Is your drinking water safe?
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released 4 drinking-water health advisories on June 15th for 4 synthetic pollutants known as ‘forever chemicals’, saying that two of these toxins have negative health effects and are not safe to be consumed. The majority of our drinking water contains some level of contaminants in it, some worse than others, and this could mean hazardous things for humans and animals.
Of the 70% of water that covers the earth, only 3% is fresh, and only .5 of that 3% is available for human use. We already live in a shortage of clean water, which is why it’s so important to preserve what little fresh drinking water that we do have and keep it free of contaminants. Plastic debris, chemicals, pesticides, and detergent are just a few of the dangerous contaminants that pollute bodies of water, and eventually contaminate our drinking water.
What are ‘Forever chemicals’ and how are they dangerous?
The new advisory levels indicate that chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) can cause negative health effects even when the amount in drinking water is close to zero. These pollutants have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, birth complications, and low birth weight. Senior scientist Laurel Schaider states that these two chemicals are ‘substantially more toxic than they previously thought’. The fact of the matter is that zero levels of PFAS chemicals should be found in drinking water at all.
PFAS are toxic chemicals used in products like food packaging, non-stick cookware, furniture and clothing. These chemicals do not break down easily, meaning they will remain in the environment for years and continue to cause health concerns long after they are no longer even used.
How is our water being polluted?
One of the main causes of water pollution is from water ‘runoff’ that carries contaminants like herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, arsenic, livestock and pet waste, bacteria, viruses and other chemicals into our rivers, lakes, and even groundwater. These contaminants can also seep into the ground from a variety of sources, come into contact with our water supply, and cause water pollution. It’s estimated that around 1 billion pounds of pesticides contaminate runoff water each year from rain or floods. By the time it reaches streams, rivers, and lakes, it is inevitable that they will end it in our drinking water.
What is the EPA doing about it?
The EPA and the white house have been hiding the water pollution crisis from the public, and did not want the report to be published saying that the US Department of Health advised PFAS levels be 10 times lower than those of what the EPA recommended. Michigan's tap water has been undrinkable since 2014… and they aren’t the only ones. A new report indicates that over 110 million people have probably been exposed to PFAS.
How do I know what contaminants are in my water?
Go to https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/ and enter your zip code to determine how many contaminants are being detected in your water, and help you determine which water filter to get.
Water testing experts tested 44 different places across 31 different states and only found one area was free of PFAS - meridian Mississippi. Because their water comes from a well system. For the rest of us it seems nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water. There are strategies to prevent water pollution however…
How can I avoid water pollution?
The best way to avoid water pollution is to use a high quality water filter. According to the EWG, A reverse osmosis system combined with a carbon filter is most effective at removing water contaminants. Reverse osmosis systems fit to your sink and remove dirt, chemicals, and other microorganisms, giving you cleaner water. A carbon filter can reduce the levels of many common contaminants, such as lead and disinfection byproducts. Britta filters are not nearly as effective at removing contaminants, and the water is arguably just as bad as tap water. The same goes for plastic bottled water.
Best Water Filter Systems:
This filter will help you beat contaminants by converting tap water into pure, healthy water by removing 99.9% of pollutants and harmful chemicals. It is BPA free, and requires no installation for bottle-less water in seconds. This one is on sale for $299.99 and has a 4.1 / 5 star rating on Amazon.
Another great option for a drinking-water filter that is installed beneath the sink, features 5 stages of filtration in which the water gets purified of bacteria, taste, odor, and many other chemicals. It also comes with a lead-free, designer faucet! This one retails for $199.99 and has 4.1 / 5 stars on Amazon.
The AquaTru purifier removes 83 contaminants including lead, fluoride, and chlorine, and has an easy installation that will be set up in minutes. This filter lasts up to 1,200 gallons, and retails for $485.00 on Amazon. By using the coordinating App you can check the filter-life status, monitor Total Dissolved Solids, and order replacement filters. A filter that’s easy and innovative.
This sleek water system removes up to 10 times more contaminants than a Britta will. Built to fit seamlessly in your refrigerator door, this filter is extremely simple to set up and use. The light on the filter will tell you when the filter needs replacing by changing color to yellow then red. I like this filter for its efficiency, and ability to eliminate almost 3,000 plastic water bottles. It has a high rating of 4.4 out of 4 stars, and retails for $249 on Amazon.
The Waterdrop WD-G3-W filter is another great option with a sleek, stylish finish that’s on the more expensive end. Retailing at $499 on Amazon, this filter utilizes 7 stages of filtration to effectively reduce lead, PFAS, fluoride, chlorine, and taste/odor. The activated carbon block, solid compressed carbon that effectively filters water, is made from natural coconut shells (take note of this if you are allergic). It features a tankless design, with a quick installation that won’t take you more than 30 minutes.
Lastly, we’ve included this digital water meter that provides you with a quality, water purity test. Test your water anywhere at any time by sticking the meter into an inch of water and reading the results it provides. This device measures for water purity, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Electrical Conductivity (EC), and temperature value. You can use it to test not only your drinking water, but also bathroom water, tap water, and more. It’s convenient, and only $10.99 on Amazon.
How can we prevent water pollution?
1. Don’t put non-degradable products down the sink or toilet.
This seems like common knowledge to some people, but for those that ignore this concept are causing major harm to the potential of our water supply. Try not to dump substances like paint, harsh cleanser, motor oil, or unused medicines down the sink or toilet because they contain harmful contaminants like ammonia or formaldehyde. These toxins can make their way through wastewater treatment systems and into our drinking water. Baby wipes contain plastic that will not break down over time and instead ends up collecting in sewer systems then leaching plastic chemicals into the water. Even ‘flushable wipes’ which are a wet wipe marketed to people of all ages to be used and flushed down the toilet, are NOT biodegradable. These objects can cause blockages in the sewer system, and are overall the opposite of environmentally friendly.
2. Conserve water.
By conserving the water that we have we can help reduce water pollution by minimizing the amount of ‘dirty water’ that needs to be treated. The less energy it takes to supply and heat our water, means less use of fossil fuels (which has numerous benefits). One of the benefits of less fossil fuels is less pollutants that are produced into the atmosphere that potentially contaminate groundwater and waterways.
3. Plant trees.
Trees, shrubs, and greenery help to absorb the water from runoff and prevent chemicals from coming in contact with our water supply. It is estimated that a typical tree will soak up to 2,300 gallons of rainwater per year. Trees act as natural water purifiers by using their complex roots to filter contaminants from the water.
4. Pick up after your pets.
Another simple concept that if neglected, may have consequences to our water is picking up after your pets. Pet and animal waste often gets mixed in with waterways through runoff and flooding, but can possibly be avoided if pet owners can agree to a more diligent clean-up routine.
5. Install water-efficient appliances & use phosphate-free detergents.
Dishwashers and Laundry machines will carry contaminants from detergent into the water system of our homes and into our water supply. The best way to prevent this is by investing in water-efficient appliances, and to switch to phosphate-free detergents. A great option here.
The issue of saving water is important now, more than ever before. The earth is on a consistent cycle and if we stay in the routine that we’ve been in, it will not have a positive outlook for our drinking water. Stay in the know with what contaminants are in your local water, and take the preventative measures to ensure you are avoiding toxins, chemicals and pesticides in your drinking water.
Be safe. Be well. Be beautiful.