What’s really in our Tap Water?
The UK’s tap water supply is one the best in the world according to multiple articles on the web. We all take ‘clear’, ‘fresh’ water that is has been treated to a high level for granted these days. However the drinking water quality varies in the UK region by region and the reason for this is impurities can get into your supply even from the individual pipes leading to your home.
So what do the powers that be put into our drinking water? How it treated? And what kind of effects can it have on our lifestyle?
Experts believe that we must drink 8 glasses of water per day to keep our bodies hydrated and functioning – but what exactly is in our tap water?
According to an Express article dating back to 2016 Chlorine is added to our tap water. The disinfectant added during water treatment to kill bacteria is mostly used up, but up to 0.5mg/l can remain – sometimes adding a taste or smell to you tap water.
Chlorine is used in the water treatment process to kill off and remove any harmful bacteria and to keep the water germ-free while it’s on the journey to our taps.
While chlorination is a tried and tested method of disinfecting mains water supplies, it can impart a strong chemical taste and smell, which can be unpleasant, particularly to those with sensitive palates.
Microplastics or plastic microfibres have been found to contaminate 72% of tap water samples in European nations, including the UK. They are rife in bottled water too with 93% of bottled water tested over 9 countries were found to contain Microplastics. These tiny little pieces of plastic come from various sources including clothes made of synthetic fabrics, car tyres, paint and microbeads from cosmetics etc.
To give an idea of the scale of microplastics pollution, a fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 microfibres in a single wash.
The health risks are still unclear, though microplastics are known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals. Research has also indicated that conditions inside the digestive systems of wild animals could potentially be facilitating the release of those toxins. More research is currently needed to determine the exact effect on human health.
We’ve all seen the chalky deposit that comes off our tap or kettle. Limescale is made up of calcium and magnesium carbonate formed when hard water (i.e. water with high dissolved mineral content) is heated. Water hardness varies greatly by region in the UK. Not only does limescale look unsightly but it also affects the efficiency of heating elements in kettles and boilers. The Carbon Trust state that just 1mm of scale will require “a 7% increase in energy input to the boiler to meet the same heat demand”.
Fluoride naturally occurs in our water and there are maximum levels allowed in your mains tap water. There are some regions however that fluoride is added to the water supply. Artificial fluoridation of tap water has long been a controversial issue with both advocates and critics.
The claim is that fluoride is medically proven to reduce tooth decay in children and since tooth decay is statistically one of the most widespread chronic diseases in cities, fluoridation schemes have been in place to add it to mains water for around 60 years. As of 2015, around 5.8 million people in England are supplied with artificially fluoridated water.
It’s still very controversial even in todays thinking with critics arguing that high levels of fluoride can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis (discolouration and damage to teeth and bones) and apart from some limited extensions of existing schemes, no new mains water fluoridation programs have been approved in the UK in the last 20 years.
Lead is very poisonous and is usually absorbed into water from old lead pipes used on route to your home. Ironically, those in soft water areas are more at risk from lead pollution as limescale build-up inside water mains acts as a barrier between the pipes and the water to protect it from contamination.
In soft water areas where there is a high risk of lead being absorbed from pipework, water companies treat the water with orthophosphate (phosphoric acid) which reduces any lead content.
There are other cases of things being found in your water supply.
Harmful Parasites & Bacteria
Mains water is routinely tested by law to make sure your water from your supplier should be free of viruses or pathogenic bacteria, however it can be known sometimes to be contaminated.
According to an article in the Guardian some scientists believe that ethinyl estradiol also known as EE2 (a chemical found in the contraceptive pill – a potent form of the female sex hormone oestrogen) is getting into drinking water supplies, though links to reduced male fertility rates have yet to be proven.
One study, carried out by the Environment Agency, showed that estrogenically active substances discharged into the environment had led to the feminization of male fish, causing them to effectively switch genders. Although there is no suggestion that this will affect the human population in the same way, the suggestion that these synthetic hormones are finding their way into drinking water supplies is still a concern. And though water filtration using activated carbon would cut EE2 levels, the debate is still ongoing over whether it’s the water industry or the pharmaceutical industry that should pick up the cost of the clean-up.
Tap water has been around for a long long time and we’re not saying that it’s all doom and gloom. We have one of the best water treatment processes in the world but there is only so much our Government can do. We still feel there is a need for extra filtration within the home and this is where out machines beat other filters. Our machines connect direct to your water mains, filter our all the lead, Microplastics, chlorine, fluoride etc and then we ionize the water to make it high alkaline. Virtue Water… pH 9.5 fresh Alkaline Water direct from your own tap. Yes please!
Interested in Virtue Water in the home?
Would you like High Alkaline Water source in your own home? If you’d like more information and reduce plastic waste, or would like to improve your hydration why not give us a call or speak to one of our team by emailing us, calling us or clicking on the WhatsApp icon to chat live and direct with a specialist who can answer any of your questions.