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Don’t drink from the tap?

Is bottled water really better than tap when it comes to drinking water? When it comes to hot water, it may be.  A recent NY Times article points to research conducted by environmental scientists that hot tap water is more likely to be contaminated with lead than cold water. The reason for this is that hot water will dissolve anything – including contaminants like lead – much more easily than cold water and if that water encounters something like an older leaded pipe or some rust before coming out in your kitchen sink, it could very well end up in your glass. The risk, which accounts for up to 20% of all lead exposure, can be increased by further heating the water, because the lead will become more concentrated as water evaporates.

The risk is minimized by using cold water, so it’s probably best not to use hot tap water when drinking or cooking, even if using hot water will speed along the process of boiling water or fixing dinner.

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  • Ariel
    January 31, 2008

    I always let the water get super cold before I use it… using the water that first comes out when you turn on the tap has been sitting there all day in the pipes.
    The main reason why tap water is better for you than bottled is that bottled water is stagnant for a very long time before you drink it, enabling it to have tonssss of bacteria, especially if part of that journey it was kept in not-so-cold conditions.

  • Alanna
    January 31, 2008

    Sigh….I knew this….but I’ve been cheating lately and boiling already-hot tap water. Thanks for the reminder. I guess I’ll have to go back to using cold tap water!

  • Chris
    February 6, 2008

    This article isn’t talking about the difference between bottled and tap, but between tap that is heated vs not heated. The cost of those crazy bottles of water is crazy and the environmental impact is outrageous.

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