If you go to the grocery store and want to buy a drink, it’s hard not to fall for shelves full of colorful fizzy drinks and sodas. These drinks have very specific marketing campaigns with a strong focus on attractive visuals. But the truth is, you can look past those visuals and actually decide to go for the healthy thing instead.
That’s where water comes into play, bringing to the fore the health benefits of skipping the soda pop and drinking water instead. But just because we know something is good for us doesn’t mean we always choose it. Thankfully, with the Drink Up Campaign, water can also use similar marketing tactics to give our healthy instincts a boost.
What does the Drink Up Campaign entail?
The Drink Up campaign was launched by Michelle Obama in collaboration with the US Government and the Partnership for a Healthier America. The idea of the campaign is to encourage everyone to drink more water. The reality is that even though we know it’s important to drink water, we are easily distracted and don’t really pay a lot of attention to a lot of the reasons why drinking water is so important.
We need water to live. So many of our body’s natural processes depend on us getting enough water. Which is why drinking more water is a big part of the goal to improve Americans’ overall health. With so many pressures on individuals’ health, nowadays it’s more important than ever to ensure that we drink water and stay hydrated.
In this way, the Drink Up Campaign is directed to improving health outcomes for all Americans. It aims to educate people and give them the impetus they need to make this important change in their dietary habits to ensure their wellbeing.
Why do we need to drink water?
Staying hydrated is crucial if we want to make sure all our bodily functions are working properly. From digestion to our mood, there’s not single aspect of our health that isn’t affected by our water intake.
The most obvious area that drinking water has an impact on is our diet. Drinking water helps to reduce sugar cravings. Since our brain doesn’t distinguish between thirst and hunger, drinking water will keep us satiated in the long run. Often we get a hunger pangs simply because we’re dehydrated, and so a glass of water will go much further towards satisfying that hunger than a bag of potato chips. Hydration also helps boost performance when it comes to exercise, which is extremely important to take into consideration.
Once you start hydrating properly, you will find you get fewer migraines and headaches. Drinking water also helps both kids and adults steer clear of digestive issues, including constipation.
A healthy water intake also lowers the risk of bladder infections, not to mention helping to prevent the appearance of kidney stones and improving dental health. Drinking water is a great way to reduce a hangover, and it has been found to improve mental health outcomes, including helping to manage anxiety.
Drinking at least 6-8 cups of water per day is very healthy, and it will help prevent many potential diseases or infections. That’s why the Drink Up Campaign is such a success, because it shows people that staying healthy is not that hard. It all comes down to increasing your water consumption and making sure that you stay healthy in the long run. As soon make the change and start drinking more water, you will see the difference.
As well as helping to prevent many health problems, you’ll also notice that drinking water allows your body to gain more energy. Give it a try, join the Drink Up Campaign today and start drinking more water – Wait….!!!! But first, make sure that the water you have is fit for drinking. Not all water is the same. The detailed guide below will help you find out what you need to know.
Is my drinking water safe?
Many people, especially those living in the USA, are skeptical about the quality of their water supply. While many big cities have access to quality water provided by local municipalities, rural cities in particular can suffer by comparison. Modesto, Brady and Fresno are the top 3 cities with worst quality of drinking water. So, is tap water safe to drink in the USA? Let’s find out!
On the whole, the USA’s water sources are among the most reliable across the globe. The public community water systems are the sole providers of tap water throughout most cities in the US. There are two sources; groundwater and surface water. Usually, people get surface water collected from streams, rivers, and other water resources.
Some people also get groundwater, which accumulates underground and is collected through traditional techniques and stored in reservoirs. There are different techniques to ensure that the water is free of contaminants and safe for public use. However, there are still some issues that people face in terms of water quality. So, a question must always be in your mind is, “Is my drinking water safe?”
According to the research, about 10-15% of people in the USA do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. In 2015, enforcement action was taken in several cities in the USA, with a combined population of more than 77 million people, due to issues with water quality. People most exposed to risk were those living in rural areas or small towns in the USA. The government of the USA is taking decisive actions against violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict regulations, stating that public water supply must not be reliant on private wells. People also take measures privately to ensure a clean drinking water supply, often by using high-quality faucets in their homes, which is the most affordable filtration option as it ensures the elimination of harmful chemicals.
10 Common Drinking Water Contaminants
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are 316 water contaminants in water, affecting more than 85% of the population directly or indirectly. According to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the water should be safe from any contaminants, and water reservoirs should be clean. Below is a list of some of the most common types of contaminants still found in water.
Lead is one of the most common types of toxins in drinking water. It is a leading cause of cancer and other harmful health risks. Lead often enters water supplies because of old infrastructure (pipes, etc.) that are lined with it degrade over time, and lead particles peel off and go into the water. Lead content in water varies from area to area, but even a small amount of lead can be injurious to health.
Chlorine is one of the critical chemicals that water supply centers use to keep water free of microbes. However, one thing to consider with chlorine is that it tastes foul and can cause a burning sensation in the throat. In high quantities, it can be damaging in and of itself. Chlorine can either be absorbed into the body while bathing through drinking. It can lead to dry skin and hair, and irritated nose and eyes.
Chloramines form when chlorine combines with ammonia to create a more advanced level of disinfectant. While chloramine can protect water against microbes, it can also cause cancer and lung issues if absorbed or ingested in significant quantities. Tests show that chloramine is more harmful than chlorine itself.
Mercury is a highly toxic element. It can enter the water supply as liquid metals when passing through corrosive pipes or landfill runoff. Although toxic, mercury is also an incredibly useful element, meaning that it can be found in a wide range of products, from thermometers to neon signs. There are therefore many sources from which mercury can get into clean water. Prolonged exposure to water with high mercury levels can lead to issues such as kidney failure.
Pharmaceuticals get into the water due to the mismanagement of water plants and improper disposal of waste. They can also enter the water through agricultural runoff in areas where livestock are treated with heavy doses of antibiotics. However, indirect exposure to such contaminants can cause stomach bugs or migraines.
6. Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in water are dangerous compounds that can seriously affect a person’s health. They are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at room temperature, which means they have a low boiling point. They can therefore be absorbed more easily into our bodies when water is boiled and vaporized.
Herbicides are one of the types of water contaminants that can alter your body’s reproductive functioning. Used as weed killers and pest control, often in agriculture, herbicides can get into the water through rainfall and agricultural runoff, entering streams and rivers when rain washes them into natural water sources. The most common herbicide that is noted to be a contaminant is Atrazine, which causes hormonal imbalance.
Methyl Tertiary Butyl (MTBE) is a type of gasoline. The harmful chemical can seep into the water through oil leakage, spillage, and other kinds of water accidents. The integration of such substances in water can cause deadly diseases such as cancer and lung issues.
Pesticides are harmful to people even when they are used in farming. However, as with herbicides, rainfall and flooding can cause pesticides to enter the water supply. If a person does not boil the water or use a filter, pesticides can enter their bloodstream from the water they drink, causing harmful diseases.
Cysts are organic contaminants in water that leak into the water through leaking septic tanks, feedlot runoff, and sewage. The cyst is a contaminant that is resistant to most chemical disinfectants. It causes serious health risks if a person intakes it in the long-run.
How to Test Drinking Water Quality?
Hire a professional
How to test if water is safe to drink? It’s a common question. If you want to get your house’s water quality checked, then the best thing to do is to hire a professional to perform the checks for you. There are some home-testing options available, but for the most reliable results a professional will look closely at all details in your water supply to make an assessment about the water quality. A step-by-step report of all the contaminants (if any) will help you decide what steps you need to take next.
Once you’ve got the results, many professionals will also be able to offer an opinion about the best water filtering decisions to pursue. They may even be able to fit or install the water filter you need to ensure good water quality right then and there.
Labs are well—equipped and use established methodologies to conduct water analysis. The in-house lab testing facility is available 24/7, convenient for users to get their water analysis. There are different tests such as temperature tests, pH tests, salinity tests, as well as tests for electric conductivity and contaminants, etc.
A person can request different water quality testing procedures to get a clear result. Lab tests deliver quick, comprehensive results, and they can help in deciding what kind of filtration method you might need.
Water testing kits
Water quality test kits are one of the most common methods to analyze your water quality. There are different kinds of water testing kits, but the most common ones are color disk kits and water quality test strips. A water test kit tells you all you need to know about water in seconds. But the question remains: how to actually use one to determine if the water is safe to drink at home?
To test water quality at home, first you need to identify the water source. Second, select the best perfect water testing method for you (strip tests are easy for beginners). Make sure to check if the test meets EPA testing standards. It is essential to carefully read the instructions to make sure you are carrying out the test correctly.
Why should you filter your water?
Removal of contaminants
We all depend on water to live. However, if you are getting your drinking water straight from the tap there’s a possibility that it may contain harmful contaminants. These contaminants can cause all sorts of problems, from stomach bugs in the mildest cases to dangerous and chronic diseases in worst-case scenarios. There are many benefits of filtered water, but getting rid of contaminants is the biggest. A person should be cautious with anything they consume, and a water filter is a necessity for your wellbeing.
It is quite noticeable if the water straight out of the tap tastes nasty. Even if it’s purified by something like chlorine, we can taste the chlorine and other chemicals in the water. If our water tastes terrible, naturally we won’t want to drink it. So to make yourself drink more water, it is essential that we do as much as we can to make it pleasant. High-quality water filters not only purify water but also enhance the taste. If you are struggling with water taste, then it’s a good idea to get your hands on a water filter.
Water is one of the best things we can give our body to help in streamlining its functions. When we consume spoiled or contaminated water, all of those important benefits disappear. Instead, people get stomach bugs, diarrhea or other illnesses from drinking low-quality water.
To prevent this from happening, water filters are a necessity for homes, especially with kids, whose immune systems are still maturing. Clean water provides a child with all the great nutrients that they need for healthy body functioning whilst cutting out dangerous impurities. Clean water will reward you with glowing skin and a tough, well-functioning immune system to fight off disease.
Types of water filtration methods
1. Sediment filtration
Sediment water filters are among the most common types of filters that people use to eliminate solid residue. The Sediment is the solid residue that collects at the bottom of a water supply (such as a river or a reservoir) over time, making the water taste foul. The water quality is compromised when it is filled with sediments or other solid residues.
A sediment filter is like a sieve that helps eliminate heavy and solid particles from water. One thing to keep in mind that the sediment-water filter is not for removing chemicals or enhancing the taste; it merely gets rid of larger solid particles.
2. Activated Carbon Block (ACB) Filtration
A lot of the purified water that we consume has been heavily treated with chemicals to make it safe. Often these chemicals can leave a foul taste, and can even be harmful themselves if we consume them in large quantities. Mostly in this instance water contains chlorine disinfectants that, despite purifying the water of the most dangerous organic contaminants, deteriorate the water quality. On top of chlorine compromising water quality, it also gives water a foul taste.
The Activated Carbon Block filter used in water faucets, countertop water filters, and inline water filters helps eliminate harmful chemical components. It eliminates chlorine, VOCs, sediments, and other toxic chemicals from water. It also works wonderfully to eliminate foul or bad taste from water.
3. Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter
A Reverse Osmosis filter is a common type of filter available readily in the market. In this process, water is mostly heavily subdued with large salt molecules, making the water more alkaline. The filter has a thin membrane that lets most liquid pass through it, but larger molecules such as salt become trapped in the light mesh. The pure solvents pass through the Reverse Osmosis filter, making it highly applicable for industrial and commercial use. It helps suspend 99.9% of bacteria from water, but it does nothing to enhance the taste or eliminate odor.
Distillation is a traditional filtration method that most water filtration organizations use, although it is not common in households. The Distillation helps in eliminating harmful compounds such as lead, nitrates, and ammonia compounds from water.
The boiling process of distilling water also kills most of the harmful bacteria. Distillation units also have condensing chambers, which contributes to cooling the condensed water and storing it in the glass chambers.
5. Ion exchange
Ion exchange water treatment is widely used to get rid of an extensive range of contaminants. In this filtration process, the water forms a bead-like resin structure—the ions in the water resins are exchanged for other ions of more pure water. The two common types of ion water exchange process include deionization and softening. Softening is the typical process that most businesses or households use to get rid of hardness (lime scale) from water.
The water sodium ions are interchanged with the magnesium and calcium ions, turning hard water into soft water. Deionization is an important process that helps remove inorganics from water. The overall process is inexpensive; hence, many households opt for it as a way of improving their water quality.
6. Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection
UV disinfection water treatment helps you achieve excellent water quality through automated procedures. UV water purification systems help eliminate chlorine, as well as other harmful contaminants. The virtually immediate disinfection is especially convenient as it immediately gets rid of any toxic chemicals. It is a sustainable means of water filtration, as no parts of the system wear and tear quickly. The UV-absorbing compound also removes bacteria from water. However, it does not eliminate the odor or bad taste.
Ionized water cleaning is also known as alkalinizing water, which most organizations achieve through electrolysis. The ionization process separates the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water from one another. The overall process helps achieve alkaline water, as acidic water is separated with most toxins and harmful chemicals. Alkaline water helps cleanse the digestive system, has anti-aging properties and delivers high hydration. Through the ionization process, the water takes on a positive pH balance through the ionization process, perfect for high water absorption.
Common Home Water Purification System Setups
Faucet water filters are readily available on the market and the best water filters for long-term use. Each faucet water filter is different, and you should look closely at their specifications to find the one that will best suit your needs. The faucet water filter has a little screen that covers the faucet head. This can sometimes be a carbon filter sling with the reverse osmosis mechanism.
The carbon filter is able to trap dense chlorine molecules and sediment. The reverse osmosis filter also removes other contaminants such as zeolite from the water. On average, a family needs to change the filter at least twice a month, but this also depends on the kind of filter and extent of use.
The water filter pitcher is one of the most common types of filter. It is a pitcher with a carbon filter that absorbs most contaminants. It has a sponge-like effect that absorbs contaminants such as organic compounds, herbicides, pesticides, and metals such as mercury and copper into the filter, leaving you with purified water.
This kind of water filter does not remove nitrates, viruses, or bacteria. It is possible to buy reverse osmosis units compatible with a pitcher, which helps in filtering out bacteria. However, reverse osmosis water filter pitchers are expensive.
Countertop water filters are some of the best selling water filters in the market. There are many water filter products available in the market, but nothing beats countertop water filters. A countertop filter comes with a diverter faucet tube, which plugs into the faucet. Once it’s connected, the water from the faucet travels to the filter. After filtering through the cartridges, it returns back to the faucet. The filtration process eliminates bacteria, foul odors, and foul taste from the water.
The reverse osmosis filter under the sink helps people to obtain high-quality water with maximum convenience. Under sink water filter installation requires no drill, as it is simply connected to the original faucet. The water comes out of the faucet the faucet and travels to the filter through a flexible pipe.
The filtered water then travels back to the faucet after the elimination of bacteria and harmful chemicals. There is a special pipe for the filtered water, separate from the hot and cold water. You can also opt for carbon filters with this kind of system, which helps keep sediments at bay.
People look for water filter systems for the entire home as the ultimate solution to their water issues. A whole house water filter is installed at the entry point of the house’s water supply. The entire house gets filtered water, including your water heating system as well. The next-generation filters, including carbon and reverse osmosis filters, deliver top-quality water. The carbon water filter system specifically targets the removal of chloramines from water. If you’re thinking for a whole-house system, make sure that the model you are interested in is certified by NSF.
Among the many different types of water filters for the home is the inline water filter. An inline water filter sits under the sink and filters the water coming through the pipes. It is one of the water filters that remove bacteria and sediment.
Apart from removing bacteria, an inline filter also removes chlorine, which is often the biggest issue for people. They come in a compact size, and you can easily fit them directly on the waterline. The inline water filter is the best-selling filtration product in the USA and the UK. It also helps in removing foul smell from water and maintaining a good taste.
A UV water purifier is one of the best filters available in the market. The UV water sterilizer uses the germicidal UV light to kill the nucleic acid of bacteria’s DNA. Any microbe, fungi, or bacteria is unable to multiply when their DNA gets damaged. A UV purifier targets the pathogenic bacteria production by emitting a 254-nm wavelength. The wavelength is enough to destroy the bacteria and limit its production in water. While this is an excellent option for neutralizing organic contaminants, remember that a UV purifier does not remove sediment, solid particles, or a foul smell from the water.
You can find excellent refrigerator filters in the market; most brands provide an in-built facility. Typically with this kind of model, the carbon filter has a mesh lining that can eliminate sediment, nitrates, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants from the water. However, it is essential to keep changing fridge filters for a better result.
Water bottle filters are extremely popular and they have many benefits. They’re an affordable option if your emphasis is on finding a solution to provide yourself with clean drinking water not just in the home, but wherever you are. Some filter water bottles filter water as you drink, and some bottles filter water as you pour. However, both the water bottle filters have the same mechanism. Self-purifying water bottles have an active carbon lining, which releases a slight positive charge as well. Hence, all the heavy, negatively charged chlorine and metal particles are filtered out. The filter water bottle also helps in removing foul odors from the water.
Reverse osmosis is a kind of filtration system more often used in large-scale organizations or industrial contexts than at homes. A reverse osmosis filter has a small membrane which filters out most contaminants and releases pure water. On the other hand, it does not remove any kind of bacteria or viruses.
Ceramic water purifiers have millions of minute pores, which trap bacteria, microbes, and sediment. The filters also help remove chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, and pesticides. Ceramic filters do need to be replaced relatively frequently, and people generally use them under the sink, directly on the line, and as countertop units.
What is hard water and how to treat it?
You may have heard of hard water and soft water, but not quite know what it is. Hard water is a type of water with a high concentration of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Many people strive to find hard water solutions for homes.
Hard water can lead to a number of problems around the home. It is difficult to wash with; it leaves watermarks on silverware and appliances, stains clothes, and can reduce water pressure due to minerals building up along the the water pipes. Some of the drawbacks of bathing with hard water include eczema, dry skin, damaged hair, and an itchy scalp. There are a few ways to turn hard water soft; let’s have a look.
The water softening system works perfectly for modern houses to help avoid hard water damaging the water pipes. A water softening system is a whole-house water filtration system that works on an ion-exchange mechanism. The polyurethane resin particles are negatively charged with sodium ions. The magnesium and calcium particles are positively charged.
When the hard water passes through the resin beads, the positively charged calcium and magnesium particles are attracted to the resin beads, drawing these hard minerals out of the water. Meanwhile, the negatively charged sodium ions are released into the water supply, making it soft. The overall mechanism makes the hard water turn soft and enhances the water quality. Other water softeners trap the hard minerals and pass on the soft water.
2. Salt based water softener
The salt-based water softener system is an ion exchange system, and it works on the resin mechanism. Usually, people opt for ion exchange filters to maintain the water taste while removing excess minerals. The potassium exchange resin bed helps to eliminate hard minerals and protects the pipes against corrosion. Salt-based water softener systems need regular maintenance as they stop working if the system is runs out of water softener salt.
A salt-free water softener is the opposite of salt-based softeners. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) is the process used for salt-free systems. It turns the excess minerals into crystals that do not stick to the water pipes.
The salt-free water softening systems are also called water conditioners. The best thing about salt-free softeners is that they are easy to maintain, as you do not need to buy filter replacements. They are also inexpensive and do not require any kind of energy to operate.
However, the salt-free softening method may not work when the water has a high chlorine content.
Drinking water is the basic necessity of our lives. The Drink Up campaign was launched by Michelle Obama in collaboration with the US Government and the Partnership for a Healthier America.
The Drink Up campaign was a social marketing campaign undertaken to encourage healthier behaviors and decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity by encouraging the US population to consume more water.