How Safe is Your Water?

How Safe is Your Water?

Water.  It covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and is the most essential element to human existence.  With 3.9 trillion gallons of water consumed in the United States each month, water is a part of everyone’s daily life.  In fact, you probably have a glass of water nearby as you read this post.

But when did water become so complicated?  With all of the new filtration options, bottled waters, and water pitchers, what has changed in water consumption?  Are these new water pitchers and filtration systems necessary to a clean and healthy water source?

Luckily, 4th Strand has recently performed an analysis on filtered water pitchers (i.e. Brita, PUR, etc.) and has the answers to your questions.

The purpose of water filtration pitchers is to filter and remove the harmful substances in your water source.  Primarily used for tap water sources (i.e. kitchen sinks), filtration pitchers work to remove chemicals such as chlorine and TDS, or total dissolved solids. TDS, by definition, is the measure of the combined content of the organic and inorganic substances in your water.  Basically, it’s all of the microscopic elements that remain in your water after initial filtration.

According to the EPA, a “safe” water source is one that contains a TDS level of less than 500 ppm.  We checked the TDS of our tap water at the 4th Strand office and found a TDS level of 86 PPM.  Whew! Everyone in our office is safe to drink here.  In fact, most plumbed water sources will be way under the “safe” TDS levels.

Ok. Well then what is the point of using a water filtration pitcher if I am already safe?

TDS generally has little effect on the health effects of water and is used more as an indication of the aesthetic values of drinking water.  TDS can include chlorine and metals, which have a significant impact on the taste and odor of your drinking water.  Removing them does not make the water “safer” for you, but it will certainly make your water taste different (most would say better).  Most filters will reduce the TDS levels to around half of the original value, with some actually removing ALL of the TDS from your water.

Anyone who has owned a filtration pitcher before should be aware that each filter only has a life of about 2-3 months, or around 40 filtered gallons.  If you enjoy the improved taste/smell of the water, make sure to regularly change the filters.  Continuing to filter water through an old or expired filter will not do much besides acting as a placebo effect to your drinking experience.  The more water that passes through a filter, the more full it becomes, thus limiting its ability to filter anything out of your water.

Do you use filtered water to make your coffee?

Believe it or not, a lower level of TDS does NOT mean a better tasting cup of coffee.  (Confusing, I know…) Due to the way minerals react with coffee beans, the ideal TDS level is claimed to be anywhere from 100-200, far from the 0-50 TDS of your filtered water.


What type of water do you prefer to drink? Do you regularly use any sort of water filtration method?  Let us know!


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One Response to How Safe is Your Water?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
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