Most of my friends think I’m crazy. The fact that I’m serious about purifying my water apparently sends up a red flag: this guy is bonkers. I’ve heard all sorts of reasons why we don’t need to worry about water purification: tap water is safe to drink, there are lots of people around the world drinking much worse water and anyway, most of those filters don’t do squat, right?
Let’s start with point number 1: tap water is safe to drink. This really depends on your definition of safe. Yes, it’s true, you probably won’t drop dead immediately after drinking a glass of water. By the same token, you are unlikely to become ill with a bacteria borne or virus caused illness (although, it must be said, that this sometimes happens and there is never a guarantee that a treatment facility won’t have a temporary breakdown).
Rather, the bigger health threats from tap water are slow to develop. They may not manifest themselves with immediate symptoms, but they will brew slowly and cause their damage later in life. Chlorine, which is found in almost all tap water supplies, is not good for us. Authorities will say that in small amounts it is harmless, but over the long-term it may be contributing to various ailments including cancer.
There are other contaminants that are also lurking in small quantities, which may not make their effects immediately known. These include arsenic, pharmaceuticals and in some cases, radioactive elements. Also, lead may leak from old and corroding pipes while tap water is on its way to the sink. This is to say nothing of MTBE or other contaminants that may not be extensively studied.
Why take the chance? Why trust in a municipal treatment facility that is not failsafe? Why assume that chemicals that have not been extensively studied are safe for you in the long-term even in small amounts? These are all important questions that you should ask people who doubt your fidelity to water purification.
As for the latter two claims, these are problematic without needing much of a counter-argument. It is true that many people around the world do not have access to safe, healthy drinking water. At the same time, that is not reason for you to voluntarily drink water that is poor in quality when have access to much better. Finally, when it comes to the claim that water filters don’t do squat, this is simply not true. Most filters, even poor ones, will remove almost all lead and chlorine continent. If you invest in a solid filter with a good reputation and track record, you will remove far more contaminants and your water will actually taste fresh and pure.
How about that? If you can’t convince them on any other points, try going for the taste and smell angle. Better yet if you have some water on hand for them to sample.
Have any suggestions for dealing with the doubters? Feel free to let loose in the comments section below.
Photo credit: flickr user cuppini