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Is Your Water Filtered Perfectly?

Jan 16, 2008
Usually I am not too fussed about drinking water out of a tap, I do, however, very sensibly draw the line at drinking from taps abroad or on holiday. However, there are some people in the UK who are weary over consuming water straight from a tap, since the government have tried to keep the water pure by adding chlorine and fluoride.

Controversial arguments have arisen from using these chemicals, particularly with the use of fluoride. Therefore, some prefer to use bottled water that comes ready filtered and are usually a 'healthier' option to tapped water. Such filtration processes are used mainly for water bottles in office environments, using reverse osmosis or carbon filtration to gain clear purified water.

Before the process of reverse osmosis and the ever-accessible bottled mineral water, tap water did not become available until the 19th century and then becoming more common in households during the mid-20th century. The system required a massive infrastructure of plumbing, piping and water purification. The process was not costly and is far less costly to consume than it is to consume bottled water, as the price of tap is only a fraction of the price of bottled water.

In certain parts of the world, these water taps are distributed into separate sections for use of toilet, baths, cleaning and drinking. However, in other parts this is all shared into one plumbing system which puts together drinking, cleaning and bathing water. In places like China, drinking water can be delivered through a separate tap - though this is optional. Developing countries however do not always use tapped water, as they are not safe to drink, therefore in these parts of the country the water is usually boiled or filtered in advance. Often people in these parts of the world opt to buy bottled water.

Bottled water is the most convenient way to get water without having to filter or boil from home. As previously mentioned, reverse osmosis is one of the more advanced way to purify and sanitize water. Other processes include using iron to remove arsenic in water, Ion exchange, slow sand filtration and carbon filtering using charcoal that filters and captures most toxic compounds. This type of purification are commonly used in household filters and fish water tanks, some drinking water in houses contain silver that release silver ions that has an anti-bacterial effect.

Instances of the use of fluoride in water have long since been a controversial issue, though this was initially used to improve public dental health. Though fluoride was used extensively in much of Europe during the 19th century, Dr Frederick Mckay in America first introduced the use of excessive amounts of fluoride parts in water as the cause of the staining or browning in many children teeth. This sparked the dental community taking wide interest in regulating the amount of fluoride ions in water.

Water fluoridation have provoked controversy as some experts have argued that this is no more harmful than mixing grape juice with vitamin C and can decrease tooth decay - as further previous studies have shown safe levels of fluoride added into water have resulted in improvement of tooth decay. Counter to this argument are the risks on individual health such as bone cancer and dental fluorosis. Other humanitarian arguments have stated that this takes away people's choice in having fluoride added into their water. The controversy has been a continual issue and steps have thankfully continued to be taken to improve sanitation of drinking water. However, the option of bottled water is still widely available and used.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on reverse osmosis and is conscious of the importance of water filtration for public health. For information click on http://www.pure-eau.co.uk/reverse-osmosis.cfm
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