Is Your Drinking Water Safe?

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Is city water safe to drink?

For majority of people city water is safe to drink. It is filtered, chlorinated and carefully monitored for bacteria, etc. However, tourists from other countries, and some local residents not used to drinking city water, may develop gastro-intestinal problems from drinking city water. Modern medical science has proven the superiority of purified water as a "healthier drink" over city water. And clean water is essential to our health.

Why can't some people tolerate city water?

Bacteria is not the only thing that causes problems in the faucet (city) water people drink. There are also inorganic and organic chemicals that greatly affect the quality of water, its clarity and taste. Some of these chemical "solids" in faucet water bother some people. The adverse effect may be so subtle it may take years or even decades before it manifests itself.

What symptoms develop after one drinks water contaminated with bacteria?

Depending on the type of bacteria, and how severe the contamination is, the symptoms may range from mild stomachache lasting a few hours to severe diarrhea (with or without vomiting) with varying degrees of dehydration, lasting days. If untreated, the more severe form of this gastroenteritis may be serious or even fatal, especially among children and the elderly.

If water looks clear, does not smell bad and does not taste bad, is it safe to drinks?

Not necessarily. Turbid water that smells and tastes bad is obviously not safe to drink, but clear water that smells normal and does not taste bad could still have contaminants and chemical solids that are harmful to one's health. The safest habit is to drink purified water, one that is processed through an effective water filtration system, called reverse osmosis, and UV light exposure. We do not even need to drink mineral water since we get the needed minerals from our food. Distilled water, which is the purest H2O, is too expensive. Purified water is salt-free, bacteria/virus/protozoa-free, a most practical health choice, and cheaper too.

What are the usual water contaminants?

There are 3 categories of these contaminants: Inorganic (minerals, which may affect taste of water); Organic (from decaying plants, dirt, sediments, bacteria, amoeba and protozoa); and Synthetic (urban, agricultural and industrial pollutants, such as PCB, DBCP, TCE and others, as well as chlorine and its by products, all of which contaminants could cause health problems).

Where do bacterial contaminants come from?

Bacterial contaminants obviously come from human feces and animal excreta, decaying plants, viruses and giardia cysts, that somehow reach the water supply, and which are resistant to chlorine. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes 129 toxic "priority pollutants" in water that pose the greatest health hazard.

Is Chlorine totally safe?

Chlorine, which is internationally accepted chemical to treat city water, is safe and effective to a great extent. However, chlorine could also combine with naturally occurring organic substances to form chlorinated hydrocarbons known as trihalomethanes (THMs), which are cancer-causing substances.

Where do chemical water pollutants come from?

We, the people, are the culprits, the sources of these chemical pollutants. Gasolines, oil, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and over 100,000 other agricultural and industrial chemical compounds, eventually contaminate our rivers, lakes and oceans, our sources of water. They kill fish and other water life, and humans too. Human carelessness or callousness are the main causes of most of the pollution problems in our environment today.

What are the chemical contaminants that pose major health hazard?

Lead, radon, sodium, nitrates, asbestos, carbon chemicals. Lead could lead to brain damage and seizures, especially in children. Radon causes about 40,000 lung-cancer deaths every year. Excessive salt predisposes one to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disorders. Nitrates are dangerous to infants and they may also form nitrosamines that are potent carcinogens in the digestive tract. Asbestosis also causes cancer in the lining of the chest walls and lungs. Carbon Chemicals may also increase cancer risk.

What are the other toxic metals found in unfiltered water?

These are heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadnium and lead. The sources of these pollutants are industrial chemicals and wastes. These are dumped to the rivers and lakes every minute of the day, poisoning our water supplies.

What is hard water?

This is water saturated with magnesium, calcium and iron, and many other inorganic minerals. Water in deep wells, lakes, rivers, is hard water. As a rule, boiling water kill some of the bacteria but concentrates inorganic minerals. This is why one sees "salt-like crystals" or sediments at the bottom of the pot used for boiling water. Many minerals still remain in the water after boiling.

Which is the best water purification system?

Water purification is now both a science and a technology. Researches in this field, including final post-purification analysis and testing procedures, substantiate the fact that regular faucet water (even boiled) is not the best water for people to drink, that purified water is a lot more superior and healthier to consume, and that Reverse Osmosis and UV light exposure is the most modern system that is safe and most effective. Aqua Soft of Bucal, Calamba, Laguna (famous for its spring water sources), for instance, compared to many other systems, has a 16-stage state-of-the-art purification system, a United States technology using Automatic Regenerating Process (ARP), most superior when it comes to producing truly safe purified water for healthy drinking. Aqua Soft water has less than 7 parts per million total dissolved solids, much lower than most, and even better than the EPA standard of 10 parts per million. As could be expected, Aqua Soft water is in demand and this Laguna company distributes purified water all over. This only proves that in this day and age of health-consciousness, buying and drinking purified water is no longer a luxury but an imperative health necessity for everyone.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.