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7 Things to Know About Tap Water

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tap water Despite the recent E.Coli scare that prompted a major bottling facility to recall 14 brands of water bottles, opting for bottled or filtered water over tap water is still your best best. Here’s why:

Did you know that the average adult human body is 55-60% water? (Babies’ bodies are closer to 75%.) The brain is made up of about 70% water. The lungs are closer to 90%! This means that the quality of the water you drink has an enormous impact on your health.

Unfortunately, high quality drinking water is increasingly difficult to come by in this day and age. Most health conscious Americans understand we are lucky in this country to have access to water that is largely free of disease-causing microorganisms. However, drinking plain old, unfiltered tap water is generally not a great idea.

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What’s wrong with tap water?

Recent analyses of municipal drinking water have shown that, despite government regulations, there are still many dangerous contaminants present in our water. This is noted even after it has gone through municipal water treatment facilities.

In fact, these water treatment facilities often actually contribute to the problem. They add dangerous chemicals to water as part of the treatment process. These chemicals include fluoride and chlorine. The water regulations and treatment methods used in the U.S. are old and outdated. They do little to address the assortment of toxic chemicals that are currently present in our environment. The Safe Drinking Water Act only regulates 91 potential water contaminants. Yet there are more than 60,000 chemicals used within the U.S., many of which have been identified as probable carcinogens. According to some estimates, there are now more than 2,100 known chemical toxins present in U.S. tap water. Additionally, many municipalities transport their water in antiquated, corroded pipes. This process may leach toxic heavy metals into the water after it has been treated.

Here’s a rundown of some of the chemicals that are more than likely lurking in your tap water:

6 Scary Contaminants Found in Tap Water

1. Fluoride

For over 50 years, the U.S. government has mandated that fluoride be added to the water supply to prevent dental problems. However, current research has shown that fluoride, a chemical that is used in rat poison, does a lot more harm than good. The fluoride found in tap water has actually been shown to damage tooth enamel. It also can increase fracture risk, as well as suppress immune and thyroid function. Plus, it increases cancer risk and disrupts the function of the pineal gland.

Many European countries have banned the use of fluoride altogether. Also, there is a large activist movement of people working to get fluoride banned in the U.S. Visit FluorideAlert.org to learn more.

2. Chlorine

Water treatment facilities use chlorine as a disinfectant. It effectively kills microorganisms, but also has toxic effects on the human body. Chlorine has been identified as a leading cause of bladder cancer, and has been associated with rectal and breast cancers, asthma, birth defects and premature aging of skin.

3. Pharmaceutical drugs

Recent investigations have shown that an increasing number of pharmaceutical drugs are finding their way into our drinking water. Drugs ranging from antibiotics and birth control pills to painkillers, antidepressants and other psychiatric medications are now showing up in most municipal water supplies.

4. Hexavalent chromium

Earlier this year, an Environmental Working Group report revealed that hexavalent chromium, a chemical identified as a “probably carcinogen by the EPA,” is present in high concentrations in 31 U.S. cities. This is the chemical made famous by the movie, Erin Brockovitch, which chronicled the case brought against Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the water in an area of Southern California and poisoning thousands of people. Yet despite its known toxicity, there are no government regulations for hexavalent chromium in drinking water.

5. Lead, aluminum and other heavy metals

Lead and other heavy metals can make their way into your tap water through corrosion of the pipes in your plumbing system. Lead consumption has been linked to severe developmental delays and learning disorders in children. Aluminum and other heavy metals have been linked to nerve, brain and kidney damage. Currently, some municipalities still transport water in lead pipes.

6. Arsenic

Arsenic is a poisonous element known to be extremely carcinogenic. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates as many as 56 million Americans drink water containing unsafe levels of arsenic. For more information, see the USGS website, which offers maps showing where and to what extent arsenic occurs in ground water across the U.S.

You can read more about these and other common water contaminants in this article.

So what are the healthier alternatives to tap water?

So what is the best way to ensure that the water you drink is supporting your health, rather than damaging it? We cover that topic in detail in this article:

What’s the Healthiest Water to Drink?


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Josh Corn Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.


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Leave a Comment Below


80 responses to “7 Things to Know About Tap Water”

  1. Kasulisjoecarol says:

    I am concerned. What kind of water purifying system can I buy to make my tap water safe?

    • Thanks for your question. If you don’t have direct access to a natural spring, a high quality home water filter is definitely the way to go. However, it’s important to choose the right kind of filter, as some only remove particulate matter, leaving fluoride and other chemicals behind.

      Check back next week for an article that will delve into the various options out there for effectively removing fluoride and other dangerous tap water contaminants.

    • The filter unit must be cost effective and also,  tested and certified by NSF International to reduce  the widest range of contaminants that may possibly present in your municipal treated tap water;

       Reverse Osmosis / Distillation will reduce fluoride,  minerals and etc.,   but not  VOCs;  Solid Carbon Block filter will not reduce fluoride and minerals but will reduce VOCs and a wide range of contaminants , lead etc.  Just request Manufacturer to provide you with a copy of the system performance data sheet.

    • Shira Nahari says:

      Structuring Water forces contaminants to the center of cells where they can no longer harm you! To learn about this “Fourth Phase of Water”- hexagonal water – go to www.thewellnessenterprise.com
      Enjoy the taste of fresh spring water after running it through a simple portable unit! And after structuring my water for only a month several health issues simply disappeared!

    • bill Wee says:

      I use a four filter reverse osmosis filter ,which draws water from filtered tap source. Filters are changed 6 monthly. The tap micro fibre filter is changed 3 monthly.

  2. Annette says:

    I use the Aquasana water filter. Their filters were winners of the “Healthiest Product” Award from Health Magazine in 2010.

  3. IggyDalrymple says:

    When I’m in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I drink the free thermal spring water. It comes out of the ground
    at 140°. The water hasn’t seen the light of day for 4,000 years. In Florida I use a home distiller.

    • Shira Nahari says:

      The problem with distilled water is that it is “dead” and also devoid of minerals. If you will structure your water using a Natural Action unit you will have live water with its energy and consciousness restored! See www.thewellnessenterprise for information.

  4. Susanstm21 says:

    OMG – this bit about fluoride in rat poison is pure garbage.
    There are many reputable websites out these along with many not reputable websites; Fluoridealert.org is a NOT reputable site.
    Fluoride does NOT exist in rat poison.

    • Diane says:

      Where are you getting your information? Before sodium fluoride was ever used for dental purposes, it was known as the world’s most effective rat killer. Sodium fluoride is registered with the EPA as a rat neurotoxin and has been used as a primary ingredient in rat poison for over 40 years. Don’t be fooled. Labels may list it, or its derivatives, under other names. See: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/sodium-fluoride-red.pdf

    • Shira Nahari says:

      Regardless of where fluoride exists it’s a killer! It destroys teeth and harms health in many ways. Please see some reliable sources to educate yourself. Try www.GreenMedInfo.com for starters!

    • Nona says:

      We just moved from the country on our own drilled well, to the small city of Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
      We are happy to know that we don’t have flouride in the municipal water system. I heard rom reliable sources that flouride tablets were given to concentration camp prisoners to dumb them down and keep them more calm when going to slaughter.
      We buy this junk from China. It isn’t even rated USP grade and we dump this in most water systems in N.America. China won’t use it but they sell it to us. No wonder all their children are taking up spaces in our college and university systems and are pulling off 90’s while our kids are struggling with ADHD and many other mental issues I believe may be related to drinking water combined with pesticdes and all the other nasty stuff we add to our world in the name of “progress” in developed countries. As much as I like being in a small city now. I think I’ll purchase a small piece of land further north and drill a well.

  5. Kimij says:

    we drink distilled water in my house BUT it is toooo expensive to cook with. so we must you tap water to cook. also, skin is VERY susceptible to soaking in whatever is in your water. we shower with tap water. it cant be helped.

    • Arianna says:

      I use a shower filter, which removes chlorine and other chemicals. They are not too expensive and I have noticed remarkable improvement in my skin and hair!

      • Shira Nahari says:

        A shower filter may take the edge off the chlorine, but I have learned you would need a carbon filter the size of a bucket to remove the chlorine. (One shower is like drinking 8 glasses of chlorinated mater!)
        My solution is a Structured Water unit attached directly to the shower pipe. See www.thewellnessenterprise.com to learn more!

    • Shira Nahari says:

      Oh but it CAN be helped! I have a Water Structuring unit on my shower and the water I shower in is like fresh spring water!
      Please see thewellnessenterprise.com to see how you can also avoid chlorine and other contaminants. (BTW a carbon filter would need to be as big as a bucket to remove anything effectively!)

    • Pat says:

      We cook with bottled water. It depends on how much water you use to cook.

  6. […] you read our article last week about tap water, you know about the slew of dangerous chemicals found in our drinking water supply and maybe you’ve decided that unfiltered tap water just isn’t for you. After all, […]

  7. Sharon says:

    I have a reverse osmosis filter system under my kitchen skin with a separate faucet. For the rest of the house I have a carbon tank in the basement that filters the water that comes out of any faucet.

    • Shira Nahari says:

      The problem with reverse osmosis is that it creates dead water. If you will simply use a Water Structuring unit you will have high-energy water with its full range of minerals and a taste like fresh spring water. You can learn more here: www.thewellnessenterprise.com

  8. Friedberg E says:

    I have filtered my water (and change filters frequently) for over 30 yrs for the reasons stated above. I’m sure I’m only helping matters slightly but it’s better than nothing. Would love to hear a better solution.

  9. fannie mae brady says:

    i am so afraid we have real problems, like you say. i use a water filter on my frig. but how do we know about the water that is in all of our liquids that we buy. is there any way around this???? my dad drilled deep wells between the early 50’s through the early 80’s in three counties here in central alabama probably between 75 to 400 ft. deep. i remember him telling me that one day our water from these artesian wells will not be safe to drink. its hard to believe this bottled water is safe. what do we know about the restrictions on these bottlers? also, they are now saying the plastic bottles, expecially if they are left outside and get hot are not safe. i wonder where all the cancer that we see now days is coming from. fmbrady

  10. BethF says:

    If you boil tap water, will that remove these dangerous contaminants?

    • Pat says:

      Boiling will only kill pathogens. Unless you collect the steam and condense it (distilled), you will not remove any other toxins.

  11. […] the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water reviewing the allowable amount of fluoride in drinking water, more than four years after the National Research Council reported to Congress that the current […]

  12. […] Until recently, about 25% of the iodine in the diet was from wheat, because iodine was used in the processing of flour. Now, however, a lot of flour in the U.S. is processed with a chemical cousin of iodine, bromide (potassium bromate), which helps makes flour doughier, rise higher, and gives the loaf a better appearance. But bromide is a double-edged sword: not only has it replaced iodine, it may block the activity of iodine. That’s also true for two more of iodine’s chemical cousins — chlorine and fluoride, both of which are common in drinking water. […]

  13. Christine says:

    I use a water purifier with extra fluoride filters. It is the same kind used by humanitarian workers in third-world countries. It is surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to the cost of bottled water. The manufacturer has top-notch customer service and you can get their best price at http://amzn.to/qo1mHx. My family loves our water purifier!

  14. Sandra Jarvis says:

    This scares the crap out of me!!!

  15. My new fridge has a water filter and we only use that filtered water. But I’ve wondered if it’s good enough? I have NO idea if it removes all these things you mention. I do know the water tastes dramatically better. Our water here in Arizona is gag-inducing straight from the tap!

  16. […] the answers that are blatantly staring them in the face. It causes people to promote things like water fluoridation and dental surgery, when these things are not necessary given the fact that our teeth our not […]

  17. […] the 1940s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started adding a toxic compound to public drinking water in the U.S., telling us that it would prevent cavities in children. The same substance was then […]

  18. […] government agencies permitting an extremely toxic substance to enter our drinking water. According to a new study, that’s exactly what they’re doing by allowing Monsanto to […]

  19. […] the latest scary news about tap water, a new study links psychiatric drugs residues found in America’s drinking water supply to […]

  20. […] This article originally appeared on Live in the Now. […]

  21. Patti Orr says:

    At my house, an RO system plus I have a shower filter. At boyfriend’s house, a Pur on the faucet, then a Britta pitcher which then goes into a Britta counter container. No shower filter at boyfriend’s :(. Don’t do bottle water. Bought some glass and stainless steel refillable bottles. When traveling, use a Zero Water pitcher.

  22. Lin Pyles says:

    I look forward to what you have to say. I am actually in the process of trying to figure this out. I have emailed a couple of companies asking what is in their water (like fluoride) and what isn’t in their water and will the 3-5 gallon plastic bottles cause the water to leech chemicals, etc. No answers. It is frustrating. Had an osmosis water machine for a while but kept reading it was bad for you because it took out all the minerals. Maybe if you use real salt or Keltic salt it is okay?

  23. Lin Pyles says:

    One other thought as I read through these responses and I would love a good answer. What do you do about the shower/bathtub? Is there a good filter that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg that filters chlorine, fluoride, etc out. They say our skin absorbs more of this stuff than drinking it.

  24. […] consider investing in at least one of the many different types of home water filters. Simplicity. Most water filters are easy to use. All you have to do is pour tap water into the filter’s reservoir, let it filter, and et […]

  25. Bob Greene says:

    Thank you for this timely and well-researched article on municipal water. Particularly important is the fact the clean water act addressed just 91 of the estimated 2,100 chemicals known present in our drinking water.

    By the volume of responses this article generated, there is widespread awareness our water supply has become more expensive and more contaminated than ever. Unless a person spends a great deal of money, an effective solution to cleaner, safe water is simply out of reach. That suggests our congress has been asleep on the issue of potable water safety, and certain industry lobbies would keep it that way– with no funding for research and or public education on water quality to agitate the natives.

    My own solution is to bypass the installation of costly water purification equipment in the home, and buy “molecularly distilled” water from a known, reliable source. Whether the process meets a strict definition of purity is less important than simply ending the flow of city water through my kidneys.

    Kroger and many health food stores (Whole Foods) sell “pure” water at a price that makes it practical, and there are refrigerator-sized dispensers that make kitchen and occasional use easier.

    Buying our drinking water appears to be the wave of the future (sorry, unintended), so long as congress does nothing and fracking endangers our drinking water with additional chemicals. (Yes, fracking chemicals have been found in municipal water and in water wells near fracking areas, but the EPA has been told by congress to “shut up”, with budget threats from house GOP leaders, who control budget bills to fund the EPA.)

    Suggestions for another article– is it safe to drink distilled water, or do we need the so-called ” trace” minerals usually present before distillation? This issue also involves how much the water changes our internal Ph, with distilled water tending to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and become acidic.

    Suggestions for all articles– Life Extension Magazine, to its great credit, publishes a list of citations after every article. That means those who wish to read the research on which the article is based can do so.

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  27. wilie Kingfish says:

    I filter then distill my water, this is about as good as it gets although spring water is also good, but it is so hard to find a good source today.
    From what i have read most bottled water is not all that good , bottled spring water can be mixed 50/50 with filtered water, and filtered water was mixed 50/50 with tap water. I do not know if things have changed but this was true 20 years ago. a friend was into this and use to test water, most water tested was not up to the standard that it was suppose to be.
    filtering and distilling your water is proable the best way to be sure you are drinking good water
    A good combination water distiller/water cooler will cost about $7,000.00 or so they did years ago anyway most likely today the cost will be much higher, but still worth it if you want safe , good drinking water. I do not know for sure if buying bottled distilled water today weather or not you are getting what you pay for

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  39. Cindy says:

    I use a R.O. system which is designed to remove contaminants, including fluoride. Beware. Most water filtration systems, including R.O., do not remove fluoride. Research the product prior to purchase. The problem with distilled water is that it removes everything as it passes through you. You have to replace what’s being removed. The problem with drinking bottled water is the container, which may contain BPA or BPS. Glass container is preferable if you can get it.

  40. Susan says:

    We have a Tyent alkaline water ionizer in our house. It filters out the harmful additives and keeps the important minerals. We LOVE our water, but it isn’t inexpensive to install one. Another option is a Berkey water filter. We also have filters on all out showers which can be purchased inexpensively and are easily installed.

  41. […] to maintaining a healthy metabolism and keeping one’s digestive system on track. However, drinking water from an unfiltered tap can put you in contact with mountains of toxins. In fact, water from the tap can contain as many as […]

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  46. I drink a brand of bottled water called “Smart Water” They claim to convert water to steam and then return the steam back into water leaving the contaminants behind. But they add back electrolytes lost in the process. I don’t know if any of this story is true. Can you verify this story??

    • Segen Tekle says:

      Hi Phyllis,
      Today, Smart Water is one of the most popular in the bottle water industry! They run the water through charcoal, disinfect the water and then add electrolytes back into the water. There are other processes that take place to help the water taste better. These processes are the same across the board with most water companies. Smart Water is vapor distilled, disinfected and ideal for electrolyte replenishment after exercise.

      Hope this helps!

  47. Ruth Hall says:

    I do not drink tap water, haven’t for years. However with all the talk about BPA? in plastics, it makes one wonder what to do. I would buy a good water filter system if I knew which one was best but there are so many and there is controversy over almost everything. This is indeed a confusing time we live in.

  48. Dan O'Connor says:

    My wife has been on a bottled water kick for many
    years. She claimed our public water tasted ‘funny’.
    I could not detect ANY difference and told her we
    could not afford to piss away money on tap water in
    a store bought bottle. She then started to buy the damn water on the sly, I never saw the water bottles
    come in but I saw the empties in the trash can. She
    drank 4 bottles per day at about $1.25 each, that adds
    up to $5.00 per day. So, I bought a $300.00 water
    distiller and of course I got the job of operating the
    rig but at least she is now drinking distilled water at
    a savings of $5.00 per day.

    • Vicki Bainard says:

      You might like to read about using distilled water for your water source…I used to; but years ago found it was not a healthy choice.

  49. Gerald Fruzia says:

    I drink Ozarka Spring Bottled Water. Is there a place to evaluate the safety of Spring water?

  50. Vicki Bainard says:

    I have been using a simple pitcher from Wal-Mart. It is the ZERO WATER pitcher with 5/way filter. I had the city superintendent come over to compare the city water from my tap to the filtered Zero Water pitcher water. He was AMAZED! It nearly completely eliminated the chlorine (0.001). We have otherwise good water in our small town from a good source. The state recently, however required the addition of chlorine because of minutely elevated arsenic levels (not from anything other than natural ground created arsenic). We have no industry or farming here. I used powdered ascorbic acid in my bath water – it completely eliminates the chlorine. My superintendent went home scratching his head and later bought the Zero Water pitcher :o)

  51. Shannon says:

    Does boiling the water get rid of the bad stuff/get rid of any minerals in the water making it dead water aka with no benefits besides hydration?

    • Segen Tekle says:

      That’s a really good question Shannon!
      Boiling water will kill microorganisms, but it won’t do anything about the mineral content of the water. In fact, boiling water is the most effective way of getting rid of any nasty pathogens that might render your drinking experience. It’s a much better way of obtaining safe drinking water!

      Hopefully this information helps :)

  52. […] of the many complains together with the unfiltered normal water as given by the public liquid resources, is all about the point that it in some cases has excessive […]

  53. Shirley says:

    I am very concerned about tap water. I presently filter mine with a Mercola water filter but unsure if that’s enough. I do not drink bottled water due to the plastic leaching into the water. Give me some good options.

  54. V. Peters says:

    It’s getting so I don’t want to read anything about water anymore because it has grown SO COMPLEX you have to have a degree in chemistry to understand it. I’m on a fixed income and have very little money for a fancy filtration system. If Joshua Corn can’t give us some solid scientific advice on the best and most inexpensive filtration systems, then I find this article useless. I use PUR water filter on my sink – that’s it. Also buy bottled. If that’s not good enough, then I’m screwed.

  55. Patricia says:

    I filter my drinking and cooking water with a pitcher and I also have a filter on my shower head.

  56. Anthony says:

    Hi Joshua, I had a Brita jug and bought the new improved filters a few months ago. Found out it’s tanted with Florida. Water comes alkaline from my tap and acidic from the Brita filter. Now I bought a clearly filtered water pitcher which is a bit costly but it WORKS!!! chlorine Florida, and heavy metals are extracted and you can taste and see the difference. I strongly suggest this type of filtration system.

  57. Pat says:

    I drink bottled spring water from mountain springs. Distilled water isn’t necessarily good for you, because it can leach minerals out of things like teeth and bones. It doesn’t taste very good. It is almost a universal solvent. I think of it as being contaminated by the chemical that makes up the bottle. If you want to drink water that is almost distilled, drink glacier water.