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What’s Hiding in Your Tap Water? Four Dangerous Substances in Water

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Four Dangerous Substances Hiding in Tap Water

It’s becoming generally known that our city tap water may not always be the safest or the cleanest. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with all the possible contaminants and substances that may be lurking in it. Today, let’s look at the top four.

Once you get to know these chemicals, you can make a more informed decision about the best water filter for your own household situation.


Let’s start off with the most pervasive contaminant: chlorine. Unlike most other toxins, this is one that is deliberately added to purify it.

The problem isn’t simply the chlorine itself, but what can develop as the chemical reacts with other substances. Known as chlorination by-products, these additional toxins are getting more study due to more health risks. For one, they can be cancer-causing.


Though all heavy metals pose a risk to water supplies, lead tends to be a more common problem due to older infrastructures that still use aging lead pipes.

Lead can create all sorts of developmental and cognitive problems in children, and can also be considered a carcinogen in adults. The CDC lists in detail the many effects of lead in both adults and children, which is why lead paint and leaded gasoline are no longer used.


Not as common as lead, mercury is another metal that can find its way into your tap. It can be a by -product of mining and other industrial activities, and waste run-off then ends up in the local ground water.  They even stopped using mercury in thermometers because they were such a toxic risk if they were to break open. This is definitely not something you want to drink.


Short for volatile organic compounds, these are a group of chemicals that exist initially as gasses that get dissolved into the ground-water over time. Things like paint, household solvents and adhesives will give off these chemicals (think of those powerful smells when you open the products up), and they are polluting the water.

And since they are so volatile, as in they will vaporize easily, they quickly end up in your home’s atmosphere when water is boiled or otherwise left to evaporate. That can mean poor air quality as well as water contamination.

That’s the big four. Just remember that there can literally be many hundreds more contaminants in every glass.

Protect Yourself

Now that you are aware of common (and hazardous) substances, what are you going to do about it? Drinking bottled water is one temporary solution. But your health can still be impacted at home through bathing, dishwashing and laundry if you continue to use unclean water.

Before you start filter shopping, you should have your water thoroughly tested. Not all filter technology works the same with all contaminants, and you wouldn’t want to invest in a filter system that didn’t do the best job.

If you just want to clean out the chlorine, you will just need a store-bought jug that uses a charcoal cartridge to neutralize the chlorine. Anything else will need a more sophisticated system.

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