Many of us don’t stop and think about what is coming from the tap when we turn on our water faucets. We assume that the water is safe to drink and cannot harm us in any way. There are many factors that contribute to the safety of the water you drink such as from where the water originates.
Where Water Originates
The water that ends up in our taps comes from a variety of sources. The ocean of course is one of the largest sources followed by ice caps and glaciers. A smaller amount of water also comes from groundwater, lakes, rivers and streams and the atmosphere. The concern for drinking water comes from the worry of what is contained in that water.
Dangers Lurking in Drinking Water
Microbes are a big threat to the water you drink. They include viruses and bacteria that may come from parasites. Diseases can be communicated through drinking water as well such as infectious hepatitis, gastroenteritis and dysentery. The source for these microbes comes from storm run-off, animals such as wildlife, livestock and even pets. Septic systems can breed microbes as well as sewage treatment plants.
Pesticides are another concern for drinking water. There are many ways that chemical pesticides can infiltrate water systems such as rainfall, wind transfer, and urban waste. They can also seep into groundwater supplies and end up in rivers, lakes and streams. Some effects of pesticides in your drinking water can include headaches, diarrhea for short term and for long term effects may include certain cancers and fertility problems.
Other sources of contamination are PPCPs which are pharmaceutical and personal care products, inorganic products such as lead and copper, solvents and chemicals from industrial production and radionuceotides from both natural and human sources.
The Chlorination Process
When water passes through treatment facilities, chlorination is typically used to kill off any viruses or bacteria that may be present. It is not the perfect solution however as chlorine can interact with any organic compounds that may be present and can result in higher risks of bladder or colon cancer and it is thought to have some link with still births.
What Can We Do?
You might think you are safe when you drink bottled water but regulations surrounding bottled water are much more lax than in tap water from cities and towns. There are water filtration systems that can easily and cheaply be installed in your home to filter out some of the worst contaminating offenders.
You may be hesitant about drinking water for fear of all the risks that may be involved, but water is an essential for living and we cannot do without it. Water appears naturally in many of the foods we eat such as vegetables and fruits. To ensure the safety of your drinking water become an advocate of water safety. Get involved and keep yourself informed and when you have concerns, be sure you address them through the proper channels. We all have a right to safe drinking water and with consumer vigilance the problem can be readily addressed.