Water actually accounts for 60% of your body-weight and 75% of your muscle tissue. It's responsible for transporting nutrients to your cells and carrying away waste. Other than inflammation, dehydration is top cause of many ill-effects in your body, along with premature aging. Therefore, you need to be drinking plenty of water - and clean drinking water is vital to good health.
However, in my opinion, some people are going over the top when they say things like, 'our tap water is poisoning us'. Others insist that only distilled water is healthy. Neither are true. So, I've put together what I believe are five common myths about drinking water in the USA.
Myth #1: Only naturally pure drinking water is good for you.
I'm not sure that there is such thing as naturally pure drinking water. In the environment, all water contains some 'impurities'. Many of them, such as calcium and magnesium, are good for you and enhance the taste. Even in a clear mountain stream, some animal has
just finished using the restroom in it... up-stream.
Myth #2: Never trust tap water.
The quality of tap water varies from excellent to poor. It depends on a lot of things. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established strict guidelines to keep contaminants to minimal levels. However, the EPA tests water suppliers and not individual homes - so contamination is possible after water leaves the treatment plant. If you live in an older home or in an agricultural area, you should have your own tap water tested.
Myth #3: You should only be drinking distilled water.
Actually, distilled water is not safe to use on a long-term basis. It can lead to mineral deficiencies that can cause heartbeat irregularities and hair loss. Additionally, cooking with distilled water draws all the nutrients out of foods.
Myth #4: Bottled water is guaranteed safe.
In general, bottled water is safe. That's true. However, despite federal, state, and industry regulations, contaminants are sometimes found in it. (You can view the results of a four-year study done by the Natural Resources Defense Council at www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/appa.asp.)
You actually get a better guarantee from beer, as far as the water goes.
Myth #5: It’s safer to drink water from plastic bottles.
This one's still up in the air, but there is some evidence that polycarbonate plastic (which 5-gallon water-cooler bottles, for example are made of) is toxic because it contains Bisphenol A (BPA). Individual water bottles are made of polyethylene or polypropylene. While there are no conclusive studies documenting their safety or toxicity, one thing is clear: These materials do not exist in nature.
So, what do you do?
I think it’s possible to drink healthy water from both the tap and the bottle. It largely depends on where you live and what your budget permits.
If you want to drink your tap water:
- Obtain a water-quality report from your water supplier.
- Test your water. Reasonably priced kits are available to test for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, PH and hardness... and arsenic.
- Let the water run a few seconds after you turn on the tap before filling your water glass.
- If you have a compromised immune system and there has been flooding or reports of contamination of the public water, the CDC recommends that you boil your water for a minute.
- If your tap water needs improvement, consider using a carbon-block filter. Look for one that will remove particles that are less than or equal to one micron in diameter for protection from parasites.
- If you have the option, choose water in glass bottles. If the water is bottled in plastic, look for the recycling code on the bottom. Code 7 is polycarbonate, which you should avoid. Codes 1, 2, and 4 denote polyethylene; 5 is polypropylene.
- Store bottled water away from sunlight and away from household chemicals.
- To prevent bacteria growth and contamination, don’t refill the bottles.