8 signs your tap water might be dangerous to drink
- Our senses are valuable tool when looking for contaminants in drinking water.
- Water that's safe to drink should ideally be clear with no odor or funny taste.
- If your tap water tastes metallic, smells fishy, or comes out cloudy, it could signal the presence of unsafe contaminants.
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When residents of Flint, Michigan, turned on their taps back in 2014, they encountered an unpleasant brown sludge that tasted like metal. The discolored liquid was an early sign that something was amiss with the city's water supply, which had recently been switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River.
The new water source had corroded the city's aging pipes, allowing toxic levels of lead to seep into residents' drinking water. What followed was one of the worst health disasters in US history, wherein around 10,000 residents were effectively poisoned in their own homes.Read more: California's contaminated drinking water could lead to nearly 15,500 cancer cases over the course of a lifetime. Here's how worried you should be.
The crisis, though an extreme example of water contamination, wasn't a one-off occurrence. Every year, millions of Americans get their drinking water from a source that violates the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The best way to tell exactly what's in our water is to have it professionally tested, but there are a few ways to screen for contaminants using our senses.
Here are some signs that your tap water might not be safe to drink.