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Posted on May 17, 2013

3 Toxic Water Contaminants You Should Know About

Do you know what’s in your water? Do a little digging and it’s likely you’ll be disturbed when you discover the whole story. According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study of the country’s drinking water, 316 contaminants have been found in the nation’s drinking water.  Over 60% of these contaminants have no safety standards and are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Quite simply, government regulations and water treatment facilities haven’t kept up with the steady increase in contaminants resulting from new technologies like alternative disinfectants, increased use of pesticides, herbicides, natural gas drilling and the like.

So what’s the best way to ensure that you’re drinking the safest water possible? Bottled water is not a trusted alternative as it’s often unregulated, expensive and plastic waste is taxing on the environment. The EWG recommends that consumers use home water filters for the cleanest, safest water. Do a little research and you’ll find not all water filters are created equal. In fact, our Aquasana drinking water filter systems will remove up to 10X the amount of contaminants as the leading drip filter pitcher. In addition to filtering your water at home, it is important to educate yourself on what contaminants could be flowing into your home. Here are three of the worst offenders commonly found in municipal tap water.

 

Chloramines
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Water treatment facilities are increasingly using chloramines – a combination of chlorine and ammonia – to disinfect tap water. By adding ammonia to the mix, chlorine will not evaporate as readily, thus keeping the disinfectant chemicals in your water longer. This new chemical concoction is used to disinfect water for longer periods of time, from water treatment through delivery to your home. A nationwide study on water treatment contaminants conducted by the EPA reported that chloraminated drinking water had the highest levels of an unregulated chemical family known as iodoacids. Some researchers consider one of the iodoacids, iodoacetic acid, to be potentially the most toxic of all disinfection byproducts (DBPs) found to date based on its DNA-damaging capabilities in mammalian cell tests.

Lead
HN_201305_C2It’s common knowledge that lead poisoning can lead to a horrifying host of issues, including irreversible loss of IQ and developmental disorders in children. What’s little known is that chloramines – as opposed to the traditional disinfectant chlorine – corrode lead pipes, which can lead to the discharge of toxic levels of lead in drinking water. As chloramines become more widely used, lead contamination in water has increasingly become more of a threat. In 2004, Washington D.C.’s switch to chloramines — and the subsequent cover up of dangerous lead levels in drinking water by officials — caused a public health crisis and the eventual reversal of the use of the disinfectant.

Pesticides
HN_201305_C3_v2The widespread use of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture results in the chemical runoff of these toxic substances to lakes and rivers. In many communities these chemicals directly contaminate the source water supply.  Pesticides can affect human health and the environment depending on how much chemical is present and the length and frequency of exposure.  In large amounts, some pesticides have been shown to cause long-term negative health effects such as cancer and organ damage in laboratory testing.

 

These toxins may top the list, but tap water can also be contaminated with chlorine, other heavy metals and pharmaceuticals among others. The safest route for peace of mind — and the best shot at long term health — is to install a home water filtration system customized for individual issues. Home water test kits are easy to procure and advanced water filtration systems, such as our Aquasana drinking water filtration systems, can be customized to suit specific needs. Based on extensive research, Aquasana has developed water filtration systems that are NSF Certified to remove 97% of chloramines, reduce over 60 common water contaminants including lead and pesticides, while retaining healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Check out our line of Aquasana drinking water filters here.