Nearly all of the water you drink has impurities in it. Most of them harmless and invisible to the naked eye. There are dissolved minerals that are actually beneficial to our health, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and others, but they may be harmful to pipes and faucets instead.
Then there are the heavy metals, lead, mercury, antimony and others that are highly poisonous, plus there are bacteria and industrial chemicals as well. Let’s take a look at the various drinking water impurities and how to get rid of them.
Not All Impurities Are Created Equal
There can be quite a range in the amounts of impurities in drinking water. If it comes from a stream, river, or lake it will have far fewer minerals than if it comes from a well or other groundwater. The most common minerals include sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, sulfates, and potassium. These are all needed and used by our bodies to make bones and other functions, they’re not harmful in small amounts at all.
Some of these minerals are a problem when it comes to the use of water in the home, however, since they do other things to the plumbing. Calcium is what you’ll usually see as scale on many things like your shower head, spots on dishes, or clogging up a water heater.
If you have too many minerals in too high of concentrations, you’ll need to install what is called a water softening device to help eliminate some of them. It won’t get rid of all of them, just a large percentage to make using your water less troublesome.
If you have scale buildup, like a shower head, coffee pot or other appliance, you can usually soak it in vinegar overnight and the scale will be loose enough to fall off the next day. Another problem with excessively hard water that has a lot of minerals is that it doesn’t work well with soaps and detergents. You might have to change to a special type of soap that has its ingredients adjusted for more minerals in the water.
Other Impurities Are More Harmful
Lead is a very toxic metal and should be avoided at all cost. Even the slightest amounts in the water, house paint, or food can cause brain damage and learning problems in children. Pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals each have their own dangers and should be avoided as well.
Scientists don’t know all of the long-term problems that could result from many man-made chemicals since there are so many and they can’t actually test them on humans. Many have been implicated in cancer, autism, birth defects, Alzheimer’s, and lots of other diseases.
To remove most of the unwanted water impurities it’s best to use a water filter. You can get smaller units that only work on one faucet or whole house units that filter all the water to your home. They don’t remove everything, so you should find out what’s in your water first and then take the appropriate action to remove the unwanted water impurities so you aren’t wasting your money.
Having safe drinking water is important, especially for children. You should have you water tested so you know what’s in it and then study to see what that means for your health. After that, add the right water softener, filter, or drink bottled water to make sure you protect your health.