Let's take a look at this in relation to our use of the water and our health.
From the beginning of history, one of man's biggest threats has been biologically contaminated drinking water causing disease and death for millions. In first-world countries we have overcome that danger with various disinfection processes, the most common being the use of chlorine. Now, you may not know chlorine itself is dangerous to our health and linked to cancers, but it has become a "necessary evil" in our modern world. Since most public treatment systems use chlorine and the water often comes from surface water sources such as lakes and rivers, the chlorine mixes with organics in the water and creates what is called "disinfection by-products". These are a host of chemicals that can cause even more illness and cancer. One of the primary chemicals from disinfection is called Trihalomethanes. Just this week in our region of North Carolina they reported elevated levels of this in our drinking water.
Toxic chemicals in drinking water are becoming so common now that public awareness is beginning to increase. Another big chemical threat is the many pharmaceuticals that get dumped into our water supplies. How does this happen? Did you ever flush an expired drug prescription down the toilet? How about the instances where illegal drugs are flushed during a drug raid? Narcotics, contraceptives, hormones, antibiotics, anti-depressants, you name it, it's probably ended up in a water source near you. And, don't forget, any drugs you take can leave your body with your waste and flush into the sewer on a daily basis. You must be saying to yourself by now, HOW does that have anything to do with drinking water? Well, brace yourself! MANY of our municipal water treatment centers are downstream from sewer treatment centers. In our area we have sewer plants discharging water into the same lakes and river system that our water treatment plants are drawing the water supply from. The term "toilet to tap" is getting very real in many areas of the country. In fact, California is already converting sewage to drinking water in the midst of severe drought.
See this short excerpt video from 60 Minutes on CA Toilet to Tap Reality
Our public water treatment systems are often aging, as are the miles of water supply lines snaking through urban areas, sometimes laying within the same trenches as the sewer lines. So, even if the treatment plant succeeded in removing all targeted contaminants (except, of course, the disinfecting chemicals and added fluoride), you have no guarantee that what comes out of your faucet is safe.
Well water users are also vulnerable to the many ground water pollutants that can travel from miles around through underground aquifers to reach and contaminate private or community wells. Gasoline products leaking from storage tanks, toxic chemical dumping and farming chemicals are just a few ways your well water could be compromised. Microbial contaminants are also a primary concern in well water as are heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.
So, where does that leave you and your options for healthier water? You may be one of the millions that regularly purchase bottled water, thinking it's better than your tap water. Well, maybe not! Many bottled waters are simply bottled tap water with no filtering or treatment process. Others use some form of treatment, but storing water in a plastic bottle can leach chemicals from the bottle, especially in warmer temperatures. The bottles themselves have become a landfill issue, even heavily polluting our lakes and streams.