Which Contaminants Make Tap Water Unsafe to Drink?
“Why is bottled water better?” Like many people, you’ve probably asked yourself this at least once and wondered why you should pay for bottled water when tap water is available almost everywhere. There are many answers to this question: bottled water is packed with added nutrients, has a better and more palatable taste, and provides a convenient hydration solution to people who are always on the go. However, one of the biggest benefits of bottled water is that it’s cleaner and safer to drink than tap water.
How Tap Water Gets Contaminated
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pays close attention to public water systems and ensures that their drinking water quality is always up to par. However, even with vigilant regulation and constant inspections, contamination can happen, and it can negatively affect the quality of tap water. Contamination can occur right at the water source, which can be ground water or water that’s sourced from lakes or rivers. It can also occur after the water has been treated and during its distribution to individual properties.
Common Contaminants Found in Tap Water
Agricultural processes are some of the biggest culprits behind water contamination, with pesticides, fertilizers, and animal feed as some of the most common substances found in tap water. These substances can increase the level of nitrate in tap water, which can be dangerous since nitrate decreases the ability of blood to carry oxygen and distribute it to cells and tissues. With a high nitrate intake, you can experience a faster heart rate and lower blood pressure as well as vomiting, headaches, and other symptoms.
Animal waste (both from wildlife and farm/cattle animals) can also contaminate tap water with various germs. These include harmful bacteria like salmonella, egionella, shigella, and E. coli O157 as well as viruses such as enterovirus, norovirus, rotavirus, and the Hepatitis A virus. Animal waste can also introduce parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia into tap water. If you drink water with these germs and parasites, you can experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloody stools, and loss of appetite along with fever, coughs, headaches, and more.
Contamination can also occur in nature as groundwater passes through soil and rocks that contain high amounts of harmful minerals and chemicals. One example is arsenic, which can be found in natural deposits in the earth. Consuming arsenic is highly dangerous since it can cause abnormal heart rhythm, blood vessel damage, and other health complications.
As mentioned above, tap water contamination can also happen within the distribution system. If the water passes through older systems, it might be contaminated with lead, which was widely used in plumbing pipes and fixtures a few decades ago. Lead in drinking water can lead to a wide range of health problems including hypertension and other cardiovascular problems as well as decreased kidney function and reproductive system issues.
Stay Healthy with Bottled Water
While tap water is monitored and regulated by the EPA, contamination can still happen at the source or during distribution. So, to avoid diseases and infections, switch to bottled water and have the assurance that you’re always drinking potable water. If you own a business, you can even share the blessing of safe and healthy water by ordering personalized water bottles from The Water Depot! We offer purified drinking water that’s packaged in high-quality bottles that are 100% recyclable and BPA-free, and we can customize water bottle labels so you can advertise your business and attract more customers. Learn more about our custom water bottle labels by giving us a call!