The only thing more important than the food you eat is the water you drink. Staying hydrated is critical to overall health–it purifies the body and fill us up. But, the quality of that water matters, especially considering that your water may have as many as 300 pollutants in it, according to the Environmental Working Group.
What's in your water? Well it depends, but some contaminants may include pesticides, herbicides, and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) found in both municipal water sources and well water. Other contaminants may include lead, mercury, and endocrine disrupting chemicals, which interfere with the body's hormones.
Here's Congressional testimony from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding endocrine disrupting chemicals and the risk they pose to human health:
"Over the past fifty years, researchers observed increases in endocrine-sensitive health outcomes. Breast and prostatic cancer incidence increased between 1969 and 1986 ; there was a four-fold increase in ectopic pregnancies (development of the fertilized egg outside of the uterus) in the U.S. between 1970 and 1987 ; the incidence of cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) doubled in the U.K. between 1960 and the mid 1980s ; and there was an approximately 42% decrease in sperm count worldwide between 1940 and 1990."
This is certainly not something you want to be drinking throughout the day. Luckily, the options for water treatment have become numerous and the only issue is choosing the best one.
Bottled water isn't a good option for a number of reasons. First of all, the plastic from the bottle can leach chemicals into the water itself. Additionally, often times bottled water has the same contamination as tap water except with added packaging that contributes to consumer waste. Not to mention that bottled water is costly.
Pitcher Water Filters
Pitcher water filters do a lot to improve water taste as well as removing some chlorine and some heavy metals. But they don't remove VOCs or endocrine disruptors. They're initially less expensive but you have to replace the filters every two months. Of the pitcher water systems, the ZeroWater filtration system is the most sophisticated with five different filter systems and a test stick so you know when the filter needs to be changed. It claims to remove all dissolved solids from your tap water. While it's slightly more expensive than other pitcher water filters, it's worth the price.
Reverse Osmosis and Solid Block Carbon Filters
Reverse osmosis filtration systems remove most contaminants from water including chlorine, VOCs, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and other chemicals, but they also remove trace minerals like calcium and magnesium. Over time, it can be problematic if your water is completely depleted. These systems are more expensive at first, but the filtration system rarely has to be replaced.
Solid block carbon filters like the Berkey remove all the bad stuff like pesticides, bacteria, parasites, nitrates, etc. but they don't remove trace minerals. Solid block carbon filters are designed for countertop and undersink applications. These end up costing $59 to $105 per year.