Although our water companies do their very best to make UK tap water safe, your drinking water may contain a whole host of chemicals that you may not want to ingest.
From chlorine and fluoride to traces of antibiotics and hormone pills, your drinking water may be murkier than it looks. So what could be lurking in your water supply, and how do you remove unwanted impurities?...
- Chlorine: It is common knowledge that chlorine is added artificially to our water supplies and this is for a good reason. Chlorine is a disinfectant and it kills harmful bacteria as your water leaves the treatment works. Unfortunately, chlorine has a characteristic taste and smell, which many people find unpleasant. Chlorine has been reported to reduce levels of ‘good bacteria’ in the colon, impair the immune systems of ratsand trihalomethanes (chlorine by-products) have also been linked to health conditions such as cancer. A drinking water filter will take away chlorine when it reaches your tap, after it has killed the bacteria. View our water filters for chlorine here.
- Fluoride: This controversial ingredient is added artificially to the water supplies of around 5.8 million people across England. Areas that participate in artificial fluoridation schemes include parts of Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the West Midlands. While fluoride often naturally occurs in our water supplies, it is added manually in some areas at the treatment works to protect our teeth from decay. But although we all want to look after our dental health, the potential fluoride dangers are well documented. The chemical has been linked to the development of an underactive thyroid (see this study by the University of Kent). An association has also been found between fluoride exposure and neurotoxic effects and bone damage. Artificial water fluoridation has been labelled as unethical by campaigners due to the lack of informed consent and inability to control dosage. View this UK fluoridation map to see if your area is affected. You can remove fluoride using these water filters.
Impurities and residues
Most harmful chemicals and bacteria are removed at the water treatment plant. However, a range of residues could ‘slip through the net’ and find their way into your water supply, such as:
- Pesticides: In 2013, levels of metaldehyde (a slug poison) were found in the River Stour at a level over 100 times the EU safety limit. This river supplies water indirectly to homes in Essex and surrounding areas.  While water companies claim that you’d need to drink around 1000 litres a day to be poisoned, it’s still not something that any of us want to ingest.
- Medicines: Tiny traces of drugs like antidepressants, synthetic oestrogens and antibiotics have all been detected in some drinking water supplies. It is believed that these could find their way to our taps indirectly as a result of sewage systems, ‘run-off’ from farmland or pharmaceutical plants, and humans flushing unwanted medicines down the toilet. We’ve all heard the story about the ‘sex-changing fish’ experiencing hormonal changes as a result of the synthetic and natural oestrogens from the Pill finding their way into a river near a sewage pipe. The Daily Mail claims that drug residues in water have only been inspected twice over a period of eight years. While it’s clear that these residues are not causing humans immediate health effects, questions are raised as to whether this could do longer-term damage.
- Residues from pipework: If you live in a new-build or a home built after the early 1970s, you can most probably skip this part. However, if you live in an older property with original internal pipework, lead may have been used in its construction. Small traces of lead from plumbing material could find their way into your water supply as the water flows through the old pipes. Ingesting lead is widely understood to carry human health risks, and since the early ‘70s the use of lead has been restricted across the continent. Lead is thought to accumulate in the body over time and has been linked to behavioural problems and inhibiting mental development .
How can you achieve healthier drinking water?
Aside from taking your own precautions to improve the quality of your drinking water (for example replacing internal lead pipework), a home drinking water filter is an excellent way to achieve better quality water from your tap.
With so many varieties available on the market, choosing a drinking water filter can be a complex process. You’ll need to consider the following factors to help you choose:
1. What impurities you wish to remove and to what efficiency
2. Whether you are prepared to install a plumbed-in system or whether you would prefer a countertop system
3. How much space you have available under your sink or on your countertop
4. How often you are prepared to change the filters inside your system
At The Healthy House we offer a comprehensive range of drinking, bathing and whole house water filter systems. All of our water filters are NSF tested for your peace of mind (NSF is an independent organisation that ensures product performance claims are accurate and safe).
Depending on the model, our water filter systems can remove bacteria, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, organic compounds and more. Not all systems remove each one of these so be sure to check the specifications carefully when choosing your unit.
You can use our website to find your ideal water filtration system, refining your search by selecting the impurities you want to remove. If you need assistance, call our knowledgeable customer advisors on 0845 450 5950 or 01453 752216. We’ll happily talk you through the available options and answer any questions you may have about our systems. We also provide extensive after-sales support to ensure you get the most out of your purchase.
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 "Immunotoxicologic evaluation of chlorine-based drinking water disinfectants, sodium hypochlorite and monochloramine" Exon, Koller et. al, Toxicology June 1987
 and  Fluoride Action Network: "50 reasons to oppose fluoridation"
 The Guardian: "Wake up to the danger of slug pesticides"
 Daily Mail: "Is your water poisoned?" by Jonathan Gornall
 Drinking Water Inspectorate: "Lead in Drinking Water"