Monday, June 28, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere -- and Usually Safe to Drink

On average, bottled water costs
500 times as much as tap water.
Drinking water is one more thing that most Americans take for granted. But it's important to know where drinking water comes from, how it's been treated, and if it's safe to drink. Yet few people take the time to consider its sources -- usually public water systems, private wells or bottled water. An EPA-regulated public water system pretty much ensures what drinking water is safe and healthy. Other water sources might need a water filter, a check on water fluoridation, or an inspection to ensure that the source isn’t too close to a septic tank.

The United States is fortunate to have one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world. Globally, the water-supply story isn't as good -- more than 884 million people worldwide DON'T have access to a good water source. Many more get their drinking water from microbiologically unsafe sources. Engineers at the University of Michigan are addressing these and other problems. One of their recent contributions is a strip of paper infused with carbon nanotubes that can quickly and inexpensively detect a toxin produced by algae in drinking water.

Bottled Water Mania

Americans spend billions of dollars every year on bottled water, choosing from an ever-growing selection. They base their choices on aesthetics (e.g., taste), health concerns or as a substitute for other beverages.

Water isn't just water; it's a thirst-quencher, an increasingly popular drink of choice, a health elixir and a necessity of life. Know what you’re drinking. Start by knowing the basics:

Read about water and your health at the River Network website.