Just as you’re patting yourself on the back for drinking more
– a healthy habit, indeed – you come across new some new study
shaming all who drink water from the tap. As it turns out, the
research warns, the stuff is brimming with lead, mercury, chlorine
and a host of other harmful compounds.
Just as you’re patting yourself on the back for drinking more water – a healthy habit, indeed – you come across new some new study shaming all who drink water from the tap. As it turns out, the research warns, the stuff is brimming with lead, mercury, chlorine and a host of other harmful compounds.
The proposed solution? You could buy bottled water for the rest of your days, but that might get expensive. Another option is to get a water purifier, which, besides supposedly stripping tap water of unhealthy elements, uses filters to retain tap water’s healthy minerals. As a bonus, they come in a variety of sleek designs to fit every kitchen’s décor.
There are three main types of purifiers. Pitchers are stored in refrigerators and have built-in filters that purify the water as it’s poured.
On-tap faucets screw onto faucet heads and filter the water when the faucet is turned on. Lastly, under-sink purifiers are installed beneath the sink as part of the cold-water pipe.
Each type of purifier has its advantages and disadvantages. Pitchers are nice because they fit snugly on refrigerator shelves and are easily accessible.
Pitchers also are ideal for college students if they have refrigerators in their dorm rooms.
On the other hand, if you or your family consumes a lot of water in a short amount of time, constantly refilling the pitcher can be a hassle.
Filters for on-tap only need to be changed every few months, and even more economical and convenient are under-sink models, which process much more water than pitchers or on-tap filters.
Additionally, under-sink filters are hidden beneath the sink, whereas on-tap filters are obvious and can appear bulky. Under-sink purifiers, however, require more know-how to install than their on-tap counterparts.
Although the methods of the different types of filters vary, most use an activated carbon filter, which acts like a sponge to trap and absorb harmful sediments.
A handful of others – mostly the under-sink models – use reverse osmosis, which involves a semi-permeable membrane that allows the water to flow through, but blocks bulkier molecules.
So, are water purifiers bogus contraptions? It depends who you ask. The National Sanitation Federation – an independent, nonprofit organization advocating public health – stated some water filters can reduce exposure to harmful contaminants found in water such as lead and certain parasites.
Jennifer Zapata, a dietitian with Hollister’s Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, said the health effects of drinking either tap water or purified water likely aren’t significant, unless there is a known problem with a particular community’s tap water. Often, she said, the belief that filtered water is healthier is based on perception and not substantial evidence. But Zapata didn’t advocate not using filters, either.
“I could go either way. It’s not a bad thing to filter the water, but I don’t think people should necessarily be afraid of drinking tap water,” she said.
Whether they’re afraid of tap water or simply think “clean” water tastes better, people are buying purifiers. At Linens ‘n Things in Gilroy, manager Joel Gonzales said the store sells about 10 purifiers a month, with the most popular being Brita’s on-tap faucet.