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What’s Really in Our Tap Water?

In our quest for optimal health, we often overlook one of the most fundamental elements of our well-being: water. Our bodies, incredible and intricate machines, are composed of approximately 60% water, emphasizing the vital role it plays in sustaining our overall health and functionality. Understanding the significance of maintaining proper hydration levels is paramount. Research conducted by has shed light on the importance of consuming an adequate amount of water daily, ranging from 1.6 to 2.5 liters. Failing to meet this essential requirement puts us at risk of dehydration, a condition that can have profound effects on our physical and mental well-being.

Dehydration, even at minimal levels, can cause a cascade of negative consequences. Just a 1% decrease in body fluid can lead to a noticeable decline in performance, hindered thermoregulation, and a suppressed appetite. As the dehydration percentage increases to 4%, more pronounced symptoms manifest, including irritability, difficulties in concentration, and headaches. It is crucial, therefore, to prioritize regular hydration to ensure our bodies can function optimally and maintain an equilibrium necessary for everyday activities.

While the recommended daily water intake serves as a general guideline, certain circumstances call for increased hydration. Engaging in physical exercise, especially in warm weather conditions, accelerates fluid loss through perspiration, necessitating a higher water intake to compensate for the increased demand. Similarly, when illness strikes, such as bouts of sickness or diarrhea, our bodies undergo additional stress and fluid loss, necessitating a heightened focus on replenishing fluids to aid in recovery.

Understanding what truly resides in our drinking water is also an important aspect of safeguarding our health. While tap water undergoes treatment processes to eliminate harmful contaminants, trace amounts of impurities can still find their way into our glasses. These impurities may vary depending on the source of our drinking water.

How Do We Know Our Water Is Safe?

The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for ensuring that all public water is safe. However, reports have found that your tap water may contain certain chemicals and elements, such as the following:

  • Arsenic 
  • Fluoride
  • Organisms
  • Pesticides 

Ensuring the safety of our drinking water is of paramount importance. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for safeguarding public water sources, it is essential to be aware of potential contaminants that may still be present in our tap water. Numerous reports have highlighted certain chemicals and elements that can be found, even in treated water. Understanding these potential substances allows us to take appropriate measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.


One such concern is arsenic, a toxic heavy metal that is classified as a carcinogen by the Academy for Research on Cancer. Although arsenic occurs naturally, the acceptable level of this element in drinking water is set at 10 parts per billion. While efforts are made to regulate its presence, it is crucial to be mindful of the potential risks associated with elevated levels of arsenic.


Once intentionally added to water supplies for its dental health benefits, is now raising concerns over its safety. Increasingly, the addition of fluoride is being reconsidered, as debates emerge regarding its potential adverse effects. As new research and discussions unfold, the process of fluoridation in water supplies is gradually being reevaluated.


Commonly added to water as a disinfectant, effectively targeting and eliminating harmful bacteria. While it serves an important purpose in water treatment, it is worth noting that the presence of chlorine itself may have certain implications. Understanding the balance between the benefits of disinfection and the potential drawbacks associated with residual chlorine is crucial.


Although water undergoes filtration before it reaches our homes, there is still a chance that certain microorganisms may slip through the treatment process. While these instances are relatively rare, it is essential to acknowledge the possibility and remain vigilant, especially for individuals with compromised immune systems or those living in areas with suboptimal water treatment systems.


Pesticides pose yet another concern when it comes to the safety of our drinking water. While companies are required to adhere to specific standards in their agricultural practices, occasional lapses or failures may result in the presence of pesticide residues in water sources. This emphasizes the importance of ongoing monitoring and rigorous testing to ensure that water quality standards are consistently met.

It is crucial to acknowledge that despite treatment efforts, certain factors can compromise the quality of our drinking water. Aging infrastructure and pipes can introduce impurities and contaminants into the water supply, while human error, though uncommon, can also lead to issues. As consumers, we must remain vigilant and recognize that absolute certainty regarding water purity may not be attainable.

EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline

If you ever suspect that an illness you experienced may have been caused by your drinking water, it is advisable to consult a doctor promptly. Obtaining a professional diagnosis allows for proper reporting and investigation, preventing similar incidents from affecting others. Additionally, the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 is a valuable resource for reporting concerns or seeking guidance regarding water safety.

Certain individuals are particularly vulnerable and need to exercise extra caution when considering their drinking water. People undergoing chemotherapy, individuals with HIV/AIDS, transplant recipients, young children (especially those under six years old), and pregnant women are among the groups that are most at risk. It is essential for these individuals to pay close attention to the quality and safety of the water they consume, taking appropriate measures to ensure their well-being.

By staying informed about potential contaminants, being proactive in water safety practices, and reporting any concerns, we can collectively work towards maintaining the highest possible standards for the safety and quality of our drinking water.

How Can You Help Protect Yourself?

Ensuring the safety of the water we consume is crucial for maintaining our well-being. If you’re looking for ways to protect yourself and optimize the quality of your tap water, consider the following tips provided by Greatist:

  1. Explore alternative water sources: While tap water is the most common choice for many, it’s worth considering other options. Drinking fountains, filtered water dispensers, or even bottled water can provide alternative sources of water that may meet your preferences and quality standards.
  2. Flush your pipes: Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, it’s advisable to run the faucet for a short period until the water becomes very cold. This practice helps flush out any stagnant water that may have been sitting in the pipes, improving the overall quality of the water.
  3. Opt for cold water: When consuming tap water, prioritize cold water over hot water. Hot water can potentially harbor bacteria that have accumulated in the water heater or plumbing system. Therefore, choosing cold water reduces the risk of bacterial contamination.
  4. Regularly clean and replace water strainers: Water strainers or filters play an essential role in removing impurities and contaminants from your tap water. To ensure their effectiveness, make it a habit to clean and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions or as needed.
  5. Trust your senses: Pay attention to any unusual odor, color, or taste in your tap water. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s best to err on the side of caution and refrain from drinking it. Contact your local public water department to report any concerns and seek further guidance.
  6. Invest in water filtration: One of the most effective ways to enhance the quality of your tap water is by using a water filtration system. These devices are designed to remove a wide range of harmful contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, chlorine, and microbial impurities. Consider researching and selecting a filtration system that suits your specific needs and budget.

By exploring different water sources, taking steps to improve the quality of your tap water, and considering filtration options, you can play an active role in safeguarding your health. Remember, staying informed and proactive about water safety empowers you to make educated decisions to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Final Thoughts

In our quest for good health, we must not overlook the importance of safe and clean drinking water. With our bodies reliant on water for optimal functioning, it becomes imperative to be mindful of the potential contaminants and take steps to protect ourselves.

While organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency work tirelessly to regulate and maintain the safety of public water supplies, it is important to acknowledge that no system is perfect. Therefore, understanding the composition of our tap water and being aware of potential risks allows us to make informed decisions about our water sources and take appropriate actions to mitigate any potential harm.

Regular hydration is vital, and we must strive to meet the recommended daily intake of water. However, certain circumstances, such as intense exercise, hot weather, or illness, may necessitate increased water consumption. By listening to our bodies and adjusting our hydration levels accordingly, we can ensure that our water intake aligns with our specific needs.

When it comes to protecting ourselves and our families, there are practical steps we can take. Exploring alternative sources of water, such as filtered dispensers or bottled water, can offer additional options for those concerned about tap water quality. Flushing out our pipes, using cold water for consumption, and regularly cleaning and replacing water strainers contribute to maintaining better water quality at home.

It is also essential to be vigilant and trust our senses. If anything appears or smells off in our tap water, it is wise to refrain from consuming it and report the issue to the appropriate authorities. Furthermore, investing in a reliable water filtration system can provide an extra layer of protection, ensuring the removal of harmful contaminants and providing peace of mind.

By taking these proactive measures and staying informed about water safety, we can play an active role in safeguarding our health and that of our loved ones. Remember, water is not only a basic necessity but a fundamental component of our well-being. By prioritizing clean and safe drinking water, we can pave the way for a healthier future.

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