Water is vital to life, and adequate hydration is critical to a healthy human body. Without proper hydration, our health may become compromised, and our bodies can stop functioning correctly. We rely on water not just for hydration, but also for cooking, bathing, and cleaning, as well as for an assortment of other reasons.
What we don’t often consider is how the quality of the water we consume relates directly and indirectly to our health. If you are using water straight out of the tap, it can undermine your overall health. When you use tap water, you are likely getting more than you bargained for with a witches’ brew of pesticides, prescription drugs, chlorine, arsenic, and other contaminants.
To understand how filtered water can improve your health, we must first learn where our water comes from, what contaminates it, and why it is essential to use a water filter to remove harmful contaminants and reduce our exposure to toxins.
Where does drinking water come from?
The drinking water that flows from your faucet originates either from the Earth’s surface or underground. Water originating on the Earth’s surface is called surface water and includes rivers, lakes, streams, and reservoirs. Water located underground is called groundwater. Groundwater collects in aquifers and is brought to the surface by a well.
Is all drinking water pure water?
There is a widespread belief that any water coming out of the tap is pure, clean, and healthy. We assume it has been adequately treated and purified in a top-notch water treatment facility before traveling through squeaky-clean pipes until it reaches our faucet. This assumption, however, is not always correct. Water can travel long distances before we consume it, giving it plenty of time to pick up contaminants along the way.
Is all drinking water healthy water?
Certain contaminants in our water supply can cause serious health issues, including neurological disorders, gastrointestinal illness, and problems in both male and female reproductive systems. Groups at higher risk to develop these health issues include infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.
What is in your water?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a contaminant is “any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water.” Depending on where you live and the source of your water, there could be many contaminants that hitch a ride to your drinking glass. For example, in Flint, Michigan, there is enough lead in the water to cause a catastrophic crisis.
Three Common Sources of Contaminants in Drinking Water:
- Sewer Overflows and Sewage Spills
Untreated sewage or overflowing wastewater can contaminate drinking water supplies. Sewer overflows and sewage spills may result from broken pipes, equipment failure, or overloading the system. System overloads can occur during periods of excessive rainfall or heavy snowmelt. The overflowed untreated sewage can drain into surface water or percolate into groundwater and contaminate the drinking supply.
- Naturally Occurring Contaminants in the Environment
Arsenic, aluminum, radon, and uranium are examples of elemental minerals that occur naturally in our environment. In low concentrations, these elements are typically not harmful. However, when found in our drinking supply at higher levels, they can be very dangerous to human health.
- Malfunctioning Water Treatment Systems
Even the most high-tech water treatment system can malfunction. These malfunctions might be due to faulty or broken equipment, operator error, or an aging infrastructure. When these systems fail to function correctly, contaminants can find their way into your drinking water and can adversely impact your health.
Five Common Harmful Contaminants Found in Unfiltered Water
Many toxic pollutants can be found in your drinking water. Below are five common contaminants that could be coming out of your faucet.
Arsenic is a carcinogen that is linked to an increased risk of several kinds of cancer and can also cause problems with your circulatory system. Small amounts of arsenic ingested over long periods of time place your health seriously at risk.
Aluminum is an elemental metal that, in high doses, has been shown to result in nausea, vomiting, ulcers, and skin rashes. Aluminum may also accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Chlorine and chlorine by-products have been proven to be hazardous in high doses, and chronic exposure may cause liver and kidney damage and heart disease. Chlorine can also negatively affect the taste and odor of water.
Fluoride, while often attributed to improved oral hygiene, is also claimed to cause brittle bones and teeth, joint impairment, and possible damage to the thyroid.
Lead is very harmful to health, especially in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Exposure to lead, especially in young children and infants, has been linked to nervous system damage, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, and impaired cell functioning.
Is your water safe to drink?
It can be challenging to find out exactly what is in your water. Water quality testing can be complex and expensive for the average homeowner. Without actually testing what comes out of each faucet in your home, you have no way of knowing what contaminants lurk in your water supply.
Drinking filtered water can improve your health.
The simplest and most effective way to ensure you are drinking pure, healthy water is by using a water filter. By removing contaminants in your water, you reduce your exposure to many toxins that can negatively impact your health
Four major health benefits of using a water filter:
- Filtered water is free of contaminants.
Water filters provide you and your family with clean filtered drinking water free of hazardous pollutants. By reducing your exposure to these dangerous toxins, you will live a much healthier life.
- Filtered water may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Water filters may reduce the risk of certain cancers by removing arsenic and other carcinogens from your water supply. Limiting your contact with these cancer-causing agents will ensure you are doing your best to live a healthier life.
- Filtered water tastes and smells better.
Nobody wants to drink water that tastes or smells funny. Water filters remove chlorine and other contaminants to give you better-tasting and better-smelling water. This, in turn, makes it easier to stay healthy and hydrated by encouraging your family to drink more water.
- Filtered water removes harmful bacteria.
Waterborne bacteria are a leading cause of tummy trouble. Water filters can remove harmful bacteria from your drinking water. This reduces the risk of gastrointestinal illness, ensuring you feel much healthier.
What is a water filter?
A water filter removes contaminants from your water supply. Using a water filter is an easy and effective way to ensure the water you are utilizing is free of harmful contaminants. Water filters use various technologies to remove impurities and contaminants, ensuring your water supply is healthy and safe. Many of these filters and filtration systems are affordable and easy to install.
How do water filters work?
Many different styles of water filters are available that can remove contaminants and ensure your family has clean water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and all other household uses. Different types of water filters work in different ways. Some water filters use a physical barrier to prevent contaminants from entering your water supply. Others use a chemical or biological process to purify the water.
Types of Water Filters
Water filters come in many shapes, sizes, and different styles are appropriate for various applications. Some water filters attach to your faucet; others are installed at the main water point of entry to your home. Learning more about water filters will help you choose which one is best for you and your family.
Two Main Categories of Water Filters:
- Point-of-Entry Filters
Point-of-entry filtration systems treat the water before it enters your house. These units are typically installed where the water main enters your home and can require a qualified specialist to install.
These filtration systems filter the water where it comes out of the faucet. You may recognize these as filtered water pitchers, faucet filters, and under-the-sink units.
Choosing the Right Filtration System for Your Health
Choosing the right filtration system for you and your family will significantly increase the quality of your water and improve your health. Any filter you select should meet NSF/ANSI standard 53, which means the filter has been tested to prove it can reduce the number of certain contaminants. Not all filters remove all contaminants, however, and you will want to carefully check the label to make sure the filter you are considering removes the specific contaminants you are worried about in your local area
Five Ways Filtered Water Can Improve Your Health
Let’s look more closely at why filtered water can improve your health.
- Tap water is impure; filtered water is healthy.
The water coming from your faucet can contain any number of harmful impurities and contaminants. Though the government regulates tap water, they are unable to test for every single potential contaminant.
Even if your tap water tests clean at the water treatment facility, there are many opportunities for your water to pick up contaminants in the pipes on the way to your home. By installing a water filter at your home, you reduce the risk of drinking contaminated water, thereby significantly improving your health.
- Filtered water tastes and smells better.
Water filters improve the taste and smell of your tap water. By installing a water filter, you can reduce the amount of chlorine and bacteria that contribute to icky smelling water.
- Filtered water is healthier than bottled water.
People generally assume bottled water is a healthy alternative to tap water. However, studies show that is not usually the case. Bottled water is often just sourced from
the tap and contains many of the same contaminants. The FDA, which regulates bottled water quality, has very relaxed reporting standards when it comes to telling you what is in your water.
Plastic bottles have their own harmful impacts. Contaminants, including BPA, which is an industrial chemical linked to cancer, can seep out of the plastic bottle and into your drinking water. Drinking filtered water is a healthier alternative to bottled water because you know you are not consuming BPAs or any other contaminants that could be found in untreated tap water.
- Filtered water is healthier for the environment.
Did you know there is an island of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean covering an area approximately the size of Russia, or 5.8 million square miles? In the U.S., 1,500 bottles of water are being consumed every second, and billions of plastic water bottles are discarded each day worldwide. These plastic bottles never decompose and are stacking up in our landfills, and, sadly, ending up in our oceans. This plastic gets eaten by fish, we then eat the fish, and the plastic ends up in our bodies.
As humans, it is impossible to be healthy if we are living in an unhealthy environment. Filtered water reduces our use of disposable plastic bottles and helps to ensure our environment remains healthy.
- Filtered water encourages you to stay hydrated.
Water promotes cardiovascular health, helps you maximize your physical performance, improves energy levels and brain function, prevents headaches, provides lubrication for your joints, regulates body temperature, prevents kidney damage, helps to maintain blood pressure, helps with digestion, helps with weight loss, and flushes body waste. Knowing your filtered water is clean and contaminate-free, you can feel safer staying hydrated.
Water filtration is a simple and effective way to support your health by removing harmful carcinogens and toxic chemicals from your tap water. A good-quality whole house water filter, for example, will remove contaminants from your water without stripping it of essential minerals which are necessary for optimal health. Water filters are easy to use, and most take only a few minutes to install. You simply change the filter and clean the system per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
By using a water filter, you can control the quality of the water based on your local water supply. Purchase the type of filter you need to remove specific contaminants from your water source. Water filters are cost-effective. According to the Food and Water Watch organization, bottled water can cost as much as $9.50 per gallon, in comparison to only pennies for tap water. Water is life, and using a water filter can encourage you and your family to drink more so you can lead more healthy lives.