Drinking water information and resources, contaminants, health effects, treatment methods

Everything You Wanted to Know About Drinking Water But Didn't Know
Who To Ask

I developed this web site to provide a comprehensive resource for anyone searching for information about your drinking water safety, quality and treatment methods.

Topics discussed include:

Contaminants That Could Be In Your Drinking Water Harmful Contaminants That Could Be In Your Drinking Water (view)
(lead, chlorine, disinfection byproducts, cryptosporidia, giardia, bacteria, endocrine disrupters, pesticides, etc.)
What Various Contaminants Can Do To Your Health Health Effects of Drinking Harmful Water Contaminants
(with an emphasis on children and pregnancy)
What's The Best Drinking Water Purification Method For You What's The Best Drinking Water Purification Method For You? (view)
(filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, bottled water, KDF, emergency treatment, etc.)
(Check out these Four Steps to help you select a water treatment method)
Drinking Water Scams Drinking Water Scams (Alkaline Water, Other Altered Water Issues, Emoto, How To Spot Scams)
(Beware of product claims to alter water's structure or energy & provide greater health benefits)
What Various Contaminants Can Do To Your Health Bottled Water - Coke and Pepsi bottle municipal tap water as "Dasani" and "Aquafina" and sell it to us at twice the cost of gasoline. Bottle water is a triumph of perceived need over reason--the greatest marketing coup in history.  12/2/2007 Doonesbury comic strip
  Drink healthy water, drink it responsibly and save.
OK - This is completely off topic, but if you enjoy music I invite you to listen

Prescription drugs found in drinking water
This 3/08 story touched off a wave of concern about drinking water safety in the US.

Reduction of Pharmaceuticals in water
Certain common pharmaceutical compounds are effectively removed by  advanced oxidation practices, i.e., ozone and ultraviolet (UV) or ozone and hydrogen peroxide. In addition, membrane filtration and filtration with granular activated carbon are thought to be highly effective. Nano-filtration and reverse osmosis eliminated all drugs tested.
  I have distilled the results  of many hours of research into the discussions and the lists of drinking water related sites on the pages indexed to the right.  I hope that the information here will be helpful in your search for answers to this important health issue.

Although this site discusses contaminants found in water from both municipal water companies and from private wells, the treatment methods discussed, are mostly Point of Use (POU) - water is treated at the point where it will be used for drinking, cooking, etc.  Many private well water problems, bacteria, iron, heavy metals, pH imbalances, etc., need to be treated either at the well, or as the water enters the home and must be customized for a particular situation.  I do not go into much detail about these treatment methods, but I provide references to some sites that do. I try to provide only authoritative web references.

Sites you will find referenced here include:
Government sites, like the Environmental Protection Agency, The National Library of Medicine and the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Environmental organizations, like the Safe Drinking Water Foundation.
Water industry groups and treatment facilities, like NSF International, the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, Denver Water, National Environmental Services Center On Tap magazine and Drinking Water resources.
University based cooperative extension services and research groups, like the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University Extension and the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension (publications) and Purdue Safe Water & Extension
Media publications, like Scientific American, Popular Science, National Public Radio and various newspaper articles.

Summary of Water Treatment Methods:

I am 72 years old.  I do not drink any water and have not most of my life.  I thought I would throw this into the mix concerning if we should drink distilled water or not.

I drink coffee, diet soda, beer and an occasional V-8.  Oops, I forgot the 1/2 glass of water I take every morning with my 325 mg aspirin tablet I have taken for the last 40 years.

My question: why am I not dead?  All of the above is true as strange as it might sound.


An excellent and important question, Rick. Since you have made a habit of drinking heavily contaminated water for the better part of 72 years, switching to distilled water would probably be a severe shock to your system - I would discourage the experiment.

Seriously though, if you were actually living on 1/2 glass of water a day you would indeed be dead. The reason you are not dead goes to the heart of the distilled water debate.

Read more...  (Read if Java is disabled)

Water Related Topics of Special Interest

Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure - Out of sight, out of mind.  That's the situation with the drinking water and water treatment systems in the United States.  These systems � some in the ground for more than 100 years � provide a critical public health function and are essential for economic development and growth.  These aging systems have not been maintained, and some estimates suggest this is the single largest public works endeavor in our nation�s history.  This 90 minute documentary is an essential introduction to anyone who drinks municipal water.  Read the synopsis, watch the trailer then check it out from your library or find a way to watch it online - We watched it on Netflix.  
Special focus on lead as it relates to pregnancy and young children.  
(Prompted by two questions I received in one week) If you are are just browsing water issues and are not in the high risk category for lead poisoning (pregnant or have a young child), but  you  know someone who is pregnant or has young children, please suggest they read this information as soon as possible!
Bottled water articles from:
Reader's Digest Magazine  (2/08),
Time Magazine (8/9/07)
National Geographic Magazine (2/06), NPR (4/4/08)
Bottled water is no better regulated and not necessarily any safer than most tap water, and although bottle labels often portray the source water as originating in pure, exotic locations, over 25% of bottled water (including many top name brands) comes from municipal sources.  Bottled water costs consumers hundreds to thousands of times more than tap water. Bottle manufacture and water treatment use resources and create waste products. Transporting the full bottles to the store uses
resources and creates waste.  An estimated 90% of the billions of water bottles produced in a year wind up in land fills.

Hotel bottled water offering at $19 per gallon.
Hotel H20

Don't miss Penn and Teller's "The Truth About Bottled Water" The pair is a bit crude, and perhaps their experiments are not as "scientific" as they could be, but some very interesting results are demonstrated about the power of suggestion. The Placebo Effect episode further illustrates how suggestion and an uncritical willingness to believe can explain not only people's perceptions about bottled water but their acceptance of claims from downright fraudulent companies.
Watch The Story Of Bottled Water: An educational, 8 minute expos
on the manufactured demand for bottled water.

(Read more about bottled water here)

Water Lead-Levels Misrepresented: Dozens of the nation's largest drinking-water utilities have tried to hide lead contamination and failed to correct problems, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The newspaper analyzed data from 65 large water systems in the United States and found that high lead levels were concealed from regulators. (NPR, All Things Considered)
Note the common themes in the 1996, 2002 and 2004 stories below
Houston Chronicle series exploring the safety of the nation's  tap water and explaining the dangers threatening our water and what communities can do to protect it. (October 1996) The newspaper has retained the original articles, for which I am glad, but removed the high-level links and index, for which I am NOT glad.  I attempted to recreate links to the original stories and that worked for awhile. As of 1/1/2014 the series has disappeared completely from the Houston Chronicle.  I am trying to get the series reposted since it has historic value - the same problems described in 1996 are common today.
U.S. News and World Report on Drinking Water (August 4, 2002)
The coming water crisis 
(by Marianne Lavelle & Joshua Kurlantzick) Many billions of dollars will be needed to quench America's thirst, but is private business the answer? The tap water was so dark in Atlanta some days this summer that Meg Evans couldn't see the bottom of the tub when she filled the bath. Elsewhere in her neighborhood, Gregg Goldenberg puts his infant daughter, Kasey, to bed unbathed rather than lower her into a brew "the color of iced tea...
 Do it yourself If there's trouble at the tap (
By Marianne Lavelle) Consumers are embarking on their own efforts to ensure safe drinking water at home. But choices about testing water, filtering it, or switching to bottled are far from clear....... Most bottled water is clean. But in 1999, a Natural Resources Defense Council study showed that four of 103 tested brands of bottled water violated federal standards for chemicals or coliform bacteria, while one quarter fell short of stricter California standards for other contaminants......
National Public Radio reports on drinking water issues:
Weak Drinking Water Laws Blamed in D.C. Lead Scare - April 19, 2004 News of dangerous levels of lead in Washington D.C.'s drinking water sparks an outcry from the community -- especially because city water officials knew about the problem and did little to warn the public. In the first of two reports, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling explains that weak federal laws regulating drinking water are to blame.
Aging Water Systems Plague Cities - April 20, 2004 Lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C., is just part of a larger, more profound problem that affects cities across the country. In his second report about contaminated drinking water, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reveals that many cities are still getting their drinking water from systems that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

For Empty Water Bottles, There's an Afterlife (7/11/2007) Last year, Americans bought more than 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles. Most of the containers end up in the trash. But now, there's a competitive global market for the bottles, once they're recycled.
The Water Debate Continues: Bottled vs. Tap (7/23/2007) Last year, Americans bought more than 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles. Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson explains why some city leaders are encouraging their citizens to start turning to the tap.
Water Wars Out West: Keep What You Catch! (7/1/2009) Colorado takes this sort of illegal harvesting of precipitation seriously. If caught, Hanzel could have faced fines of up to $500 a day. Luckily for him, a law recently passed legalizes his collection system. It's a narrow exception to the ban for people who would have to dig a well or have water trucked in.
Reader's Digest Magazine Article - Drinking Recycled Sewage Water: The Debate
Drinking treated sewage is a proposition as emotionally wrought as it is scientifically feasible. That�s why the editors at Reader�s Digest thought it was time to gather together the facts and arguments on both sides of the issue. Here they are, then, and we leave it to you to make up your own mind (3/2012).
New York Times, Toxic Waters: (12/16/2009)
A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulator's response.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for additional sites
that might be of interest, or relevant news stories,
please contact me,

About Me

The e-mail address above is an image without a link to
reduce automatic harvesting of my e-mail address for use in spam.

Cyber-Nook has been featured in:
Drinking water sources Water Conditioning and Purification Magazine, Website of the Month, July 2003
Drinking water sources On Tap (Drinking Water News For America's Small Communities) Web Resources, Summer 2002
On Tap Magazine is an excellent source of information and can be read on-line for free!
Drinking water sources The Houston Chronicle, Hotlist: Drinking water, 9/11/01, By Cay Dickson


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Please be advised that the information on this page and on this site is for general educational information only and is NOT intended to make any specific health claims or recommend any specific treatment method or preventative advice for any health issue or problem.  Consult your physician or a health specialist for specific steps to take for your specific health requirements!

Copyright � 2001 Randy Johnson. All rights reserved.

Updated October 2014

Drinking water concerns
Drinking water concerns Introduction
Drinking water concerns Concerns about water safety
Drinking water concerns Children and contaminated water
Drinking water concerns Pregnancy and drinking water contaminants

Drinking water contaminants
Drinking water concerns Introduction
Drinking water concerns Materials dissolved in water
- Inorganic
- Organic
Drinking water concerns Materials suspended in water
- Pathogens
- Asbestos
Drinking water concerns Interview excerpt

Risk factors for contaminants
Drinking water concerns Drinking water sources
Drinking water concerns Municipal providers
Drinking water concerns Private wells
Drinking water concerns Location of home
Drinking water concerns Chlorination and DBPs
Drinking water concerns High risk populations: pregnancy
Drinking water concerns Home age & lead
Drinking water concerns Use Sensory clues to identify contaminants

Drinking water concerns Importance of product certification
Drinking water concerns Things to consider
Drinking water concerns Methods:
Point of Entry (POE)
Point Of Use (POU)
- Boiling
- Distillation
- Reverse Osmosis (RO)
- Filtration
  * Sediment
   * Activated carbon
   * GAC
   * Solid block
   * Pore size
- Bottled water
- Ultraviolet (UV)
- Water softeners
- Ion exchange
- Whole House
'Altered' water
Drinking water concerns Comparison of drinking water treatment methods - chart
Drinking water concerns Comparison of long-term costs for water treatment
Drinking water concerns Emergency water treatment

Other water topics
Drinking water concerns Drinking Water Scams
  Alkaline Water
  Other Types
Drinking water concerns Masaru Emoto & Water Crystals
Drinking water concerns Drinking Water Fluoridation
Drinking water concerns Distilled Water & Health
Drinking water concerns Water-Related Quotes
Drinking water concerns Bottled Water
Drinking water concerns Four Steps to determine the best water treatment method for you

Recommendations Recommendations
Recommendations Questions
Recommendations About Me

Recommendations links to drinking water related sites