Don't Drink the Water

I’ve recently reached that conclusion that my apartment is slowly poisoning me.

Well, I think it’s the water.

The water in our apartment is not good. In fact, it’s horrible.

It comes out white and cloudy and tastes sharp and metallic. It almost seems to burn your throat as you drink it.

Taking a too hot, too long shower leaves my skin red, blotchy, and dry. But even worse is what I think it’s doing to my insides.

Before moving to my apartment in Baltimore County, I had impeccable digestion. Rarely a stomachache. Now I’m plagued with constant GI issues.

My boyfriend, Alex, has also suffered his fair shares of digestive issues since we moved to the apartment, including three bouts of heartburn so intense he ended up in the ER.

Why do I think it’s the water?

Chlorine.

Alex and I both grew up in rural Harford County and drank well water. At my house, the well is spring-fed. It tastes great and is a natural source of minerals and, yes, some bacteria.

“We had to treat the well a few times to get it to pass inspection,” my father told me. The well was dug in 1992 when he built our house.

“But we don’t use any chlorine or disinfectants in the water, just a spun fiber filter that reduces sand, rust, soil, and silt.”

Baltimore County water, on the other hand, is chlorinated to reduce bacteria and prevent waterborne illness. And judging by the water in my apartment, it is chlorinated heavily.

Disinfecting water is important, and it saves many lives each year. But it also has a more sinister side — like killing the good bacteria in our guts.

Now, there haven’t been any definitive studies proving that chlorinated water kills good gut microbes. At least none that I was able to find.

But common sense tells me that if it’s killing the bacteria in our water, it’s certainly not doing the bacteria in our gut any good.

Jeff Leach, the leading researcher of the American Gut Project, also believes there is a connection between chlorinated water and the reduced microbial diversity in American guts.

“In short, nobody has done the research,” he told Mother Jones in 2014, “but we are certain that there is an impact.”

There are other issues with municipal water to be concerned with as well, like chlorine byproducts, fluoride, and even residues of prescription drugs and antibiotics.

Just out of curiosity, I’m sending a sample of our apartment water out to get tested. I want to know just how bad it really is.

And until then, I just don’t trust the water.

First, Alex and I got a ZeroWater filter. It made the water taste a lot better, that’s for sure. But ZeroWater filters take everything out of the water, including beneficial minerals, so we stopped using that.

Right now, we’re resorting to buying gallons of spring water, and whenever I take a trip home, I fill up empty gallons from my parents’ well. I hate that we’re using so much plastic, though, so I’ve been researching what other sorts of water filters are out there that we could use.

And I think I’ve found one.

In fact, if all goes as planned, I’ll be able to share it with you next week.

But until then, I’d like to know:

What sorts of concerns about water do you have? Do you use a filter or buy bottled water?

Do you drink only fancy mineral or high-pH water? Are you concerned about the chlorine in your water?

Let me know! livingwelldaily@lfb.org

Until next time,

Jasmine LeMaster

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