Most people in the U.S. take the safety of their drinking water for granted— potentially to their detriment. In fact, 315 pollutants have been detected in the tap water Americans drink, according to an EWG analysis, and more than half—including many that have been linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and immune system damage—are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but even many of those—including known carcinogens like arsenic—have been found in one place or another at levels above the guidelines.
Smart solutions Find out what’s in your water by plugging your ZIP code into the search engine at ewg.org/ tap-water. Then use the EWG’s online water filter guide to get information on which types will best reduce your family’s exposure to impurities like chlorine and lead. Schettler also recommends researching drinking water treatment options at the National Sanitation Foundation’s website (nsf.org): “The NSF is a certification organization that has plain English discussions of which water filters take care of which contaminants,” he notes. “If you know what’s in your water, you can pick your filter accordingly.” Don’t rely on bottled water, which isn’t necessarily better, adds the EWG. Instead, save your health—and the environment—by toting your own filtered tap water in a stainless steel, BPAfree Klean Kanteen (kleankanteen.com) or using a Bobble (waterbobble.com), a bottle free of BPA, phthalates and PVC with a built-in carbon filter that cleans your water as you drink it (each filter equates to 300 single-serve bottles).