Five Reasons to Skip Bottled Water: Thirsty Thursday: Fill Up with a Filter
Drinking plenty of clean water is good for your health, but both tap and bottled water can contain contaminants that may be harmful. The best bet for getting the safest water possible is to filter your tap water. While more expensive filters generally remove more pollutants, even an inexpensive pitcher filter can significantly cut down on some key contaminants. But the effectiveness of filters varies widely, so do your research.
EWG’s interactive Water Filter Buying Guide helps you choose the right one for you.
There is much more information in the guide than there’s room for here, but here are some quick take-away tips:
If you’re on a tight budget, filters using activated carbon are the best bet. They remove lead, chlorine, trihalomethanes and many other contaminants at a modest price.
If your water is highly polluted and you can afford a more comprehensive filtration system, consider reverse osmosis combined with activated carbon. A system with a superior activated carbon pre-filter can eliminate everything that activated carbon catches and reduce other contaminants, including arsenic, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate. Reverse osmosis filters are typically installed under the sink and integrated into your plumbing.
If you’re buying a strictly carbon filter, you have a lot of choices.
For ease of use and affordability, pitcher filters are a good pick. But if constant refilling is a pain, try a faucet-mounted one. The best filters tend to be those that sit on your countertop or under the sink, so if you can modify your plumbing and afford a higher-priced filter, they may be your best bet.
You’ll find detailed information about all these filter technologies here, in EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cleaning up tap water, so do your research to get the best results for your money. And remember: All types and styles of water filters require regular maintenance to keep working!