Why London Tap Water is Missing the Mark (And What You Can Do to Fix it!)

We drink water every day, and we should all be aiming for at least 2 litres, but do we ever question what is in it? The liquid that is seen to heal your body, might be doing just the opposite. Just how pure is the water we drink?

London Tap Water - Where does it come from?

Water from municipal taps is treated with chemicals to ensure that it is ‘clean’. But it has a long way to travel through underground pipes before we can get a glass of water from the tap. In London around 80% of the water comes from storage reservoirs connected to the Thames and the River Lea, so a proportion of the flow is from sewage treatment works. We’re all drinking recycled urine – lovely! But what else are we drinking?

What Impurities are in London Tap Water?

  1. Heavy Metals

Trace metals such as magnesium and selenium are necessary for good health but lead and aluminium certainly are not. It can almost be guaranteed that if your house was built before 1970 the water is probably still fed by a lead pipe at least from the water main in the street so there is a chance of heavy metal contamination. Despite EU regulations limiting lead concentrations to 50 micrograms a litre, the Medical Research Council has concluded that there is no evidence for a safe level of lead.

2. Oestrogen

Studies reveal that there are high levels of female hormone oestrogen in the water from the millions of women who take the contraceptive pill or use HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Oestrogen is not filtered out of the water system so everyone, both men and women, are consuming small quantities of oestrogen hormone. The result? Not ideal for the bedroom! Recent studies are linking male fertility problems to the levels of oestrogen found in tap water – the effect: men’s inability to perform in the bedroom and fertility issues. The Environment Agency has recently revealed research showing large quantities of male fish in rivers and waterways are actually changing sex because of the oestrogen being found in the water. I don’t think that men are suddenly going to change sex but for all the men out there, there has never been a more imperative reason to take action with the water you drink!

3. Drugs

You may not be having the sex as a result of the oestrogen in the water, but you could be getting the drugs! London is the ‘cocaine capital of Europe’ and traces of it are ending up in the water we drink. Studies have stated that although levels were so low that they pose no danger to our health.

4. Chlorine

While the treatment of water with liquid chlorine is necessary to kill bacteria in our water, the EU has no maximum level specified in European drinking water regulations, whilst there have been limits in the U.S for almost 20 years. Recently experts have linked chlorine to breast, bladder and rectal cancers.

5. Fluoride

Around 10% of the UK’s water supply has added fluoride to help prevent teeth decay, yet although we might have all our teeth it is causing a multitude of problems. Fluoride exposure greatly affects the thyroid gland because its store of iodine is depleted. A poor thyroid function leads to depressed thyroid metabolic and immune function wreaking havoc on our hormones. It’s no surprise that more people have hyperthyroid issues. Last year I was on the border of having thyroid issues, and since I have stopped drinking water directly from the tap my levels are back to normal (and although I can not directly link it to the water I drink there is definitely some correlation). Fluoride’s side effects have also been linked to weakening bones, increasing our chance of developing osteoporosis and cancer.

6. Chemicals & Pesticides

Over 300 different man-made chemicals have now been detected in British tap water and companies only test for around 20 of these chemicals. The attack on British weeds with weed killers is ending up in the water we drink.

7. Microorganisms and Bacteria

The presence of Giardia and Cryptospordium are types of microorganism that have also been found in some water systems whenever there is a sanitation breakdown. They are responsible for widespread and severe outbreaks of gastro-intestinal diseases, in particular Crohns disease (another reason I now filter).

But why bottled water is not the answer?

No. At first glance drinking bottled water would make sense, despite the expense. However bottled water comes in plastic containers which contain chemicals that are absorbed by the water. As for bottles, it takes 162g of oil and 7 litres of water (including power-plant cooling water) to manufacture a one litre bottle of water! The consumption of bottled water exceeded 1.3 billion litres this year, with many of them ending up in the ocean– enough is enough!

Why a Brita Filter is the Answer

This post is not supposed to be scaremongering, but a call to action to consider what you are drinking. The best way to guarantee that you are drinking water which is pure, is to install a carbon filter purification system, or buy a water filter jug. Easy enough. A Brita filter never looked such an attractive purchase.

Moral of the story – filter your water to make sure you’re in full health – in and out of the bedroom!