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Should I Filter My Water?

We all already know that bottled water is bad. It’s expensive–more expensive per gallon than gas. It’s polluting–a waste of gas to transport all those heavy plastic bottles. And, it turns out, it’s not any better for you than tap water. While towns have to report the results of water quality tests annually, most bottled water manufacturers don’t even post that information on their web sites. The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency does a better job regulating tap water than the Food and Drug Administration does bottled water.

Half full or half empty?

Half full or half empty?

Okay, okay, that’s established. My big question: Should I filter my tap water? I had a Brita pitcher when I first moved to Boston. Then I moved to an apartment with a filter in the door of the fridge (terribly inefficient, by the way) and dumped the Brita. When we moved into our current apartment, we switched to straight tap water, and I felt kind of ridiculous for having wasted so much money on filters over the years.

But the New York Times recently published an article about how spikes in pesticide levels in tap water aren’t being accurately reported. And when I looked up water filters on Consumer Reports (my bible), they specifically used Boston as an example of tests showing lead levels of 45 times the legal limit. Since lead is usually picked up from the pipes leading to and inside your house, that won’t show up on the city’s annual report.

On the other hand, there are no children in our house and neither of us are planning on becoming pregant. Those are the two groups that are actually affected by such small levels of contaminants (like with mercury in fish). So we don’t really need to worry, right? And having a recurring expense for something we don’t actually need (and making it into a habit that’s hard to break) is just silly.

On the other other hand, it’s kind of freaky to think that I could be drinking heavy metals and E.coli. I might just test our tap water to see if a filter’s necessary. Consumer Reports listed a few options, including state-certified labs and an over-the-counter kit. What do you think?


Comment from Holly
Time October 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm

What did you learn? We’re looking at the same question at my house.

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time October 13, 2009 at 12:27 pm

My water’s fine, and the test was super easy. Check out my update:

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time August 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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