The average American spends a lot of time reading food and product labels. We pay a lot of attention to the calories, fat and preservatives in the food we eat, so it would make sense to know what is in the water we�re drinking, right? It would be wonderful to assume that because it is coming from a tap it is clean, but that isn�t always the case. In fact, public drinking water contains many contaminants � some are harmless, many are not.
Drinking water contaminants are classified by category:
Microbes � microorganisms and germs
Radionuclides � radioactive nuclides
Inorganics � composed of something other than plant or animal
Disinfectants � chemicals used to destroy bacteria
Disinfectant by products � harmful products resulting from the use of chemicals
It is known that each of these categories hosts a large number of drinking water contaminants, which is why it is critical that water be tested regularly.
Unfortunately, most of us are now familiar with E. coli, primarily because of the unusual outbreak in Africa leaving thousands dead. E. coli is a microbial present in our water and a filter must be used to effectively remove it. There are other microbial drinking contaminants found in our water as well � to name a few:
Scary, isn�t it? Keep in mind this doesn�t mean we should quit drinking water, and we couldn�t anyway. It does, however, mean that we should pay close attention to the testing being conducted by public water systems. Reports detailing the findings from testing are public knowledge and it�s well worth your time to take a look at them. Many of the above contaminants are found in our drinking water, despite the fact that disinfectants are used to kill the germs. The level of disinfectants and fluorides used to eliminate contaminants have also been reduced due to speculation that they are harmful in high doses.
For those that turn to bottled drinking water thinking it is contaminant free � think again. As many as 40 out of every 100 water bottlers use the water flowing from municipal taps. This means the same contaminants that are found in the tap water in your home can often be found in your bottled water as well.
Your safest, most effective bet truly is to filter your own water � this is the closest you will get to absolutely pure.