Humans should drink half a gallon of water each day to stay alive. However, the question stands, should it be just any kind of water or should care be taken when choosing the type of drinking water? Just like improperly washed food can make you sick, so can water which is not safe for drinking.
Your body is composed of 70 percent of water. That means a large portion of your body thrives on this component. It is, therefore, necessary to take into account whether the water we drink is pure or are we putting chemicals into our system.
Water can contain several microscopic organisms which, though small, have a great potential to harm you. Water that is infected by viruses and bacteria is unhealthy, and whatever’s unhealthy can make you sick.
Filtered water is considered to be the safest form of drinking water. Whether this is the case or not is the subject of this article.
Should You Be Drinking Tap Water?
It depends on where you live and the water source for your locality. Some countries or regions have tap water which is good for consumption, while others have water which is not fit for drinking at all.
Tap water often has fluoride added to it. While fluoride is good for keeping tooth decay at bay, it has many harmful effects on your overall health. Regular consumption of water that contains fluoride leads to health conditions such as:
- Impaired development of brain cells
- Weak and fractured bones
- Stiff and painful joints
- Dental or skeletal fluorosis
Despite helping prevent tooth decay, fluoride can increase the risk of other serious health issues. Therefore, before drinking water from the tap, know the source of the tap water as well as the chemicals it might contain.
Elements That Make Their Way into Our System from Tap Water
Apart from fluoride, there are several other elements which tap water may contain and can be detrimental to your health. Some of these elements include:
- Beta blockers
- Traces of lead
Of all things, water is just not where these substances should be present as they can deteriorate your health. These substances can even lead to mental health problems. You need to stay away from these elements as much as you can.
Water which is not fit for consumption can also lead to life-threatening diseases. Many areas in the world have tap water with chemicals, which makes tap water unfit for consumption. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1 to 2 billion lack safe and drinking water. Contaminated water can lead to diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and malaria among other diseases.
You can never know whether the water supplied to your home is sanitized or not, especially if you are living in a country with a poor governance system. Unregulated water supply can make you fall sick more frequently and perhaps even with deadly diseases. Therefore, it is better to filter your water in order to avoid fatal diseases in the long run.
What Is Filtered Water Anyway?
Filtered water is your regular tap water which has been filtered. Thanks to this process, the amount of harmful substances in the water has been greatly reduced.
With some filtration techniques, even some substances and minerals which are essential to your well-being are eliminated. However, with most techniques, these healthy minerals are retained.
Filtration is done to get rid of pollutants as well as harmful particles from the water to get safe drinking water. In this process, tap water or water used for domestic purposes is filtered by either passing it through a membrane or using chemicals to eliminate harmful substances.
Ways to Filter Water
There are various ways in which you can filter water. Regardless of the method, the underlying reason behind filtration remains the same – that is, to make water free from any contamination so that it is healthy for you to drink.
Some people think of filtration as a process which is best carried out in a filtration plant. However, that is not true. In fact, you can filter water on your own. Sometimes, a utensil is all you will need for filtering your plain, usual tap water.
Boiling Tap Water
Boiling water can get rid of bacteria. Some bacteria are not resistant to heat, so they can be killed on exposure to high temperatures. Hence, when you boil water, many such bacteria cannot survive.
For this method, bring water straight out of the tap to boil on a stove and keep boiling it for 4 minutes. Cover the utensil containing the water you just boiled with a lid and let it cool down. Drink water after it has cooled. This lets the heavier particles settle at the base of the pot.
This process is cheap and easy to carry out on a daily basis and will keep your drinking water safe to consume.
Distillation is a process which is often carried out in laboratories using a Liebig condenser. This method involves cooling and heating water. Although it is a slow method for filtering water, it is an efficient way of removing not only germs and bacteria but also heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
In this process, water is heated to its boiling point, which is 100 degrees Celsius, in a beaker. The vapor that leaves the beaker is condensed on the walls of the condenser. Afterward, this distilled water is collected. This process is efficient, but it is also expensive.
Water Filtration Using Carbon
This method is commonly used for filtering water in purification tanks. In this process, water is run onto carbon filters, which absorb the odor that normal municipal water may have.
They will also remove chlorine, which makes tap water taste bad. It is added to tap water to kill harmful pathogens that can cause diseases. The carbon filters eliminate this disinfectant from water.
Some filtration processes also involve additional steps like the use of microns and ozonation of water. Charcoal is one kind of carbon filter which is usually used in this process.
Chlorination of Water
Microorganisms are found in water, some of which can cause deadly diseases. That is why it is important to filter water and make it clean from any traces of disease-causing microorganisms. Chlorine kills such microorganisms such as bacteria and parasites that may be present in water. Therefore, it is used to disinfect water. It is highly toxic toward microbes which may cause diseases such as cholera and typhoid. This chemical is also used to remove odor, and humans have been using it for a long time now.
Chlorination of water doesn’t cost much and is a feasible option if you are on a tight budget. You can even use chlorination in conjunction with another method of filtration.
Reverse osmosis or RO is a process where you demineralize water by passing it through a membrane. As the name indicates, this process involves a semi-permeable membrane which is present in the process of osmosis.
Water is sprayed onto this membrane whose pores are large enough for water molecules to pass through but small enough to prevent salt and minerals from passing through. In this way, deionized water is collected and the salts are left behind.
Reverse osmosis is popularly used in the beverage industry. However, it is an expensive technique which can be wasteful, so it is advised to use the method only if you have a weak immune system.
Benefits of Filtered Water
All the hype for filtered water is not in vain for it can and does benefit you in a number of ways. Some of them are as follows:
- Protects against diseases
- Reduces the amount of chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride which are otherwise present in tap water
- Removes heavy metals and pesticides that contaminate water
- With chlorines removed, filtered water is pleasant in taste and odorless
- Removes viruses and bacteria
- Boosts your health by keeping you away from disease-causing microorganisms
Is Filtering Water the Best Option for the Purest Water?
It is both easy and cheap for you to filter water. While you can choose any filtration method that you find suitable, most people prefer to go with simply boiling as it is cost-effective and convenient.
Considering the variety of sources of tap water in different parts of the world, it is best if you filter water just to be sure you are consuming something healthy. Water that is filtered reduces your chances of getting sick by removing numerous impurities present in ordinary water.
What’s more is that unlike bottled water which is packaged in plastic bottles, filtered water does not harm the environment. Hence, so far, filtered water is the best option for drinking safe water without harming your environment.