We often take the purity of our tap water for granted -- and we
shouldn't. A carefully researched, documented and peer-reviewed study of
the drinking water systems of 19 U.S. cities, found that pollution and
deteriorating, out-of-date plumbing are sometimes delivering drinking
water that might pose health risks to some residents.
Many cities around the country rely on pre-World War I-era water
delivery systems and treatment technology. Aging pipes can break, leach
contaminants into the water they carry and breed bacteria -- all
potential prescriptions for illness. And old-fashioned water treatment
-- built to filter out particles in the water and kill some parasites
and bacteria -- generally fails to remove 21st-century contaminants like
pesticides, industrial chemicals and arsenic.
Because coffee and tobacco are so widely used, researchers say their
byproducts are good indicators of the presence of pharmaceuticals. Thus,
they routinely test for, and often find, both caffeine and nicotine�s
metabolite cotinine more frequently than other drugs.
Tap water can contain a vast array of contaminants, but a handful showed up repeatedly in the water of the cities we studied:
Lead, which enters drinking water supplies from the corrosion
of pipes and plumbing fixtures and can cause brain damage in infants and
Pathogens (germs) that can make people sick, especially those with weakened immune systems, the frail elderly and the very young
By-products of chlorine treatment such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, which may cause cancer and reproductive problems
Arsenic, which may cause cancer, serious skin problems, birth defects and reproductive problems
Radon, the rocket fuel perchlorate and other carcinogens or otherwise toxic chemicals.
The best type of drinking water is from a natural source (mineral
water). But these types of water are more expensive. City water
(chlorinated) is consumable by man but in the long run, chlorine is bad
in our body. You can instead install a small water purifier to clean
your drinking water through a ceramic filter, carbon filter, sand filter
and finally soaked with mineral rocks.
If you are concerned about the quality of the water and its pollution
perhaps you might want to attach a filter to your kitchen tap to filter
out all the junk. If you boil your water you will eliminate the
chlorine and kill most of the bugs that may be in it.
The bottom line is this: the tap water in some cities might pose
health risks to vulnerable consumers -- people who have serious immune
system problems, pregnant women, parents of infants, those with chronic
illnesses and the elderly should consult with their health care
providers about the safety of tap water. And our nation must make a
major commitment to upgrading and modernizing water systems and
protection of drinking water sources.
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