Take Back the Tap

Q: Why should I drink tap water instead of bottled water?

A: Over the course of a year, tap water costs hundreds or thousands less than bottled water and is just as clean and healthy as bottled water.

Q: How do I find out whether my tap water is safe?

A: Contact your local utility to request a copy of the Annual Water Quality Report, also referred to aasa the Consumer Confidence Report. This report is required by law to provide information about contaminant violations in the water system. EPA posts many of these results on its website at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo/index.html.  Local health departments often provide testing services or have lists of accredited laboratories that do the testing.

Q: What can I do if my water is contaminated?

A: Select a filter that removes the particular contaminants that are present.

Q: Can a filter remove chlorine and fluoride?

A: When it comes to chlorine, the answer is “yes.” Most water filters remove or reduce this chemical disinfectant. On the other hand, fluoride is more of a challenge. Typically, only reverse osmosis filters and distillation units reduce or remove it. 

Q: My water tastes funny. What can I do about it?

A: Odd tasting water does not necessarily mean that it is unhealthy or contaminated. The taste could be due to chlorination or to the mineral content in the water, depending on the region of the state or country. A home filtration system is the best solution to this problem.

Q: What kind of re-usable bottle should I use to carry tap water?

A: Many people have concerns about plastic food containers and beverage bottles because some chemicals in the plastic can leach into the contents. For this reason, Food & Water Watch recommends either stainless steel or lined aluminum bottles. I personally recommend glass containers.

Q: Should I reuse disposable plastic bottles?

A: The disposable PET #1 plastic bottles in which beverages are sold cannot be properly cleaned and, over time, may leach plastic components into the water. Therefore, they should not be reused.

Q: What is a contaminant?

A: Water is very rarely pure H20. It tends to grab particles from things it passes and brings them along for the ride. Whether flowing in a mountain stream or pouring out of your faucet, water usually contains more than just oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Some of these piggy backers are harmless, but many are not.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the safety of tap water, currently regulates 87 different contaminants. The agency recognizes but does not regulate an additional 51 contaminants.

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