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How are water tests conducted?

Drinking Water Precautions

Gary Ginsberg (Toxicologist) gives expert video advice on: How are water tests conducted?; How should I interpret the results of a water test?; What do water filters protect me from? and more...

How are water tests conducted?

To test your water, you need to contact an environmental testing company. They will send you a bottle that you can test the water with yourself. So they have special bottles to collect the water in. And then you would run your tap water into this bottle. They'll give you instructions, but it's probably not going to be the first flush, first thing in the morning. They'll probably want to get a mid stream collection of the water. You seal it back up, following the instructions, send it back off to the laboratory. And then they will run various kinds of tests. Depending on which boxes you check, they'll run various kinds of tests on your water, to find out again, if it's got volatile chemicals, if it's got pesticides, industrial chemicals, the whole suite. Usually, the whole suite costs three or four hundred dollars, so you may not want to do that too often, but you should at least run the whole suite at least once while you're living in that house.

What do water filters protect me from?

The type of water filter that you will end up putting on your house water supply depends upon the type of contamination. If you're just concerned about taste and odor from a public water supply, carbon block filters are fine. If you're concerned about metals, like lead in your drinking water, you probably want to use something like reverse osmosis. If you have some other designer type of chemical problem, you need to look up what's the appropriate filter for that kind of chemical problem, and you're probably be able to find a water filter specific to your problem.

Which type of filter should I install?

There are many different kinds of drinking water filters in a very specific in terms of what they are going to do. So you don't want to buy the wrong kind of a filter for your particular problem the most common kind of filter is a Carbine black filter, Carbine is good absorbing out any organic material for example benzene, and many of the industrial types of chemicals had carbine. In them, that will white to be sorbs out by the carbine filter and so, that's a good general sort of all purpose filters. So it doesn't get everything so for example carbine black filters do not filter out our slicks or lead from. Your drinking water that requires what we called Reverse Osmosis. Reverse Osmosis is more expensive is more expensive to said up and it's also wasteful of water. Reverse Osmosis only to be used for those specific type of contaminant that it's good for usually the medals. then there is another kind of filter that base upon on exchange it's a raisin which basically sorbs on to the filter things on the charge, the mouth has a charge on them for example for query which now becoming more half on issue that gets taken out of the water by on the exchange reason

What is 'fluoride'?

Fluoride is an element. It's on the periodic table. And it goes into enamel in teeth. It goes into bones. It seeks those kinds of bone and teeth structures in the body. That's where it tends to deposit.

Is fluoride in my water supply healthy and safe?

Fluoride has been controversial and the controversy started in the 1950's when it was first introduced. The controversy has not gone away. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty about how safe fluoride really is. Especially when you start adding that to other fluoride sources in Trilogen's environment, in terms of the dental environment. And so now a number of public water supplies are now opting out of the fluoridation program.

Should I be worried about water fluoridation?

We have to realize that many public water supplies are fluoridated. Fluoride was put into the water in the 1950s for the general public health and preventing cavities. The dental community has been thrilled with the advance in terms of preventing cavities in the general population by fluoridation of water, but that's not without some health concerns. Water fluoridation also can lead to overexposure to fluoride, because in the 1950s we weren't getting a lot of fluoride from toothpaste. Toothpaste wasn't fluoridated back then and there weren't dental sealants and drops that dentists were using in children's teeth that also introduced fluoride. Now kids are getting much more fluoride and we don't need it nearly so much from our public water supplies. And in fact, the fluoride that kids can get from all of these other dental fluoride treatments, plus what comes from our public water supply, can overexpose children to fluoride and can lead to discoloration of teeth. If it reaches high enough levels it can actually lead to destruction of the fabric of the tooth and modeling of the teeth. There is even one study that recently came out of Harvard that suggested that overexposure to fluoride from public water supplies can lead to bone cancer in developing boys.

Are there benefits to drinking bottled water?

The pros of bottled water are that it is convenient. And you know drinking water is better than drinking high calorie, low nutrient soft drinks. So that you know bottled water is good for hydration and the more water you drink some people believe that flushing the system regularly with water is a very healthy thing to do. So I certainly endorse people drinking a lot of water. But the question is should they be getting it from the convenience store and having it come from water that has been sitting around in bottles for who knows how long.

Is bottled water safer than tap water?

In the old days, bottled water came from a variety of different kinds of plastics. And the plastics had the potential to leach contaminants into the water. These days, most of the water bottles are polyethylene. Those are the clear, soft bottles. You can squeeze it and it will be flexible. Polyethylene does not have the kinds of contaminant issues that we used to worry about from bottled water. So generally, the plastic isn't the concern with bottled water. But bottled water is being promoted as being cleaner and healthier and coming from springs out in the countryside. That is often just pure marketing, and in many cases that's not true, and it could be coming from urban tap water that may have been put through some kind of a filter and really isn't that much better than the standard tap water you could get at your house. So, you have to be concerned that you're being sold a bill of goods with bottled water. It's not necessarily any healthier or freer of bacteria. As a matter of fact, some bottled waters have been shown to have trace levels of benzene, have been shown to have trace levels of bacteria, which are not necessarily good, and may in some cases be worse than public water supplies. So bottled water is not tested nearly as much as public water supplies. No guarantee of it being any better than any other kind of water. It's just more convenient.