Use caution when choosing oral care products and either make your own or use brands without fluoride. Manufacturers of fluoride-free toothpaste include: Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste, Desert Essence Toothpaste, Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste, Jason Toothpaste, Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Natural Toothpaste, and Spry Dental Defense Toothpaste.
What Drinking Water Sources are Available?
Does it make a difference where your drinking water comes from? Tap water, bottled water, delivered dispenser water, rain water, and filtered water each carry their own inherent risks, but we all need to get our drinking water from somewhere. The following section outlines the benefits and risks of each water source.
Tap Water Facts
Municipal, unfiltered tap water has the benefit of low cost, but is almost always contaminated. Watchdog groups such as the Environmental Working Group (21) provide water contaminant reports by zip code, highlighting any contaminants present in the previous quarter. This information is a great place to start when selecting a water filter, which is discussed further below. Every class of water contaminant can be found in tap water, and water companies can continue to sell contaminated water to consumers as long as they publish their test results.
Bottled Water vs Tap Water
The main benefit of bottled water is its convenience. It is easy to take water bottles wherever you go, and it is commercially available almost everywhere. Unfortunately, bottled water has every possible downside of any water source due to its unique combination of sources, treatments, and storage containers. Bottled water generally begins as tap water. This means it is subject to all the typical tap water contaminants, and not all are filtered or purified before bottling.
Even those that are treated may leave sanitation chemical residues in the finished product. Finally, almost all bottled water is stored in plastic, and even the best plastic bottles do leach toxic chemicals into the water—the longer and warmer the storage conditions, the more dangerous. This discussion shows (22) water bottles may leach aluminum, barium, and antimony into the water.
Is Delivered Dispenser Water Safe?
Water delivered in large (usually five gallon) bottles for chilled dispensers such as office water coolers is technically still bottled water. It is still subject to the same downsides as individual water bottles; however, it is sometimes offered in glass rather than plastic, and is often from higher quality sources and treated with better filtration. Delivered cooler water offers the ultimate convenience as it is brought directly to your door and is constantly available heated or chilled, but keep in mind—it is only as good as the bottling source, the storage containers, and the processing practices.
Is Drinking Well Water Safe?
Well water carries powerful associations for most people, and it’s important to understand the facts about well water when forming our opinions. Well water can be a viable alternative to municipal tap water because it is not subject to the water treatment chemicals that usually contaminate tap water. However, it is not safe to assume that all well water is safe to drink.
Well water testing is crucial, especially in rural or agricultural areas. Agri-chemicals frequently end up in private wells, and depending on the well’s age, its sheathing, and its water shed, e. coli from pasture run-off is a valid concern. Finally, if the house was plumbed prior to lead pipe reform measures, the water must be tested for lead.
Is Drinking Rain Water Safe?
Given the dangers of contaminants in underground water sources, many people are renewing their interest in collecting rain water. Naturally soft rain water is super for soap-free washing and the taste is incomparable, according to its proponents. Extreme caution is needed; however, because rainwater catchment systems are newly-illegal in many states and counties.
In addition, those who drink rain water need to be aware of air pollutants such as dioxin and barium from factories and aircraft emissions, which are ever increasing. Other rain water dangers include microbial activity from water stagnation, pests such as insects and rodents, leached toxins from roof/ collection surfaces, and chemical or heavy metal leaching from holding tanks and containers.
Is Drinking Spring Water Safe?
The safety and risks of spring water are generally similar to well water unless the spring water is bottled. Spring water is more likely to be contaminated near the soil surface whereas wells, being deeper, face less ground water contamination. In the case of bottled spring water, you need to consider that the term “spring water” is a marketing term that means the water emerges or springs from somewhere, frequently a public water tap. Almost all bottled spring water is simply tap water, with all its convenience and dangers.
The Fortunate Few Note that some people may have perfectly good well water or spring water, and do not need to take additional measures, but with air and ground water contamination spreading, frequent testing is needed to ensure that the safety of these sources has not been compromised.
All You Need to Know About SodaStream Bottles
SodaStream is a great sparkling water maker that not only makes tasty beverages but is also earth-friendly. The soda maker is easy to use, but the SodaStream bottles have some unique properties which make them confusing at first glance – like their expiration date!…