Is drinking tap water healthy and sustainable?Drinking water is essential for survival and therefore one of the most valuable resources of our planet. It is calorie-free and meets our daily fluid needs. Drinking enough is very important, as it increases one's well-being and prevents poor concentration and headaches. People living in Germany enjoy the privilege of being able to drink tap water everywhere, as it is of very good quality. Nevertheless, many still prefer bottled mineral water. Doubting the cleanliness of tap water. We clear up prejudices!
Can drink tap water? Tap water is an ideal thirst quencher. Moreover, also free of charge. But is drinking tap water safe for health? The Federal Environment Agency evaluated all official drinking water analyses in the period from 2014-2016 and came to the conclusion that drinking tap water in Germany is not dangerous. This is due to the high water quality throughout the area. So unless there are lead pipes in your house, you can drink your tap water without any problems.
These pipes are only occasionally found in old buildings built before 1973. There are also strict guidelines regarding drinking water quality and a limit for lead of 0.010 milligrams per liter of water. These so-called limits must be observed when water is fed into our pipes. They are also inspected by the health authorities. It is not without reason that tap water is one of the best controlled foodstuffs in Germany.
Where does tap water come from??
In many some countries, tap water can be safe to drink due to impurities u.a. make sick by animal or human intestinal bacteria. But what does this look like in Germany in concrete terms?? Our tap water consists of 70% groundwater or spring water, which is treated by the waterworks. The other 30% originates from rivers, lakes, reservoirs or bank filtrates obtained from wells near rivers and lakes. This is artificial groundwater enrichment. During this water extraction process, z.B. River water through the various soil layers into the groundwater and is thus already pre-purified. From there, it is pumped to the surface, purified in the waterworks and distributed to the various households via the water pipes.
Is drinking mineral water or tap water healthier?
Many people are under the misapprehension that expensive mineral water is cleaner than tap water. However, it often comes from one and the same source. In addition, mineral water producers do not always deliver what they promise. In addition, there is the fact that the specifications of the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance are not as strict as those of the Drinking Water Ordinance. In addition, the name and design make a lot of difference: After all, mineral water does not automatically mean that there are more minerals than in drinking water. On the contrary: since 1980, there is no minimum amount of minerals that must be present in mineral water. In addition, it is disputed whether hormonally active chemicals can be released from the plastic bottle in the water. Furthermore, pollutants such as uranium, which can occur naturally in rocks, and pesticide metabolites, i.e. degradation products of pesticides, can also occur in mineral water – naturally only within the permitted upper limits.
Are there any substances of concern in tap water?
In particular, household chemicals, hormone residues and medicines can get into the wastewater. However, harmful pesticides and fertilizers, such as nitrates, also seep into the groundwater through conventional agriculture. For this reason, the waterworks, which are under the supervision of the state health authorities, treat the groundwater by, for example.B. iron, manganese and carbonic acid are removed. With the help of activated carbon filters, the tap water can be freed from pollutants and pathogens. The Drinking Water Ordinance defines the parameters according to which drinking water is regularly tested and compliance with the limit values is monitored, so that drinking tap water is risk-free. However, not all pollutants are completely filtered out of tap water. There is a trade-off between quality, human health, risk, price and acceptance by the population. Of course, water suppliers ensure high water quality all the way to the house pipes, which are the transfer point from public drinking water supply to private. These, as well as the taste, depend greatly on the region from which the water comes. The owners are then responsible for the pipes in the house.
The nitrate content of tap water is so low that it does not yet have any effect on our health. However, nitrate pollution in groundwater is increasing from year to year, mainly due to liquid manure, dung and mineral fertilizers, which accumulate in water bodies and thus in groundwater through surface water runoff. According to several studies, nitrate is said to be carcinogenic because it converts to nitrite, which reacts with certain food components to form nitrosamines. According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Germany is already at 2. The highest nitrate content in groundwater in the EU, with one in every five nitrate concentrations. groundwater measuring point the nitrate limit (50 mg/l) is exceeded. Nitrate not only pollutes the environment, but also makes water treatment more costly for water suppliers, which in turn can indirectly increase the price of water. That is why it is important to reduce nitrate and nitrogen surpluses. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that people ingest significantly more nitrate from plant-based foods than when they drink tap water.
Rust is the product of a chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen and water act on iron. Except for the somewhat unpleasant taste and reddish color, a temporarily higher iron content in the water does not endanger our health. In tap water, the iron content is subject to the upper limits of the Drinking Water Ordinance and is harmless
drug residues& Hormones
Traces of a total of 23 active substances have been found in the environment as well as in some drinking waters. These include antihypertensives, painkillers, antibiotics, beta blockers and female hormones such as estradiol and estrogen. These drug residues enter surface waters via wastewater. They can harm nature and increase the effort for sewage treatment plants, which can result in a higher price for drinking water. So far, no side effects are known when consuming.
Drinking tap water containing lime is harmless to health. Numerous rumors say that diseases such as dementia and arteriosclerosis are due to lime in the water. However, we can reare you: Lime is not the cause of these diseases. In fact, it even provides calcium and magnesium to the body. As good as it is for people, it is just as bad for your kitchen appliances if you do not decalcify them regularly. These need thereby clearly more energy. Can be damaged.
Is drinking tap water more sustainable?
This question can clearly be answered with "yes. The production and transport of mineral water bottles has an immense impact on the environment. Most plastic bottles are recyclable, but cannot necessarily be reused except for the costly fleece production located abroad. This is due to the fact that most of it is disposable bottles, which are usually incinerated.
In 2020, around one billion liters of mineral water were imported into Germany via long transport routes. Due to CO2 emissions, the climate impact of mineral water in Germany is almost 600 times greater than that of tap water. If all people nationwide would drink only tap water instead of mineral water, the savings would be one and a half times as high as the domestic German air traffic per year.
In summary, tap water is about 100 times cheaper than mineral water and less harmful to the environment overall. Drinking tap water in itself can at most be hazardous to health due to in-house pipelines. If you have any concerns about this, you can have your tap water tested in laboratories. A list of reputable suppliers can be found z.B. on the website of the Bremen health department. If pollutants are detected, you should change the pipes as soon as possible or report this to your landlord, who is obliged to replace them. One hundred percent purity is not the goal, neither for mineral water nor for tap water. However, the latter is more strictly controlled. Is therefore the safer alternative. swb's drinking water is also subject to stringent quality testing. Meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance.
Tips for sustainable use of drinking water
1. Water sparklers for carbonation in water
If you don't want to give up sparkling water, a good alternative to mineral water bottles is to use a water sprayer. This way you can drink tap water. Still get the tingling pleasure of carbonation.
2. Buy organic products
Organic farming means fewer nitrates get into groundwater. For this reason, it is advantageous to use organic products when you buy them. This also has a positive impact on your environmental footprint.
3. Drink tap water
Tap water has the best eco-balance. Not only does it have the advantage of being cheaper, but you also avoid long transport routes and unnecessary packaging.
4. Run tap water for five seconds
Run tap water until it comes out of the tap cool so the water quality is perfect and they can drink the tap water. The longer it stays in the pipes, the more likely it is to germinate and release substances from the fixtures in the water.
5. Carry refillable water bottle
A great advantage is to always have a refillable, BPA-free, i.e. plasticizer-free, water bottle with you. You can then easily refill these on the go, depending on your options, if you want to drink tap water. This is also ideal for sports. So you can quench your thirst at any time.
6. Throw medicines in the household trash. Not in the toilet. Otherwise the substances it contains will end up in wastewater and harm the environment. Plus, the recycled water ends up with drug residues in our pipes afterwards.
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