You may not have thought about it, but if you go to your local supermarket you’ll discover that bottled water has a dedicated aisle. You already know it’s big business, especially in many parts of California. In Los Angeles for example, residents are turning away from tap water and turning to bottled water instead. They are concerned with the safety of tap water, and you might be too.
And rightly so, chromium 6 (made infamous by the Erin Brockovich movie) is still in the drinking water. Bottled water is not safer–as stated often on this website–because it is less regulated than tap water. Most often, bottled water is nothing more than filtered tap.
If you are a resident of Los Angeles you should follow your gut and avoid drinking directly from the tap. Here’s why…
Your Health, Your Water
All water no matter its source has some type of contamination. Did you know that even a mountain stream can contain significant amounts of animal waste? Remote underground springs are not exempt from contamination, these may have high levels of radon, a radioactive material present in certain types of rocks and soil that can seep into ground water.
If you live in the city, your water is drawn from sources near populated or industrialized areas, and these also frequently contain a variety of chemical impurities. Hazardous household waste like paint thinner or antifreeze improperly disposed of can migrate from disposal sites and contaminate your water sources. Pesticides applied to crops can be carried to lakes and streams after a heavy rain.
Some water contaminants can cause you significant health problems. The bacteria E. coli has been linked to gastrointestinal illness, and arsenic in tap water causes the growth of cancer cells in your body.
To ensure your tap water is safe to drink, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces strict water quality to limit the amounts of certain contaminants in your drinking water. The EPA does this by setting “maximum contaminant levels”, or “MCLs”. This means that your drinking water may not, for example, contain more than 0.003 mg/liter of mercury or more than 0.006 mg/liter of the chemical benzene. Currently, MCLs have been set for 114 different contaminants. This is what you might call “acceptable” contamination levels. But should there be any contamination at all? Why not remove 100% of the nasties?
When your water does not meet the EPA standards, it’s treated to “reduce” contaminants levels. The type of treatment methods used depends on the quality of the source water and the specific contaminants that need to be removed. Filtration removes particulate material like sand and silt, while disinfection (chlorination) kills dangerous bacteria and viruses. Contaminant levels can also be “reduced” through a process called blending. Blending involves mixing water drawn from different sources together.
Know What’s In Your Water
To see what’s in your water and if your local water treatment department does their job well click here. Enter your zip code.
Take Action, Take Back Your Tap
You, like so many residents of Los Angeles desire your water not only to be healthy but also 100% clean for your family, right? The only way to assure you are drinking clean water, is to take control of the water coming to your home. Water is essential for you to be healthy. But according to the above link there could still be many contaminants in your water that could not be completely removed by city water treatments.
Here is a short list of contaminants found in certain areas of Los Angeles in 2009 reports:
- Chromium 6(hexavalent)
- Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
- And many other harmful contaminants
The list is much longer. Be sure to check with your city water treatment department what’s on their list. Also, if you are not getting a monthly report from your city about the details of your tap, Call them and request it. The sooner you know what’s in your water, the quicker you can take back your tap, and your health.
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