If you are trying to improve your health then the amount of water you drink in a day is probably something you have put some attention to. But have you ever looked at the type of water you are drinking or (the scary part) what else could be lurking in your glass of water?! I am diving in today to help you make a better choice when it comes to the source of your water so you can make an informed decision for you and your family!
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Types Of Water
If you have looked at the beverage section of any grocery store or convenience store it is easy to see that there are so many different water choices to quench your thirst. The water types I am going to look closer at include: tap water, filtered water, spring water, distilled water and purified water. I am also sharing with you my top choices for at home water filtration.
Tap water is simply the water you get that comes straight out of your faucet at home. This water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who sets legal limits on over 90 contaminants. (1) These contaminants can include anything from microorganisms, disinfectants and their byproducts, chemicals and more.
What is important for you to consider is what is in YOUR tap water as it can differ greatly by location. You can easily access this information in a couple ways.
- First, tap water suppliers publish their water quality tests. This report is called a Consumer Confidence Report and should be mailed out yearly. You can also call your utility and ask for a copy or look here to see if it is online.
- Secondly, you can go to the EWG’s National Tap Water Database and enter your zip code. Here it will show you any contaminants found that exceed the Environmental Working Group’s health guidelines. These are different and more stringent than the EPA’s legal limits.
A reminder that legal levels don’t always mean safe as legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years and therefore may not meet the most recent health guidelines if you follow the EPA’s levels.
Also, don’t forget that not only is chlorine added to kill bacteria but also more tap water than not has had fluoride added to it. While many say that this is to protect teeth from decay, countries that don’t have fluoride added to their drinking water have also seen a drop in cavities amongst children. (2) Add the concern of health risks associated with consuming a neurotoxin and it makes looking into other water sources a must!
Filtered water is water that has gone through further purification to remove any impurities from the water. One thing that is super important to consider is that no one filter is one size fits all. You will need to consider what is in your tap water before choosing a filter. You can go to the Environmental Working Group’s National Tap Water Database and based on your zip code it will also recommend what kind of water filter you need to remove the specific impurities and contaminants in your water. These include:
- Activated Carbon: Is a common method used in water filtration that is found in many filter systems. The carbon filter removes contaminants through adsorption (basically the carbon uses a magnetic-like pull on certain contaminants and traps them within the pores of the surface while the water flows through). The effectiveness of a carbon filter can vary greatly from one to another. Some will only remove chlorine (which improves taste and odor), while others are certified to removed asbestos, lead, mercury and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
- Reverse Osmosis: This is a system that begins with activated carbon to remove contaminants. It then will take it a step further and the water will pass through a semipermeable membrane that will block any particles that are larger than a water molecule. This can include: arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate. Unfortunately, it also includes the removal of minerals from the water like calcium, magnesium, etc.
Spring water is water that has been harvested from a natural spring. To understand fully what that means as far as drinking spring water, it is important to know what a spring is.
A spring is a water resource formed when the side of a hill, a valley bottom or other excavation intersects a flowing body of groundwater at or below the local water table, below which the subsurface material is saturated with water. (3)
Spring water is typically rich in minerals giving it an extra crisp taste to it. One thing to be noted about spring water is that it shouldn’t be assumed that it doesn’t have contaminants in it. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA and doesn’t have as stringent of guidelines as the EPA does for tap water. That is why it is so important to know the source of your spring water. I LOVE Mountain Valley Spring Water. On their website is a Water Quality Report so I know exactly what I am drinking. PLUS, it gets delivered in glass bottles. No plastic! The glass is better for the environment, avoids leaching of any chemicals into the water and helps to maintain the high quality of water and taste. So good!
This type of water is steam that is collected from boiling water that is then cooled and returned to a liquid form. This process will remove minerals, many microbes and some chemicals that have a higher boiling point than water. And while this type of water is safe to drink according to WebMD, (4) many will find it bland as it doesn't have any minerals in it.
This is water that is nearly free of chemicals and microbes. This is achieved through some of the methods previously mentioned including reverse osmosis or distillation. Purified water must meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia definition of purified water, which is that it must not contain more than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids and depending on the type of treatment it has gone through it may also be free of microbes. (5)
My Favorite Filters:
Clearly Filtered – Water Pitcher (budget friendly) or Under the Sink-
I was so excited when I found this water filter! I often share about water filters but they usually come with a heftier price tag. Not Clearly Filtered! This is a great budget friendly option for your home. Coming in at $75, this is a huge savings from many standard water filters. This isn't like most of the water pitchers on the market either! What makes it different? Allow me to explain.
- Only pitcher independently tested to NSF standards 42, 53, 244, 401 & 473
- Removes Fluoride, Lead, BPA, Glyphosate, PFOAs, Hormones & over 220 of the most harmful tap water impurities
- Retains the natural minerals & nutrients found in the water
Clearly Filtered uses a unique Affinity Filtration System to filter the water. It uses magnet like chemical absorption, as well as the physical structure to ensure the best filtration. Opposed to having a straight line to work through the contaminants have to move through a series of twists and turns. This makes it a slower process which ensures you're getting the most contaminants out of your water! Often times other filters will create great tasting water with simple carbon filters but don't address the chemical contaminants. Clearly Filters does! They don't just stop with chemicals, they also remove physical contaminants, radiological, and biological. All at 99.9%! You can check out their performance data on their website here. The big kicker is that it doesn't remove all the beneficial minerals! They keep out the bad stuff and keep the good stuff. Check out the pitcher option here!
*I also wanted to mention their 3-Stage Under The Sink Water Filtration System as an option as well. Although it's a lot pricier overall it's still less expensive then many options out there when it comes to water filtration. It installs under your sink, doesn't require a plumber and can be done in 10 minutes. I also love that that the hoses are stainless steel. It's also great for renters because it can easily be removed. Check it out here!
This is the water filtration system that I have and love! I've used it for 10 years now. This filters out everything, even fluoride with their fluoride filter. I would recommend for most average size families the Big Berkey– which is what we have, but you may want a smaller one or larger one depending on family size. I always tell people to think about not just drinking water but also water that you use to cook with. It might seem like a lot initially but really you go through the water quick for daily use. Once you buy it, you will only have to replace the filters every couple years, except the fluoride filter usually every 8-12 months. A worthwhile investment knowing you will have clean water for a lifetime!
The black Berkey water purification element is what removes majority of the contaminants. They trap the contaminants with micro-pores and then absorb them so they don't get passed to your drinking water.
Here are the contaminants they remove:
- Pathogenic Bacteria
- Chlorine and Chloramine
- Heavy Metals
- Pharmaceutical Drugs
- It also can remove or reduce gasoline, arsenic, nitrites, petroleum products, rust and silt.
*If you also get the fluoride filter- which is a totally separate filter besides the black Berkey water purification element, you will be filtering out fluoride, which I highly recommend as well!
Mountain Valley Spring Water-
This is the last water recommendation I love. I've been getting this water delivered to my home for the last year. It's fresh spring water from the spring in the Ouachitas Mountains. The water is sodium free and has a naturally detoxifying pH blend of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Their water is tested for contaminants.
Our natural spring water is tested regularly for any trace of multiple organic and inorganic chemicals that are regulated by the FDA. Additionally, we also measure and test for any presence of unregulated contaminants. No contaminants were detected above the FDA’s allowable limits in our testing. Mountain Valley Spring water meets all standards of quality water established by the FDA.
They bottle their water in glass to preserve it's freshness and taste. So you don't have to be concerned with plastics leaching into the water. I get their 5 gallon water jugs delivered to my house every month. I love knowing that I have pure spring drinking water always. You might wonder why drink spring water when you have a Berkey? Great question. Spring water is full of all the essential minerals. It also is very pure unlike most city water. Even with the Berkey purifying it, spring water in my opinion still is the cleaner option. It's the way nature intended water to be- untouched. I love my Berkey and think it's a good investment because no matter what happens in the world you always have the option of filtering your own water with a Berkey. However, I like to still drink the spring water on a consistent basis. Our family gets 5 gallon glass jugs per month and it's the perfect amount for us.
I hope this was helpful when looking for filtered drinking water for your family.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:
- Drinking Water Regulations (n.d.) Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/drinking-water-regulations
- Davis, Nicole. (2016). Is Fluoridated Drinking Water Safe? Harvard Public Health Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/fluoridated-drinking-water/
- Springs and The Water Cycle. (n.d.) U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved from: https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/springs-and-water-cycle?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
- Distilled Water. (n.d.) Nourish by WebMD. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/distilled-water-overview#1
- Water Health Series: Bottled Water Basics (Sept 2005). Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/2005_09_14_faq_fs_healthseries_bottledwater.pdf