Have you ever worried about what is in your tap water? Following the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and test results showing lead in in the water in other communities across the country, it’s a warranted concern.
From the properties of the water itself to whether the pipes carrying the water are OK, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to the water we use for drinking, cooking and bathing. To explore these concerns, public health and safety organization NSF International conducted a survey of more than 1,000 Americans with the goal of understanding perceptions and behaviors when it comes to drinking water safety.
Among many other findings, the survey revealed that most Americans drink tap water and are concerned about contaminants in their water. While the majority has a general understanding of how water purification systems work, most aren’t taking steps to better understand what’s in their drinking water, nor are they purifying it accordingly.
Of the 71 percent of Americans that drink tap water at least sometimes, more than half (55 percent) are concerned about what they’re drinking. Not surprisingly, parents are more likely to be concerned than people who do not have children, and more parents say they know what’s in their water than those surveyed who do not have children.
Even with more than half of Americans saying they’re either concerned or simply do not know what is in their water, 42 percent aren’t taking steps to understand or purify the water in their home.
While 71 percent say they do understand that all filters are not created equal and that different filters reduce different contaminants, few Americans are taking action to improve their water. Of those that say they purify, the most common reason is simply that the filter came with their home or is built into their refrigerator.
So, how can you be sure the water in your home is safe? While you might not be able to eliminate all contaminates, there are some steps you can take to make it safer.
First, get a certified water filtration system. Make sure the system you’ve chosen has been approved by a third-party certificate body, like NSF International, which tests water filters and other safety products.
You can also send in your water for testing at a certified laboratory. Just be sure to use a sample from the early morning, before anyone in your household showers or before you do things like laundry or the dishes.
If you’d like to learn more about water safety, NSF International offers numerous resources to help you learn how to better purify the water in your home.