Is Tap Water Bad for You?

October 15, 2020

There are incredible health benefits to drinking water and staying hydrated, but it’s natural to feel confused about what type of water to reach for – tap, bottled, bubbly? The options are endless.

Tap water continues to be the most convenient and cost-effective option. Although there are sometimes contaminants in tap water, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your tap water is clean and safe to drink.

Erin Speiser Ihde, PhD, MA, CCRP, an environmental research expert at Hackensack Meridian Health, shares her advice:

How to Make Sure Your Tap Water is Safe to Drink

  • Find out what’s in your water: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Tap Water Database where you can find out what’s in your water by simply entering your zip code.
  • Invest in a home water filter: There are several water filtration options available, including ones that very simply attach to your kitchen faucet and cost as little as $30. This offers the added benefit of saving you money on purchasing bottled water, and it reduces waste.
  • Choose the right bottle: If you’re filling up a water bottle at home or on the go, choose one made from stainless steel or glass. Many glass bottles are available in a silicone sleeve, and even glass mason jars are an economical and durable solution. Some research suggests that plastic bottles can release chemicals that may be harmful to humans. Plus, plastic can be harmful to the environment.

How to Find the Right Water Filter

  • Use the EPA’s resources: The EPA Tap Water Database will make water filter recommendations based on your zip code, and they provide a Water Filter Guide that shares in-depth product comparisons.
  • Look for lead: Make sure your water filter’s label states that it removes or reduces 99% of lead, which is an ongoing concern in many New Jersey communities and nationwide.
  • Expand beyond the kitchen sink: Consider a whole-house water filter or shower/bath filters. Shower and bath filters are typically low-cost options that work much like a kitchen faucet filter and can reduce the trihalomethanes and chlorine in your bath or shower, reducing the contaminants you breathe in and those absorbed by your skin. Read the label on the filter to know exactly what it filters out before you buy.

“Although finding out what’s in your water might be cause for concern, families can arm themselves with information which leads to action,” shares Dr. Ihde. “It’s all about health prevention and promotion.”

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.