Drinking Clean Water and Your Health: Facts and Myths

Do you have clean water? Are you sure? Why can’t people get clean water in some places?

The discussion is ongoing, as clean water becomes more precious to us. Even children know that we need clean water. In fact, “healthy food and clean water” is a common preschool theme.

Drinking Clean Water and Your Health

The Importance of Clean Water

Clean water, especially clean drinking water, can be a matter of life and death. The weight of the adult human body is 50 to 70 per cent water, and we can survive for only a few days if we do not regularly take in more. It matters, though, whether we take in clean water or unclean water.

Government reports are awash with facts about the importance of clean water.

  • Globally, unclean water is the greatest killer of children less than five years old.
  • A lack of clean water is a major cause of disease and death at all ages in underdeveloped countries.
  • Thousands of Chinese suffer from various illnesses because they lack clean water.
  • More is spent on bottled mineral water for the wealthy than on passably clean water for the poor.
  • 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water for drinking.
  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., disaster crews could not keep up to the demand for clean water.

According to a recent United Nations report, unclean water is a sure predictor of shortened life expectancy. The importance of clean water cannot be overstated.

Do You Have Clean Water?

Many people take it for granted that water flowing from the taps in their homes is clean water. The term “clean” is not well-defined, though, and has not been from ancient times.

Our earth initially had clean water. Crystal clean water flowed in every stream. Crystal clean water bubbled forth from every spring. No one had to worry about unclean water. Centuries later, water was not as pure, and people took steps to ensure they were drinking clean water. If it tasted good, it was probably clean. If it tasted bad, it was probably unclean.

As water became more contaminated, the ancient Greeks and Romans lined their drinking pottery with silver, believing that would ensure clean water. Later, they used boiling to ensure clean water.

As recently as 1905, people used copper vessels exposed to sunlight as holding tanks that led to charcoal filters that produced fairly clean water.

Now, municipalities add disinfectants to bring water up to government standards – but is it clean water? Not necessarily.

A study of 19 U.S. cities’ drinking water systems found systems and treatments dating back to before 1915! When those rotting pipes break – as they will – they may leach contaminants, making relatively clean water dangerous. Those old treatment plants, built to conform only to the knowledge and conditions of the late 1800’s, often fail to remove modern contaminants and bacteria.

What Can You Do?

If you care enough about clean water for you and your family, you will take as many precautions as you can.

  • Have your tap water tested professionally, or test it yourself with one of several inexpensive kits available.
  • Read up on the water purity in your area.
  • Install a filter or purifier.

Bottled Water, Anyone?

As reported elsewhere on this blog, buying water in a bottle is not guarantee that you are getting clean water. Several popular drinking water bottlers take their water directly from municipal water supplies. It is no cleaner than the tap water. Regulations on bottled water do not require purity. Read carefully.

Safe Drinking Water – How to Get It

Every one of us needs drinking water. We need a lot of drinking water on a daily basis. We need safe drinking water.

Drinking Clean Water

Safe Drinking water. How do you know whether the water you are drinking is safe? You may get it from a municipal tap. You may use a filtration or purification system. You may purchase bottled water. Is it safe drinking water?

Tap Water

If it comes from the tap, we are told, it is safe drinking water. Government standards dictate tests it must pass. True, there are government regulations. However, monthly or annual testing often shows contamination in municipal water supply. The treatment plant must take action, but meanwhile, the water from your tap is not safe drinking water.

Even when tap water meets government standards, those standards may not yield safe drinking water. Fluoride may be added – in levels that are rapidly proving to be more toxic than originally thought. Detergents are present. Chlorine is added to kill germs, but certain levels of microorganisms such as E.coli are permitted. Is that safe drinking water?

Bottled Water

When bottled water first hit the shelves of local supermarkets, it was considered very safe drinking water. Pictures of glaciers and mountain lakes, along with names such as Glacier Water, falsely led people to believe that bottled water always came from pristine sources.

Gradually, word filtered down to the consumer that bottled water was not pristine. A number of companies bottled tap water. Others bottled water drawn from wells next to manufacturing sites. Bottled water has been found to have contaminants. Some bottled water is treated with fluoride. Bottled water is not necessarily safe drinking water.


Water Filtration

One way to get safe drinking water is to use a home filtration system. Municipal supplies often contain “permitted” levels of impurities or contaminants. Even if the water is safe on arrival at your home, it will travel through pipes that may leach lead or other minerals.

A water filtration system can remove impurities and contaminants that remain. To pass regulations and carry the word “filtration” in the name, these systems must remove 99.99 percent of chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants. It will give you safe drinking water.

Water Purification

Some believe that filtration is insufficient. For them, 99.99 percent is not enough. As long as .01 percent of contaminants, chemicals, and bacteria remain, they are unwilling to call it safe drinking water.

For those, water purification is the answer. Regulations demand that water purifiers remove 99.99999 percent of bacteria, chemicals, contaminants, etc. This is 1000 times better than water filtration. Water purifiers provide very safe drinking water.

Drinking water is vital for every created life form on earth. Humans are no exception.

How much water do you need?

If you are an adult, your body is losing about 10 glasses of water daily. How much is that? 10 glasses of drinking water in various measurement systems is:

Metric = 2.366 liters
USA = 10 cups – or 2.5 quarts – or 80 ounces
British Imperial = 2.082 quarts – or 83.27 ounces
Japanese = 13.12 go
Chinese Imperial = 23.66 ge

Breathing, perspiration, and other normal body functions drain off that much water every day. To keep your body working properly, you need to replace the water you lose.

How can you replace the water you lose?

Be sure you get at least 8 glasses of drinking water every day if you are sedentary, or not too active. The other 2 glasses of water can come from fruit juices, coffee, etc.
Be sure you get 10 to 12 glasses of drinking water every day if you are participating in strenuous activities.
Avoid becoming dehydrated. Summer is not the only season when dehydration is a factor. Hot, humid days are not the only kind of weather that causes dehydration. You need adequate drinking water every day.

Heated air, whether heated by the sun or a furnace, evaporates moisture from your skin. You may not feel thirsty, but you need to replace that moisture. Exercise, summer or winter, causes perspiration, which also can lead to dehydration.

How can you avoid becoming dehydrated?

When you plan to be physically active, take drinking water on a schedule before, during, and after your activity. Follow guidelines set forth by experts:

2 glasses of drinking water 2 hours prior to the activity
1 to 2 glasses of drinking water 15 minutes prior to the activity
1/2 to 1 glass of drinking water every 15 minutes during the activity

If you plan a big workout, weigh yourself before you begin. At the end of your workout, weight yourself again. Then be sure you get 2 glasses of drinking water for every pound you lost.

About the author

Ryan Jones