Contaminants in ordinary tap water that can harm your health
Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound promoted by dentists to protect teeth from cavities. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Too much fluoride, however, can cause major health issues, especially in young children. Public concern has led the EPA to reevaluate the current practice of adding the compound to water supplies.
Exposure to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to increased likelihood of bone fractures in adults, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness. Children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel, along with a range of cosmetic effects to teeth otherwise known as Dental Fluorosis.
Lead is one of the more well known contaminants, and has been plaguing water infrastructures since Ancient Rome. The aging water infrastructure leads to lead pipes leaching this contaminant into the water supply, as seen in Flint, Michigan.
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint in older homes. Lead in drinking water can add to that exposure.
Lead is sometimes used in household plumbing materials or in water service lines used to bring water from the main to the home. A prohibition on lead in plumbing materials has been in effect since 1986. The lead ban, which was included in the 1986 Amendments of the Safe Drinking Water Act, states that only “lead free” pipe, solder, or flux may be used in the installation or repair of (1) public water systems, or (2) any plumbing in a residential or non-residential facility providing water for human consumption, which is connected to a public water system. But even “lead free” plumbing may contain traces of lead. The term “lead free” means that solders and flux may not contain more than 0.2 percent lead, and that pipes and pipe fittings may not contain more than 8.0 percent lead. Faucets and other end use devices must be tested and certified against the ANSI – NSF Standard 61 to be considered lead free.
Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.
Professional grade filtration removes 99% of lead and asbestos, as well as 96% of chlorine, chloramines and 73 other harmful contaminants.