drink water every day; nearly all of your organs are made up of
body is approximately 70% water. Your body needs water to transport
nutrients, remove wastes, maintain body temperature and regulate
cell volume—in short, to survive. You’re well aware
that you need to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
the real deal when it comes to drinking water? How safe are you?
Is bottled water best? Do the contaminants you hear so much about
in the news outweigh the health benefits of water? If you’re
an educated consumer, you probably have asked at least one of these
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), naturally pure drinking water doesn’t exist. That means that no matter
how hard you try to purify your water, some form of contaminant
is going to be present. What matters is that those contaminants
aren’t harmful to your health and are carefully balanced.
Most people, about 250 million, get their water from a public supply.
If this includes you, then you can rest assured that your water
is relatively safe. In 1974, the EPA established strict regulations
for keeping your water safe. The EPA now has specific guidelines
for the levels of contaminants that may be present in public drinking
water. If any level goes over the restricted level, you will be
people, especially those living in rural areas, get their water
from private sources, or wells. Well water is not checked
nor is it restricted or regulated. So if you have your own well,
you need to make sure your water is tested annually for contamination
problems, especially nitrate, radon, pesticides and coliform bacteria (all common contaminants in well water). Your local health department
will advise you about which contaminants are prevalent in your
area and how safe your well is. It’s also important to limit
any potentially risky or polluting activities around your well.
local health department will provide you with guidelines.
traveling to other countries or drinking foreign water, look
out especially for bacteria called giardia, a dangerous parasite
present in contaminated water especially in underdeveloped countries
that can make you very sick.
A lot of publicly regulated water
either has naturally occurring fluoride or the community will add
fluoride to help protect the
teeth. Fluoride is said to help build strong teeth and prevent
tooth decay. If you’re concerned about not getting enough
fluoride from your drinking water, talk to your dentist about a
prescription for fluoride. If you’re curious about the beneficial
properties versus the harmful factors of fluoride, your dentist
is the person with whom to talk.
If you have a chronic health condition
with a severely impaired immune system, or if you have young children
with special health concerns,
you might need to have specifically filtered water. If you have
HIV/AIDS, take steroids, or if you are undergoing chemotherapy,
then you should
discuss your drinking water options with your healthcare provider.
If you’re using tap water to make baby formula, you might want
to talk to your pediatrician about alternatives. If your water supplier
doesn’t meet the EPA standard for nitrate or lead (they should
let you know—contact them to double-check), and you have
young children, talk to a pediatrician about alternative options