In general, tap water is safe to drink. In fact, the United States has one of the safest supplies of drinking water around the world. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits in the number of contaminants present in tap water, and these are followed by most water utilities across the country. Still, many other contaminants in water pose health hazards, not just in rural areas. Installing a water filtration system in Salt Lake City and other large communities is still necessary, and here are the reasons why.
While many harmful contaminants are regulated, some are not. A report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization, conducted an analysis of 28 million records from nearly 50,000 water utilities across the United States which found that dozens of contaminants of tap water pass the standards set by the government, but remain to be a threat to public health.
The EWG, in partnership with the Northeastern University, found in another study that nearly every state has sites where water is contaminated with per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are chemicals commonly used to manufacture many consumer goods, including paint and textile. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it may increase one’s risk of cancer. In children, it might stunt growth and may cause learning and behavioral problems.
Although not dangerous, in some households, tap water contains excessive amounts of minerals, particularly calcium and manganese. These minerals are good for your health, but it often causes water to taste metallic or just plain unpleasant. Moreover, tap water with high amounts of minerals (also called hard water) might stain clothing or leave a grimy film on utensils. Minerals might also build up in your water pipes, affecting water pressure and reducing the efficiency of your home appliances.
Sediments or organic materials are physical contaminants that come from surface water sources like lakes, rivers, and streams. These might affect the appearance of water, causing cloudiness or discoloration. Sediments such as sand, silt, rust, or clay are naturally occurring and do not pose a serious threat to public health. However, consuming water with impurities is still unpleasant. Good thing, most home water filters can screen out sediments from your drinking water.
While disease-causing pathogens such as E.coli have been eliminated in the United States, bacteria and viruses still persist in tap water. Water contaminated with biological contaminants may cause nausea and diarrhea when consumed. Water filters listed as micro-, ultra-, and nano-filters can effectively remove pathogens from drinking water.
An Extra Layer Of Protection
Some people are more vulnerable to the pathogens and other contaminants found in tap water. Although water utilities make efforts to reduce contaminants, people who have weakened or compromised immune systems, such as those who have been diagnosed with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, should look into getting a water filter to reduce their risk of infection. Pregnant women, the elderly, and households with your children should also consume filtered water.
There are several types of water filtration system that address specific concerns. To check the quality of your tap water, you can request a copy of your water utility’s annual report or speak to services that offer water testing in your home.