Water plays a vital role in ensuring our proper development. That’s why nursing infants and young children have much higher water quality requirements than adults do.
But now-a-days water sources have become more contaminated than we think and the health problems it can cause are not limited to simply diarrhea, dysentery or cholera. Water contamination can be life-threatening as well as be the catalyst for chronic health issues.
Threats like cancer, hormone disruption, nervous system damage, developmental issues, and fertility problems are on the rise. Eventually, these are linked to the contaminated water that we use every day.
Water Sources We Consider Safe…
…but Actually Are Not
Tap water is usually treated with chlorine and other disinfectants, which can end up causing cancer. They may also harm the fetus and elevate the risk of having complications during pregnancy.
What’s more, many homes still get their water through a main pipe which makes it far from safe. Drinking tap water is risky. But for kids, born or yet to be born, the risk is much higher.
Contaminants that are likely to be found in tap water include:
- Pesticides and herbicides
They can have both short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) effects on our health.
- Acute Health Effects
This kind of poisoning can often be misunderstood as general flu due to the similar symptoms. Hence, it often remains untreated.
- Chronic Health Effects
In the long-term, pesticide poisoning can cause cancer and tumors, infertility and other reproductive problems, birth defects, as well as brain and nervous system damage.
It can also be responsible for the damage of the liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs. However, symptoms may not show up even years after getting toxicated by these contaminants, making it hard to relate to their physical impacts to pesticides.
- Effects On Children
According to the Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) , children are physically too weak to resist pesticide exposure, since their organs, nervous systems and immune systems are still not fully-developed.
Also, due to their higher cell division rates and lower body weight, they are more prone to pesticide exposure. Their organs are immature and other biological systems are still on growth, which makes the vulnerable to these toxic contaminants in particular.
During these early stages of development such contamination can cause lifelong damage.
This can cause cancer over time. If this type of water contamination is suspected, you can use the water to clean, but not to drink.
- Solvents, detergents, and VOCs
They can get into your drinking water supplies from different sources. How they affect us depends on the individual components of the VOC compound, as each have the potential to generate different symptoms, health effects, or illnesses.
- Heavy Metals
Damages biological molecules, like proteins, lipids, nucleics acid and enzymes; causes carcinogenesis and neurotoxicity; can also damage internal organs in the long run.
- Bacteria, viruses, cysts and parasites
Are responsible for diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea etc.
Bottled water is not safer or healthier than tap water. A new study says that drinking bottled water to avoid lead contamination can damage your children’s teeth.
While boiled water is thought to be the safest option for your kids, in reality, it’s not that safe when you consider the following –
- Boiled water cannot remove physical impurities like dirt, mud, rust, particles etc.
- Boiling has no effect against chemical and heavy metal contaminations found in tap water.
In these circumstances, you might feel it’s impossible to ensure safe drinking water for your family. However, where there is a problem, there is a solution too!
And for safe drinking water, the solution is purifying through filtration. But not all type of filtration is dependable!
Here are some qualities in a water filter you should look for to guarantee safe water for your kids.
The home water filter brands and models that are available in the market usually come in six main forms –
Most of the pitchers only remove contaminants that make the water taste bad. But when it comes to chemical, heavy metal, or other contaminants like pharmaceuticals, VOCs etc, only a few brands will guarantee safe water.
An easy way to find out if your pitcher is one of those kinds is to look for the certifications on the packaging. There should be a separate certification mark for each.
But, pitches are not effective against serious contaminates. Go for a more comprehensive option if that;s the case for you.
Like pitchers, faucet-mounted filters ensure clear and tasty drinking water. However, not all of the brands guarantee protection against lead or other chemicals, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals.
So, observe the package carefully before you buy it.
With this kind of filtration system, you can drink water directly from your kitchen faucet. They have the same pros and cons as those of faucet mounted filters.
There are on-counter filter brands that successfully reduce industrial chemicals, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, turbidity, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and bad taste or odor from your tap water.
When you are buying a water filter, this is one of the good ones.
You will find some great brands like Woder making some effective under-sink filters that purify your water almost to perfection. Opt for one that ensures the proper certifications regardless of any type of water filter you buy.
There are a few numbers of technologies that companies use to make their filtration system. These are –
1. Activated Carbon
This technology is affordable and effectively eliminate or lessen many common water contaminants, like heavy metals and different other byproducts of water treatment processes. However, against serious contaminants, they are rather useless.
2. Reverse Osmosis
These filters can be quite expensive. But they can remove contaminants like arsenic and the rocket-fuel chemical per-chlorate, which carbon filters can’t eliminate. This has made them pretty popular water filters.
If your water is fluoridated, it is safest to use a reverse osmosis filter for for your formula-fed infant, as fluoride can damage developing teeth.
Deionization (DI) can remove both organic and inorganic ionized minerals and salts from your water. Since much of the impure substances in the water are mostly dissolved salts, deionization can purify the water almost as perfect as the distilled water.
4. Ion Exchange
Ion exchange is a chemical process in which unwanted dissolved ions are exchanged for other ions with a similar charge. This treatment is commonly used for water softening or demineralization. It can be also used for removing other substances from the water while running process, such as, disinfection, dealkalization, and deionization.
5. Mechanical filters
Mechanical filters are used to remove almost all forms of turbidity to provide crystal-clear water. The finer the filter openings, the smaller turbid particles they can strain out.
Ozone is a more effective disinfectant against bacteria and viruses compared to chlorination. Moreover, its oxidizing properties can reduce the concentration of iron, manganese, sulfur which reduces or eliminates bad taste and odor problems in the water.
Ultraviolet filters are extremely effective against several types of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the water.
Although Ultraviolet purification has no power to remove serious contaminants like chemicals, metals and pharmaceuticals, when paired with Reverse Osmosis Systems, it becomes a complete purification process that can provide the safest water.
8. Water softeners
Water softening is used to remove the dissolved calcium and magnesium salts that cause hard water, either by adding chemicals that form insoluble precipitates or by ion exchange.
Authenticity of Certifications
Authenticity of certifications is a really important aspect to consider. Third-party certification bodies like the Water Quality Association and NSF International are well trusted and verify water filters’ based on their competence in reducing contaminants. Look for a filter that’s certified by any of them.
The technologies used in your water filter will help you gauge how effective it will be against contaminants. Make sure you pick the right water filter for your home, based on your budget, health concerns, and the size of your household.
A filter can be produced using one or more technologies. So, take note of which each filter uses in order to choose a safer water filter for your children.