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Drinking water may be one of the healthiest practices, but what’s the point if it’s not clean? Ensuring your water supply is clean means protecting you and your loved ones from contaminants and bacteria. You can have purified water from filtration systems, reverse osmosis systems, your local water company, and even UV light.
But can you drink purified water? Certainly! It’s clean enough to be digested without worries. You may wonder how different it is from the other types of water at home. Luckily, this article aims to cover why purified water is preferred and other types of water, such as distilled and tap water.
What is water purification?
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You can remove harmful contaminants and minerals, making it entirely safe for your home. The process is where chemicals and other bacteria are filtered out this is more than just boiling water can do. Water purification systems can eliminate the following, noted by Healthline, from tap water or groundwater:
- Heavy metals like lead and copper
Water is purified through different methods to be safe to drink and use. Each used depends on the country. For western countries, it is a necessity and deemed safe for drinking.
But purification processes also vary per country, there are different ways to purify water. Knowing how water is purified helps guarantee how the bacteria are eliminated and shows why your water is clean and safe to use!
- Filtration systems: Water flows through different filtration systems attached below your sink to separate it from chemicals, bacteria, and viruses. It also removes particles like charcoal, sand, dust, and gravel.
- Disinfection: This kills remaining bacteria with chemical disinfectants like chlorine that survived the first methods.
- Coagulation and Flocculation: Coagulation adds and binds positively charged chemicals with negatively charged chemicals to filter them out. After that, flocculation occurs, a gentle mixing of water that creates large particles called floc.
- Sedimentation: Floc sinks to the bottom and separates from clean water.
You can also purify water at home with different devices. Purifying tap water can ensure it’s safe to use, especially for drinking. There are many ways to clean your water at home, such as:
- Filtration System: You can attach filtration systems under your sink. This filters out dirt and other dangerous particles through layers of absorbent mediums with tiny pores. These filter membranes often come from charcoal, sand, gravel, etc.
- Reverse osmosis systems: Compared to the traditional filtered system, reverse osmosis filters are an advanced cleaning system that uses a semipermeable membrane that adds more pressure in the water to remove particles.
- UV lights: Ultraviolet lights can disinfect water by killing viruses and bacteria with radiation.
Healthline also says it’s best to find brands with certification from regulatory agencies like NSF International or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Prices often range from $20 to $200, depending on the brand and model. However, the higher-quality purifying systems cost higher.
What is tap water?
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Tap water is the water provided by public community water systems to your homes. It is from spring water, surface water (reservoirs, lakes, rivers), and groundwater (water collected below the ground by drilling wells that pump it into the surface). It comes from pores and spaces between rocks and underground aquifers.
Groundwater flows to local water systems after being collected and pumped into the surface, then cleansed and tested, creating tap water.
But how do you know if it’s safe to use? According to One Medical, you should receive a water quality report from your water supplier every July 1st. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also responsible for monitoring water quality to ensure it is disinfected and clean for use. They also set health standards regarding contaminants in drinking water.
In a nutshell, tap water is cleansed based on legal health standards to ensure it’s safe to use and drink at home. But is it safe to drink it?
Is tap water safe to drink?
Despite being disinfected in government institutions under supervision, drinking tap water is also another matter. It’s normal to remain concerned as bacteria and other contaminants may be found in tap water despite the purification processes. To answer if it’s safe, it should be. But some factors may concern you as a consumer and affect how safe tap water is for drinking.
It depends on your location whether tap water is safe to drink or not. CDC notes that the U.S. has the safest water to drink in the world because of its local water systems and health inspecting authority.
On the other hand, people who use private well systems should be careful because it is up to the company to ensure high water quality as the EPA does not check private well system water.
Water system companies send yearly reports called the Consumer Confidential Report (CCR) to users containing water sources, quality details, contaminants found, and how consumers can help protect their drinking water.
How frequently the local public water systems test water depends on the number of consumers, type of contaminants, and type of water source. Some particles are tested more often than others, affecting the treatment process overall.
You can check the results of regulated contaminants in your water through the latest calendar noted in your CCR. There are many common contaminants in the water. The EPA sets standards and regulates over 90 contaminants in public drinking water. The most common are:
- E Coli (microorganism)- not as threatening but is used to find other potentially harmful bacteria present.
- Bromate (disinfection byproduct) – heightens the risk of cancer
- Cryptosporidium (microorganism) – can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps
- Legionella (microorganism) – causes Legionnaire’s disease, a type of pneumonia.
- Chlorite (disinfection byproduct) – causes anemia in infants and children, and also affects the nervous system
- Haleocetic acids (disinfection byproduct) – Adds a higher risk of cancer
- Antimony (inorganic chemical) – can raise blood cholesterol and lower blood sugar
- Acrylamide (organic chemicals) – can cause blood or nervous system problems, heightens the risk of cancer
These are a few of the long lists of regulated contaminants under the monitoring of the EPA. You can find more details on their website.
You can also have your water tested, especially if they have any visible signs of contamination. Contact your local health department or find a state-certified drinking water laboratory to test your water’s quality. You can get in touch with the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426 479.
Should I purify tap water?
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Tap water should be considered drinkable by water company standards in countries such as the U.S. and Canada. But if you want to take extra steps in purifying your water, you can install a filtration tank or tankless system under or beside your sink to thoroughly cleanse your tap water.
Some filter systems offer mineralization processes and UV lights to help purify water and add needed natural minerals. Purifying your water by killing bacteria and other particles also provides many health benefits.
Pros and Cons of purified water
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If you’re planning to add a home purifying system, you should weigh the pros and cons. While purified drinking water has many benefits, it can also be costly. Choosing the model and brand can also depend on your budget and needs.
Improves flavor and smell
Purifying your tap water can also improve the taste and remove the remaining odor from the well systems that may have stayed despite the cleaning process. Most users complained about its flavor due to chlorine, a disinfectant used to purify water in water systems. While odors, especially the smell of rotten eggs due to hydrogen sulfide, another chemical, have been reported.
Filtration systems and other purifying methods at home can help improve your quality of life since drinking water is a huge factor in our health. It can remove remaining chemicals that can cause odors and the unpleasant taste of chlorine, soil, and other substances, leaving you with clear and refreshing drinking water.
Using a filtration system adds an extra layer of security by removing contaminants such as pesticides, viruses, lead, and other chemicals like biological, physical, and radiological compounds that water systems can overlook during the purification process in wells.
Aquaporin notes that there have been increasing incidents of pollution and lead from old and faulty water pipes, contamination, and trace amounts of pesticide. More advanced systems like a reverse osmosis filter can remove smaller germs, making cleaner purified water.
Certain purification systems are now easy to install and have new variations with more flexible prices. It can help you feel more secure with your water quality and require you to buy fewer plastic bottles of water.
Purchasing purified bottled water may be convenient, but its use causes plastic and factory waste. As a result, global warming gets worse and causes changes in weather like heavy rainfall, which can affect the local water systems. This cycle makes many people prefer bottled mineral water to tap water.
A home purifying system helps lessen the number of times you’ll need to head out and buy water bottles for safe and mineralized drinking water since you now have it at home.
The better the purifier system, the more expensive. Mineralization is also often a separate part you need to purchase. Most filtration systems do not include a mineralization spec, and those that do are often pricier.
You will also have additional expenses for maintenance and assistance, if needed, from your local plumber for installing new parts or the entire filtration system.
Some parts, such as the filters, should be replaced and maintained frequently to ensure the layers effectively purify water. Not being able to take care of your filtration system can cause clogging. Dirt and other contaminants can build up in the filters and infect your water.
Filters out Flouride
Flouride is one of the most used chemicals in filtration systems. It helps remove chemicals but high levels of this can damage the nerve and brain cells, affecting cognition, learning, and memory. On the other hand, studies have found that a certain level of fluoride lessens tooth decay in kids. But it is still considered not worth the risk, and some water filtration systems remove it.
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Distilled water is also one of the purification techniques of boiling water. It kills 99.9% of germs and particles through steam distillation. This process can remove minerals like magnesium, sodium, and calcium.
Drinking distilled water is safe and recommended when heating water for coffee, tea, and other drinks. Steam distillation is also done in medical facilities to clean equipment. You can also use it to steam and iron clothes.
Overall, you can drink distilled water. Although it may kill beneficial minerals, it can also eliminate any remaining pesticides and bacteria in your water. It’s great for people with a low immune system. However, it also kills fluoride, increasing cavity and tooth decay risk.
Here’s a quick distillation process by the Food Network Kitchen
- Add water into a large pot.
- Place a smaller pot inside the large pot. Water from the large one should not get inside the small pot.
- Boil the water and then lower the heat to simmer.
- Use an upside-down lid to cover the large pot, making a downward surface that mimics a shallow bowl.
- Pour ice into the upside-down lid.
- Wait as the ice melts. Distilling water can take up to an hour.
- Use the distilled water right away. You can also store it in a sealed glass container.
Wrap-up: Can you drink purified water?
Yes! Drinking purified water is safe, and it is supposed to be drinkable by health standards. But if you want to take extra steps for safety. You can install different home water purifying systems to remove impurities that can affect your health. These systems have the ability to produce large volumes of purified water so that you don’t have to worry about buying bottled water.
Keeping your water supply clean and safe is a form of hygiene and practice in improving our quality of life. Purifying your water lets you protect yourself and your family from diseases and other germs. Clean water is a right we all have. It’s important to stay hydrated, but also important to have clean drinking water.
I am a physician who cares about healthy living. I strive to be as healthy as I can be so that I can thrive in my own life. By sharing what I know I want to help others to live a healthy life.