Do I need a water filter?

Does the tap water seem clean and drinkable at first glance? Are you sure you should subject your health to such a test? Let’s first figure out what path the water goes through before it gets into your tap, how it is cleaned and what, as a result, remains in it beyond the H2O formula known to all of us from school.

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In about 70% of cases, water for plumbing systems is taken from open sources – rivers, lakes or reservoirs, in 30% – from underground, from groundwater. Traditionally, underground sources were considered cleaner, but recently they have become no less susceptible to pollution by industrial waste and other results of human activity than open water bodies..

According to the Sysin Research Institute of Human Ecology and Environmental Hygiene of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, only 1% of domestic surface water sources meet the requirements of class I, for which the used water purification technologies are designed. Studies of a number of lakes, rivers and reservoirs in central Russia have shown, on average, more than two hundred different chemical compounds dissolved in their waters. Moreover, the presence of a part of impurities (about 70%) is not controlled at the outlet to the water supply systems; their influence is not included in the sanitary and epidemiological standards for water treatment.
on the human body is not tested.

How is the water for our water pipes purified? The initial stage is filtration, close to purification in the natural environment, that is, through gravel and sand. Then upholding. After that, the water is subjected to chlorination, ozonation or ultraviolet disinfection and removal of oxidizing impurities.

Chlorination has been used for water purification since the second half of the 19th century. During this time, chlorine has established itself as an effective and inexpensive method of disinfection, significantly reducing the presence of both pathogenic bacteria and a number of chemical impurities in water. However, this method also has side effects: being an active reagent, chlorine enters into compounds with elements contained in water, many of which subsequently remain in it..
Ozonation and ultraviolet disinfection are considered to be more modern, efficient and safe for health and the environment, but they are not yet so widespread in our country. However, they also have disadvantages..

The disinfecting effect of ozone is not accompanied by an aftereffect and does not always allow maintaining the sanitary and hygienic properties of water by the time it is supplied to the consumer. Plus, ozonation shortens the service life of plumbing systems by accelerating pipe corrosion. In addition, ozonation of water containing organic impurities can form highly toxic compounds.

The side effects of the ultraviolet disinfection method are less, this technology does not affect drainage systems, however, through photolysis in water, the formation of nitrite ions is possible, which also does not have the best effect on the human body.

Then, regardless of what the main stage of cleaning has been passed – chlorination, ozonation or ultraviolet treatment – the water is saturated with chlorine before being fed into the pipeline. This action is a mandatory step, provided for by sanitary and hygienic standards, and is performed to remove pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms from it. To prolong the bactericidal effect during the transportation of water through the distribution network, ammonia and aluminum salts can be additionally introduced into it. And how much is known that in recent years, data on foci
no poisoning with tap water was detected on the territory of Russia – these actions are completely justified.

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However, all these improvements in the quality of tap water and its compliance with the requirements of SNiPs and sanitary and epidemiological norms can go down the drain after it passes through distribution networks. It is known that 80% of water supply systems in Russia are assembled from cheap steel pipes that do not have adequate protection against corrosion and begin to leak on average after 7-10 years. To maintain the networks in working order, it is required to replace up to 3% of pipelines annually, while in the past two decades, on average, from 1 to 1.5% of pipes have changed. Today, most of them have long developed their
resource and causes leaks and water pollution.

According to studies of the human immune system and its relationship with the environment, approximately 70-80% of common diseases can be caused by the intake of insufficiently purified water into the human body. And 30% of the processes that accelerate the aging of the human body are caused by the use of water of not the best quality.
Some of the harmful substances can penetrate through the intact human skin in the pool, bath, and so on. Some compounds evaporate from the water surface after 15-20 minutes (for example, when taking hot baths) and, in the absence of proper ventilation, dissolve in high concentration in the air..

Residual chlorine content, other chemical and microbiological contamination of water caused by insufficient treatment or its passage through pipelines of inadequate quality can cause many diseases. Of course, nothing will happen from a few sips, but with regular ingestion of unfiltered or unboiled water, harmful substances accumulate in the body, which can eventually cause a whole bunch of diseases of the internal organs, respiratory tract, and also become one of the causes of cancer.
Boiling water, in turn, clearly shows us the amount of impurities in the water pouring from our taps. Scale in teapots and on the walls of other heating devices grows at a catastrophic rate, while the amount of sediment does not decrease. Boiling kills pathogenic microbes, but with prolonged heating, some chlorine compounds can form carcinogenic substances. In addition, a long boil, in addition to harmful impurities, destroys substances useful for the body, also dissolved in water, and reduces the concentration
oxygen in it.

Recently, the so-called artesian water has become widespread, industrially purified, bottled and used for drinking and cooking. However, it will be useful to know that for the purification of bottled water, methods are used that radically change its original structure, making it close in composition to distilled water, in turn intended for medical and technical needs, but not for constant intake.

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A worthy alternative is not only considered, but also successfully used by many household water filters. Ideally, before purchasing a filter, you should contact the branch of the water utility or housing office closest to your place of residence and receive a statement on the chemical composition of the water entering the water supply system. However, many modern filters are universal, combine several cleaning principles and retain most of the known impurities and contaminants. Different filters can be quite different from each other, and each consumer can choose the option that suits him the most..

Filter nozzles for faucets and jugs with replaceable cartridges – the easiest and most affordable cleaning options.

There are two types of filter attachments for the water tap – put on when you need drinking water, and attached to it during the entire service life of the filter. Of the advantages – compactness, low price, ease of installation. Cons – short cartridge life, slow filtration and poor quality.

Jugs with filter cartridges are cheap, lightweight, mobile and do not use a water connection, they can be filled from any container. Cons – low cartridge life, cleaning speed, small volume of filtered water at a time, which, on average, varies from one liter to three. When the cartridge is not in use, it comes into contact with air, which promotes the growth of bacteria. The activated carbon used in the filter absorbs chlorine and many organic substances dissolved in water well, but it has a loose
structure, water eventually breaks through channels in it and passes through the cartridge practically untreated.

With regard to purification technologies, both options, at best, combine absorbing (carbon) and mechanical water purification methods and are inferior in performance to other types of filters. The water is purified from solid impurities and organic chlorine compounds, however, they do not prevent the penetration of most chemical compounds and bacteria into the resulting product..

Prefilters, stationary and molecular filters, in contrast to the options discussed above, give a better output at the output, retain a larger amount of impurities, use more efficient filtration systems, but require more complex installation and their prices are higher.
The so-called pre-filters are installed at the inlet of the water supply to the living quarters. They extend the life of indoor pipes, protect household appliances connected to the watercourse, and cleanse the water from a significant part of impurities, making it more usable. Initially, prefilters were produced with the technology of a mechanical and / or absorbent filtration system and represented at the outlet water purified more for technical and domestic needs, rather than for eating and drinking.

More modern prefilters use a multi-stage purification system. In addition to the initial mechanical and absorbent activated carbon, ion exchange and electrochemical cleaning are used. Ionic treatment prevents the ingress of various salts into drinking water, which impart hardness to it, and reduces the content of heavy metals. Electrochemical filters, operating on the principle of electrolysis, prevent most of the chemical compounds from entering the product and destroy bacteria.

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You should know that pre-filters are usually used for water purification in private houses, while in apartment buildings, as a rule, the principle of water supply does not allow individuals to install a single purification system for the entire room at once. In this case, the so-called stationary filters are used, which are connected to the water pipe directly under the sink. Due to the variety of cartridges, stationary filters also allow you to make multi-stage water purification and choose filtration technology based on the contamination characteristic of water,
flowing from a specific water supply. A separate tap is installed for the filtered water; the cartridge, the resource of which reaches 150 thousand liters, is installed under the sink. Stationary filters reliably remove the main amount of chlorine and heavy metals, organic impurities, eliminate unpleasant odors and foreign taste of water.

And finally, consider the new generation filters using membrane technology or the so-called reverse osmosis systems. Outwardly, they very much resemble stationary flow filters, they are also mounted in a water supply system, but their principle of operation is fundamentally different. Reverse osmosis technology allows you to achieve complete water purification at the molecular level – cell membranes allow only hydrogen and oxygen molecules to pass through, removing all other impurities and impurities. Unlike other types of filters, the membrane of the reverse osmosis system does not store in
itself filtered out impurities, and divides the incoming water stream into two parts. The first, being cleaned, passes through the membrane, the other, the contaminated part, goes into the sewer. There are only two disadvantages of such cleaning. The first is cutting off not only harmful, but also a number of useful impurities that our body needs. However, we must admit that against the background of the general condition of the water entering our taps, this characteristic is not so significant – you can always find other ways to obtain nutrients from food or by taking vitamin complexes. The second is the cost of similar
filters are higher than those of the “first generation” filters. At the same time, the system requires much less care and maintenance, reducing the cost of keeping it in good working order..

In conclusion, I want to say that the choice of what kind of water you drink is a personal matter. From the tap, at your own peril and risk (do not cite grandfathers who drank tap water and lived for many years as an example – the ecology was still different), from plastic bottles from the store (by the way, articles on the unsuitability of plastic a lot has been written for long-term storage of food and water), carefully boiled (preferably not for long and only once!) or filtered by any of the methods discussed above. Indeed, in the modern world there are so many factors that negatively affect our health and well-being – protect yourself and your loved ones from at least one of them!

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