Tap Water: Legal but Unhealthy “New York Times”

One of our readers (thanks Adam) sent me an article from the New York Times the other day.  

The article presents some disturbing facts about the water that we drink.  The gist of the article is that our drinking water is “safe”, but our definition of “safe” is outdated and irrelevent.   Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html

The article details the fact that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates only 91 contaminants in our drinking water while the EPA has identified 60,000 chemicals are used in the USA.  Government records analysed by the New York Times indicate that hundreds of the chemical are associated with the risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water but not one of these dangerous contaminants have been added to the list of the Safe Drinking Act since 1990.  

Many of the Act’s standards for unsafe chemicals haven’t been altered since the 1980’s, and many others have not been altered since the Act was created in 1974.  According to the article, 62 million Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease.  Yikes! 

Many officials have tried to go above and beyond what is legally required but often meet resistance based upon the assumption that if the water is legal, it must be safe.  Of course you also have industry lobbying that sticks its nose into the game such as the rocket fuel problem in California.  Whenever money comes into play, you can count on opposition from whoever might get stuck with the bill, including local residents that don’t want to see higher taxes. 

Their are 54,700 different water systems in the USA, all delivering different water each and every day.  People think that when they get a glass of water out of the their tap, that it is the same as the last glass and will be the same as the next glass.  Think again!  The composition of the contents of every glass of water you drink are different.

The article goes on to state that independent studies such as the American Journal of Public Health and the National Academy of Sciences suggest that millions of Americans become sick each year from drinking contaminated water, with maladies from upset stomachs to cancer and birth defects.

All of the above information is on page one of the six page article.  If you are interested, click on the link above as it is a good read.

What can you do about the potentially unsafe contaminants in your tap water?

On a macro (large scale) basis, the problem is a difficult one because there are so many issues and so many players.  On a personal basis, the solution is simple and not very expensive.  If you can afford a home filter system, buy one!  Until the governments take action to protect us, everyone, and I mean everyone should have a home filter system.

You can get a lot of the contaminants out of your water with a simple sediment filter (0.5 microns) for less than ten dollars a charcoal filter for a few dollars more.  I recommend a three canister filter system that is geared to what is in your water.  You can buy the systems online for about $250 depending upon the filters required.  A custom designed pre-filter system will take bad stuff out of your water while leaving important minerals in your water.  I don’t like Reverse Osmosis systems for residential drinking water solutions except in extreme conditions because the RO systems also remove minerals from the water that your body requires.

Contact your municipality to find out what is in your water (or at least what they know is in your water) and then talk to a professional who knows how to remove the contaminants.  If you can’t be bothered to do this for yourself, do it for the people that you love.   Don’t think that buying bottled water is the solution, as there is virtually no regulation of the bottled water industry and studies indicate that municipal water is safer than bottled water in many cases.

The comments in this article are those of the author and are not meant as medical advice.

2 Responses to Tap Water: Legal but Unhealthy “New York Times”

  1. Please, can you PM me and tell me few more things about this, I am really fan of your blog…

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