We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your newsfeed catching up on Aunt Ingrid’s vacation and motivational thoughts from that old high school classmate when a story jumps out at you. Apparently, scientists have discovered something we can’t pronounce, but that sure sounds scary, in water supplies! Eeeek!
Like Frankenstein’s monster reacting to fire — “Fire, Bad!” — some of us are instinctually upset by the idea of chemicals like pesticides in our water. No one wants contaminants that could harm people, wildlife, or the environment. That’s a given.
But before you hit share and rush off to buy all the bottled water from the store, we’ve got a few interesting things about chemicals and water that might put you at ease.
Here are six important truths about chemicals in water:
You Don’t Want to Drink Pure Water.
Did you know that water stripped down to an ultrapure state isn’t fit for human consumption? Guzzling a glass would suck vital minerals right out of your body (that’s not good). Water has many important jobs, but one of them is attracting and dissolving all sorts of chemicals it encounters. These “impurities,” like small quantities of naturally-occurring potassium chloride and salts, are actually what make water taste good. In fact, impurities are what make water drinkable at all (and apparently what makes water tasting competitions a thing . . . who knew?)!
It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go . . . Wrong.
In one corner we have “toxicity,” basically how inherently dangerous something is. In the other corner, there’s “exposure,” or how much of something you’re likely to encounter. You need both measures to know if something really poses a risk to you. If something is really toxic like arsenic, but the levels are too low to have any effect, then you shouldn’t lose much sleep over it. Conversely, if a chemical has low toxicity, even higher levels don’t pose a risk.