Water is one of the essentials of life, apart from food and oxygen. Just like air pollution can cause various diseases and bad food can lead to food poisoning, bad water can have many adverse health effects. It is generally known that water that comes to your house is treated at the water treatment plants of your respective municipality. However, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, even though drinking water in the United States is among the safest in the world, even in the U.S., drinking water sources can become contaminated, and cause waterborne diseases such as Hepatitis A. Some water supplies may also contain disinfection by-products such as chlorine, chloramine, organic and inorganic chemicals, and even radionuclides. Even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates and sets standards for public drinking water, more and more Americans are now using home water treatment units to remove possible contaminants, and improve the taste of water. This is even more important if the family has a member with a compromised immune system. According to the Water Quality Association, more than 40% of Americans use a home water treatment unit.
Boiling water for a full one minute is perhaps the most effective means of water purification. However, boiled water does not taste good. Water filters and water purifiers are available in the market that can provide varying degrees of contaminant removal. The EPA suggests that before purchasing a home water treatment unit, you should consider various factors such as local water quality, cost of maintenance, product performance, and certifications that assure that the product will meet your needs. This way, you can save some money, and avoid making the wrong choice.
One of the major microbial contaminants in drinking water is Cryptospiridium. This is a microscopic parasite that is resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants, and is a common cause of waterborne illness. Use filters that remove particles less than 1 micron in diameter, to ensure removal of Cryptospiridium. Such filters are labelled as “absolute one micron filters”. Reverse osmosis based systems can do this job. Other treatments include distillation, UV, and filters labelled with absolute one micron. Remember that these pathogens can enter your body through other means as well such as through water used for brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables etc. – and not just through the water you drink. If you have such concerns, you may go for a whole-house reverse osmosis systems that will enable each and every faucet in your home to provide purified water, free from all pathogens and contaminants.
Below is a list of the different kinds of water filtration systems, and the specific benefits they provide:
1. Filter Pitchers – Very affordable, and minimum maintenance. These pitchers use granular activated carbon to trap contaminants. Some filters may also use fabric, fiber, or ceramic screening to physically remove contaminants.
2. Distillers – Water is boiled, and the condensate collected, which is free from all of its solubles. Distilled water tastes flat, because the water’s natural minerals and dissolved oxygen also get removed.
3. Reverse osmosis units – RO forces water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure, to remove all contaminants and pathogens. By far, RO is the most sophisticated technology for water purification. RO can even turn sea water into fresh drinking water!
4. UV – these purifiers use the power of ultraviolet light to kill all pathogens. However, if the system does not have an ultra-filter, then it may not help against chemical contaminants. UV filters require very little maintenance.
Even when going for bottled water, check the label or check with the bottler on the technology used for treating water.
Make sure that the purifier you intend to purchase addresses all your concerns. Make the right choice to enhance the quality of life for yourself and your family.