What’s in your water? We at Filters Fast have compiled a list of the top ten most disturbing things found in tap and bottled water. Some of these may surprise you.
#10 – Chlorine
The chlorination of water is a disinfecting method used by water treatment plants to eliminate the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms in city supplies. This seems beneficial, but consider the consequences: chlorine in water often reacts with other naturally-occurring elements to produce toxins that are carcinogenic. Prolonged exposure has been linked with several adverse health conditions like asthma and several types of cancer.
#9 – Lead
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lead in water is a major concern for children and pregnant women, as it affects physical and mental development. Although measures taken over the last few decades have drastically reduced the amount of lead in water supplies, it is still often found in houses and buildings with old pipes. Water that sits for long periods of time in corroded pipes can become contaminated and, when drank, result in lead poisoning.
#8 – Cysts
Cryptosporidium and Giardia are two of the most common water-borne microbiological cysts. These protozoan parasites enter lakes and streams through sewage and animal waste. Drinking water from said lakes and streams is not such a good idea, unless you’re sure the cysts have been filtered out. You could end up with a mild to severe gastrointestinal illness.
#7 – BPA
BPA, otherwise known as bisphenol-A, is found in the plastic used in water bottles and other manufactured products. A large number of studies on BPA have found its effects on the body to be toxic. If BPA leaches into bottled water, it could result in many different types of cancer.
#6 – Fluoride
Ah, the Fluoride debate: to fluoridate or not to fluoridate. Well, some maintain that fluoride in water is beneficial to dental health. Others claim it is linked to bone cancer and can actually cause dental fluorosis with extensive exposure. It’s all a matter of where your priorities lie. Sure you might die of cancer, but at least you can still flash those healthy, strong pearly whites during your funeral visitation, right?
#5 – Fecal Coliforms
Yes, you read that right. While bottled water companies market their product as healthier than tap, many bottles have been found to contain a small percentage of feces. What’s another word for feces?
You don’t want that in your water.
#4 – Pesticides and Herbicides
This might not sound like such a big deal, since pesticides and herbicides are regularly used to farm our world’s food supplies. But whether you eat them or drink them, these substances are toxic, and have been labeled “gender benders.” Studies have found that atrazine, a common herbicide, is able to turn male frogs into female frogs. Farm run-off puts these toxins in our water supplies, so unless you’re trying to induce a sex change, I’d be careful.
#3 – Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals are scary, because they may be harder to filter than all of these other substances. Since pharmaceuticals do not biodegrade, throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet may cause them to end up in your water supply. Ninety percent of pills can pass through humans unchanged, so that human waste becomes a factor as well. Repeatedly ingesting water contaminated with pharmaceuticals can disrupt normal hormone function or lead to cancer.
#2 – Natural Gas
Several homes across the country, all of which are near a local natural-gas drilling site, have witnessed the miracle of flaming tap water. The good news is that it’s easy to test for – hold a lighter up to your faucet. The down side is that you might get burned while doing so.
#1 – Crickets
In the words of Dr. Peter Gleick, “yes, crickets.” Gleick recently published a book called, Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water. In it, he discusses the contaminants found in bottled water that most people don’t look for. His examples include a 1994 recall on a Texas-manufactured, bottled, sparkling water that was found to be contaminated with crickets.
I don’t think it gets more disturbing than this, but I could be wrong. Are these the ten worst things found in tap and bottled water supplies? Perhaps you have some contaminated water stories you’d like to share.