The Difference Between Tap, Bottled, and Filtered Water
Water lubricates joints and moderates body temperature. It transports nutrients and aids in healing. It’s imperative to stay hydrated each and every day, especially when we exert ourselves physically or mentally. Otherwise, dehydration can make our bodies risk muscle fatigue and loss of coordination while our minds become foggy or even disoriented.
While most of us recognize the importance of drinking water, have you considered how various types of water impact our bodies? The differences between tap, bottled, and filtered water are significant, even if they all serve the same purpose of refueling our bodies and refreshing our brain. Below, we outline the unique qualities of each type of H2O.
To begin, let’s take a closer look at tap water. Without question, it is the most affordable of the options. However, there are some risks associated with drinking water directly from our homes. Water quality varies widely, and there can be potentially harmful elements found in our drinking water.
Too much fluoride, which is the first thing you’ll find in tap water, can affect brain and thyroid function. On top of that, 30% of plumbing in the US contains lead piping, which is concerning as lead can cause liver problems, infertility, and IQ loss. Lastly, chlorine is still used to sanitize tap water in America. Chlorine has been linked to bladder and colorectal cancer. It also adds fuel to the fire since chlorine corrodes lead, which can make all the ill effects of lead poisoning that much worse.
Fortunately, there are several steps a person can take to clean up their own tap water. For instance, one of the most likely culprits of dirty tap water is poor pipes. Even normal wear and tear to plumbing can be dangerous to you and your family’s health. Routine maintenance, like flushing sediment from your water heater and servicing your water softener, is a relatively easy chore that can make the water in your tap water significantly safer to drink.
Bottled water gets more points for convenience, but by and large is not the most environmentally-conscious option nor the healthiest.
For those of us who are in a hurry, grabbing a bottle of water from the grocery or gas station and tossing it in our bag on the way to the gym is easy. It’s convenient to carry, it makes tracking the amount of water we’re drinking simpler, and it usually is both taste- and odor-free.
However, bottled water can lead to problems if you’re prone to leaving it in your car. Research shows that the plastic from bottles can leach unhealthy chemicals into the water when it gets warm.
There are quite a few additional reasons to steer clear of bottled water. For starters, it’s expensive. Bottled water costs almost 2,000 times the amount of tap water. Although two bucks per bottle doesn’t seem like much of an investment, it does add up after weeks, months, and years worth of buying single-use bottled water.
Another obvious downside to bottled water is the waste it leaves behind in landfills. Not only that, but the amount of energy and resources required to make those bottles is exorbitant. Ironically, it actually requires more water to make a plastic bottle than it does to actually fill it.
Lastly, there is filtered water. This is water than has gone through a process to remove impurities.
Filters can be actual physical barriers, such as carbon filters, which are able to trap contaminants, or they can be chemical in nature. Chemical processes can include the use of chlorine dioxide, citric acid, or even ultraviolet light.
There are a number of water filtration systems you can buy at hardware stores or online that will attach directly to your faucet. Additionally, there are even ways for you to make your own water filter.
It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each option. What is most important is that you’re staying hydrated and continuing to put water into your body regularly. However, given the facts above, we believe that drinking filtered water from a glass or reusable water bottle is the safest, greenest, healthiest option to date.
By Paige A. Mitchell