The Safe Drinking Water Act was written in 1974…
Did you know that's the most recent government law passed to purify and make safe our drinking water?
Of the over 60,000 chemicals used in the United States, this act regulates only 91 of them! You've probably got lead, mercury, sex hormones, anti-seizure medication, cleaning products, and rocket fuel coming out of your faucets every. single. day.
Do I have your attention yet?
Facts About American Tap Water
“In the United States, a massive amount of new toxins totaling nearly 18 billion pounds are released into the groundwater, soil, and atmosphere annually” (source).
“Pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, sex hormones, anti-depressants, and seizure pills have been found in the tap water of at least 41 million Americans. Water treatment centers are not currently required to test for pharmaceuticals. Researchers are unsure if the cumulative levels are hazardous” (source).
Many people drinking dangerous contaminants do not even realize it. This is because pollution and chemicals in tap water often have no scent or taste.
“Efforts to tighten drinking water standards that would regulate and restrict common drinking water contaminants such as perchlorate (a rocket fuel additive), tricholoethylene (a degreaser used in manufacturing), and perchloroethylene (a cleaning solvent) have been blocked by industrial and military lobbyists” (source).
Drinking water reports from cities such as Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Boston, Seattle, and Washington D.C. included false or misleading claims or buried crucial information about their cities' water deep in water reports (source).
Most cities don't report on health effects cause by various contaminants found in water tests. Either that, or they fail to translate their water reports into languages spoken by a large minority of their population. (Source.)
Finally, flouride is added to virtually all municipal water sources, touted as beneficial for strong, healthy teeth. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Read more about where our government gets the fluoride they add to our water here. And if that doesn't convince you to back off the tap water, I don't know what will!
Facts About Bottled Water
Maybe you figured out long ago that tap water wasn't good for you. Or, maybe you noticed its funky, plastic, pool water taste. So then you switched to bottled water.
Unfortunately, bottled water isn't all it's cracked up to be — and certainly isn't worth its price tag!
First of all, depending on your location, bottled water costs up to 560 times more than tap water (source).
And then, just making plastic bottles requires 3 times more water than filling them (source).
“In the United States, 24% of bottled water sold is either Pepsi’s Aquafina (13% of the market) or Coke’s Dasani (11% of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water” (source).
“Antimony, which is found in PET plastic bottles, in small doses can cause dizziness and depression; in larger doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and death” (source).
Did you know that the federal government actually places more purity, testing, and quality restrictions on tap water than bottled water (source)? This means less frequent bacteria testing, no mandatory violations reports to officials, and no filtration or disinfection requirements on the federal level.
Things aren't much better on the state level, either (source).
Facts About Shower & Bath Water
Did you know that showering in chlorinated tap water may be even worse than drinking it?
The government adds chlorine to our water to kill potentially harmful organisms… Well, doesn't it make sense that chlorine is harmful to us, too? We're living organisms!
One of the most shocking components to all of these studies is that up to two thirds of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows for accelerated absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water. The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream. When we drink contaminated water the toxins are partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system.
Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs; it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II. The inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children, which has increased 300% in the last two decades. “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.” –Dr Lance Wallace, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (source).
According to Dr. Mercola, a 7 minute shower in chlorinated tap water exposes your body to more chlorine than drinking 1 gallon of tap water (source)!
Water Filtration Options: Which Water Filter Is Best???
So, to recap… Tap water — whether coming out of the kitchen faucet or shower head — is likely full of dangerous, cancer- and birth defect-causing chemicals. And bottled water is nothing more than tap water with a fancy label.
What other options do we have? I'm glad you asked!
Home water filtration is tricky business. No one wants to waste their money on expensive filtration systems that don't actually work or that may be harmful.
Here are your options, each ranked either worst, better, or best:
Option #1 — Reverse Osmosis (Worst)
Reverse osmosis works by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane to filter out contaminants. If the contaminants are larger than water molecules, the filter will “catch” them and remove them from the water. If they are the same size or smaller than water molecules, they remain in the water.
RO water is primarily used for drinking and some cooking, meaning that tap water still contaminates bathing water.
Although the process of reverse osmosis does remove many of tap water's toxins — such as lead, copper, arsenic, nitrates, organic chemicals, and fluoride (source) — NONE are removed 100%.
RO filters don't remove gases (like chlorine), or particles smaller than water molecules (like VOCs and endocrine disruptors). This means they must be paired with a carbon filter.
Not to mention, reverse osmosis also removes essential minerals (like up to 99% of calcium and magnesium) from water (source). This is a major downfall.
Interestingly, water kefir shouldn't be cultured in RO water because of the lack of minerals (source). So why drink it if it's not even good for your water kefir grains?!
Leading alternative practitioner Dr. Lawrence Wilson says that RO water has a chelating effect. When consumed for months at a time, it actually chelates minerals out of the body to produce an even greater mineral deficiency (source).
Nutritionist Daniel Vitalis calls RO water the “white flour” of water because it is so void of any nutritional value (source).
So, sure — it's free of tap water's toxins, but it's also free of the beneficial minerals and electrolytes so essential to good health.
Please note: the one exception to this is Radiant Life's 14-stage bio-compatible drinking water purifier. While it does use reverse osmosis to purify the water as much as it possibly can be, it then restores mineralization to the water by adding back a high quality, natural, pure form of coral calcite sourced from the ocean off the coast of Australia! So the water is perfectly pure… and perfectly hydrating!
Option #2 — Pitcher Filters (Better, But Not Ideal)
Pitcher filters, like Brita, use granulated activated charcoal to remove toxins.
A University of Arizona study concluded that between 49% to 80% of a select few contaminants were removed by pitcher filters like Brita and Pur. This means that between 20% and 100% of contaminants were left behind (source).
While effective at removing unpleasant tastes or odors from tap water, pitcher filters do not remove VOCs, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, or fluoride.
Another downside? Pitcher filters take from 30 to 60 minutes to filter water, and they're not that big. If you have more than 1 or 2 people drinking that water, and you're using it for cooking, this is quite inconvenient and inefficient.
Filter cartridges also need to be changed often to keep up filtration. This is costly in the long run, especially if your municipal water is very contaminated.
Like RO, pitcher filters may take care of some toxins in your drinking and cooking water, but what about bathing and cleaning water?
Option #3 — Point-Of-Use Shower & Bath Filters (Best For Bathing)
I highly recommend Radiant Life's Rainshow'r Shower Filter and a bath water filter like their Crystal Ball Bath Dechlorinator. Both either eliminate or significantly reduce chlorine exposure when bathing or showering.
The bath ball eliminates up to 100% of chlorine and up to 30% of chloramine in just a few minutes! The shower head, on the other hand, removes over 90% of chlorine by neutralizing it into a harmless, biodegradable compound.
Both are economical. The bath ball lasts up to 200 baths, which means it costs a mere 22 cents per bath! The shower filter lasts a family of 4 up to 1 year. If every member of a family of 4 showered daily for 1 year, it would cost 3 cents per shower, or 12 cents per day, to have a chlorine-free shower!
For homeowners who can't afford a whole-house filtration system, or renters who can't install whole-house or point-of-use filtration systems, shower and bath filters are a great option.
Option #4 — Solid Carbon Block Filtration (Best For Drinking & Cooking)
The Berkey — and other solid carbon block filtration systems — effectively removes pathogens, heavy metals, fluoride (with a filter attachment), chlorine, and more from drinking and cooking water.
Even the EPA considers activated carbon and carbon block filters to be the best technology available to remove pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals (source).
These types of filters sit in canisters on your countertop or table. Once filled with water, the water flows down through the filters which remove chemicals but keep essential minerals.
Not only do these filtration systems work for city and well water purification, but during a power outage or camping trip, they also safely filter lake, river, and pond water!
Katie at The Wellness Mama tested the Berkey and found that it even removed food coloring she added to the water!
The cost per system ranges from $150 for the smallest option to $325 for the largest. You choose which size works best for you based upon the size of your family and your daily water usage.
The filters don't have to be replaced nearly as often as RO and pitcher filters, making this system a larger up-front investment, but lowering maintenance costs over time. The filters do take up some counter space (less than 2 square feet), but they are sleek in design and not an eyesore at all.
Please note that carbon block filters do NOT filter out flouride. You will need to buy a separate filter for fluoride, which most people who own these systems do.
Option #5 — Whole-House Water Filtraton (Better For Cooking, Drinking, & Bathing)
Are you looking for whole-house carbon filtration? Then this whole-house filtration system is a great option!
In addition to carbon filtration, a sediment base and zeolite remove fluoride, heavy metals, VOCs, hydrogen sulfide, bacteria, and fungi. They also prevent scale build-up from hard water. It is suitable for both municipal and well water!
This is a hassle-free option — you purchase 1 system and all points of water, from faucets, tubs, shower heads, and toilets, are all safe.
Option #6 — 14-Stage Biocompatible Water Filtration System (Best For Drinking & Cooking)
This is the Cadillac of water filtration systems!
It removes EVERYTHING. I'm talking fluoride, lead, chlorine, MTBE, chromium-6, nitrates, pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, water-borne illness, and more!
And, even though stage 3 removes essential minerals and earth properties via reverse osmosis — they're all added back in stages 10 and 11!
From Radiant Life:
There are several key things that make our 14-Stage System unique. First, it incorporates three purifiers (reverse osmosis and two deionization purifying stages) to form the foundation of the system, which ensures 99.99% purification when new, only falling to 99.9% over time. Almost all other reverse osmosis-based systems use just one purifier and thus may start at 95% purification, but after a year that figure will often be as low as 80%. This is just one of the things that water dealers won't tell you.
Our unique pre- and post-filters offer additional filtration (two of these filters are unique in the industry) and we also include a stainless steel and quartz UV light for added protection against bacteria and pathogens. These first seven stages are designed to remove all toxins in your water, no matter if you even know what they are!
Creating Biocompatible water is completed in the second seven stages of this system. The water is balanced, restructured, and remineralized mimicking the best waters in nature, to give you alkaline, silky water that you will love.
This is as close to natural running water as you can get!
Option #7 — Spring Water: Very Best For Drinking & Cooking
Gravity-fed spring water is, in my opinion, the absolute BEST water for drinking. This is “living water”, full of all the beneficial electrolytes and trace minerals our bodies need. The taste is clean, clear, fresh, and unrivaled.
Unfortunately, you can't obtain this water from any filtration system. 😉 You have to find it at the source.
Research carefully if you want to buy bottles of spring water. Many bottlers of “spring” water are bottling nothing more than purified tap water, when it is definitely NOT mountain spring or glacier water like the label claims.
Not to mention, I don't like the waste that buying even quality bottled spring water produces, so I like to go out and find it myself!
Find A Spring is a site dedicated to connecting people with local springs all over the world. There, you can take your own container and bottle the clean, mineral-rich water right from the source — usually for FREE.
To me, this is the best way to ensure you're drinking the kind of water your body craves (and needs)!
- Whole-House Filtration Systems
- 14-Stage Biocompatible Water Purification System
- Countertop Drinking Water Systems
- Under-Counter Water Filters
- Berkey Countertop System
- Berkey Fluoride Filter (must be purchased separately)
- Radiant Life's Rainshow'r Shower Filter
- Crystal Ball Bath Dechlorinator
- Find A Spring
*I have not discussed ion water filtration, distilled water, or alkalinized water. In my opinion, they are not healthful for regular consumption. The ideal pH for drinking water is neutral, between 6.5 and 7.5. Distilled water is too acidic. Alkaline water is too alkaline. Neither is beneficial to maintain homeostasis.
Did you stick with me to the end? Give yourself a pat on the back! That was a lot of information, wasn't it?!
What type of water filtration do you use? Which water filter is best for YOU?
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