Everyone Needs Clean Drinking Water


Human beings have been innovating new ways to clean their drinking water for centuries. Early man initially thought that if water looked clear, then it was clean, free of toxins, bacteria and other impurities and therefor safe to drink. However, gastronomical illnesses related to drinking clear but not clean water led to new purification techniques, such as passing water through a cloth filter, and boiling it before drinking it. Now, with Billions of thirsty humans to sate, mankind has devised newer and better ways to filter and purify drinking water a scale. They've also conceived a lot of fancy and trendy marketing pitches for consumer who consider taste, provenance and other qualities when they make their water consumption and purchasing decisions. And so, here is a quick guide to making sure you understand what your drinking water options are.

What are the options for clean drinking water?

Consumers generally have two options for getting fresh, clean drinking water to drink at home. First is tap water. Most tap water is safe to drink, but it is generally recommended, no matter where you live, to run your tap water through an in-home filtration process. You can buy a pitcher filter from companies like Brita, Pur and Zerowater and use gravity to filter your water while it stays cold in a pitcher in your fridge, or install a home filtration system under your sink so that the water that comes from your tap has been filtered. Either way works great. Next is bottled water, which comes in many sizes, flavors and service levels, as well costs and levels of purity. Some water from bottled water brands are just filtered and purified tap water in a bottle, and some come from springs and glaciers and are 'bottled at the source'. The latter obviously carrying a heftier price tag. There are too many bottled water brands to list here by name, but they all use clever marketing tricks to convince customers that it is better and healthier for you. Regardless of which option you choose, personal preferences such as taste and alkalinity, will become a factor when you ultimately decide how much you're going to pay for your water. And then there is the 'green factor; which refers to how much you care about the damage that bottling water does to the environment.

Is Tap Water Safe?

Of course, health is the main consideration when it comes to what water you decide to put into your body. Municipalities use chlorine to treat water before it finds its way into your tap at home, and they also add in flouride to help in the prevention of tooth decay. In the United States, tap water enjoyed a pretty decent reputation as a safe source of water until the Flint, Michigan fiasco in 2014 when human neglect led to lead contamination in the local water supply. What we learned from the Flint water crisis is that sometimes mistakes are made, and they can have dire consequences.

What illnesses can unfiltered drinking water cause?

The most common illnesses caused by contaminated water are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cholera, dysentery. If untreated, water will contain bacteria, pathogens and other naturally occurring toxins that will make humans sick. Some humans' systems have adjusted to certain water, and so they don't get sick while other do. This is what happens to tourists traveling to foreign countries and getting a bad case of 'Montezuma's Revenge'. But water contaminated by toxic chemicals and other industrial poison can much more serious illnesses and even death. Diarrhea from by unsafe drinking water causes millions of deaths every year, with a concentration of those deaths coming from children in developing nations. And while many improvement have been made over the years, you should still remain vigilant about the contaminants that could be in your faucets, pipes, and local water supply.

What type of water you drink is a trade-off between convenience and price for most of us, but can be one of life and death for others. Just as in everything in life, be aware of how your choices, including your water choices, impact others around the world.

by Steve Jortsman