It is a common misconception that tap water is not safe to drink in the United States. The truth is, this depends on the location, as well as the state of the water in your area, and if it has been filtered or not. If the water has been effectively filtered, it is just as safe to drink as bottled water.
In this article, we are discussing only publicly treated water provided by your municipality, not well water.
Water from the tap is usually safe, but what happens to the water as it travels to the tap? Let’s find out more!
If the water has been effectively filtered, it is just as safe to drink as bottled water.
Water from the sink is usually safe, but what happens to the water to get to the sink? Let’s find out more!
What’s The Difference Between Tap Water And Bottled Water?
The difference between tap water and bottled water is quite different. Tap water is often a better option because it is cheaper, readily available, and often filtered.
Additionally, bottled water is a lot more expensive than tap water, and it is also not viable for the environment.
If your tap water is not deemed safe to drink, you can always buy a filter. A filtration system makes your water safe to drink, and it will not cost you as much as bottled water in the long run.
However, if your tap water is contaminated, you may be better off buying bottled water, but it is unlikely that your water will be completely contaminated.
Bottled water is often filtered to eliminate impurities, and it may taste better. Tap water is stored in reservoirs, so it is generally clean and safe to drink.
Can You Drink Tap Water?
Drinking tap water is usually fine, but it depends on your location, as well as how your tap water is treated.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits on over 90 different kinds of contaminating impurities that are found in tap water, with the legal requirement for public water systems to filter it out.
This means that there are still some impurities and pollutants within tap water so it may need additional filtering at home.
Note: The EPA does not regulate private wells for drinking water, but does provide information and resources for private well owners.
Water from the tap is legally safe to drink, but you might want to invest in a home filtration system to filter your water better. Drinking water from the tap will not harm you, but filtered water tends to be better.
What Contaminants Are Found In Tap Water?
There are contaminants in nearly everything, but tap water contains a few different contaminants. The EPA breaks down the common contaminants into two simple categories. These are microbial contaminants and chemical contaminants.
The common chemical contaminants that are found in tap water in small amounts are copper and lead. Microbial contaminants tend to be viruses that are not likely to harm you. Tap water does get filtered, so only a small amount of these contaminants will remain.
Why Is Tap Water Unsafe?
As mentioned above, tap water may contain more contaminants in comparison to bottled water. This is not news, and water filtration has come a long way.
When you are drinking tap water, there is a slight chance there may be impurities and contaminants within the water, but these are unlikely to harm you.
After all, you brush your teeth with this same tap water. It is often a good idea to invest in a water filtration system for your faucets and taps.
Is It Safe To Drink Bathroom Tap Water?
Depending on the age and condition of the plumbing in your home, the pipes in your bathroom or kitchen may contain lead. Therefore, drinking water from the kitchen is not more or less safe than drinking water from the bathroom tap.
If you are concerned about lead exposure in your drinking water due to old pipes, invest in a water filtration system so you do not have to worry about drinking a glass of water or brushing your teeth.
What Countries Have Safe Tap Water?
Westernized countries have the safest drinking water in their homes. When you are traveling, it is wise to know about the countries that can provide safe tap water and the countries that cannot.
Some countries may have impurities within the water that you may not have experienced before. This may make you sick if you are not used to the impurities.
Generally, countries in the UK, North America, and most of Western Europe have completely safe and filtered tap water.
Below, are some other countries with safe tap drinking water:
- Czech Republic
What Countries Do Not Have Safe Tap Water?
Generally, most European countries and North America have safe drinking water from their taps. However, many regions throughout Asia, Central America, South America, Oceania, and Eastern Europe do not have clean and safe tap water that is available to drink.
This includes countries like Ukraine, Fiji, Tonga, Mexico, Argentina, and India. One of the biggest reasons for sickness among travelers is drinking tap water from Mexico.
Central America does not have clean tap water, and you should always buy bottled water if you are traveling in the area.
The reason for unclean tap water does appear to be related to the country’s wealth, and whether they can afford to properly clean their water.
These countries do not have the funds or access to invest in a proper filtration system, so buying bottled water there would be cheaper and healthier for you. Water filters are still available there, but they are expensive.
Clean tap water should be a common necessity, but in some places, it is not. It is important to check whether the water from the tap in your area is safe and to invest in a water filter if it is not.