September 18, 2009

Is Your Tap Water Safe?

You've probably read that chemicals including traces of prescription drugs are showing up in water supplies in the USA. But we have mostly felt that municipal tap water was adequately treated for bacteria, except for rare cases like the 1993 situation in Milwaukee in which over 100 people died. Lately I've realized that not only is there harmful bacteria in many municipal water supplies, but it is often not discovered before it causes harm.

Today NPR broadcast an interview about bacteria building up in shower heads in chlorinated water. If you didn't hear it, look it up online. Today I purchased an all-brass shower head, because plastic seems to harbor more bacteria than metal.

The New York Times is running a series on water pollutants. A little heavier reading but important is the NRDC report Children at Risk - Drinking Water Contamination.
And of course, even chlorine has it's risks - see the EPA page on disinfection byproducts.

Then there are the studies showing that some carbon filters actually encourage growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. See my previous post.

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