We’re with you on this one: the water that’s coming out of the tap these days is no longer trustworthy that you need a water filter to ensure your safety and well-being as well as that of your family members and loved ones.
As you may very well know, water encompasses 70% of the world’s surface, and makes up more than 60% of your body. Water is a significant for life’s survival. As a matter of fact, people that reside or work in hot environments need to consume up to 16 liters of water each day in order to regulate their body temperature and keep themselves cool?
But did you know that 95% of Americans swill only a liter of water per day, even though they should be drinking at least two or three?
Many of us are keen on drinking more water. However, the idea of carrying a bottle wherever we go is too cumbersome and the cost of purchasing bottled water may very well add up in the long run. Drinking tap water may not be all that great an idea considering the harmful elements that might be water these days.
In addition, if you weren’t already aware, water pollution impacts marine ecosystems, wildlife habitats and of course, the health and welfare of people in every corner of the globe.
First, we will first tackle what causes water pollution and the impact it has on the health of people and the environment.
What Causes Water Pollution?
1. Sewage from households, factories and commercial centers
Sewage that is treated at water treatment facilities is often diverted into the sea. Sewage can present even more of a problem when people flush down chemicals and other pharmaceutical materials in the toilet.
2. Disposing of wastes in water sources
People’s indisposition to disposing of items properly often lead to water pollution. Items that are often disposed of into the water include cardboard, Styrofoam, aluminum, plastic and glass.
3. Industrial waste from factories
Most times, factories utilize freshwater to transport waste from the plant to rivers, this contaminating water with contaminants such as asbestos, lead and mercury just to name a few.
4. Oil Pollution from oil spills from tankers and ship travel
Oil does not at all dissolve in water, instead transforming into a thick sludge.
5. Burning fossil fuels into the air results in the formation of acidic particles in the atmosphere
When these elements mix with water vapor, the resulting product is what you know as acid rain.
As if that’s not enough, water pollution can really cause havoc on the ecosystems, and yes, that involves you.
What are the Effects of Water Pollution?
1. Contamination of groundwater from pesticides can lead to reproductive damage within wildlife in biomes.
2. Sewage, fertilizer, and agricultural run-off hold organic elements that when released into waters, raise the development of algae, which can lead the loss of oxygen. Low oxygen levels are incapable of supporting most native organisms in an area and therefore, upset the natural ecological balance in different water systems.
3. Swimming in and ingesting contaminated water can cause skin disorders and health issues such as cancer, reproductive difficulties, typhoid fever and stomach disease in people. The aforementioned illnesses alone make having clean drinking water all the more important.
4. Industrial and agricultural chemicals that make their way to water sources may end up being ingested by marine life, that may later on be consumed by people.
5. Mercury is especially lethal to children and women. Studies have shown that mercury interferes with the development of the nervous system in fetuses and young children.
6. Ecosystems are wrecked by hot water temperature, as coral reefs are heavily impacted by the bleaching effect caused by warmer temperatures. In addition, the warm water displaces indigenous water species, forcing these to areas with cooler water, thereby resulting in a potentially damaging ecological shift.
7. Improper waste disposal of items like plastic bags and 6-pack rings can prove lethal to marine animals as these can cause suffocation.
8. Water pollution can lead to flooding because of the accumulation of solid waste and soil erosion in both small streams and large rivers.
Below is a video that discusses water pollution extensively. Given the fact that it won an award last year, you should watch. It’s really good.
All these bring us to the question that no doubt you are dreading to ask:
How Safe is Your Water?
Do you want to know just how water pollution is affecting you? Try this: drink untreated water and see how your body reacts to it. We’ve all done it and sadly, we’ve all suffered the results: a stomachache or two.
That’s not all. Here’s worse news:
- Did you know that water-borne diseases account for 3,575,000 deaths a year? Just how bad is that? That’s equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every hour, with majority of the passengers being children.
- Infectious diseases can be spread through tainted water. Some of these diseases include Typhoid, Cholera, Paratyphoid Fever, Dysentery, Jaundice, Amoebiasis and Malaria.
- Chemicals in the water also have adverse effects on your health. Picture this: there you are drinking water taken from the tap in your kitchen when you realize that these may be in the very water you’re pouring down your throat.
- Pesticides can do damage on the nervous system and cause cancer because of the carbonates and organophosphates that they have. Chlorides may also lead to damage to your reproductive and endocrinal systems.
- Nitrates are especially potent to babies that are still drinking formula milk. It actually limits the amount of oxygen in the brain, which may result in the unfortunate “blue baby” syndrome.
- Lead can amass in the body and do harm to the central nervous system.
- Arsenic can cause damage to the liver and may cause skin cancer and vascular diseases.
- Excessive amounts of flourides can cause damage to your spinal cord.
- Petrochemicals can cause cancer.
Sadly, these are just to name a few. But these should be enough to convince you of the dangers that lurk in tap or untreated water and just how important having a water filter installed in your house is in order to efficiently facilitate water purification.
That’s right! Your water might look clear and pristine but you can never be too sure especially when it comes to your well-being and that of your family and loved ones.
What is Water Purification?
Water purification is the process of taking away undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids and gases from water. The purpose is to produce water that is suitable for a specific purpose, be it for human consumption such as drinking or for a variety of other purposes, that include fulfilling the requirements of medical, pharmacological, chemical and industrial applications.
The methods used include physical processes such as filtration, sedimentation, and distillation; biological processes such as slow sand filters or biologically active carbon; chemical processes such as flocculation and chlorination and the use of electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet light.
Purifying water may lessen the concentration of particulate matter including suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi, as well as diminishing the concentration of a wide range of dissolved and particulate matter.
But really, do you want to know why you really need to make sure that your water is purified?
Check this out: here are some of the top reasons as to why you need water purification:
Lower Risk of Cancer
Chemicals and other noxious elements can make their way into different sources, which then raises the risk of getting some type of cancer. Eradicating these through water purification might reduce your risk of getting cancer that is linked with exposure to these materials.
Some pollutants impact the flavor and taste of drinking water, such as giving it a metallic taste or other unpleasant tastes. Purifying water helps eliminate these, which can boost the flavor of drinking water without resorting to boiling it.
Lesser Levels of Chlorine
Chlorine when in drinking water can lead to a wide range of grim health issues. These include a higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems, asthma and even birth defects.
Water purification can help eliminate of chlorine in drinking water, which lessens your risk of incurring these health problems. This helps keep you and your family away from illnesses and can even augment your quality of life.
Boiling water may it help in taking away pollutants, but let’s face it, it’s tedious and time-consuming, especially when you need more amounts than usual. Water purification systems provide a handy way to purge contaminants without taking up too much time.
Fewer Plumbing Pollutants
If you live in an old home, your pipes and plumbing system may introduce copper and other contaminants into your water reserve. Although your local water supply is treated, these impurities are able to enter your home as water flows through corroded pipes. Purifying your water helps keep these out of your drinking water.
Lower Levels of Bacteria
E. coli and other bacteria can lead to dire illnesses especially when they’re in your drinking water. While some of these bacteria might cause negligible symptoms, such as nausea, others can be a lot more severe, especially in children, older adults and those with illnesses that have already lowered their immunity. A water purification system helps makes sure that your drinking water does not have any of these potentially hazardous types of bacteria.
Buying bottled water gives your household water that does not have pollutants, but the cost of purchasing these adds up over a period of time. Diverting your resources towards buying a water filter can go a long way towards your clean health and a lower budget on drinking water.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Making use of a water purification system can lessen your carbon footprint and aid in the protection of the environment. Having access to purified water at all times means you don’t have to utilize plastic water bottles, which do harm the environment especially when they’re left in landfills. By choosing to make use of a water filter, you’re also doing your part in reducing the need for bottled water that contributes to environmental harm through carbon emissions as it’s transported from one place to another.
Healthier Foods and Drinks
Water purification systems gives you a steady supply of purified water that can be used for other activities, such as rinsing vegetables and other produce, meal preparation and brewing coffee or tea. This can help your food and beverages taste better and fresher and give you that needed peace of mind that what you’re putting into your body is free from pollutants.
Want to know the secret to properly and sufficiently purifying your water supply at home? It’s having a water filter. So if you’re asking if and why you need one. We just might have the answers.
Why Do We Need Water Filters?
Your home is tapped into the municipal water feed. You’re also well aware that the water goes to a purification station that you drive past each day. You see that it’s functional, so that means your tap water is clean, right?
Well, not entirely wrong, but not completely right either. It’s a fact that tap water is usually purified in a water purification facility before it reaches you, but that doesn’t mean it’s very clean. This is true in every city, big or small. When the officials test the water quality, they test it right after the water is filtered, before it goes in the municipal feed lines. The results they acquire are often satisfactory, and well above the standard. What the authorities don’t take into account, however, is the maturity of the feed lines, as well as their length.
Water treatment stations are often located at the edge of a city or town, and the water has to make its way through the municipal pipes before reaching the end consumer. It’s not uncommon for the pipes to be old, and by traveling a long time through them, the filtered water becomes contaminated with everything it comes into contact with, from rust to dust and debris. These old pipes are also a good way of circulating microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses. The water that eventually reaches your faucet might a have bad color or taste, and it might even have a high grade of biological contamination.
Another reason why you should utilize a water filter is the method that your municipal authorities are using to treat the water. One of the oldest but most common ways of treating the water is by using chlorine to purify it. And while this indeed kills some of the microorganisms that can be found in the water, it also alters the water’s taste.
And that’s not all. Studies have indicated that sometimes, chlorine can intermingle with some of the organic matters in the water to form dangerous carcinogenic compounds.
And we’re not even done yet. Did you think that was all? Unfortunately, it’s not.
Filtering the water is significant if you want to keep detrimental parasites, bacteria, and other microorganisms away from your water. When discussing contaminated water, one of the very worst is Cryptosporidium. This parasite is not affected by chlorine, so it has to be cleansed by mechanical methods. It can result in severe diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss. People infected by this can get sick for as long as six weeks. You don’t want to be that guy.
Lastly, your water source can be polluted with pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals. Pesticides utilized in the 1950s often had heavy metals which have a long halving time. This period means they might still be existent in the soil surrounding the water pipes, allowing them to leak in the water. Lead was also utilized for plumbing, so old pipes or the solder used for combining them might still have some. Other chemicals that exist in the water may be unsafe, and only a water filter can get rid of them.
What is a Water Filter Made of?
There are four (4) kinds of water filters that are often used in households around the the United States. Each of them function in a different way, so their filters are composed of various materials and components, as well.
Here is a list of the most popular filters and what they’re made of:
This is the most prevalent household water filter. Its reputation is so high because it’s cheap, convenient, and easy to use. This kind of filters makes use of activated carbon granules that are based on charcoal to keep the contaminants away. The charcoal is not very compact, it actually has a porous structure with ridges that will attract and trap chemicals by adsorption. Adsorption is a process where gasses and liquids are ensnared by other liquids or solids.
From childhood, it’s been taught that boiling the water will make it cleaner. Distillation is a more progressive way of boiling the water. Instead of just boiling it, it will actually take the released steam and condense it in a separate container.
These filters are composed of a lot of zeolite beads. These beads have sodium ions. When the hard water goes through the filter, it holds magnesium and calcium. The ions in the zeolite beads like the magnesium and the calcium better than the sodium, so they will keep these ions and release their own sodium.
These complex filtration systems have more than one filter. Most RO systems contain three pre-membrane filters, a semi-permeable membrane, and then, a post-membrane filter. Depending on the model, some will have more. The most significant filter is the semi-permeable membrane, which is called the reverse osmosis membrane. This filter keeps the contaminants away based on their size and molecular weight, so only very small compounds will pass through.
How Water Filters Work?
Here is a rundown of how the most popular filtration systems work.
These filters do their magic through adsorption. This is a process where gasses and liquids are attracted to other liquids or solids. When the water goes through the carbon filter, most of the scum will be drawn to the carbon’s spongy surface, filling the deep ridges on its surface. While the charcoal filter is effective at eliminating most pollutants, one of its drawbacks is that it can’t keep limescale away. Other pollutants are also not drawn by the charcoal, so nitrates, fluoride, sodium, and microbes will keeping on flowing in the water. Another detriment is that the ridges in the charcoal will get clogged up in time, so the filter won’t be able to pick up any more impurities. That’s why you have to change the filter every now and then.
These filters work by boiling the water and collecting the steam that is generated. When the steam cools, it condenses back to water that is then collected in a container. Water boils at a lower temperature than most toxins, so they will stay in the original container as the steam rises. However, other impurities will actually boil before the water, so the condensed steam will also transport them in the second container.
The zeolite beads that can be found in the ion exchange filters are filled with sodium ions. When hard water goes through the beads the ions are drawn in to the magnesium and calcium components in the water, discharging the sodium in exchange. Magnesium and calcium are primary elements in limescale, so without them, the water will become more softer and have a better taste. However, the sodium that is discharged will be in the water, and it will make it taste salty. Some people might not like this taste, while others might not be allowed to drink it because of their diet.
This complex filtration system makes use of at least five filters, at times even more. The first filter keeps away the rust, dust, debris, and other impurities that might damage the RO membrane. The second filter is oftentimes the carbon filter, and it keeps away dangerous elements the likes of chlorine, fluoride, and others. The third filter is also a carbon one, but it’s more dense so it will draw in smaller particles, making sure the water is nearly pollutant free as it reaches the membrane. The fourth filter is the reverse membrane and it will impede the contaminants based on their size, molecular weight, and ionic charge. 95 – 99% of the contaminants in the water will be blocked. The fifth filter makes sure that bacteria, viruses, what’s left of the chlorine and any bad tastes or smells are eliminated. Some models will also feature a UV light and special filters that will increase the water’s pH.
For a clearer picture of how water filters work, watch the video below:
As you can see, you have a number of options when it comes to water filters. Choosing the right one for you however, is quite tricky as well. But we can help with this article on how to choose the ideal water filter to suit your need.