Many of us take the quality and purity of our water for granted. While the public water supply is generally safe for most people, it is not always as harmless as we’d like to believe. In addition to additives like chorine and fluoride, tap water may contain various minerals, microorganisms, and chemicals. Regulating Water Quality The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closely monitors the quality of public drinking water. Monitoring must adhere to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which specifies the method for choosing which contaminants are monitored and determining what contaminant levels are acceptable. Sometimes, the acceptable level is set at zero, but water treatment plants cannot always achieve this level of purity. This disparity is especially common for contaminants that pose a particular hazard for children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Currently the EPA monitors approximately 90 different substances. However, over 260 different substances have been found in U.S. tap water. Some of these may simply be a nuisance, while others can pose a health risk. Meanwhile certain contaminants, such as lead, may be introduced through plumbing in individual households. Common Tap Water Contaminants Continue reading What’s Really In Your Drinking Water?