Tapwater: The Truth

Studies have revealed impurities in our drinking water - we tell you what's really flowing from the tap.


Posted: 21 October 2010
by Camille Noe Pagan, Erica Tobin, Michelle Arthurs

tap

The quality of drinking water in the UK is excellent. This year's annual report from the Drinking Water Inspectorate showed that of two million tests, 99.95 per cent reached strict EU quality standards. That is not to say that there are not problems every now and then, and the industry continues to face challenges in meeting European drinking-water standards. Our drinking water is safe, but it's not perfectly pure.

Chlorine

How'd it get in there? Public drinking water in the UK is disinfected before it gushes from your tap. The addition of chlorine is the most widely used method of disinfectant.
Harmful effects: In small doses, chlorine is literally a lifesaver, as it kills dangerous contaminants. But studies show that long-term exposure to chlorine byproducts can lead to miscarriage or birth defects, according to Dr Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental action group in the US.
Your action plan: Chlorine byproducts evaporate naturally, so let your glass of tap water sit for five minutes before drinking it. Another option is a charcoal filter, either a freestanding jug, a tap attachment, or a built-in fridge device.

Lead

How'd it get in there? Water facilities strip out nearly all traces of the heavy metal, but if you live in an older home you may have pipes that contain lead, which can leach into your water. Soft water, in particular, can dissolve lead from pipes or the solder used to join copper pipes and fittings. If you live in
a house built before the 1970s you may still have lead pipes or there may be a lead pipe connecting your home with your area's water supply.
Harmful effects: Even a small amount is bad news; lead can cause irritability, anaemia and nerve damage. Women trying to conceive should be especially careful: lead poisoning can cause miscarriage and a host of fetal problems.
Your action plan: Lead can seep into water that's been sitting stagnant in pipes, "so run your tap for two minutes to flush it out", says Dr James M Symons, author of Plain Talk About Drinking Water. Rather than waste that water, use it to wash your hands or the dishes.

Bacteria

How'd they get in there? Nasty bacteria such as E. coli can make their way into water from human and animal waste that runs into reservoirs from broken pipes and sewage systems.
Harmful effects: The last time you had a 24-hour stomach bug, it was likely caused by waterborne bacteria. Most people recover quickly but pregnant women can be laid up for days.
Your action plan: Purifiers remove most bacteria. But if your immune system is compromised, first boil your water for five minutes.

Hormones and drug byproducts

How'd they get in there? Every time you pop a pill, traces of it come out in your pee. And these can find their way back into our tap water. Which is nice. Most recent concern has centred on components of the birth control pill reaching the drinking-water system. There have been some hysterical headlines but there is some evidence that the birth control pill and other Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) can pose a threat to wildlife when they enter river systems. The Drinking Water Inspectorate says that conventional water treatment "is highly effective at removing EDCs" from our drinking water.
Harmful effects: "Traces of things like aspirin probably aren't a big deal," says Solomon. However, the presence of prescription drugs "may contribute to the growth of antibiotic-resistant illnesses like MRSA, and hormones from medication like birth-control pills could be affecting pregnant women and their babies in ways we don't know yet."
Your action plan: Some sophisticated filters will remove EDCs from water.

What to sip from...

Plastic: Durable, lightweight and safe - provided the bottle is made from high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE). Don't use one made using bisphenol A (BPA), an EDC.

Stainless Steel:
It's tough and resistant to odours. And unlike BPA-lined aluminium bottles, stainless steel versions don't rust or leach anything into your drink.

Glass:
It won't leak chemicals into anything, but a glass bottle is heavy (not to mention breakable), so it isn't ideal for lugging around. 


Previous article
Rhythm is the Answer
Next article
Beat Stress

chlorine, hormones in water, lead, plastic bottles, pure tapwater, tapwater, tapwater safe, water
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle

Discuss this article

I'm sorry, but I totally disagree - here's the real truth on tap water...water authorites have to declare all water content and the most important to look out for is sodium flouride because contrary to popular belief, it is not naturally occurring and is a product of the aluminium industry. Sodium flouride is usually in the range of 0.1-0.5% and as negligent as this may seem it does greater damage over the long term and goes unnoticed because it is the silent killer. Flouride in water does very little good for children's teeth and was also used in WWII concentration camps to passify the inmates...sort of like us all really - more interested in 'what's on tell luv' than real events. Lol.

You can find out more at: http://www.npwa.org.uk/  (National Pure Water Association)

and  The Flouride Deception documentary : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7319752042352089988&q=the+fluoride+deception&hl=en#

 Of course you can believe what you will, but I don't drink the stuff.


Posted: 16/02/2012 at 20:41

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member
Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.