It’s 2014. Flint, Michigan. One early morning. Every aspect of life seems to run normally. But when the residents turn on their taps, they are met with an unpleasant brown sludge. 

The daredevils go on and consume the tap water, despite the most obvious discoloration. Yes – without stopping to examine or inquire the likely source of that color.  

In the days that followed, nearly 10,000 residents ended up being poisoned. Right at their homes. In the name of tap water! It was later confirmed that excessive lead had found its way into the cold water supply systems after switching the city’s water supply. 

Of course, this incident may be isolated. But it serves as a great pointer to the dangers of drinking tap water without purifying or filtering it. Yours may not be necessarily brownish. It may contain other hazardous contaminants which you may not see with nake eyes. 

Consider these 7 concrete reasons why you shouldn’t drink tap water

1. Tap water is insufficiently filtered

Did you ever stop to think how many litres of water a typical water treatment plant handles every day? Well, James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant in Chicago treats about 1.4 billion gallons per day. And Guandu Water Treatment Plant in Rio de Janeiro has a capacity of 981 million gallons per day. These figures are just as unfathomable as you guessed.

You will agree that they can try their best to purify the water, but it will be very difficult to get rid of all chemicals and pathogenic microorganisms. Do yourself justice by taking over the purification process from them from where they left.  

2. About 10 percent of all tap water is recycled

It’s absurd to imagine that tap water is purely harvested from the cleanest springs way up in the mountains where no toxic contaminants exist. No! Some of the water we use in our homes finds its way back to our taps. Water that you wash utensils with, water that you bathe with, water that you mop the floor with, etc. That should be yucky enough to dissuade you from drinking tap water.

3. Tap water may at times be high in fluoride

Municipalities add fluoride to water – a practice which has been there for many decades, if not centuries. There is still no worldwide standard regarding the minimum concentration of fluoride in water. Water with excess amounts of fluoride has been shown to directly cause health problems like dental and skeletal fluorosis.  

4. Tap water may contain heavy metals

How? You ask. 

First, heavy metals are naturally occurring compounds. They naturally find their way into fresh water bodies. Think of mining sites exposed to rainwater runoff.

Second, agricultural,  industrial, pharmaceutical and household chemicals may contain traces of heavy metals. These are eventually washed into water bodies. 

Now, water treatment plants will not always effectively remove heavy metals from water. Then remember that some of the heavy metals – arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, zinc, cobalt, chromium, etc – are toxic even in low concentrations.

Those who have accumulated heavy metals in their bloodstream for long may suffer from various types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, brain deformities, retarded growth, etc.

5.  Tap water may contain toxic chemicals from herbicides and pesticides

Where there is a river, there is a farm. Think of that and you’ll soon realize the truth of it. From these said farms, herbicides and pesticides used to control crop pests and weeds are washed into the soil and finally into surrounding water bodies. If these toxins escape the water treatment facilities, you risk ingesting them. You can tell that you have been poisoned when you start experiencing constant eye and skin irritation, headaches, extreme weakness and extreme allergic reactions.

6. Tap water may contain disease causing organisms

The most common bacteria viruses and parasites in water include protozoa, helminths, E. coli, Legionella, and Enteroviruses. One obvious source of these is wildlife and domestic animals living around us. The listed pathogens are usually present in their droppings – it’s not rocket science how animal droppings get washed into rivers. Couple this with the frequent leaks in water distribution systems and you’ll see how easy it is to fall sick by drinking raw tap water.

7. Tap water may smell and taste unpleasant

There are many substances in water that make its smell and taste unpleasant. If your tap water smells like bleach, know that it has excess chlorine. Hydrogen sulfide in water makes it taste like rotten eggs. High barium and cadmium content in water will give you a fishy smell.

The list goes on. And that might be the reason you’ve never liked water.   Save yourself from all this trouble by filtering tap water before drinking.