How many of you filter your tap water? We didn’t used to. Then I started to investigate what our water contained within it. I appreciate that our water is way healthier than it was in the past and also than it is in other poorer countries but that’s a relative concept. Is it actually what I want my kids and my husband and I to be drinking?
What I found out when I started to investigate our tap water is that during water treatment, chlorine and other chemicals are added to the water to disinfect it and keep it from picking up germs in transit. Whilst these chemicals are critical in keeping our water clean, they’re essentially the wrapping – they protect the product on its journey from the supplier to the customer. But that then raises this question – ‘when you get your shopping home, do you eat the packaging?’ No!!
If you want to know what chlorine in water may be responsible for then look no further than this study from New York that linked chlorine exposure to both food and environmental allergies. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx made this discovery after observing a corresponding rise in both chlorine use and food allergies among varying sample populations. Based on extrapolated data compiled from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 2005-2006, the team found that existing food allergies and the rising rate of new allergies were both associated with chlorine exposures from various sources. The problem seems not to be the chlorine itself but the fact that it reacts with organic materials, which already dissolve in water, forming toxic chemicals called DBP’s.
“Cancer risk among people using chlorinated water is as much as 93 percent higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine,” according to the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality.
The other area that concerned me was the presence of herbicides and pesticides in the water we get through our taps. “Why are these here?” I hear you ask. Well, they appear to be entering the cycle as run-off i.e. when it rains water runs-on then off fields that have been exposed to pesticides and herbicides, and into streams, rivers and lakes. Mains water can contain small amounts of these agricultural herbicides and pesticides. Though the quantities involved are very small, no research has been done into long term exposure to these sorts of chemicals.
I also started to think about the amount of water we all now drink from plastic bottles. Firstly plastic bottles are not sustainable, no matter what we are told. They have a large carbon footprint and what you drink in 10 minutes can hang around for 1000 years! Some studies even show the presence of E. Coli, phthalates and mould in bottled water. Whilst the industry has buckled to the demand for BPA-Free plastic bottles, they still use chemicals that may be hormone disruptors. Only time will tell. They simply haven’t been around long enough.
In my humble opinion: Any filter is better than no filter. If you don’t have a filter you become the filter.
However, the best and most cost effective solution is a combination of a decent water filter at home. I highly recommend Doulton Gravity Filters and a really good quality glass or stainless steel reusable drinking bottle. Water is heavy stuff and carting it about in bottles makes little sense from an environmental standpoint. A far better solution is to filter water at the point of use, after it has already been transported by water mains. This method of obtaining clean, chlorine-free water without particles or pathogens is more cost efficient than a filter jug and is far more environmentally friendly than bottled water. Do take a look at Doulton Gravity Filters. I purchased a water filter from Doulton, in fact an outdoor recreation filter SS so that it could come with us on holiday too! That’s what we have had for about 1 year now and I can honestly say it is one of the best purchases we have made. The deal-maker was when my reluctant husband not only commented on how much better the water tasted but he also INSISTED I use this ‘new’ water in his sacred coffee machine!