How You Can Make Your Tap Water Safe For Cooking And Drinking
I’m not a healthcare professional. I can’t and don’t want to provide any healthcare advice in this post. All I share is my personal experience with water contamination and home water treatment. If you have a question regarding nutrition or health, please seek professional advice.
Remember my post about Why I Drink Nothing But Artesian Bottled Water? At the end of the post I promised you guys that I would also publish a post about home water treatment. I keep my promises, so today’s post is all about how you can make the tap water in your home safe for cooking and drinking.
Why You Need To Install A Water Filter In Your Home
I know all kinds of people that exercise regularly and just like me they eat organically grown food for the most part. Some even enjoy a Vegan lifestyle! But what the majority of these people don’t necessarily care about is what they drink day in and day out, at least in terms of quality. I know, it sounds surprising, but so many health enthusiasts don’t pay a lot of attention to this topic.
Folks differentiate between a sugared soft drink and plain water and they also know that the water will probably benefit them more. What they don’t think about, however, and many major health blogs that advocate drinking water don’t do either, is the quality of water they are provided with! Because not all drinking water is created equal.
There basically are 2 available sources for drinking water: Bottled and tap. The first myth that a lot of people believe is that bottled water automatically has better quality than tap water. It’s why people are willing to spend a lot of money for it, but nevertheless, it’s a false assumption.
When it comes to bottled water, there are only a handful of brands that can be trusted in my opinion. McKenzie Mist is my favorite, but it’s hard to get by. The Environmental Working Group has tested bottled water from 10 major brands and found a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed. This includes toxic chlorination byproducts at the same levels routinely found in tap water.
The Natural Resources Defense Council also said that, basically, you cannot know if the bottled water you drink is any safer or cleaner than your tap water. And about a quarter of all bottled water is tap water filled into a bottle. I still cannot wrap my head around this! What this means is that, unless you know of a brand that you are 100% sure you can trust, there’s no reason to spend any extra money on bottled water, because it’s not worth it!
Now that we’ve got bottled water out of the way, I want to focus on tap water. I myself use tap water mainly for cooking. I clean my veggies with it removing the dirt and I also like to give all my fruits a good rinse to get rid of any surface bacteria. I use tap water to boil rice, potatoes, asparagus, cabbage… but no matter what place I visit in the United States, I wouldn’t dare to use any tap water, unless it was filtered before with a water treatment system. Although the EPA oversees tap water quality, I consider this a necessary step, because I found out that 99% of tap water contains numerous dangerous substances.
The University of Cincinnati has tested the quality of tap water for the 77 most highly populated metropolitan areas in our country. They account for 62% of the population of the United States. 12 water contaminants were analyzed. This is an excerpt of the project’s findings:
- Turbidity – Drinking water standards were violated in Greenville, SC; New York, NJ-NY; Phoenix, Providence, RI
- Lead – Drinking water standards were violated in Milwaukee, WI
- Coliform – Drinking water standards were violated in Albuquerque, NM; Charlotte, NC; Dallas – Fort Worth, TX; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA
- Arsenic – Drinking water standards were violated in Oklahoma City, OK
I want to clarify that this project was run back in 2006. Milwaukee might not be struggling with lead anymore today. But it’s also a fact that only 12 contaminants were analyzed. There are many more potential contaminants than that, that might be luring in your tap water!
Reverse Osmosis Filtration
It’s not a surprise that tap water has the same great quality as bottled water – I’m being ironic! It seems like the only real advantage that plain tap water has over bottled water is that it’s much cheaper. If you still want to get access to high-quality drinking water, I recommend you to have a reverse osmosis filtration system installed in your home, and you also need to make sure that it re-mineralizes the water after filtering it.
Reverse osmosis provides very clean drinking water, but unlike a distiller, a reverse osmosis system does not need an additional energy source (better for the environment) and the filtration itself goes so much faster. A reverse osmosis system utilizes the water pressure in your home to push water molecules through a membrane and all dissolved contaminants are left behind. The downside is that, if there’s not enough pressure, the whole process wastes even more water than it already does. The upside is that you can add a pump, which aren’t too costly and make your filter much more economic.
Talking about costs, there’s lots of information to be found online, if you want to buy your own reverse osmosis system. Which system is best depends on your personal preferences I guess. Click the link to visit the website that I found to be the most useful while looking around. These guys seem to know what they are talking about. In the end, I chose a middle class filter from iSpring Water Systems and purchased it on Amazon – delivery time: 2 days! But I know that there’s also one system sold by Costco and there are many more listed on homedepot.com.
What I don’t like about reverse osmosis is that it also removes healthy minerals from tap water (yes, they do exist). Mineral deficiency is a serious health risk says the WHO. There are two solutions to this problem. You can either buy a reverse osmosis system that re-mineralizes your water automatically or you go the cumbersome way and manually add organic sea salt to every glass before drinking. That’s what I did in the beginning. If you go down that route, I recommend you to use salt with neutral flavor. You don’t want to ruin your water’s pure taste with Himalayan salt for example.
The last thing I wanted to mention is that I noticed that I tend to drink more water, if it’s filtered. Although it’s subconscious, I think that has something to do with the super refreshing taste. The result is that it’s easier for me to stay hydrated – love it! Filtered water also makes my smoothies taste so much better. It allows me to save a lot of money by not having to buy much bottled water anymore, except for when I’m on the go, and I cause less pollution – no more plastic bottles!