Please pass on the plastic

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Drinking Water Woes…… January 28, 2009

Filed under: healthy home,healthy water — michelleodonoghue @ 7:08 pm

I’ve always been obsessed with clean drinking water. It is all I drink during the day and mostly what I give the kids. From cooking to bathing, it is a critical part of all of our lives. I believe bottled water –especially drank in large amounts is terrible for your health (plastic, BPA–) and the planet. The poland spring water dispensers are also terrible. Water sits in those jugs for years before being delivered to you, the containers are made with #7 plastic (BPA–crazy hormone disruptor, banned in europe and canada) and again, it is lousy for the earth to transport water all over the world and to use that much plastic

So when we moved into a new house several years ago I found myseld in a tap water predicament. It tasted and smelled like chlorine and I was starting to get really bad headaches. I had no way to know if he headaches were because of the water I was drinking but I knew when I drank it, I didn’t like the smell or the taste. We had a filtration company come test the water and it turned out we had really high chlorine levels and very hard water ( which means there is a lot of sediment in the water, either from the pipes in my house or from the water source).

After demonstrating with a few of their tests, we believed that their filtration system could alleviate our smell and taste issues, and hopefully our health ones as well.  We bought a whole house carbon filtration system and water softener. Chlorine is so easily absorbed through your skin that showers and baths account for most of your chlorine intake in life which is why the whole house system made sense.  It was expensive but the results were immediate. My headaches disappeared, as did the smell and bad taste.  Some tests by the filtration company a few months later revealed the system had completely removed the hardness and we had negligible amounts of chlorine in our water. My headaches were gone. I was a convert. Filtration water could provide us with high quality water for drinking, bathing and cooking.


When we moved out to California recently, I knew a filtration system would be a top priority. I made calls right away and found out that although we had some of the cleanest water in the country (our water source is from a very pure lake), we also had super high chlorine levels–the city’s way of ensuring that no microorganisms came through into our house. Great idea, but I didn’t want to taste and smell chlorine every time  I made coffee, cooked my spaghetti, or drank a glass of ice water. And this time I wanted to be a little more diligent in my research. Here’s what we did to get the most unbiased tests of our water supply.


1.) Buy 2 water sampling kits from home depot: lead and general quality (chlorine, pH balance, etc…)

2.) the general quality test uses those pH strips we used in science class and immediately tell you a lot of information.

3.) mail the lead test in to address given on box. They will send results in about 3 weeks. 

4.) have 2 or 3 filtration companies (found in the yellow pages) come to test your water. Their results should match up with your tests and each other. 

5.) Have them explain their product, why they got into this business, all costs (including installation–i’m wary of companies who charge an hourly installation ), ask ?’s about backwashing (how system cleans itself) warranty, maintenance, if you relocate can the system come with you, and any future costs to you. If you are investing in a whole system there should be minimal work on your part (perhaps changing a filter once a year or letting the workers in to add salt–this is used if you have hard water)

6.) Ask for a discount! there is usually some flexibility in their pricing.

7.) Enjoy delicious, healthy waterQ