Health Care

Watch Out! Your Tap Water May Not Be Safe to Drink

Read this before you drink H2O from tap.

By Sam Benson Smith

If the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is a sign of anything, it’s that despite the United States’ status as a developed country, it is not immune to issues with potable tap water. In comparison to the rest of the world, the United States is relatively fine; 36th out a potential 178 countries.

Just over 86 percent of all Americans have access to drinking water, while top ranked countries (21 in total) have a perfect 100 percent accessibility. On the bottom of the scale sits Somalia—just 1.29 percent of the population has access to drinking water.

It could be better, it could be significantly worse, but in the meantime, what is there to know about your tap? The top ranked countries tend to skew on the smaller side, so the water infrastructure may be a bit more manageable as opposed to the United States’ sprawling system which services a population of over 320 million.

Jakub Zak/shutterstock 

Now, thanks to the Tap Water Database, any person armed with a zip code can combat spigot stemmed naivety. The database was compiled by the Environmental Working Group and has close to 50,000 public water systems cataloged within its digital stacks.

The data comes from tests conducted in between 2010 and 2015 by the Environmental Protection Agency. The statistics can be pulled up either by entering your zip code, or your utility provider.  

Once the information is plugged in and your utility provider is selected, the database will return a brief summary about where your water comes from, what other companies are involved in the processing, how many contaminants violate health guidelines, and what additional contaminants are present.

Additionally, the database breaks down where the contaminants are coming from, whether they’re from local industry, agriculture, runoff, or nature. But the site doesn’t just notify you about the problem, it also advises the best bet in terms of filtration.

If you’re interested in the rest of the United States water system as a whole, we have some additional answers beyond just the local level. And if you opt to go the bottled route, never refill, trust us on this one.

Source: Mental Floss

More: Health Care Living Well

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