Thursday, 16 August 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Why the Water Crisis Extends Beyond Flint, Michigan

Written by Posted On Sunday, 17 December 2017 04:07


There is a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, right now and unless you have been hiding under a rock then you will know all about it. But what you might not know is that the issues found in Flint can also be seen in many other American cities, which means that many more American homes could be suffering from a lack of basic, clean water.

Why It’s a Problem

If you go to countries like Mexico, you will be told not to drink the water. “Only drink bottled water” your friends and family will be quick to remind you. “You can’t trust the tap water.” But did you know that travelers in Europe have the same opinion about water in the United States? And it’s not just fear mongering, because many of the issues they are worried about have been confirmed by research conducted on the US water supply.

In the US water filtration is common and most homes have a filter of some kind. This is much less common in Europe, but only because the water is safer over there. In the US, 41 states have water that contains levels of lead that are considered beyond acceptable. It’s not just lead that is the problem and there are other heavy metals in the water, but lead is the most concerning as it can lead to neurological damage.

Copper has also been found in doses not considered acceptable. There are regulations in place to guard against water companies going above such levels, but they clearly aren’t paying attention and nobody is doing anything to stop them. If the water companies are allowing dangerous chemicals in the water that is piped into your home and no one one is doing anything to stop them, then it’s no wonder that we see problems such as those that occurred in Flint.

In most cases, the problems is not the water, it’s the infrastructure created to transport it. But this is out of the control of many homeowners and even if they could control it, the worst offenders are schools and hospitals, which means poisonous water is being pumped to school children, to the sick and to the dying.

What Can You Do?

There isn’t much you can do really. You can’t clean the water supply and it’s not practical to move house just to go somewhere that has a clean water supply. You can however, make sure that you use soft water filtration (read more here) to clean the water in your home before it gets in your class, your pan or your bathtub. You can also help to educate others on the problems with water in the US, making sure they check independent reports on their local water supply and avoid drinking it if it’s showing dangerous levels.

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