Do you really know what is in your water? Our water resources are facing challenges like never before. Find out what to look out for.

Is Your Drinking Water Safe?


Most of us do not think twice about how accessible water is in our daily lives.  In fact, most Americans do not have any water stored in case of an emergency or natural disaster.  We plan our days around schedules for work, kids, friends, family and events.  Taking a shower, eating and laundry are some events that are a part of our daily lives where access to clean water is not even questioned, it is assumed as readily available.

You may be thinking that since you drink filtered or bottled water that you are safe.  Contact with water is not just about drinking it.  Your skin is the largest organ you have and while many of us pay attention to the products we apply, how often do we think in the same manner about the water we come in contact with?

Your skin absorbs 64% of volatile organic compounds (chemicals) found in drinking water!

According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes for Health, your skin absorbs 64% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in drinking water, in other words, CHEMICALS. With this knowledge would you think differently about the water that comes out of your faucet to wash your dishes or bathe if you knew it was contaminated?

Many people take for granted that since they are on well water or their water comes from a water treatment plant that it is fairly safe.  City after city across America is testing positive for very dangerous chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and other contaminants and the public is not being made aware of test results or even if testing is being conducted. So just how safe is it?

What Is In Our Water?

Many people are aware of the recent water crisis in Flint, MI where the water had known contaminates and the public was not made aware for 2 years. Another current, ongoing water emergency in Montgomery County, PA is taking place at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station. Hazardous waste was found in the ground water samples at or above EPA recommended levels for health safety.

These are not the first communities affected by polluted and contaminated drinking water. Reports on water quality are steadily increasing as more citizens and municipalities are questioning the safety of their water.

Most tap and well water may contain a variety of any of the following contaminants:

  • Disinfection Byproducts
  • Chemicals
  • Radiation
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs – antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, beta blockers, and tranquilizers
  • Heavy Metals
  • Fluoride
  • Lead

The Associated Press published articles from an investigative report they conducted in 2008 on pharmaceuticals in drinking water. The AP National Investigative Team accessed data from hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, and visited environmental study sites and water treatment plants where they interviewed hundreds of officials, academics, and scientists. Surveys of water providers were conducted in small communities in all 50 states as well as 50 of the largest cities in the US.

The AP National Investigative Team Members tested the following drinking water samples:

>>>Philadelphia – 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. 63 pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city’s watersheds.A portion of the drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California detected an anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications.

>>>U.S. Geological Survey Researchers analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, in Northern New Jersey, that serves 850,000 people, found mood stabilizers and a metabolized angina medicine.

>>>San Francisco – Sex hormone

>>>Washington DC and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

>>>In Tucson, AZ officials found 3 medications including an antibiotic.

Health and Environmental Impact

It is important to note that small towns are at a disadvantage compared to larger populated areas. The EPA only tests water supplies that serve over 10,000 people.  This means that the average small town does not undergo any type of extensive water testing.

While some water treatment plants conduct their own testing most are not testing for pharmaceuticals, nor do the facilities have the capability of removing them from water. Most treatment plants are successful in reducing some drugs through their normal treatment process.

Research on the effects to human health is not widely available.  The EPA has only recently started focusing on detection of drugs in the water.  Many scientists and members of the medical community have been raising concerns about the evidence of pharmaceuticals affecting aquatic life, especially fish in the water sources tested.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk

You can control the safety of your drinking water by taking the necessary steps and precautions.  Consider a water filtration system.  You do not need to go with anything fancy if you are budget conscious.  A simple carbon filter will work great or you can Find Out The 13 Ways To Purify Water and find an option that is most suitable for you and your family.

About the Author Stephanie Anson

Stephanie Anson grew up farming with her grandparents where food preservation was an important aspect of her life. This included canning and other food storage techniques. Her enthusiasm continues today with her husband in wilderness survival, homesteading and colonial food preservation methods. Her foundation comes from past military experience along with her husband’s work in the field of biology. Stephanie has 3 children, her eldest in college and her youngest just over a year old. Enjoy the adventure with us!

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