Here in America, we frequently fail to realize the potential harms of drinking unfiltered tap water. Water-borne illnesses are typically thought of as afflictions impacting only developing countries, and little thought or care is given to the seemingly harmless act of drinking a glass of tap water. However, the truth is that there are numerous unsafe chemicals and compounds found in our drinking waters, and these chemicals, when consumed over long periods of time ultimately manifest themselves in the form of many common health issues such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, bladder and kidney diseases, as well as causing a whole slew of reproductive health issues.
One of the more common chemicals found in our drinking water supplies is arsenic. The EPA conducted a report in 2000 in which analysts concluded that nearly 34 million Americans were consuming water that contained arsenic in levels high enough to cause a significant increase in their risk of cancer. Additionally, 56 million Americans were drinking water contaminated with arsenic at unsafe levels, leading to significantly increased risks for many numerous health issues. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this study is that it was only conducted on only 25 of the 50 states, so in theory these numbers are double what they appear. Beyond that, many speculate that due to the last decade of turmoil in the realms of economics and politics, municipal water systems have only deteriorated in quality, suggesting the possibility of a worsening of this problem.
In the face of such information, many would first want to turn to bottled water. Unfortunately however, many types of bottled water are simply bottled tap water that have undergone little to no filtration, so to switch to them would be essentially meaningless. Beyond that, the high level of waste (mainly in the forms of small, non-biodegradable plastic bottles) presents with it additional environmental concerns, not to mention that these plastics can leach into ground water sources near the sites of landfills, which in turn worsens the issue of drinking water quality. The best plan of action to protect yourself against arsenic contaminated drinking waters is first and foremost education. Educate yourself about the harmful effects of consuming water with arsenic, and figure out whether or not your local water supply has reported results for arsenic testing to the EPA and what your own individual risk is. Consider investing in a water filtration device that can be built right into the sinks in your home, filtering your tap water as it’s coming out of your pipes. There are many different kinds of filtration devices and they can be quite expensive so be sure to do your research and select one that meets your individual needs. To begin your search, try starting at one of the two following websites: