What You Need To Know About Your Drinking Water
By Tom Condon, Microbiologist

When you hold up a glass of water, it looks clean and pure, and in most cases it is. But often there may be contaminants lurking too small to see with the naked eye.

Environmental Nutrition magazine states that some 20% of Americans are exposed to substandard drinking water. Self magazine estimates that 50 million Americans—roughly one in five—are exposed to potentially harmful levels of hazardous materials whenever they open a faucet.

One problem is that most of the nation's drinking water treatment systems in the U.S. were developed prior to World War I.* To bring these systems up to modern standards, the U.S. would have to spend $123 billion over the next 20 years.**

Scientists are looking at a variety of treatments to prevent contamination of public drinking water. Despite their best efforts, 25% of communities provide drinking water that contains excessive levels of biological, chemical or radioactive contaminants.***

"Environmental Nutrition magazine states that some 20% of Americans are exposed to substandard drinking water"

Chlorine is the preferred treatment used by cities to control harmful bacteria and water-borne parasites in public drinking water. But when chlorine reacts with organic compounds in the water, it produces trihalomethanes, which may cause cancer. Ironically, cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that can cause serious illness or even death, is resistant to chlorine.

Bottled water can be an alternative.

The more you know about your drinking water, the more confidence you will have when serving it to your family.

* Natural Resources Defense Council, 1993.
**Weight Watchers magazine, 9/97.
***Environmental Nutrition
, 9/95.
Tom Condon is a microbiologist and holds Class, A, B, C & D licenses as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Public Water Supply Operator.