Is your drinking water safe? This question may sound very simple, but it is full of meaning and complexity that may put your life in danger. The safety of your drinking water is essential for you to live safely and healthily too. Hence, you need to be able to ensure if your drinking water is toxic or not.
Back in 2009, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a warning saying that “threats to drinking water are increasing,” while further stating that we should not take our water for granted. The Environmental Working Group proved this issued statement by the EPA in 2010 with a report that there is a presence of chromium-6 in at least 35 US cities’ water supplies. Chromium-6 is a human carcinogen which can cause cancer to people.
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In 2016, a Harvard study also found unsafe levels of other industrial chemicals that are linked to cancer and other health problems. These chemicals are poly fluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, which are affecting 6 million Americans in 33 different states.
10 Tips To Know If Your Drinking Water Is Toxic Or Not
It is better to be aware of the water that you are drinking to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones as well.
1. Contact Your Water Company
Checking with your water company is probably the easiest and best way to ensure the toxicity level of the water you are drinking. The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires your water company to give you a copy of Consumer Confidence Report annually. This is a water quality report done every year that shows all the contaminants that are present in your water that can cause some risk in health problems. This is usually given every 1st of July each year and is sent along with your water bill or through an online PDF.
2. Check With The EPA’s Drinking Water Watch Program
EPA has a water watch program participated by 18 states that provide a searchable database of all information of water quality violations, actions taken by the state, and reported health hazards. However, this is not quite useful if you get your water from a community agency. To use this program, you can simply enter the name of your county and your public water system’s number to get the results you need.
3. Go To The Environment Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database
If you want another source to verify the levels of toxicity of your drinking water, you can go and check out reports from this agency. The group highlights the different chemicals that are above the health limit as well as those chemicals above the legal limit intended for a safe drinking water supply. Checking for a number with a low PBB or parts per billion levels is a good sign, which means your water is on the safe side.
4. Conduct A Water Test Through Your Local Agency
If you still feel unsafe and unsure about the data provided by your water company, you can ask them to test the water coming directly from your faucet. Some companies do this free of charge, while some would charge a fee for it. But then again, spending a few dollars on water testing is better than spending a lot on hospital bills once you get sick, right?
5. Conduct A Water Test Through A State-Certified Lab
When you feel that your water company is biased or unreliable, you have the option to contact a state-certified lab to conduct the water testing. If you do not know any water testing facility in the area that is approved by the state, you can contact EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426 4791.
6. Distinguish Your Water’s Smell
Water smelling like sulphur or chlorine may already indicate contamination of toxic substances. Sulphur, for instance, is a naturally occurring compound from the ground, which may be leaked to your water supply pipes. Though quite harmless in small amounts, sulphur can lead to dehydration and intestinal distress especially to infants when taken in large doses. Chlorine may be added to your water to kill bacteria just like what they do in swimming pools. Low levels of chlorine are safe to drink, but high levels of it may cause toxicity that can lead to different health issues too.
7. The Presence Of Sediments
Once you see the presence of some particles in your water, do not drink it without testing it first. Since water is usually drawn from the ground, some sediment may come along with it. However, your water agency applies a proper water treatment to remove these sediments before being consumed by you. Hence, it is not possible for it to make its way to your home system. If it does, by any chance, it can be an indication that there is a rupture in the main source of water supply, which can lead to serious problems.
8. Check Your Silverware
Note the appearance of your silverware. If you see rusted or tarnished silverware, it can be an indication that there is the presence of excessive iron in your water supply. Since iron sticks to silverware and oxidizes when it is exposed to air, it leaves some spot of rust on your stuff.
9. Get To Know Specific Contaminants
Knowledge and education are best tools to fight off several issues on problems such as these water contaminants. When you equip yourself with the understanding of what these possible contaminants are and how it can affect your health, you will be able to distinguish what they are capable of and how they must be treated so that no health issues will arise.
10. Use Water Test Kits
There are different water testing kits available that you can use to check your water supply if it is toxic or not. These DIY kits are available in different stores, and it is quite affordable too ranging from $10 to $30. Two of the most reputable water kits are Purtest and Discover testing. Though they cannot test for every possible contaminant out there, they can test for bacteria, lead, pesticides and arsenic.