As you age, things that you never considered start becoming a necessity. For instance, you begin to you become more health conscious and you begin to understand that it's up to you to take care of your health; no-one else is going to do it for you. Water filtration is a key home improvement that people are widely adopting across the globe. Simply put, water filters improve the quality of your drinking water by removing unseen (and seen!) substances but, what do water filters remove?
Since public water sources are often far removed from where you live, the possibility of contamination before they get to your house is very high. Besides, water authorities legally add as many as 50 chemicals to “purify” the water. These chemicals, chlorine for instance, can have a significant impact on the taste of water.
To ensure you use clean and pure water at your home for drinking, making cups of tea, brewing a cup of coffee, cleaning vegetable, you install water filters. Here we highlight the many materials, compounds, chemicals and odours that water filters get rid of from tap water, making it safe for drinking.
- 13 Substances That Water Filters Remove From Your Drinking Water
- What Do Water Filters Remove? Summing Up
13 Substances That Water Filters Remove From Your Drinking Water
1. Sediments And Dirt
Tap water is not 100% free of sediments. Water filters are used to trap the sediments and dirt present in drinking water. Soil residues present in water affect the visual appeal and may cause odour. Physical filters are effective to remove dirt and sediments.
Most municipalities add chlorine to kill harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria. However, despite its prowess in disinfecting water, it is toxic to the human body. Furthermore, excess chlorine in water may corrode pipes and allow contamination from harmful compounds such as lead.
Carbon filters effectively remove chlorine from drinking water, make it safer, and remove the accompanying lousy odour and taste. UV sterilization and reverse osmosis filters are also very effective in removing chlorine.
3. Chlorine Byproducts
When chlorine is used to clean drinking water, it reacts with the compounds present in the water and forms harmful byproducts such as haloacetic acids, VOCs, and THMs. Continued exposure to the toxic byproducts is linked to birth delivery problems, increased risk of cancer and other health complications. The active carbon filter is highly effective in eliminating all 32 chlorine byproducts.
Chloride plays a massive role in chlorinating drinking water. Even though chloride is non-toxic to human beings, levels above 250mg/l alter the taste of water. High levels of chloride can adversely affect persons on a low-sodium diet and other specific conditions.
In some situations, disease-causing organisms are present in drinking water. They include bacteria, protozoa and others. UV sterilization and reverse osmosis filters are highly effective in eliminating organisms.
Phosphate in water comes from many sources such as human and pet waste, chemical manufacturing, runoff and others. It is crucial for plant growth. Excessive phosphate in water has negative implications.
It promotes excessive growth of algae, causing the water to turn cloudy because of algal bloom. Murky water does not look or taste suitable for drinking and thus the need for water filters. Charcoal filters remove roughly 90% of phosphates in water.
7. Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS)
PFOS is water and stain-resistant compound used to make carpets, furniture, clothing fabric, fire fighting foams, paper packaging for food and mats. It is also used to create a wide array of items resistant to grease and water.
These chemicals are complex and thus very hard to break down. They exist in the environment for decades. Excessive exposure to PFOS leads to harsh health effects, including liver effects, cancers and congenital disabilities. Activated carbon filters remove PFAS, PFNA and PFOS from drinking water, making it safe.
Natural or artificial chemicals available in prescription medicines, OTC and veterinary drugs can get into water sources. They may contaminate water in various ways, such as runoff with manure from agricultural land and inappropriate human waste disposal.
Accumulation of pharmaceutical residues in the water can considerably affect aquatic life. It’s worse if the chemicals contaminate drinking water. It’s critical for children, the elderly and pregnant women.
Your body gets small amounts of unwanted pharmaceuticals each time you drink tap water at home. Although minimal research has been conducted in the field, continued exposure to certain drugs may trigger your body to develop resistance. Filtering drinking water eliminates this risk.
Herbicide usage in agriculture to curb unwanted weeds is on the rise globally. They help to increase agricultural production. Nonetheless, incorrect use leads to contamination of groundwater. According to tests conducted in groundwater, glyphosate, 2,4-D weed killer, and atrazine are the most significant herbicides contaminants of groundwater.
They affect aquatic organisms directly and humans indirectly. Some herbicides are carcinogenic plus trigger many other ailments. Luckily, activated carbon filters have been designed to eliminate the 12 most common herbicides.
Pesticides are chemicals used to kill, repel or control forms of animal or plant life acting as a pest. They include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and others. Due to the intensification of agricultural activities, these chemicals easily find their way into the groundwater.
Popular pesticides include glyphosate, heptachlor, lindane, chlordecone and chlordane. They cause short-term and long-term health effects after exposure – Short-term effects include rashes, blisters, and stinging eyes, while long-term effects include weak immunity and the central nervous system.
Lithium is naturally occurring in the soil and water. It’s said to be an antidepressant and a stress reliever when available in tap water. Research on the possible harmful side effects of the metal is still underway. Charcoal filters eliminate the metal by up to 90%.
Sodium is unsuitable for persons with high blood pressure. Therefore, they can use water filters to remove sodium molecules from their drinking water to cut salt intake. A reverse osmosis system is ideal in such an instance.
13. Healthy Minerals
Unlike popular belief, some water filters like reverse osmosis remove both harmful and healthy minerals. You should, however, not be worried because filtration systems that remove beneficial minerals are paired with a remineralising filter. Also, most residential water filters do not remove healthy minerals, and still, water should not be your primary source of nutrients.
What Do Water Filters Remove? Summing Up
Don't fall for the line “your tap water is safe to drink” because, chances are, unseen and harmful substances could well be lurking in your water. Be safe, install a quality water filter.