Water Filters: A money saver? Maybe an earth saver?

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • When you run your water faucet, what do you smell?

     

    I didn't realize that I smelled anything until I received a shower and kitchen sink water filtration system as a gift in November. Jim of Custom Air and Water arrived with his bag of tricks and, within the hour, I had this hanging in my shower:

     

    After only one week the filter started to turn rust colored. After three weeks, this is what it looked like:

     

     

     

    Who knew I was showering with all of that!? I called Jim to confirm that this was normal. His reply: "That's city water for you."

     

    Ugh.

     

    I'm glad I have the filter on: my shower water doesn't smell anymore. How can I tell? When I run the sink faucet I'm hit by a definite chlorine/chemical smell. When I run the shower I smell nothing. Also, now when I fill the tub with shower water it looks clear, not brownish yellow. City living indeed.

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    I also got a filtration system for my kitchen sink. I'd been buying gallons of Poland Spring for years. I bought a gallon every few days because I drink about 2 liters of water a day, more when it's hot. That's a lot of schlepping water from the grocery store every week.

     

    After participating on a podcast sponsored by Pure Prevention about breast cancer and the environment, I started to take more seriously the various reports about plastics and water bottles. According to the Times in England, "Bisphenol A is widely used in the food industry to make polycarbonate drinks bottles and the resins used to line tin cans, even though it is known to leach into food and has long been suspected of disrupting human sex hormones."

     

    The New York Times concurs in this report that water in plastic bottles is not good for your health.

     

    Sigh.

     

    But we need water. According to the American Museum of Natural History, "Humans are about 60 percent water by weight -- though the percentage is slightly higher on average for men than for women."

     

    But what is the best source for this much needed replenishment? According to the American Museum of Natural History site: "...the plastic bottle turns out to have a hidden dark side: energy consumption, waste disposal, and other environmental concerns. Worldwide, bottled water consumption more than doubled between 1997 and 2005, with U.S. residents tipping back the largest share -- about 7.8 billion gallons total, or 26 gallons per person in 2005.

    Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon compared to less than a penny per gallon for tap water. ... Worldwide, 2.7 million tons of plastic are used each year to make water bottles, but in the U.S., less than 20 percent of these bottles are recycled. The total estimated energy needed to make, transport, and dispose of one bottle of water is equivalent to filling the same bottle one-quarter full of oil."

     

    That's awfully complicated just for convenience. But there's irony in that too: "An estimated 40 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered tap water."

     

    I'm sure many of you have read the same reports, or watched your favorite nighttime news program cover the story. Click here for one example.

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    I'm curious, so do tell me:

    Do you use tap, filtered or unfiltered water as your main source?

    Do any of you use a water filter on your drinking or showering water tap? Do you notice a difference?

    Any favorite low cost filters that you'd recommend?

     

     

Published On: January 07, 2008