The idea of contaminants in your water can be stressful because you won’t always be able to see them. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you have to live your life wondering what’s in each glass of water you drink. Read up on these harmful contaminants that can be found in water so that you can start taking steps to avoid encountering them.
Viruses & Bacteria
If you’re hiking outdoors, you have to be very careful about the water you ingest. Viruses like hepatitis A and bacteria such as E. coli are commonly found in outdoor water sources. (The same water you drink the local animals use as their bathroom.) As the weather warms, blue-green algae (which are really bacteria) are a concern due to the toxins they secrete into slow moving water sources like ponds and small lakes. Most hikers buy water filter bottles for protection from these contaminants but most filter bottles do not remove viruses, so double check your bottle before you buy or before you depart on your next outdoor adventure. A water purifier bottle will remove viruses; a water filter bottle likely does not remove viruses.
Another group of harmful contaminants you can find in water is chemicals. Pesticides, chlorine, and more chemicals can seep into drinking water just as easily as bacteria or viruses can. Highly toxic PFAS “forever chemicals" are increasingly found to pollute local water sources, particularly near former military bases. So, if you’re shopping for a water purifying system or a purifier bottle, check to see that it will eliminate chemicals to ensure you’re getting maximum coverage.
This might sound surprising, because if pieces of metal were in your water, you’d notice, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. For instance, microscopic particles of lead from old pipes can seep into your water supply and turn it from healthy to toxic. Mercury and chromium are also common water contaminants. This is particularly a concern if you are on a well water system. Thankfully, heavy metals are also contaminants that you can eliminate with the right water purifier bottle, so choose your purification methods wisely.
Although the contaminants above and more commonly infect drinking water, you can easily take steps to keep them out of your glass or bottle every time you need to rehydrate.
Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic that are found everywhere including our air, soil and water. Microplastics have recently been found in human placentas. Research suggests humans consume a credit card’s worth of plastic (about five grams) every week. While research on effects of microplastics is in a very early stage, it is safe to say none of us want plastic inside our bodies. A water purifier bottle will remove microplastics.