Make reverse osmosis your last line of defense again contaminants in drinking water
You may be aware that the United States has some of the cleanest, safest drinking water in the world. However, you may also know that even our tap water can contain harmful contaminants that could have potential health effects when consumed in large enough amounts. Reader’s Digest recently published an article online discussing our nation’s drinking water and the variables that could either use some assistance or the things that we have improved on within the last few decades.
According to the article, newspapers all over the country warn that there are more than 60,000 chemicals out there being used – those of which can get into our drinking water – yet the Environmental Protection Agency only regulates and enforces limitations of between 90 and 100 of them. Perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, has been found in water systems in 26 of our 50 states. In one extreme case, a couple in a small Pennsylvania town called Dimock found themselves with water that was bubbling and spurting like “Alka-Seltzer.” At first, they began noticing their tap water seemed to have an orange tint and sediment could commonly be found on the bottom of the glass. Then, at times even the washing machine would fill with black sludge. Eventually, their water was spurting. On New Year’s Day, one family’s well exploded. The Pennsylvania department of environmental protection determined that methane from a natural gas well had seeped into the water supplies of several Dimock homes. A spark from a motorized pump is thought to have set off the blast. Several of the residents had so much gas in their water, they could actually light it on fire.
For many reasons, contaminants can seep into our drinking water sources and land in our glasses. Sometimes, consumers don’t even know what they’re drinking or what levels of chemicals are safe to consume, if they are safe at all. When making the determination to regulate a contaminant, they must consider three items – the potential adverse effects of the contaminant on the health of humans, the frequency and level of contaminant occurrence in public drinking water systems, and whether regulation of the contaminant presents a “meaningful” opportunity for reducing public health risks. The list hasn’t been changed since 2000.
While our water is fairly safe as the article explains, there is still improvements that can be made. Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, states that progress has been made regarding contamination since the 1970’s with similar problems as mentioned above. She is quoted as saying, “we’ve made progress on that, but now we have to worry about what happens when it rains. Water runs over city streets, suburban lawns treated with fertilizer and pesticides, and agricultural lands that may also have been treated or have animal feeding operations, and into our rivers and streams. Runoff is now thought by most folks to be the biggest source of water pollution.”
Skip the bottled water solution. According to environmental advocacy websites, in 2007, nearly 50 billion water bottles were sold, while between 30 and 40 billion of those ended up in mountains of garbage in landfills, not recycled. It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. Bottled water is not financially-smart, nor is it eco-friendly. Newer reverse osmosis systems also follow environmentally-friendly guidelines and waste 90% less water than traditional reverse osmosis systems. It is a water filtration system that is done by household water pressure pushing the tap water through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane allows only the water to pass through, not the impurities or contaminants. Most reverse osmosis systems will remove contaminants like sodium, sulfate, nitrates, mercury, phosphate, lead, arsenic, magnesium, fluoride, chloride, and many others. You don’t have to wonder what is in your tap water, and you certainly don’t have to settle for uncertainty. Reverse osmosis can produce a consistent stream of safe drinking water for your household and give you some peace of mind at the same time.
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