Many of us living in a first world country, as we do, would hope that the drinking water and tap water that we have would be safe to drink, but is this entirely true? The answer, more or less, is “not always”.
For many years the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency has been in charge of making sure that, among other things, our water, tap or otherwise, is clean and safe to not only use in our homes, but also to ingest. There are many federal guidelines in place to make sure that water stays at safe levels concerning the contaminants that can get into the water. There are many problems, however, that still arise despite these regulations.
Firstly, just because something is not in violation of federal regulation does not mean that it is healthy for us. Many of the guidelines that are in place are well above, or below as the case may be, what is recommended for healthy drinking water. For example, in some areas in California the legal limit for nitrates is 10 parts per million but this is over 10 times what is recommended for the water to be healthy! Nitrates themselves are something that can cause cancer. Unfortunately, nitrates are not the only chemical where the legal limit is way lower than what is recommended for good health. Haloacetic acids, trihalomethanes, and others (that are also carcinogens) can be found in concentrations 10 to 15 times higher than what is recommended for good health even though they are still below the Federal Guidelines.
Sadly this isn’t the only area in which the Federal guidelines don’t quite do enough to keep us safe. There are many chemicals and contaminants that aren’t regulated by the federal, state, or local governments at all. These toxins include Bromodichloromethane, Chromium, Dibromochloromethane among others which are all carcinogens as well. The government of course attempts to keep adding to the list of things that shouldn’t be in the water and change levels of acceptable chemicals, but the wheels of government roll very slowly at times. Other times it would almost be completely impossible for larger water districts to remove these chemicals at all without significant spending and modifications to existing purification plants.
At the end of the day there are unfortunately many things in our water that can cause us harm and it is unlikely that the government will be able to bring these things to recommended safe levels anytime soon. There are, however, ways that we can test or own water and find our own solutions. It is highly recommended that any new homeowner, and even homeowners who have been in the same area for many years have a water test performed and see whether or not a water conditioning or water purification system would be beneficial to the water environment in the house.