People debate whether faucet water is safe for drinking or whether it’s better to stick to bottled water altogether. In America, the faucet water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be safe to drink directly from the tap. Our water, being treated, is much safer than most water around the world, though it may still be better in some places than others. When thinking about drinking water from the faucet, it’s important to know a bit more about your water source, and the mineral levels in your area.
Some Basic Facts
About 70% of the earth is covered in water. About 97% of this water is either an ocean or sea. The remaining 3% is fresh water. Of that 3%, 2% is locked up in ice and glaciers, leaving only 1% of drinkable freshwater.
While the water in America is regulated to be safe to drink directly from the faucet, there are some instances where there is inaccurate reporting due to poor plumbing, which means there is still a chance for drinking water to carry impurities that may cause varying types of diseases. Unclean drinking water can cause diseases such as cholera or typhoid, among others.
Water in the US
A majority of people living in America drink faucet water. People in the US consume more than 1 billion glasses of water from the faucet. That being said, there are some cities where contaminants in tap water exceed the legal limit, making it unsafe to drink without purification. Studies have shown that it is a matter of underreporting that allows this to occur. Many water suppliers fail to test water safety properly or report their findings to the proper health authorities.
It is due to negligence that problems like the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis occur. This was an instance where a change in water source led to contaminated drinking water containing lead and other harmful toxins. There have also been studies showing concerning levels of chromium-6 in drinking water that nearly 200 million Americans drink. Because we are trusting of our government to properly regulate things like our water safety, we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position where we are open to possible contaminants and diseases.
How Do You Know if Your Faucet Water is Safe?
There are two main sources of faucet water, surface, and ground. Surface water is water that is delivered from reservoirs, lakes, and rivers, while groundwater comes from underground sources. You can find out more about the source of your water, its safety, and treatment by checking the EWG’s tap water database regularly. This is an independent testing company that specializes in keeping the public informed about water safety, so you can trust their results. Additionally, it is important to know as much as you can about your pipe system. If you live in an older home, there may be lead solder, as the piping would likely be very old. You can have a plumber tell you more about your home’s plumbing to ensure there are no additional contaminants being picked up through your pipes.
It is always recommended that you purify your water, even if your faucet water tests safe. You can simply install a small water filter onto your faucets to ensure any additional harmful contaminants get filtered out.