Monday, 10 October 2016

How Safe Is It To Drink Tap Water | Points To Ponder | Life Essentials

Taking forward my life essentials article series, here is an attempt to answer a crucial question, one that was recently asked to me by an office colleague from Canada!

How Safe Is It To Drink Tap Water Health Lifestyle Environment Blogger

Water is the building block of life. It is the miracle of modern civilization that we do not need to travel far to get our share of water for daily activities. All we need to do is turn on the tap. It is thus prudent to ask the question - Is it safe to drink tap water? There are quite a few factors to consider in this regards:-

Nature of water

Before asking is it safe to drink tap water, it is crucial to find out the source and nature of water flowing through the taps. If the source is a naturally occurring spring, drinking tap water is preferable because it will, in all likelihood, be rich with several naturally occurring minerals. Similarly, water from a river is usually routed through a treatment plant where it is cleaned of contaminants and pollutants under strict monitoring, making tap water perfectly safe to drink. In many cases, minerals like fluoride are also added which are essential for good oral health.

Region in question

Here is a tip for those asking ‘is it safe to drink tap water?’ - Evaluate the region where this question is being asked. In USA, there are strict regulations put in place by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via Safe Water Act to provide safe drinking water through all public water systems. Strict checks are conducted on water quality in various areas whether it is tap, well or bottled. Same is true for UK and other developed nations. In nations such as India however, it pays to be cautious as public water system fails short of supplying pure water and there are open sewers everywhere that easily mix with potable water supply to turn it into a party for infectious diseases. In such a nasty environment, it is never safe to drink tap water.

Third party factors

The answer to the question is it safe to drink tap water comes back a resounding ‘NO’ unless one takes into account factors such as individual health and psychological parameters. For those with weakened immunity; recuperating liver or kidney; undergoing chemotherapy or pregnant, tap water is not recommended.

Moreover, sometimes the pipes might be old and corrosive, adding metals such as lead to otherwise pure tap water. Or due to an accident, there could be more than usual contamination of water by chemicals which the treatment plant couldn’t completely eliminate.

Some people are also allergic to or simply do not like the residual taste of chlorine or the miniscule amount of contaminants that remain in tap water even after the cleaning process.

In all such cases, reaching for filtered or bottled water is the intelligent solution. For all others, asking the question is it safe to drink tap water will result in a happy ‘Yes’.

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