Many experts say that we need to drink about six glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and flush out toxins.
However, tap water is exposing us to harmful chemicals. A 2009, 2015 analysis by the Environmental Working Group found as much as 315 pollutants in U.S. tap water, including arsenic (a heavy metal and poison) and pesticides. More than half of the compounds are not regulated by the EPA, which means they can legally be present in tap water in any amount.
Perchlorate. It is used to make rocket fuel, flares and explosives. It contaminates the drinking water of up to 26 million Americans. The chemical has been shown to reduce thyroid hormone production. What about the risks it poses, particularly to babies and children? Elizabeth Pearce, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Boston University School of Medicine said, “potentially even a very mild degree of low thyroid function could have an adverse effect on cognitive outcomes for a fetus. However, no studies to date have shown effects of low-level perchlorate exposure on thyroid function in pregnant women”.
In December 2010, the Environmental Working Group also reported finding hexavalent chromium (chromium-6), the “Erin Brockovich” contaminant that the EPA considers ”likely to be carcinogenic to humans”, in the drinking water of 31 U.S. cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles.
What to do?
Have your water tested, especially if you live near industrial site, or in California, where chromium-6 is a known problem. Call the EPA’s Safe Water Hotline: 800-426-4794 to locate a laboratory. Cost starts around $20.
Once you know what’s in your water (mercury, lead from piping, fluoride, or pesticide) you can choose a filter certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association to screen specific contaminants.