We all know that drinking plenty of water is vital for health. Learn how to stay hydrated while avoiding common drinking water pollutants.
Identify the contaminants in your home tap water
Most water utilities meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s tap water regulations. So what are the problems with tap water?
There are many unregulated contaminants — like chromium-6 — in American drinking water. We at EWG have identified 316 chemicals in U.S. tap water — 202 of which aren’t regulated. EPA’s failure to protect drinking water sources from pollution and to develop enforceable standards for scores of common tap water contaminants leaves the public at risk.
Ready to research your water?
Get us to test your water or ask your local water utility for a copy of its annual water quality report, which contains information on water testing. It may be available online.
Find a filter that works
Once you know what contaminants you have in your tap water, we can build a custom system to solve your water quality issues.
- Identify which style best matches your household needs and budget
We will spell out their pros and cons – including relative cost .
- Understand the technology. Although there are hundreds of brands of home water filters, all rely on a small number of technologies. Some common ones: carbon/activated carbon, deionization, ion exchange, mechanical filters, ozone, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet and water softeners.
- Point of use filters (pitcher, tap-mounted or large dispenser) are affordable and can reduce many common water contaminants, like lead and byproducts of treatment processes.
- Whole house carbon filtration systems
- Whole house water filtration systems can remove contaminants that carbon filters can’t eliminate.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR INFANTS! Fluoridated water can damage an infant’s developing teeth. Always use filtered tap water for your baby’s formula. If your water is fluoridated, use a reverse osmosis filter. If it’s not fluoridated, a carbon filter will work. If you choose bottled water for your infant, make sure it’s fluoride-free. Ready-to-eat canned formulas don’t require added water, but they’re often contaminated with bisphenol A (BPA) that leaches from the can lining. We recommend powdered formula mixed with filtered water.
Skip bottled water
Despite marketing hype, bottled water is not necessarily any safer than tap water, and it can cost up to 1,900 times more! In fact, industry reports show that up to 44 percent of bottled water is just tap water — filtered in some cases, but not necessarily in all cases. And because bottled water manufacturers aren’t required to publish their water quality tests, you may not know exactly what you’re getting.
Bottled water may be contaminated with plastic additives that migrate from the bottles.
There are few times when bottled water makes sense:
If your tap water contains fluoride and you can’t filter it out to mix infant formula. Be sure the bottled water is fluoride-free.
- If your employer provides on-site bottled water because workplace water isn’t available or safe. Be aware that many of the large plastic bottles used to provide such water are #7 polycarbonate plastic, which can leach BPA.
- You’re traveling in a country where drinking tap water might cause illness.
- The only other choice is sugar-laden soda.
Choose safer reusable water bottles — for that filtered tap water
Carry stainless steel or other BPA-free bottles. Skip aluminum and hard plastic bottles. Aluminum bottles have an inner plastic lining that can contain BPA. Don’t reuse single-use bottled water bottles. The plastic can harbor bacteria and break down to release plastics chemicals.