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  5. Drinking Tap Water Safety Activities and Filtering Guide

The following resources provide a basic understanding of drinking water terms and where drinking water comes from. Search the tap water database and find out drinking water quality in your zip code. Think about why you want to use a water filter and what you want the filter to remove. Drinking water can contain industrial or agricultural contaminants linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems or hormone disruption.

What is in Your Drinking Water?

Chemical risk assessment is a continuing process because rarely is there complete information about the toxicity of environmental contaminants.

Compared to adults, children drink more water per pound of body weight, resulting in greater exposure and greater risk. They are also more vulnerable to harmful contaminants because their bodies are still growing, and toxic chemicals cause more harm to developing organs and tissues.

Some drinking water contaminants are more harmful when exposure occurs during critical windows in a child’s development.

Since 2010, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) drinking water quality analysis of 30 million state water records.

Video: EWG Tap Water Database

The most complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from 50,000 public water utilities nationwide.

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Types of Water Filters

Video: The Story of Bottled Water

“Think Outside the Bottle” Campaign has held countless taste tests comparing bottled water to tap water. The film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. This film is a call to make a personal commitment to avoid bottled water.

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The Different Kinds of Bottled Water and FDA Regulations for the Labeling

  • Artesian Water: Water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.
  • Mineral Water: Water containing not less than 250 ppm total dissolved solids that originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. Mineral water is characterized by constant levels and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements at the source. No minerals may be added to mineral water.
  • Purified Water: Water that is produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes and that meets the definition of "purified water" in the U.S. Pharmacopeia, 23d Revision, Jan. 1, 1995. As appropriate, also may be called "demineralized water," "deionized water," "distilled water," and "reverse osmosis water."
  • Sparkling Bottled Water: Water that, after treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source.
  • Spring Water: Water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth at an identified location. Spring water may be collected at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring, but there are additional requirements for use of a bore hole.

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When available, we provide all our content with a Spanish version in our public download section. You can find additional material from sources listed in all our articles.