Quality home water filtration is one of the best investments you can make for the health of you and your family. Home water filtration offers a higher-quality water product than what's found in bottled water, with the added convenience of using water from your own tap. Water filters can produce healthy, great-tasting water for drinking and the preparation of food and beverages. While the government does regulate what is in your tap water to a certain degree, it may still contain substances like chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals. Over time, these materials can cause health problems. Investing in a water filtration system for your home can save you a substantial amount of money in bottled water costs as well as provide your family with fresh, clean water that is virtually free of dangerous toxins.
Chlorine is a highly effective disinfectant that has been added to public water supplies for nearly 100 years. Its disinfectant qualities are used to kill disease-causing bacteria that the water or transport pipes may contain. While chlorine offers the benefits of cleansing potentially harmful drinking water, it can also cause its own adverse health effects. Chlorine introduced into public water supplies can react with other naturally occurring elements and form trihalomethanes, or THMs. When consumed, THMs can contribute to a number of health problems, from eczema to heart disease. Even bottled water is no solution to avoid water chlorination, as much of the bottled water in the U.S. comes from public municipal water sources that are treated with chlorine. Installing a carbon-based drinking water filter in your home can help absorb chlorine and other contaminates right at the tap.
What is Chlorination? [PDF]
Since the beginning of the 21st century, chloramines have been used to improve the flavor and odor of drinking water. Chloramines are formed when there is a reaction between ammonia and chlorine. When chloramines are used in water as a disinfectant, ammonia is added to chlorine-treated water. Chloramines are able to effectively kill bacteria and other microorganisms and are often used in the U.S. as a secondary disinfectant to avoid the overuse of chlorine. If your home receives water that has been treated with chloramines, toxic disinfection byproducts (DBPs) may be present. These toxic DBPs can weaken your immune system, damage your cardiovascular system, cause respiratory problems, disrupt your central nervous system, and result in problems with your renal system.
Fluoride is found naturally in water, soil, food, and various minerals, such as fluorite and fluorapatite. Fluoride is also synthesized in laboratories and put into toothpaste, mouthwash, and drinking water. Public water supplies often add fluoride to tap water, as they believe it reduces the prevalence of tooth decay. Fluoride has been found extremely useful in preventing cavities and making teeth stronger. There has been much controversy regarding water fluoridation, as many people believe that it does more harm than good. For example, people who drink fluoridated water are at a higher risk for developing dental fluorosis. This occurs when the person is exposed to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development, which can result in white specks or streaks on the teeth. In more severe cases, too much fluoride can cause brown markings on the teeth or even pitting in the enamel.
Pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, and Heavy Metals
Pesticides from agriculture, heavy metals from mining, and even residues from the drugs we take can all end up in our drinking water. While municipal water is monitored for dozens of contaminants, research shows that not all toxins are removed. Pesticides can accumulate in groundwater and are even more potent during an accidental spillage. Heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic are also found in drinking water in various parts of the world. Pharmaceuticals like birth control pills, antibiotics, painkillers, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and chemotherapy agents are just some of the medications that have been found in water sources. Pharmaceuticals can be removed using carbon filters and UV light.
How Water Filters Can Help
Filters consist of a barrier that absorbs, traps, or modifies the polluted water that flows through them. Single particles are sized by their micron rating: The lower the micron size, the smaller the particle. It's important to check to see the lowest micron size in the water filter system you purchase. Water filters are also highly effective at removing various chemicals added to the water supplies, such as chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride. Carbon is often used in these filters to remove harmful toxins and odors that may be present in your drinking water.
Written By: Lynn Taylor