Someone much smarter than me said something along these lines: We care so much about eating organic and avoiding exposure to pesticides/herbicides on our food, but then we drink and bathe in the very water that contains those chemicals, plus medications, heavy metals, radioactive elements and more.
Here are just some of the toxins that could be contaminating your water:
- Disinfectant byproducts
- Pharmaceuticals (aka your neighbor’s hormone replacement)
If you want hard facts: In 2015, 77 million Americans (that’s nearly 1 in 4) were drinking water that had violated the Safe Drinking Water Act, which only tests for about 90 chemical contaminants. Despite this, over 300 chemicals have been found in drinking water in the US and even just chlorine in water alone increases your risk of developing cancer by 93%. This isn’t just from drinking it either. 40-70% of our chlorine exposure comes from daily bathing activities. Most of us also take hot/warm baths and showers, which makes these chemicals easier to inhale and absorb more easily than drinking tap water alone.
When you think about this, it really does hit home – we drink 50% of our bodyweight in ounces a day, we brush our teeth, we shower in water, cook with water…and thus every time we use it, we have a potential for exposure to endocrine (hormone)-disrupting chemicals, pesticides like glyphosate that tear up our gut lining, and even our neighbor’s hormonal medications that don’t get filtered out of the traditional city water supply. Even those using well water (depending on location) are exposed to run-off chemicals from conventional farming practices or radioactive elements (uranium, radon) in the ground based on where they live.
Because of this, assessing your water quality is one of the FIRST things you need to focus on in your health journey. No amount of healthy eating or supplementing will stop the assault on your body that is coming with every sip.
Test, Don’t Guess
In the wellness space, water filtration has become really popular and there are now plenty of options available on the market to choose from. However, what works for one person won’t work for another, depending on location, source of water and living situation. Full transparency – when we moved to our house in early 2021 I went with a whole house filtration and under the sink purification system from Radiant Life, but wish I would have tested the water first to see what I needed to actually have filtered out based on our city water. The system I picked is actually overkill, plus it isn’t picking up on everything it should (I have tested to see what our filter is and isn’t doing and found a heavy metal that is still in high quantities despite the double filtration!).
Free + Easy Quick Assessment: EWG Tap Score
If applicable (i.e., you have city water): you can check the EWG Tap Water Database (updated in 2021) to see what contaminants were found in your tap water.
- One thing to note here: being below the legal limits does not mean it’s safe. In fact, drinking water cut-offs have not been reviewed in over 20 years.
- An example is lead – I believe the minimum amount that is “safe” in water is something like 5μg/dL, but at the same time the CDC recognizes that NO amount of lead exposure is safe…aka we need to have a critical eye at our water supply.
- Another thing to note is that often these reports can be inaccurate or they are not testing as frequently as they are supposed to be, and thus this free report can give you a rough estimate of what’s in your water but I wouldn’t rely on it totally.
- Lastly, these reports don’t tell us what is in your pipes (especially heavy metals) and so testing your own home faucet is the most reliable way to determine the quality of your tap water.
My Recommendation: Test Your Water Before You Filter
I highly recommend testing your water on your own (and not just relying on the EWG data) to determine what kind of filter you need to have the cleanest water. Testing can be done on both city water and ground (well) water.
The best test I’ve found so far is MyTapScore. They have several levels of testing, but I recommend the Advanced City or Well Water Test. Use code MWFITWELL for 10% off through March 31st!
I also suggest the Radiation Add-On as radiation in our water has recently been blamed for so many of our health issues, but most filters (and tests) don’t even check for these.
- Click here for an example of Radium (radioactive) exposure in drinking water throughout the US and if you should consider this add-on to your test.
You will receive a detailed report of everything that was found in your filter plus recommendations on different, unbiased filtration systems to fit your needs. They also have a team of specialists you can contact to guide you further with your choices.
Distilled Water as an In-Between Option
Let’s say you plan to test your water or are in-between houses and don’t want to buy a filter just yet. In this case, distilled water is your best option as everything has been removed and it is the most purified level of water out there. When we were in an in-between house, we had water deliveries of 5lb jugs of distilled water every month to our house and we used a stand to keep it on the countertop. You could also buy jugs from the grocery store, but we found the 5 gallon to be a bit easier. If you feel good about distilling, you can also buy a countertop distiller (see options below).
What are My Filtration Options?
This is a hard question to answer, again not knowing what is in your water, but I would use the results of your test and consult with the following companies who have been known to produce good systems:
- pH Prescription
- Live Pristine
- Radiant Life
- MyPureWater– distilled option
Don’t Forget about Bath Water!
One thing to remember is that while bathing in water, we heat it up/steam it and then breathe in the halogenated chemicals (fluoride, chlorine, bromine) that are now even more reactive due to the high temperatures. Depending on your living situation, I would either get a shower filter or you could consider whole house filtration so that every shower, sink, etc. is filtered. Most of the companies listed above have shower or faucet options, but here are two quick links:
What about Bottled Water?
Bottled water is something I try to avoid like the plague. Number one reason: plastic bottles. Plastic is a known endocrine disruptor and eating/drinking out of plastic greatly increases your toxic exposure. Personally I try to bring my own water in a Yeti or stainless steel water bottle everywhere I go.
Secondly, we don’t actually know what is in the bottle. Companies can use great advertising to tell us where their water is from, but many have been tested to NOT have what they say they do within the water. Test Aqua is a nice website to see which bottled waters have been tested and what has been found in them.
I hope this has given you information to guide your water filtration questions. This isn’t a situation of IF you should filter your water, it’s HOW you should be filtering your water.
This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://www.mwfitwell.com/website-disclaimer/