impurities in drinking water

Published: 15th September 2010
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Drinking water can be obtained from any source, tap water by volume is the most common source of drinking water in the western world. The increasing popularity of bottled water has confused the consumer on the impurities of drinking water. Local governments, in addition to national and supranational governments such as the UN, have varied standards on drinking water. Occasionally these standards are not quite as high as one might assume. The impurities in water can be things that can be carcinogenic, such as lead, or heavy metals such as copper, or simple inert biological matter which increases the opaqueness of water, known as turbidity in water circles, but cause no pathology in humans. Impurities can also be defined to included the items that are added by governments to increase public welfare and health. Fluoride which can be a natural component of well water has an effect of slightly dulling the color of teeth while drastically decreasing the human tooth to attack by bacteria which cause cavities. One could look at fluoride as both a impurity but a positive thing for human health.

The most pure form of water is water vapor or steam, condensed into its liquid form, this water, distilled water is completely lacking in impurities. The adage, there's no accounting for taste, applies even for water. Water with a complete lack of impurities often tastes odd to people, is described as flat. The water lack impurities people actually desire like magnesium, sodium, and calcium. The ratio of these impurities in drinking water is important as well, with heavy mineral impurities water is called hard and may have an unpleasant taste and even leave residue when used in clothes irons or in plumbing fixtures over time. Soft water somewhere between distilled and hard water is a key component to the taste of products derived from drinking water. Regional products such as bourbon from the United States or pilsner from the Czech Republic require source specific soft water as it imparts characteristic tastes and qualities.

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