The 10 Best Water Filters
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Whether you're eyeing the tap suspiciously in the wake of the latest contamination scare or simply want to filter out unpleasant tastes and smells, our selection includes convenient countertop options, multistage systems and portable versions that promise to improve the flavor and quality of your drinking water, remove potentially harmful substances, or even adjust the pH to your liking. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best water filter on Amazon.
The Risks Of Hard Water
If this hard water makes it through the pipes, it causes scale to accumulate on taps and sink faucets.
The body can suffer from the effects of hard water as well.
Whether drinking, washing dishes, or making coffee, daily life requires water. Problems occur when the water running through a home is considered hard water. In America, the sources of both tap and bottled drinking water include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can even pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.
Tap water which is considered hard is filled with undesirable elements such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, and sediment matter. These minerals and sediment can cause damage to a house's plumbing, appliances, dishes, and the hair and skin.
Without a water filter or water softener, hard water begins to buildup in the pipes it travels through. This can cause inconsistencies in water pressure and clogged pipes which may burst if left unaddressed. If this hard water makes it through the pipes, it causes scale to accumulate on taps and sink faucets. This scale is made up of charged minerals, which adhere themselves to the metal tap as the water exits.
Hard water can also cause issues with dishes. The high mineral content of hard tap water prevents liquid dish soap from producing suds by binding with the soap molecules, creating a thick slime that is difficult to lather. The minerals are also more difficult to remove from laundry, leaving sheets stiff and causing clothing to wear down faster.
The body can suffer from the effects of hard water as well. Water that has not passed through a water filter contains particles from not only minerals, but from heavy metals, organic compounds, chlorides, and even low levels of pharmaceutical medications. All these particles can toll the kidneys, contributing to kidney stones.
Drinking Tap Water
Mineral hardness is not the only thing to worry about in a glass of tap water. Most tap water, especially the water in heavily populated cities, is full of contaminants which can pose serious health risks.
People can be exposed to arsenic from food and the work environment, though the easiest avoidable source is in drinking water.
As easy as drinking a glass of tap water seems, it can actually be a health risk. The levels of arsenic in drinking water in the United States are especially high. Arsenic is known to cause cancer and other serious health problems. It is found naturally in the rocks and soil of the earth; though this is not where contamination occurs from. Drinking water can be contaminated by arsenic compounds found in pesticides, preservatives, electrical additives, and glass. People can be exposed to arsenic from food and the work environment, though the easiest avoidable source is in drinking water.
Drinking tap water also exposes the body to pharmaceutical drugs. Prescription and over the counter drugs alike are released in small amounts in patients' urine or simply flushed down the toilet. Many water processing plants treat water to remove government-mandated chemicals and organic matter such as bacteria. This water is then reintroduced into the water cycle.
The problem with this is that many pharmaceutical drugs remain in the water. The World Health Organization estimates that only 50 percent of these drugs are filtered out with water treatment processes like chlorination. Filtration processes like reverse osmosis remove up to 99 percent of particulates such as these.
Unfiltered water can also contain heavy metals like aluminum; which has been linked to liver disorders, learning disabilities, and degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Studies have shown that aluminum contributes to brain disease by producing oxidative stress in the brain tissue.
Benefits Of Using A Water Filter
The best way to avoid many of the negative health impacts associated with tap water is to use a water filter. Water filters can provide pure, clean drinking water while also saving users money and time.
Water produced from a filter also removes organic contaminants such as bacteria and chlorine by-products.
Equipping the home with high quality filtered water keeps the body healthy. Water filters remove heavy metals such as lead and aluminum; preventing them from entering the body. Water produced from a filter also removes organic contaminants such as bacteria and chlorine by-products. Water filtration can reduce the risk of gastrointestinal diseases by removing parasites like giardia from drinking water.
Water filtration also removes fluoride. While fluoride has been associated with oral health, it is actually linked to a number of health problems such as a weakened immune system and impaired cognitive function in children. Researchers of this meta-analysis found strong indications that fluoride can adversely affect brain development in children.
Water filters also save money. Water produced from filters can cost pennies per gallon. This is a drastic savings when compared to bottled water. Most filters are simple to set up and use, and are economically and environmentally sound. Filtered water is also superior to plastic bottles, as plastic water bottles are not biodegradable.
As the population of the United States goes through plastic bottles at a rate too high to be immediately recycled, much of this consumer plastic ends up in landfills. Drinking water from an in-home filter immediately reduces plastic use, which is a benefit for both the drinker and the planet.
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