Is my tap-water safe to drink after 4-5 years; Health risks

Did you know that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water? Yet, only less than 1 percent of all that body of water is healthy for consumption.  A shocking fact considering how much water we have surrounding us.

Reports still bouncing around today are showing that an average human cannot live without water beyond a week. Let’s not even drag the backup nutrients water provides when consumed daily at the right dosage.

But, there is ONE problem. Strings of tests by health groups and experts have recorded contaminants in most of the water are shipped to our homes through water pipelines. This shocking revelation has spiked up worrying thoughts and concerns over the nature of your water running whether from the ground or public mains to your taps at home.

Tap water can also be known as running water from controlling outlets. Water that comes into your home through your taps or faucets and it is used for a variety of things.

 

Ordinarily, water from your tap should be safe for consumption. However, tap water is susceptible to a wide range of contaminants. Often times this happens because of the nature of the pipes used in your home and chemicals used to treat water from structured source (if any). When supply is stretched over a considerably long period of time (say 4 to 5 years), it’s high time to either have a filtration system installed or you switch to a better alternative because your tap water is more than likely to be contaminated.

 

After studies emerged about the safety of water passing through pipes into homes and risks of being contaminated, the nature of water from taps has turned out to be a pounding headache.

Tap water is still very relevant in the society today. But, its domestic uses and purposes have dropped following claims of heavy contamination and that is something you should be worried about before gulping a full glass of it.

tap water

EVERYTHING YOU MIGHT NEED TO KNOW

 

DRINKING WATER

Drinking water, usually called potable water is widely regarded as the water that is safe for drinking and preparing your meals. On an average, it is recorded that humans consume about 2.7 liters of water a day to maintain good health.

For males it stands around 3.7 liters, but, for females it is within the 2 liters range.

However, that doesn’t mean more than half the world’s population including women and children drink that much. Drinking to good health varies for each individual. It depends on one’s environment, health, age and the level of physical activity.

Drinking water as at 2015 is said to be available to more than 89 percent of the world population. As per studies, 4.2 billion people have access to tap water and another 2.4 billion have built wells.

However, over 1.5 billion, north of 20 percent consume unsafe water daily.

More people die from lack of safe and hygienic water than from wars, revealed former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. About 30,000 deaths are registered daily.

 

 

TAP WATER

Tap water is the water that comes through your taps at home. It can be the one from your kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, even your toilet sinks.

Other times it could be from a public tap. As long as it runs down from a tap or faucet, it is considered “tap water”.

The use of tap water is very common in developed countries. However, it is not as common in developing countries.

Although tap water is naturally used for drinking and many other things, eye browed concerns have raised since its level of quality became an international talk.

Tap water is very susceptible to different kinds of contaminants both biological and chemical.

This is because tap water is exposed to corrosion in plumbings which has severe harmful effects to the body.

Corrosion in plumbing is one of the main reasons why drinking tap water is unhealthy for you and continues to be dumped, as shelves in fridges are filled with bottled water.

Aside from corroding pipes which may contain lead, a lethal chemical element, filtration of tap water has degraded.

Despite assurance by public water corporation about the purification of water before getting to taps in homes, traces of metal elements are still very much found. Even in large amounts.

Tap water has been widely deemed unsafe for drinking. Below are some reasons you should consider before storing tap water in your water cans and bottles to be drank later.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD STOP DRINKING TAP WATER

The issue of whether tap water is safe for drinking has remained controversial. But, there are some emerging truths and findings that now strongly suggest that you should avoid drinking tap water at all cost. Some of them are:

 

Fluoride injection

You might have read that as a clumsy sub-headline, but yes, the sweet fluoride in your toothpaste, now in your water is bad for your health.

Surprisingly, the injection of fluoride in tap water has long been a practice according to reports.

Only recently, did the some governments cut back the amount of fluoride use for tap water treatment.

The presence of fluoride in your tap water is now termed to be some kind of neurotoxin. And when I mean neurotoxin, I meant a deadly and crippling one.

In trifling amounts, fluoride is not considered harmful except when there are high dosages.

However, the attack on various glands in the body has raised concerns over the use of fluorine in tap water treatment.

Even in very small amounts, consuming tap water containing fluoride can affect your thyroid glands and hormones, cause severe damage to your neurological and gastrointestinal system.

 

Chlorine is deadlier now

Chlorine, a popular disinfectant has now been flagged as dangerous for tap water treatment. This powerful disinfectant agent is used for killing germs whether bacteria or viruses in tap water.

However, when injected in large water collection areas, they react with some organic matter. The byproducts created from the disinfection are considered to be more harmful than the normal chlorine. These byproducts have been linked to bladder and colorectal cancer, miscarriages in pregnant women.

Although an alternative for chlorine in water purification has sprung up in the form of chloramine.

Chloramine is said to be more effective than chlorine. Although this is true, chloramine stays longer in water and cannot be filtered using conventional filtering techniques.

In addition, chloramine causes lead corrosion when you used to treat your tap water. Lead enters the water stream as it is taken to your taps at home.

Lead poisoning causes plenty of health issues, and worse can excessive lead in the system can lead to death.

 

Lead Prowls

It is no longer a new thing that “lead” after corroding of pipes made from steel, iron or copper, will eventually leech into your tap water.

Findings have revealed that even plastic pipes now contain lead in them. This makes drinking tap water a lot scarier.

Lead can cause nausea, vomiting and collapses of body cells and tissues. If your tap water has large amounts of lead, you could die immediately from it.

 

Mercury kills

Mercury is unhealthy for human health and growth in general.

However, the fact that it is existent in your tap water makes it total unsafe for drinking. All over the world it is understood by scientists that mercury is totally bad. When you drink water that contains this chemical element, you risk have skin rashes, headaches etc.

Even inhaling mercury poses serious health risk. Because of its toxicity, monitoring water for mercury takes place every month. Still, not every government has bucked up to this responsibility.

 

Arsenic and Radioactive Contaminants

Arsenic is tasteless and odorless. Arsenic occurs naturally, yet it is hard to stop them.

In the United States alone, over 50 million people are exposed to Arsenic through tap water. It is known to contain carcinogens. Arsenic in tap water can increase the rate of cancer of the bladder, lungs, nasal passages, skin, kidney, liver, and prostate.

Meanwhile, you also need to avoid drinking tap water because of poisonous radioactive elements that are prevalent in tap water.

For example, cellium and tellerium traces have been found in tap water.  The impact of these radioactive elements has been labeled as hazardous.

When arsenic finds its way into your blood stream, it reacts with your blood vessels and finally collapses them.

Although it is considered as bad for consumption, it is also commonly used in production.

Dumping this carefully has become a struggling issue that is running out of time. Due to improper disposal, this affects the tap water you are drinking, eventually.

 

HCB Kills

“Hexachlorobenzene”, HCB, is widely used in the agricultural sector. This has helped to keep away pests that attack crops.

Emerging studies have shown that HCB is a dangerous toxin that can lead to death when consumed in large dosages.

Traces of HCB have been detected in tap water.  Trifling amounts of HCB attacks your liver and other joints of your body.

In Turkey alone in 1950, 4,500 people were confirmed to have been affected from HCB poisoning. This generated so much fuss with aggressive talks to have it banned from agricultural and water projects due to the severe health risk it poses.

 

 

PIPES USED FOR COMMONLY USED AND THEIR EFFECTS ON TAP WATER

 

rusted joints

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

It has a wide variety of uses in plumbing especially in from drainage pipes to water mains.

PVC is the most commonly used piping at home. PVC has varying thickness called schedules. The one used for water supply has a schedule of 40.

PVC is commonly used for supplying cold water only. There are strict restrictions, even a ban against using it to supply hot water because of its susceptibility to heat which could lead to expansion.

Pros

  • PVC are good for long irrigation
  • PVC are quite flexible to use

 

Cons

  • Glued PVC pipes are prone to leak water
  • It is fragile and can shatter easily

 

PEX Pipes

Often called PEX, this is a cross-linked polyethylene pipe. It is a new kind of pipe that has hit plumbing shelves in retail and whole sales stores worldwide. PEX is often preferred over PVC pipes because of its toughness and flexibility to weave and bend through walls, basements etc.

It popularly used to supply water. If you are considering on installing one by yourself, it is considered a great choice.

Pros

  • It has color variants. Red is for cold water and blue for hot water
  • It is highly flexible, can bend up to 90 degrees
  • PEX pipes are inexpensive
  • PEX pipes are not difficult to cut

Cons

  • Duration of PEX pipes is still under doubts
  • Cannot be recycled and may leak easily if improperly fitted

 

Rigid Copper Pipes

This is used as a water supply line within the home. Rigid copper pipes are not easy to cut like plastic pipes. They require a hacksaw. Rigid copper pipes can withstand great levels of heat. They work well for both supplying hot or cold water.

Copper pipes can be joined together through compression fittings or by soldering means.

Pros

  • It can be bent
  • Rigid copper pipes can withstand pressure and heat
  • They can be recycled

Cons

  • Inside of pipe can be easily corroded
  • It is not a great choice among DIYers because of its complex installation
  • It is expensive

 

CPVC

CPVC (Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) pipe is usually but not always cream-colored or off-white plastic. CPVCs can withstand a temperature of about 180°C which makes it more ideal for transporting or supplying hot and cold water than PVCs.

CPVC has the same outer diameter as copper and PEX pipes. The same push fitting used for PEX or copper pipes can also be used here.

When making a CPVC joint, you should use a primer and glue.

 

 

Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized pipes are pipes made from iron or steel that has been coated with zinc.

Iron and steel corrode easily when water continuously flows or runs through them. This is why they are galvanized to prevent the corrosion caused by water.

Galvanized pipes are rarely used nowadays considering the strenuous efforts inputted to have them cut and installed. Still, they are considered good for supplying drinking water. They are mostly seen in large commercial bodies and corporations.

Pros

  • Galvanized pipes have great strength.

Cons

  • Galvanized pipes will corrode over time
  • Galvanized pipes will leech lead into your drinking water when corrosion happens.

 

 

HEALTH RISKS OF PIPES THAT SUPPLY DRINKING WATER TO YOUR HOME

Types of Pipes Health Risks
PVC ●        A US study, strongly opposes the use of PVC pipes for drinking. PVC pipes leach toxins that carry carcinogens which amounts to cancer.

●        PVC pipes leach chlorine which is linked to cancer and miscarriages in women.

●        In addition, lead is used to make 95 percent, 85 percent and 61 percent all PVC pipes used in India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South America respectively.

PEX Pipes ●        The use of PEX pipe for drinking water is relatively low according to a study by the Norwegian Institute for Public Health in 2011. Drinking from plastic pipes do not pose any serious health risk confirmed the study.

“I have no reason to think PEX is hazardous,” says Steve EI. He added that the evidence pointing to any hazards with PEX is “slim to none.”

●        PEX unlike CPVCs and PVCs is chlorine resistance even under hot conditions. The only con here is its chlorine-resistance will be halved with continued exposure to heat over time.

Copper Pipes ●        Water corrodes easily if it stays too long in copper pipes. Although this might not be much of a health threat, it could blow up if the coppers are joined using soldering methods. This could leech lead into the water which is deadly to your body.
CPVC ●        According to a US study, CPVC pipes should not be used for drinking water. It was found that CPVC pipes leached toxins that are harmful to human health.

●        Potentially harmful and extremely toxic chemicals such as chloroform, tetrahydrofuran, methyl ethyl ketone, acetate are released into drinking water through CPVCs. These chemicals may cause cancer in Human beings. They also cause ozone pollution and can affect the liver.

●        Leaching in CPVC pipes is very common. It is said to increase during the day due to high temperatures.

Galvanized Pipes ●        As galvanized piped age over the years, the zinc protective layer fades and the pipes start to corrode. When this happens, lead, which is a deadly toxin even in trifles can cause severe health problems.

●        Galvanized pipes will pose serious health hazard if not quickly replaced with modern, safer pipes that leech less.

 

 

REPLACE YOUR PIPES NOW IF THEY’RE OLD. HERE’S WHY

Old pipes are a pain in the butt. They can annoy creaks when hit by strong winds. They are prone to leaks with can leech contaminants into your drinking water. Having them replaced might cost you your savings. But it’s better safe than sorry

 

Lead Poisoning

Old pipes can contain large or small traces of lead which is harmful to your health and can cause the growth of cancer cells. For this reason you should have them replaced quickly.

 

Water Clog Issues

Old pipes are weak. They cannot withstand change in temperature.

Also clogging in old pipes occurs due to mineral deposits over the years. This can change the taste of your water over time. Because of this they should be replaced.

 

Rust Problems

Over the years, especially in galvanized and copper pipes, rust is bound to occur.

Some of these amounts to leeching of lead especially in galvanized pipes. This is bad and should be fixed immediately.

Rust causes your drinking water to change color. White films are visible on washed plates that have been rinsed with rusty water. This is why your old pipes should be replaced.

 

 

TAP WATER OR BOTTLED WATER OR FILTER WATER?… WHICH IS BEST?

With the disturbing facts about tap water and what it contains after undergoing treatment in plants, it remains unhealthy for drinking.

However, there a factor like the “source of water” should be considered if you are sticking to tap water.

Bottled water is a great alternative to tap water. Bottled water are highly filtered with better filtration techniques which makes them better than tap water.

But, bottled water is not cost effective. Meaning, you may have to spend more to get it.

You can improvise by buying a WATER FILTER or get one installed in your home if you already have one. This is even MORE COST EFFECTIVE than bottled water. In addition

  • Filtered water is ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY. Unlike bottles or plastic used to can water which are not biodegradable.
  • Filtered water TASTE BETTER and FRESHER than your tap water.
  • Water filtration helps to remove toxins that are harmful to your body making it a safe choice if you are switching sides.
  • Filtered water BOOST HEALTH. It strengthens your immune system which makes bottled water very popular in cities.
  • Water filter are INEXPENSIVE to maintain. They are very durable and potable. Maintenance is low.

 

Finally, water filters are available in retail stores near you that sell water products. They come in variants. Examples of some of them are; Activated Carbon Filters, Reverse Osmosis, UV Filters and Infrared filters.