What Kind of Water Filter Should You Have?

Water is a necessity for humans, animals and plants. As we take steps to clean up our oceans, lakes, and rivers, so too we must pay attention to the quality of water in our homes and communities. Municipal water treatment facilities are responsible for maintaining the quality of drinking water by removing many harmful contaminants found in it, but not all substances can be filtered away with one-hundred percent efficacy. Any contaminants that make their way past mechanical filtration systems tend to be so small that specialized filtration mechanisms may be required to sift them apart. The common household products we use on a daily basis such as dish soaps, shampoos and detergents may further contribute to the decreasing purity of our groundwater aquifers beneath the ground, which the source of our water here on Long Island.

We can take extra steps in reducing the pollutants in our groundwater by choosing less toxic products such as plant-based soaps and detergents found at health food stores, vs. the typical name brands which are petroleum based and may contain harmful contaminants such as 1,4 dioxane (as well as fragrances containing hormone-disrupting phthalates). Local wildlife also relies on a healthy water ecosystem—after water goes through treatment or our cesspool/septic system, it goes back to our waterways... 

We can also protect our own health through the installation of home water filters that target specific contaminants such as volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and other chemicals. And although purchasing a home water filter may be an expense, it is worth it to prevent the risk of illnesses, and is cheaper and less wasteful than drinking from plastic water bottles. Below is a list of some of the common harmful ingredients found in daily-use products that further pollute the quality of our water:

•   Synthetic perfumes/fragrances – common in lotions, soaps, detergents, shampoos, and conditioners.

◦   Impedes the lymphatic system process of cleaning your body of toxic antigens and wastes

•   Potassium Sorbates & phenoxyethanol – found in hair-care products and some cosmetics. 

◦   Can cause contact dermatitis, organ toxicity and irritates the skin, scalp, eyes, or lungs

•   Dimethicone – found in lubricants, moisturizers, and cosmetics.

◦   Can cause skin and scalp irritation due to the chemical trapping bacteria within the skin. 

◦   Non-biodegradable

•   Formaldehydes (DMDM Hydantoin, Bronopol, quaternium-15, and others) – found in cosmetics, baby shampoos, body soaps, and hair gels. 

◦   Skin irritations and rashes caused by skin PH sensitivity and allergic reactions

◦   Carcinogenic

•   Contaminants – unplanned byproducts of the multitudes of ingredients mixed into products.

◦   Are NOT listed in product labels due to the unpredictability of byproduct outcomes.

◦   Some known harmful contaminants:

‣   1,4-dioxane

‣   formaldehydes 

‣   polyethylene glycol

‣   polyethylene ceteareth

‣   talcum

‣   butane and isobutene

‣   coal tar

‣   Heavy solids (lead, nickel, and others)

Many types of water filters can be outfitted into your home to help filter out different contaminants. It is recommended that you have your home’s water tested to see which pollutants may be present. It may also be of benefit to check your county/state Annual Water Quality Reports as a reference to the general safety. Attached below are links to the New York State Annual Water Quality Support, and we encourage any readers out-of-state to search for their respective state’s reports. Additionally, please see our Water Filter Factsheet for a brief synopsis covering the types of water filters that can tackle the contaminants according to the specifications needed in your home’s water quality. 

Helpful Links:

NYS Annual Water Quality Report

View / Download: Water Filter Factsheet by Green Inside and Out

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Rose Schipano