In the western world, we think ourselves lucky that we can access water whenever we want. And don’t get me wrong, no-one’s going to argue that having H2O on tap is anything but a good thing. However, the safety of our tap water has come under question on numerous occasions.
Impurities and Contaminants in our Drinking Water
A recent Reuters examination of lead testing results across America found almost 3,000 areas with poisoning rates higher than Flint, Michigan. The city of Flint made headlines worldwide in 2015 due to reports of lead in its drinking water – but it turns out there are cities battling far greater problems. Incidentally, residents of Flint are still advised to use filtered water, two years after the crisis flared.
It should be noted that the lead doesn’t always come from water. Legacy lead is present in paint and plumbing, in yards and playgrounds – but the danger of lead leaching from pipes and into the water supply is a very real one. What’s more, all sorts of impurities and contaminants can crop up in our tap water without us knowing. Like Flint, the small community of San Lucas is currently enduring water restrictions after wells supplying drinking water were shown to have elevated levels of nitrates. Nitrate contamination is mainly attributed to fertilizers leaching through the soil into groundwater. For now, the citizens of San Lucas are hydrating with bottled water.
In the UK, It’s a £30 Billion Problem
In the UK, the problem isn’t any less severe. Major types of oestrogen have been found in the water supply including estradiol, estriol, estrone and the synthetic alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2). These unwanted hormones find their way into the public water supply from medications such as the oral contraceptive pill, and severely disrupt the human endocrine system.