Guest post by Uma Campbell
If you're like most people, you take the water that comes from your kitchen tap for granted...that is, until either a plumbing problem renders it unusable or a safety concern renders it undrinkable.
Consider the case of the people in Flint, Michigan back in 2014. Community leaders scrambled to contain the fallout after the switch of water sources, minus effective water treatment, exposed 100,00 residents to high levels of lead. The problem wasn’t sorted out until 2017.
So, do you know what's lurking in your water? Read on for a look at what may be in the water you use to drink and cook as well as what you can do to ensure that your water is safe for consumption.
Root of Water Problems and Contaminants in Water
What safety is a global issue. A lack of access to clean water, an increase in pollution, and a lack of policy changes are some of the reasons why there are water problems at home and abroad. You might be surprised at all of the impurities that can be found in your drinking and cooking water. Here’s a sobering look at some of the harmful contaminants to be aware of:
Lead: This contaminant can get in your water through faucets, copper pipes, and lead service lines. If your home was constructed prior to 1986, it more likely than not has lead piping and fixtures. Lead is harmful to children, as it can impede brain development and the nervous system, and to adults, as it can boost risks of hypertension and kidney problems.
Nitrate: This contaminant can come from nitrogen fertilizers, shallow or poorly developed wells, and rainwater. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum allowable contaminant level of nitrate is 10 mg/L for safe drinking water. Anything above this amount can lead to a blood disorder in infants.
Arsenic: This contaminant is actually a natural component not only of water, but also of land and earth. Long-term exposure to this contaminant in water can lead to cancer.
Bromates: This contaminant, while potentially harmful, has been deemed as safe in quantities of up to 10 micrograms per liter. Studies on lab animals suggest that bromates can present kidneys and cancer risks.
Bacteria: There are lots of bacteria contaminants that can be found in drinking water. They include e-coli, vibrio, legionella, flavobacterium, asiatic cholera, vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Aeromonas.
HOW TO GET SAFE WATER
Fortunately, you don't have to put up with unsafe drinking or cooking water. Yes, technology exists that can help you to avoid the sort of problems that adversely impacted the residents of Flint. Technology that can safeguard your water supply include the following: reverse osmosis systems, distillation systems, ultraviolet treatment systems with pre-filtration, and water softeners.
What’s lurking in your water? Quite a bit actually. There are lots of contaminants that you have to be wary of, but fortunately, there are solutions you can use to get clean and safe water. As you do your part to ward of contaminants, also take the environmentally friendly approach by cutting back on your overall water use such by washing only full loads of clothes and by taking faster showers. In other words, take care of yourself, your family, and the environment.