What’s in your water?
A case for filtering
This article sponsored by the Brita Products
Company. The Brita Products Company,
based in Oakland, California, is the leading
maker of point-of-use water filtration
products to improve the quality and taste
of tap water. For almost 40 years Brita
has been among the leading experts in
the field of water optimization. The family
business, founded in 1966, has become
two global companies that manufacture
water filtration products for household and
WATER IS THE MOST PLENTIFUL, and useful, liquid on the planet. And yet,
we take it for granted. Many people don’t hesitate to turn on the tap when
needed. This seems acceptable because most communities have filtration
systems. Unfortunately, municipal water systems can’t or don’t always filter
out everything, they often add other things that should be filtered out before
drinking and there may still be risks if there is a breach in the system.
Here are some of the substances that additional filtration can remove,
and the associated risk s or problems.
Chlorine. Used widely by water
utilities for water disinfection; may
produce undesirable taste and odor
in drinking water.
Copper. Widely used in household
plumbing materials. Exposure to high
levels of copper can cause stomach
and intestinal distress, liver and kidney
damage and anemia.
Cryptosporidium and giardia. Protozoan
pathogens that contain parasites. If ingested,
they can cause disease with symptoms of
severe abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
Lead. Sometimes used in household plumbing materials or water service
lines. Exposure to high levels can cause interference with red blood cell
chemistry; delays in physical and mental development in babies and young
children; slight deficits in attention spans, hearing and learning abilities of
children; and slight increases in the blood pressure of some adults. Long-term
exposure can cause stroke, kidney disease and cancer.
Mercury. Exposure to high levels can cause kidney damage.
Turbidity. An indicator of fine particulate matter that makes water appear
cloudy. Increased turbidity decreases the effectiveness of chlorination and
other types of disinfection.
To be safe, use a water filtration system in your home or office. A
• To find out what’s in your local water supply, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A 1996 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act requires public water suppliers to provide
a consumer confidence report. You may find one for your area at www.epa.gov/safewater/
dwinfo/ index.html or call your local water supplier.
• For more information on current national drinking water standards, go to www.epa.gov/safe
• For more information on water quality and filtration products, visit the Water Quality
Association’s Web site, www.wqa.org.