A report from an environmental advocacy organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG), released right before this week’s Drinking Water Week, has put water quality in the headlines.
EWG employed a “novel analytical method” to raise concern that contaminants in California tap water “could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime”. We certainly should take all water quality issues seriously, especially those that pose a threat to our health.
When it comes to tap water, some people believe that any contaminant detected at any level is unsafe, eschewing the toxicological principle that “the dose makes the poison.” But there are a whole lot of protections in place to allow us to confidently pour a glass of water from our home’s tap.
Rest assured that water utilities across the country have our health and well-being at the forefront of all their efforts. To stay ahead of potential contaminants, drinking water providers perform many tests at different locations throughout their delivery systems to ensure safe drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act is in place to reduce the risk of many contaminants, so the Environmental Protection Agency must weigh the impacts of treating contaminants to ensure public health.
To protect consumers, EWG recommends the use of home treatment devices to filter tap water. While home filters may assist with taste and odor issues, if your water meets all federal and state standards, it’s unlikely you need one for health reasons. (Note: If you have lead in your plumbing or service line, a home filter is one option to consider. Learn more from this animation.). Make sure you make a well-informed decision if you decide to filter your water. That means choosing a product that is independently certified to address the problem at hand. If you do choose to buy one, make sure to maintain it.
Take advantage of this being Drinking Water Week to better familiarize yourself with your drinking water utility and learn about the source and treatment of your drinking water. Request your utility’s consumer confidence report to learn about the steps and safeguards in place to protect the public’s health and well-being.