Is Your Drinking Water Safe? Take a Six-Step Test to See If Your Water's at Risk

Updated 4:53 AM ET April 11, 2000

ADA, Mich., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- It's an unnerving fact -- our industrial society is polluting water faster than nature can clean it up. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required by law to identify and set maximum limits for water contaminants in municipal water systems, but even with the precautions put in place and enforced by the EPA, there is no guarantee that the water coming out of your tap is safe. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) contends that the number of Americans exposed to water contaminated above EPA standards is growing. Water contaminants can come from a variety of sources and have a wide range of effects on those who ingest them. And, since water is susceptible to new contaminants at any time from many sources, even "municipally treated" water may not be consistently risk-free.

According to a 1999 survey by the Water Quality Association (WQA), sixty percent of adults believe the quality of their drinking water affects their health and about three-quarters have some concerns regarding the quality of their household water supply.

The water treatment experts at Amway suggest the following tests and resources to help you determine if your drinking water is safe.

1. Look at it. Water should look clear and have no floating particles.

2. Smell it. Water should be free of unpleasant odors.

3. Taste it. Unusual tasting water should be tested.

4. Contact your local health department to have your water tested if it looks, smells or tastes unusual or if you're concerned about your water quality. (NOTE: The lack of anything unusual in the taste, aroma or appearance of your water doesn't necessarily indicate it's free from contaminants.)

5. Request a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report from your community water supplier. The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 requires all community water systems to provide their customers with an annual water quality report. This little-known resource can help you diagnose what's in your water and what might require treatment to improve taste, smell or clarity.

6. Visit www.epa.gov/safewater/ for a complete list of regulated contaminants or call the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Contact: Julie Boehr of Amway, 616-787-5178