What’s on Tap?

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About two months ago I weaned my baby girl off the boob and onto the bottle. Though I know there is no substitute for mother’s milk, I do believe that modern science has given us a pretty good substitute in store-bought formula, and so that’s what she gets.

As some of you will remember, a few posts back I shared with you, my faithful readers, my concern about the quality of the water I was using to make the formula. To be sure my baby was getting good clean water, I was microwaving filtered water, in a ceramic mug, then putting it into the bottle to mix with the formula. This limited the BPA introduced to the water (by not microwaving the baby bottle directly), but it was time consuming and frankly just a little too complicated for the 6am, pre-coffee feeding, but I was worried about the quality of our tap water.

So I wrote to a good friend who works at the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, to ask her really, truly, how dirty is our tap water?

She told me that the water in LA proper is actually quite good, as it doesn’t have to travel very far from it’s source. So assuming the pipes in our house are good, the water should also be good. She also referred me to the LA Department of Water and Power’s annual water quality report. It basically echoed my friend’s statement that the water is safe to drink right from the tap. Of course, the LADWP would say that. The nice thing about the report is that they back up their statement with a table of all contaminants detected and the levels at which they are present in our drinking water. It then compares those levels with what the EPA has determined to be “acceptable,” and all in all the water tested quite well.

Then again, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term “acceptable levels.” What I didn’t realize (and what makes perfect sense if you stop to think about it) is that even pure mountain spring water has contaminants, even if you drink it right from the mountainside itself. Water picks up and dissolves minerals and other substances as it runs from its source to us, the drinkers of said water. Just like air is not pure oxygen, water is not pure H2O.

For those of you not in Los Angeles, a quick Google search for the words DEPARTMENT, WATER, and (NAME OF YOUR CITY) will get you a similar water quality report to the one I found here. I did a test run for Atlanta and in just three clicks I had the most recent water quality report up on my computer screen. Gotta love the modern age.

This isn’t over of course. It only brings up more questions – as usual. For instance, the LA water report lists contaminants that aren’t regulated by the EPA. How do I know if those substances are dangerous to me and my family? How do I find out if my pipes are good? How do I fix them if they’re not? What if I’m a renter, can I demand that my landlord fix them? Fear not, dear reader, we will get to all these questions in time. For now, embrace the empowerment of knowledge. We are informed, strong mommas (and pappas too).


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