You might think that water from the tap around most of Europe is pretty good. Compared to many other parts of the world it would certainly be ‘world leading’… but does that mean it’s actually great? We would (probably) be the fastest runners in a kindergarden class, but that doesn’t make us athletes.
We like to check in on what academics and published research is saying about water quality. This study from March 2020 had some surprising stats, which we thought we’d share as they relate to the quality of tap water. Although the study focused on why people choose bottled water over tap, it notes that in some cases bottled water has more bad things (like fluoride) and that mainly people ‘think’ bottled water is better for you (but couldn’t say why).
What surprised us most relates to health impacts from ‘microbial contamination’ in tap water. This is something we thought was limited to developing countries, and it is the presence of harmful microbes that can cause sickness (usually gastroenteritis, caused by Cryptosporidium or Giardia infections). The biggest risk is the potentially shorted life spans of immunocompromised individuals, but its not something anyone really wants to experience.
Between 2004 and 2016 Europe averaged almost 13% of recorded outbreaks worldwide, with most cases in the United Kingdom and Ireland. That blew our minds! And yes, many outbreaks are unfortunately not recorded in developing countries, but this was a big surprise.
So how are these waterborne diseases normally dealt with? It’s quite a simple, effective, but alarming solution. Disinfectant is added to the treatment of drinking water when necessary. The article notes that “Chlorination is the most commonly used disinfection method because of its efficient and cost‐effective properties. However, the consequence of using chemical disinfectants is the formation of so‐called disinfection by‐products (DBPs), mainly due to the reaction of chlorine with naturally occurring organic matter present in the raw water.”
So we solved one problem (get rid of the bugs), but created another. So how can you really ensure you are getting the purest, pollutant and microbe free water? Distillation or reverse osmosis.
Unfortunately, reverse osmosis is really difficult and requires quite complex and expensive equipment. Distillation can happen on your kitchen worktop! Check out our range of water distillers in our store and see if there’s one that suits your needs.