Although U.S. drinking water has been protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1974, many experts warn that water from a tap source does not meet health guidelines. While you cannot always control the source of your water, you can certainly add an extra layer of protection from contaminants by purchasing an efficient filter. Here are the most common water filter types:
Carbon Filter Systems:
Carbon, a porous material, absorbs impurities as water passes through these point-of-entry systems. They generally remove lead, PCBs, chlorine byproducts, certain parasites, radon, pesticides and herbicides, certain gasoline and dry cleaning additives and solvents, some levels of bacteria, and traces of pharmaceuticals.
Reverse Osmosis Systems:
Often used in conjunction with carbon filters, these systems push water through a semipermeable membrane to act as an extremely fine filter. One disadvantage is that these systems waste more water during the filter system (4 to 9 gallons for every 1 gallon filtered). They generally remove more finite chemicals that carbon filters might miss, including perchlorate, sulfates, fluoride, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, chlorine byproducts, chlorides (which give water a salty taste), and pharmaceuticals.
These units disinfect water by killing microorganisms with ultraviolet radiation. They are often used as a pre-treatment option or a polishing step in the filtration process and are recommended for use in conjunction with carbon filters to help remove other solid contaminants.
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