Water Filtration Guide: The Dangers of Tap Water + Bottled Water

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about our privacy policy.

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water – including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

This post is sponsored by Aquasana. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.

We've been hearing for years that we need to drink more water for our overall health, hydration, weight loss, detox support and more… but what if the water you're drinking is actually harming your health?

Before you start tracking your daily water intake, it's crucial to first ensure that you're getting a clean water supply into your home. Sadly, most people aren't talking about this, or aren't even aware that their tap water could be highly dangerous, and even toxic.

Even in the United States, most local water supplies across the country aren’t nearly as clean and healthy as you might think.

While we all know that clean water is fundamental to optimal health and wellness, I bet there's a lot you don't know about what's really lurking in your pipes… I know I was surprised when I learned the truth.

So let's dive in and investigate, shall we?

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

THE DANGERS OF TAP WATER

Did you know…

  • Some of the most common chemical contaminants in American water include chloroform, lead, and arsenic, contaminants that are dangerous in even tiny concentrations.
  • According to widespread studies, people in every state in the U.S. consume chemicals in their water that exceed the nationally recognized legal standard for “healthy water.” Yikes!
  • There are many potentially dangerous, complex, man-made chemicals and substances in our water that are unregulated. These include pesticides, disinfection byproducts, chemicals used in commerce, waterborne pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and biological toxins.
  • The United States Geological Survey found low levels of pharmaceuticals in 80% of all the water supplies they tested. EIGHTY PERCENT!! These pharmaceuticals include antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and all manner of steroids. (This is likely due to people flushing prescription pharmaceuticals into their wastewater, which lead to the FDA establishing the first guidelines of how Americans should dispose of prescription drugs.)
  • The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has admitted that over 23 million Americans consume contaminated water.
  • 25 U.S. utility companies voluntarily participated in a study from the U.S. Geological Society and the EPA in 2013 where the preliminary findings found 18 unregulated chemicals in drinking water from more than one-third of U.S. water utilities sampled nationwide. Perfluorinated chemicals compounds such as PFOS and PFOA were found most frequently (coming from industrial processes including the manufacture of nonstick and stain-resistant food packaging, fabrics, and cookware) and have been detected in the blood of nearly everyone in the U.S. A panel of scientists concluded that there is a “probable link” between PFOA in drinking water and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

source; sourcesource; source

Okay, I know those stats are no fun and even downright depressing and scary, but it's important that we know the truth in order to find the best solutions. And rest assured, there IS a solution!

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT'S IN MY WATER?

At this point you're likely wondering what's in your local water. There are a couple ways to go about finding out:

A) CONSUMER REPORTS

Most community water systems distribute a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) once a year, typically by July 1st. This report reveals where your water is sourced, shares results for any contaminants found in the water and their possible health effects. Find your local CCR via the EPA's website here.

You can also often access your water quality report year-round by visiting your city’s official website.

Finally, you can check out the Environmental Working Group's Tap Water Database and see results by state or zip code, along with a ton of other helpful consumer resources here.

If you receive your tap water from a private water supply, however, you are responsible for assuring that it is safe. The EPA suggests that people who use these routinely test their water supply for contaminants.

I was surprised to learn that the water in my zip code showed 7 contaminants detected above health guidelines (all of which are known to cause cancer) and 8 other detected contaminants, including Chlorate (which impairs thyroid function, making chlorate exposure most harmful during pregnancy and childhood), fluoride, nitrates and more.

B) TEST YOUR WATER AT HOME

Even if you don't have a private water supply, testing your own water at home may be a good idea to determine what kind of contaminants you need to eliminate. The only way to really know what is in your family’s tap is by testing it!

I recommend Aquasana's water testing kit, which is made by the National Testing Laboratories and tests for chlorine, inorganic chemicals and volatile organic compound, bacteria (Total Coliform and E-Coli), 22 heavy metals and minerals (including lead, arsenic and mercury), 7 inorganic chemicals (including nitrates and chloride) and 5 physical factors that include pH, alkalinity and hardness.

To make the entire process as efficient and affordable as possible, Aquasana also rebates back the cost of a test kit when you purchase a product from them.

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

IS BOTTLED WATER BAD FOR YOU?

While we're talking about water, I want to make sure I address bottled water, as well.

Many people drink plastic bottled water, buying bottles in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club or Walmart, or get bigger 5-gallon bottle inserts for at-home water coolers.

Not only is this just glorified tap water (essentially these big companies take their water from municipal water systems, run it through more filtering, bottle it, and sell it at a huge markup) but there are many other reasons why bottled water is unsustainable, unhealthy and impractical:

A) BOTTLED WATER IS EXPENSIVE!

Purchasing bottled water over the course of your lifetime is CRAZY expensive! The average person who buys bottled water is spending over $400 a year for a family of four – and that’s being conservative. Why not get an at-home filter and bottle it yourself in reusable bottles? You'll save MAD MONEY!

B) BOTTLED WATER IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (AND LIKELY BAD FOR YOU TOO)

Think how much unnecessary waste is getting created every time you buy a 12 oz plastic water bottle. Only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are actually recycled, while the rest contribute to over 3 billion pounds of waste from plastic bottles.

Plastic water bottles create an estimated 1.5 million tons of trash per year and pollute the ocean. Plus, it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce plastic bottles yearly — this could fuel 1 million cars for a year!

Not to mention that the industry is fairly unregulated and most bottlers don't test for E-Coli, provide quality reports, have to share where they source it and – crazily – can still be distributed when standards aren't met.

For example, the NRDC conducted a comprehensive four-year scientific study of 1,000 brands of bottled water. The results showed that one-third of the bottled waters violated their own industry standards for water quality! Additionally, plastic water bottles contain toxins like BPA and other chemicals that can seep out if bottles are exposed to heat or sit around for a long time, which you then ingest.

C) BOTTLED WATER IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE

While clean drinking water is of utmost importance, it's not the only water in our homes that we need to think about. What about your bathroom taps, your shower head, bathtub and appliances like dishwasher and washing machine? All that water gets used on and in our bodies, clothes and kitchenware – so we need to think beyond the bottle (or just what we're drinking) and see a bigger picture.

THE SOLUTION: HOME WATER FILTRATION

The only way to ensure you're protecting your health and drinking the cleanest water possible is to invest in a home water filtration system that purifies out the bad stuff, and leaves in the good stuff like minerals. My favorite brand of water filters – and the one I have in my own home – is Aquasana.

Aquasana uses best-in-class filtering technology to provide maximum reduction in water contaminants while leaving beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium in the water. The filters are NSF Certified to reduce 77 common water contaminants including over 96% of chlorine and chloramines as well as over 99% of lead, asbestos, turbidity and VOCs.

I also love how Aquasana is environmentally conscious, minimizing waste through the use of reusable outer filter canisters made with BPA free plastic. These filter cartridges are made with recyclable parts and compostable carbon.

Their manufacturing facility in Texas is 100% powered by wind energy, eliminating the need to burn fossil fuels. Without the need to burn fossil fuels, green energy helps decrease the amount of air pollution and greenhouse gases that are going into our environment.

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

They also use salt-free softeners, which leave no impact on the environment compared to traditional salt-based softeners. (Salt-based softeners exchange calcium and magnesium in your water with salt at the rate of 2:1 creating a significant imbalance in the ecosystem.)

Perfect for living green, these softeners require no electricity, no back-flushing, create no saltwater waste and reduce your overall carbon footprint by avoiding trips to the hardware store to buy bags of salt.

(Psst – see the bottom of this post for a discount and free gift with your Aquasana purchase!)

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

WHICH HOME WATER FILTER TO BUY?

Aquasana's wide variety of water filtration systems allows you to choose which product fits your family’s needs based on the contaminants found in your home tap, and your particular goals.

If you know you get city drinking water that’s been treated, then an under-counter or countertop system could meet your drinking water needs. If you live in a rural area or get well water, you definitely need to check your local water reports and/or get a water testing kit (as mentioned above).

Personally, I knew I wanted a whole house filtration system because I wanted ALL the taps in my house to be safe, so I can fill up water from any sink, brush my teeth with clean water, shower contamination-free, and make sure my laundry and dishwasher are all cleaning with the purest water. The only way to do all of that is with a whole house filter.

We had to hire a plumber to come out to install the water filter in our crawl space (it costs about $700 for the install), but the entire process took just a few hours and by lunchtime, every tap in our entire home was providing filtered water. My cats could drink from the sink without me feeling guilty, my plants could be watered with uncontaminated “tap” water and even the bath I soak in a few times a week would now be pure and safe!

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

If the whole house filter is out of budget, start with an under-counter filter system or countertop filter. This way, you can at least rely on your main kitchen faucet being reliably clean, and simply fill up your drinking glasses and pitchers from there. Then, you can add on shower filters or upgrade to a whole house filter later on.

We did wind up adding the 2-stage under counter sink filter to our house, in addition to the whole house water filter because, while the whole home system will reduce contaminants, they're unable to guarantee exact percentages of specific contaminants (except for chlorine) since the water flows through our pipes at a higher flower rate.

On the flipside, the undercounter filter slows the flow to a half-gallon per minute, meaning longer contact time with the media, and thus Aquasana can guarantee the reduction of almost 80 contaminants with a rate of effectiveness for each one, like >95.8% of mercury reduction, 98.9% of BPA and >99% of asbestos.

We were able to install this filter ourselves (my husband reports that it was beyond easy!) in under an hour and it's incredible the difference in taste.

Unfortunately, almost everyone around the world is exposed to dangers in tap water - including the majority of homes in the USA! Find out what's really in your tap water, why you need an at-home water filtration system (NOT bottled water!), and practical solutions that ensure optimal health for you, your family, your friends and your pets!

In sum, here are the main water filter options:

  • Countertop or undercounter water filters are an inexpensive, out-of-the-box solution to get your main faucet water cleaned up stat. This is the easiest way to get started!
  • Shower filters are often overlooked, but given that your skin is your largest organ, and your body absorbs what you put on it, bathing with clean water is crucial.
  • Aquasana's reverse osmosis model filters out fluoride, which so many people are concerned about. It also remineralizes the water, putting back healthy minerals lost in the reverse osmosis process like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This is one of the healthiest waters you can drink!
  • Whole house filters give you the peace of mind that all of the water in your house is filtered. If it's within your budget, it's a no-brainer to go for this option!

Aquasana has an exclusive offer for our readers. Head over to their website and get 50% off whole house systems + free shipping on purchases over $49! Join our community by clicking here and we'll send the promo code right to your inbox!

There you have it! What did you learn from this water filtration guide? What water filter do you have or want to invest in sometime soon? Let us know in the comments below!


Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.

12 thoughts on “Water Filtration Guide: The Dangers of Tap Water + Bottled Water”

  1. Hi, I know this is an old post but can you tell me if your whole house system also reduces or removes scale? We have very hard water so I need a system that purifies and addresses the scale.

    1. That’s a great question! I’m not an expert but my thoughts are: the water filter is usually set up near the tap, so the water doesn’t have to travel far (if at all) in the pipes once it’s filtered. You can test your own water to see what’s in there, and then get a better idea of what’s coming from the water vs. the pipes to see if it’s an issue. Unfortunately, the only way I know of to completely remove contaminants from old piping is to replace the pipes.

  2. Such an informative post! I currently just have a filtration system for the kitchen sink. I do notice a huge difference in taste when I get up in the middle of the night and fill my glass with water from the bathroom tap. Whole house filtration sounds like the way to go!

  3. Excellent and detailed post!
    I have a filtration system in my kitchen but have always wanted a whole house filtration system. I am definitely getting the reverse osmosis and saving up for a whole house system.

  4. What a comprehensive guide! I find it totally scary how dangerous our tap water is in the USA -isn’t clean water a fundamental human right?! Thanks for shedding light and making sense out of water filter options, as it can be quite confusing at first!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Tips for a healthier home

Here are some eco-friendly home care tips for a healthy and green living:
  • Switch your cleaning products to eco-friendly options. You can find many of these in the grocery store and online.
  • Use sustainable materials for furniture, such as wood instead of plastic or metal. This will help create less waste and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used to produce them.
  • Choose lightbulbs with little or no mercury. These not only create less waste but also have an impact on climate change by using less electricity.
  • Plant trees around your property. Trees benefit the environment by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and purifying the air with their leaves. They also provide fuel for firewood during colder months and a habitat for wildlife. The benefits of planting trees go far beyond what you see right in front of you!

Green cleaning products

One way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching over to green cleaning products. These products aren’t as harsh on the environment as traditional household cleaners and are less likely to cause allergies or other health issues. Plus, you can find a variety of green cleaning products that work for every type of surface in your home.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products

There are many cleaning products that you can use in your home that are environmentally friendly. One of the best ways to start is by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Many people don’t know that there are many types of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today, including laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. A switch to green cleaners can be a simple way to create an environmentally friendly living environment.

Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean your home

If you want to make your home safer and more environmentally friendly, then you can switch from using toxic cleaning products to using eco-friendly alternatives. For example, if you want to clean your toilet, then you could use vinegar instead of bleach or other harsh chemicals. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it will do the job without harming the environment. You can also use baking soda as a healthy alternative to many household cleaners. Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime; it’s also non-toxic, so it won’t harm people or the environment. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use it liberally without worrying about running out of supply too quickly.

Sustainable living

Most people are more aware of the environment these days and want to do their part to make it a better place. Homeowners and renters alike are doing everything from switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, to using sustainable materials for furniture. Here are some tips for living an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home:
    • Clean with white vinegar – You can use this as a natural disinfectant that is also eco-friendly. It is also inexpensive and easy on your pipes because you won’t be putting harsh chemicals down the drain.
    • Avoid aerosol cans – Aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that will release into the air when sprayed. Try switching to an eco-friendly product or find another way to clean.
    • Use reusable napkins – Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, even facial tissue all come wrapped in paper (or other packaging). Reusable napkins or dish towels will give you one less thing you need to throw away every day!
    • Put up a clothesline – Even if you live in an apartment or condo where putting up a clothesline isn’t possible, there are many ways you can still dry your clothes without using electricity or gas. For example, hang them outside on a sunny day or turn your oven on low heat and hang them from the top rack.

Living with less waste in your home

One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is by reducing the amount of waste that your household produces. Take a look at what you’re throwing away and try to find alternatives.
For example, instead of buying disposable napkins, use cloth napkins that you can throw into the wash. If you need face wipes for removing makeup, consider making them yourself from reusable materials like cotton rounds. And if you want to stop using plastic bags, use canvas bags or have bags made from recycled material. There are many other ideas for eco-friendly alternatives in your home as well.

Sustainable materials for furniture

Did you know that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day? This means that we are throwing away a lot of furniture and other items in our homes. To stop contributing to this problem, it is best to use sustainable materials for furniture. Sustainable materials are made from recycled materials which can be up-cycled into new products. Not only are these items better for the environment, but they also save money because the items will last longer.
Sustainable materials for furniture include:
      • Recycled plastic
      • MDF
      • Plywood
      • Timber reclaimed from old buildings or driftwood
      • Bamboo
      • Faux leather (made from cotton)
The pursuit of a healthy, green and sustainable home is achievable for anyone. It will require more time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
Start with the small things. Make a conscious effort to recycle, turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, and check your thermostat. It’s easy to get into a routine of living without giving it much thought, but the more you make an effort, the easier it will be to live sustainably.
After you’ve made changes in your everyday life, look for furniture that is made with sustainable materials. You can also buy an eco-friendly houseplant for your home that requires little care.
    1. Tips for a healthier home:
      • Turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
      • Check your thermostat
      • Make a conscious effort to recycle
    2. Green cleaning products:
      • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
      • Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean
      • Sustainable living:
      • Living with less waste in your home
      • Sustainable materials for furniture
  • Sustainable materials for furniture:
    • Consider buying furniture made with sustainable
  • Scroll to Top