In order to remain healthy, humans need to eat well, get enough rest and drink plenty of water. But if your water contains arsenic, harmful bacteria or traces of pharmaceuticals, it’s not exactly enticing.
If the state of your tap water is cause for concern, read on to learn what options you have for cleaner, better-tasting water.
A bottle of water with a pristine nature scene on the label may seem to be a healthier choice than tap water, but labels can be misleading. In researching the bottled water industry, Peter Glieck, president of the Pacific Institute, found that 45 percent of brand-name bottled water is nothing more than treated tap water.
If a product is labeled as “spring water,” the Environmental Protection Agency requires that water to actually come from a spring. But beyond that, manufacturers can make a lot of unsupported and nebulous claims about the water they sell. So while that “glacier water” may sound like it’s tasty, it could very well have come from a tap. And if you’re concerned about environmental health as well as your family’s, the process for bottling, packaging and shipping water may sour you on the idea of buying bottled water.
One of the pricier brands of water in pretty packaging is Fiji Water, which became the target of a class-action lawsuit a few years ago. The plaintiff claimed she had paid more for Fiji Water, because of its claims that it was a “carbon-negative” company, meaning its business practices have a positive impact on the environment. A lawyer stated the company was misleading consumers, because the touted environmental benefits are projections that don’t currently exist. In fact, Fiji – while drawn from an aquifer – is poured into plastic bottles that are imported from China before it’s shipped around the globe.
Once people take a discerning look at bottled water, they tend to realize the benefits of making do with what they have by filtering their tap water. Filters can attach directly to faucets, be part of a freestanding water pitcher, attach to refrigerator water lines or purify all the water that enters your home through the main line.
Filters that attach to the tap are inexpensive and work quite well at reducing levels of chlorine and other contaminants, but they will filter only about 40 gallons of water before they need to be replaced, so they’re not the best choice for big families. Filter pitchers may also be insufficient to meet the needs of a large household.
A better choice for homes with many people is an under-sink water purifier, which has an attachment that works as a secondary tap. These devices also offer reverse osmosis filtering technology, which, according to the World Health Organization, is one of the most effective ways to remove pharmaceuticals from water.
Whole-home filtration systems may cost more than $1,000 to install, but homeowners who have a well and worry about groundwater contamination may benefit from this technology.
You can purchase a water quality test to find out what’s in your well water, and if you use city water, your local provider should provide you with a water quality report every year. In the United States, your risk of being sickened by your local water supply is slim; however, many people feel more comfortable drinking filtered water.