The public water supply doesn’t just provide us with the water we drink. We use this water to take a shower, to water our plants, and to wash our pets. Water is essential, but the majority of our water supply is full of nasty compounds that are slowly destroying our health, whether we realize it or not. Without the proper filtration system in place, you are being exposed to a large supply of chemical toxins, including pesticides, pharmaceutical medications, and even animal excrement.
5 Nasty Things in Your Water
This post is not just meant to gross you out, it’s meant to inspire positive action in your own home. By reading the following facts about the water you’re drinking and showering in, you’ll be shocked and hopefully lulled into switching to a cleaner source of water. Here are some of the facts you need to know about the water you are exposed to every day.
1. Pesticides Are Invading Our Water
Pesticide and fertilizer runoff is a serious concern in many states, especially recently for the Midwestern states.  Pesticides infiltrate every aspect of our life already; our food, clothes, and indoor environments are sprayed with the chemicals. Even if you are consuming an organic diet, not having the proper precautions in place for your drinking water can still, unfortunately, expose you to the toxins you are attempting to avoid.
2. Medications Find Their Way into Drinking Water
Studies have been consistently showing that our water supply is being contaminated with pharmaceutical medications.  Antibiotics and antidepressants are commonly found in trace amounts in drinking water these days, possibly contributing to a host of issues. Having antibiotics in your system for a prolonged period, for example, can increase the risk of becoming resistant to antibiotics, potentially compromising your future health in the rare case of illness. Antidepressants, when consumed through the drinking water in small amounts over a long period of time, may also have unseen interactions with proper brain chemistry.
3. Phthalate Water, Anyone?
Phthalates are common chemicals found in plastics, typically used to improve flexibility. They are easily released into the environment, and some research suggests they may be carcinogenic.  Other research is showing that phthalates may negatively affect thyroid health which, in turn, affects hormones, weight, and mood. 
4. Animal Poop is Hiding in Your Water
You probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s best to know now: animal poop may be lurking somewhere in your water. Of course, it’s just trace amounts; however, isn’t any amount considered unacceptable? A recent study reported that pig excrement and bacteria were found in North Carolina drinking water, so if you live near here, you probably want to contact your local officials to get more information about the water you and your family are drinking. 
5. Arsenic Pollutes California Water
A new report shows that California’s public drinking water violated safety requirements more than 1,000 times for the fiscal year of 2012-2013, citing high levels of nitrates and arsenic.  Arsenic can cause skin issues and increase cancer risk, so any level of this contaminant in drinking water is totally unacceptable.
Actions You Can Take
Investing in a high-quality water filter is the best way to keep your water clean and free of contaminants. Distilled water is also a great water source that has been purified and can be a great addition if you haven’t yet transitioned to an at-home water filter. Even filtering the water you bathe in can be helpful for decreasing the chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis. Be sure to continue eating a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants because these compounds will help protect your body from toxins already present in your environment.
- Maya Rao. A closely watched fight brewing over nitrates in Iowa water. StarTribune.
- Ben Sutherly. Unused meds go down the drain, worrying environmentalists. The Columbus Dispatch.
- Lopez-Carrillo L, Hernandez-Ramirez RU, Calafat AM, et al. Exposure to phthalates and breast cancer risk in northern Mexico. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Apr;118(4):539-44. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901091.
- Li, N, D Wang, Y Zhou, M Ma, J li and Z Wang. Phthalates in drinking water affect thyroid hormone, finds lab study. Environmental Science and Technology. doi: 10.1021/es101254c.
- Brian Bienkowski. Pig poop fouling North Carolina streams; state permitting questioned. Environmental Health News.
- Sharon Bernstein. Arsenic, nitrates among pollutants in California drinking water: report. Reuters.