The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has a lot of people worried about the quality of their drinking water. And, reasonably so. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the presence of contaminants in water – especially when consumed by infants, young children, pregnant women and the elderly – can lead to adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems and neurological disorders. If you’re concerned about the safety of your water, here are a few things to consider:
What’s That Smell?
Pay attention to your water. Many times we ignore a temporary discoloration or chlorine smell, but, these very things could be a clear indication of how safe your water is. Is it clear? Does the color of your water change when you change the temperature? Is there a rotten egg smell coming from your faucet? Does your water leave residue on your dishes? Have you recently began experiencing a skin irritation, constant headache or gastrointestinal illness? These can all be signs and symptoms of cryptosporidium, copper and chlorite.
You can purchase a home test kit at your local home improvement store. While there are a number of options to choose from, the more reputable brands are PurTest and Discover Testing. These kits range from $10 to $30 and take minutes to complete. Most tests consist of placing a testing strip under your water and reading the results on a color-based chart. Home test kits can detect several contaminants including bacteria, lead, pesticides, iron, alkalinity, chlorine, pH and arsenic. It’s best to test your water after it has sat overnight for the most accurate results.