Is Your Tap Water Safe or Toxic?

tap water sage

Is Your Tap Water Safe?

I have been researching water and it’s impact on your health for almost eighteen years now. And what I have discovered about about tap water is frankly shocking. It’s not an exaggeration to say: cancer, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and more. I highly recommend you read on…

I’d always had a hunch there is something not quite healthy in there, you can almost taste it, can’t you…but what my research has revealed has shocked even me…

Tap water is actually a lot worse than even I thought…

The problem is so worrying because it’s the water we’re drinking so much of, all day, every day! It’s something we’re ingesting and HAVE to ingest to stay alive. And it’s probably the one thing we’re consuming more than anything else. More consistently, and more volume than any other food or substance.

And it could perhaps be the most toxic thing in our lives.

But I want you to know that while this is something you HAVE to fix, it’s not a problem that will make a big difference if you keep drinking from the tap for the next day, or week or so… You have time to think it through and fix it properly, and find the solution that’s going to work for you long-term.

How Did It Get This Bad?

So many reasons:

As ever with something so state-controlled, it’s a number of factors.

But they all add up to one thing: absolutely disgustingly, shocking, toxic tap water.

And this isn’t a conspiracy theory or guesswork. Firstly, just check out some of these recent newspaper headlines:

Thames Tap Water Risk

telegraph story about tap water dangers

south australia cancer risk tap water

tap water danger chemical spill

brain eating amoeba tap water, is your tap water safe?

Is Your Tap Water Safe?  It Contains 316 Known Contaminants and Is Proven to Increase Cancer Risk

“Each year in the U.S., lead in drinking water contributes to 480,000 cases of learning disorders in children and 560,000 cases of hypertension in adult males.” (EPA — Environmental Protection Agency)

Again, this isn’t a conspiracy theory or a natural health site just theorizing that tap water is bad for you. It is 100%, irrefutably proven.

A 3-year study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) assembled an unprecedented database of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004 and found…get this…316 contaminants in US tap water.

And among the unregulated contaminants detected 168 have been linked to cancer, 54 to reproductive toxicity, 67 to developmental toxicity, and 35 to immune system toxicity!

And most scary…Among the contaminants were 202 chemicals that are not subject to any government regulation or safety standards for drinking water. They can just exist in our water at any level without needing to be tested for, screened for or filtered out. If they’re in there? Tough luck.

This would be not too much different in the UK and Australia and lots of other countries too.

Some of these contaminants find their way into our water supply through insufficient filtration and faulty pipes, while others are actually added to the water as a way to kill biological toxins or to add some sort of claimed health benefit to those who drink it.

In small amounts, the damage that these contaminants cause is not noticed in the short term, but regular consumption of water contaminated with chemicals and other materials can definitely contribute to and lead to serious health issues.

And let’s face it. They’re all highly acid-forming, inflammatory and carcinogenic.

I don’t want to get all political on this…

I could easily go into my problems with fluoride, the poor level of filtration, and the general malaise of Government who think that throwing one toxin (chlorine and chloramines) into the water to kill other toxins (waste of time?) is all they have to do. I could write about that all day long. But that’s not actually going to give you any real benefit (although it is interesting).

Instead, I’m going to keep it to the info that matters to YOU and your family’s health right now.

Get Ross' water guide

What’s in YOUR Family’s Drinking Tap Water?

This is not for the faint of heart, but this is my low down of the nasties we most commonly find in our local tap water:

[+] Fluoride: This chemical is quite weirdly added to drinking water in the belief that it strengthens and hardens our teeth. This is the exact reason I DON’T want to be putting it into my digestive system! Why would I want to consume a hardening agent! If it coats and hardens my teeth I don’t want that going into my stomach, colon and being processed by my liver and kidneys. Weird!

There is absolutely no evidence that this supports our dental strength or condition either, meaning that it’s quite possibly simply a political or financial move rather than something that is genuinely an attempt to benefit our health.

According to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.

In fact, there have been over 34 human studies and over 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage, including lower IQ in children. It’s just terrible.

Too much fluoride can cause a condition called dental fluorosis, which alters the appearance of teeth as it develops in children. In severe cases, a consistent overdose of fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis which can damage the bones and joints and cause pain in people with this condition. Several studies on the dangers of fluoride have also uncovered other long-term health risks caused by fluoride poisoning which include kidney failure and decreasing IQ.

Again – why is this hardening agent in our drinking water? It’s a known toxin to human health and is added to our water in quantities which, sure, won’t kill you on the spot, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

[+] Chlorine: This chemical is used to destroy bacteria and other waterborne diseases to make tap water safe for drinking and is also used to treat the water in swimming pools.

Recent studies done on chlorinated water revealed that regular intake of tap water with high levels of chlorine has been linked to the development of several forms of cancer, mainly bladder and colon cancer. Of course, it does kill bacteria, but the downsides are SO big that I think filtration is a far better way to remove this.

Dr Zoltan Rona (graduate of McGill University Medical School and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut) states: “Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation).

This might explain why supplementation of the diet with essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and others helps so many cases of eczema and dry skin.

Chlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens.

To make matters worse, chlorinated water also contains chemical compounds called trihalomethanes which are carcinogens resulting from the combination of chlorine with compounds in water. These chemicals, also known as organochlorides, do not degrade very well and are generally stored in the fatty tissues of the body (breast, other fatty areas, mother’s milk, blood, and semen).

Organochlorides can cause mutations by altering DNA, suppress immune system function, and interfere with the natural controls of cell growth.

Chlorine has been documented to aggravate asthma, especially in those children who make use of chlorinated swimming pools. Several studies also link chlorine and chlorinated by-products to a greater incidence of bladder, breast, and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma. One study even links the use of chlorinated tap water to congenital cardiac anomalies.

As you saw from the Daily Telegraph headline above (and this is just one study) chlorine has been strongly linked to an increase in birth defects. And according to the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality, the cancer risk to
people who drink chlorinated water is 93 percent higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.

The simple fact is this: chlorine is bleach.

[+] Chloramines & Disinfectant By Products (DBPs):Chloramine is a new ‘bleach’ on the block that’s added to water. It is a less effective disinfectant than chlorine, but it lasts longer and so is now used alongside chlorine to help make your water ‘safer’. But it’s not safe. Far from it.

As soon as chlorine or chloramines react with any natural matter (such as decaying vegetation in the source water) ‘disinfection by-products’ (DBPs) form and this is bad news.

DBPs are over 10,000 more toxic than chlorine, are highly carcinogenic, and lead to problems including:

  • A weakened immune system
  • A disrupted nervous system
  • Respiratory problems
  • Renal problems
  • Cardiovascular damage…and so much more

Chlorine and chloramine in your tap water is not safe.

One particular group of DBPs called Trihalomethanes (THMs) are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

DBPs have also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.

One such study published in the Journal Epidemiology found that men who both smoked AND drank chlorinated tap water for more than 40 years showed double the risk of bladder cancer compared with men who still smoked, but who also drank non-chlorinated water.

A second study found that occurrence of rectal cancers for both sexes escalated with duration of consumption of chlorinated water.

Individuals on low-fiber diets who also drank chlorinated water for over 40 years more than doubled their risk for rectal cancer, compared with lifetime drinkers of non-chlorinated water.

[+] Heavy Metals: This is a very real danger to our health. Lead, particularly, is a very common contaminant in our drinking water and is very often in the tap water across the UK, USA and Australia plus many countries in Western Europe.

Corroded plumbing, contamination and faulty filters can introduce these harmful elements to our drinking water.

While some metals such as copper and zinc are good for the body’s metabolism, too much of it can cause heavy metal poisoning which can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, digestive system and respiratory system.

The big worry is getting imbalances of these metals from our drinking water, which has a HUGE knock on effect. Copper toxicity can cause incredible damage to the kidneys and liver, and as we all know, excess mercury can be life threatening!

[+] Drugs: Even after the water supply has been treated by our local water company, drug residue may still remain in our reservoirs. The simple fact is, water treatment plants are not yet designed to be able to remove pharmaceuticals from our drinking water.

According to a review conducted by Harvard Medical School:

A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000 found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states.

The drugs identified in this one single study included a combination of:

  • antibiotics
  • antidepressants
  • blood thinners
  • heart medications (ACE inhibitors, calcium-channel blockers, digoxin)
  • hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)
  • painkillers
  • caffeine
  • carbamazepine, an antiseizure drug
  • fibrates, which improve cholesterol levels
  • and some fragrance chemicals (galaxolide and tonalide)

80% of samples showed evidence of these drugs.

This is worrying, shocking, and getting worse.

[+] Pesticides and other harmful chemicals: Chemical wastes and pesticides coming from farms and industrial establishments near a water reservoir can contaminate the water that comes through our taps and faucets. The type of chemicals found in tap water is different depending on the location and the effects of exposure to these contaminants vary as well.

An example of a chemical that has found its way into the water supply is atrazine, an herbicide used to kill weeds. This chemical has been known to affect testosterone levels in frogs and in some cases have “chemically castrated” them. In humans, this chemical has been known to cause low sperm count in males, as well as low birth weight and birth defects in newborns.

Not good.

There are so many chemicals used in industry and agriculture nowadays and the wash off into our water supply is a very real and very scary prospect.

[+] Bacteria and other microorganisms: Despite treating the water supply with chemicals that should kill bacteria and other microorganisms, many of them still find a way into the tap water we drink. Most of the time, these organisms cause gastrointestinal problems in those who ingest them. In some cases, these bacteria and microorganisms can cause more serious illnesses like pneumonia and hepatitis A.
There is a definite reason to be concerned and that is why I SO strongly recommend that you filter your water.

Of course, not to mention the brain-eating amoeba from the newspaper report above!

Don’t Forget Those 316 Recorded Contaminants!

Remember – The Environmental Working Group ( found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 316 contaminants in water supplied to the public. The list of detected contaminants includes:

  • 97 agricultural pollutants, including pesticides and chemicals from fertilizer- and manure-laden runoff
  • 204 industrial chemicals from factory discharges and consumer products
  • 86 contaminants linked to sprawl and urban areas or from polluted runoff and wastewater treatment plants
  • 42 pollutants that are byproducts of the water treatment processes or that leach from pipes and storage tanks.

This alone is enough to make you want to find a solution.

Tap Water & Cancer

The links between the toxins known to be in tap water, in particular chlorine, trihalomethanes, microcystins, arsenic, nitrates, and haloacetic acids, and cancers including bladder, colorectal, lung, kidney, and liver – is growing more and more certain.

Research published in highly respected journals such as The International Journal of Cancer, the Journal of Medical Hypothesis, the Journal of Environmental Sciences and the British Journal of Cancer all demonstrate researched, proven links.

“The association of bladder cancer with tap water consumption, but not with nontap water fluids, suggests that carcinogenic chemicals in tap water may explain the increased risk” Source: Int. J of Cancer

Cancer risk from drinking water is certainly less than smoking…But it is significant.” (Source: J Med Hypo)

This alone is also enough to make you question the safety, long-term, of drinking tap water.

And it opens the question:

Is Bottled Water the Answer?

Bottled water is definitely not the answer. In every test I have conducted on bottled water (over 120 brands) I’ve found every single bottle to be acid-forming (pH below 7) and oxidizing (ORP of above +50) – meaning it’s stressing and destroying cells, forming free radicals, acidifying your system, messing with the hydrochloric acid balance in your gut and killing friendly bacteria.

Plus – around 40% of the bottled water we are buying is actually just tap-water, in a bottle. And to make matters worse, the standards that the tap water companies are held to are much more strict than the bottled water standards!

Just think, if the municipalities that are providing tap water are held to much stricter standards and the tap water is still in that much of a state, just think of what your bottled water contains.

The EWG found 38 contaminants in 10 brands of bottled water. Findings included caffeine, toxic bacteria, carcinogenic DBP`s, nitrates, arsenic, various industrial chemicals, and pharmaceutical agents.

Then it gets worse.

Throw on top of this that the bottles that you’re drinking from are made from plastic which contains a substance known as bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA.

This BPA is proven to leech into the water over time and in certain conditions. And guess what, weeks and months sat in a warehouse, exposed to heat, light, and air are the EXACT conditions under which BPA will leech into the water.

And it costs 50-100 times more per gallon than basic tap water and of course has a significant impact on the environment.

This is all scary stuff and I haven’t even gone into THAT much depth on each toxin.

Each of these toxins could be a report in itself.

But I just want you to get the message here – tap water is NOT clean, is acidic, inflammatory, potentially carcinogenic and contains more toxins and chemicals than we should consume on a daily basis.

IMPORTANT: however, this is not me saying that you should not drink tap water if this is all you have access to.

Hydration is vitally important to every cell and function in your body.

Put it this way: drinking tap water is still better than being dehydrated.

It’s Time to Start Making a Plan for your Drinking Water

This guide is not only intended to scare you(!), it’s also written with the intent of making you realise that you need to make a plan.

You need to start working out how you’re going to get these toxins out of your daily life, and out of the lives of your family.

You don’t need to do anything dramatic or crazy right this second. But you need a plan. You need to start researching what type of filter or filtration system is going to be right for you.

Step one is filtration, of course, and there are a myriad filters available on the market ranging in price and strength.

My personal preference is to use a water ionizer because taking your water from being acidic, toxic, oxidising, inflammatory and more and making this same water, that you’re drinking all-day, 24/7 something that is alkaline, antioxidant-rich, clean, filtered, anti-inflammatory and tastes crisp and delicious…

Well, it has a huge impact on your health.

And if you want to get the low-down on every type of filter to make alkaline water you can download my Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water here

So What Is the Answer?

Step one is filtration, of course, and there are a myriad filters available on the market ranging in price and strength.

My personal preference is to use a water ionizer because taking your water from being acidic, toxic, oxidising, inflammatory and more and making this same water, that you’re drinking all-day, 24/7 something that is alkaline, antioxidant-rich, clean, filtered, anti-inflammatory and tastes crisp and delicious…

Well, it has a huge impact on your health.

If you want to get the low-down on every type of filter to make alkaline water you can download my Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water here

Can you imagine the impact that would have on your health?

Instead of 120fl oz of acidic, toxic, unfiltered, oxidizing water each day you’re getting 120 fl oz of alkaline, antioxidant, clean, anti-inflammatory, filtered water.

This alone will have a huge impact on your health.

The filter inside a Chanson will remove chlorine, chloramines, bacteria, lead, pesticides, and many other toxins – plus alkalize the water, make it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich. And make it full of molecular hydrogen, structured and microclustered (to make it more hydrating than regular water).

It’s pretty amazing and I swear by it. Of course, you don’t HAVE to have it to be healthy, but it’s a very very big helping hand. I love it and I hope you check it out.

I give the full low-down on it in my Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water.

Filtration is just SO important

Frankly, the quality of the tap water in pretty much every country in the developed world is embarrassing, particularly the USA. We can’t rely on the Government or water providers to get us out of this mess, we have to do it ourselves.

We HAVE to get these toxins out of our water and out of our bodies. Each and every one of them can have a huge knock-on effect inside your system across your hormones, digestion, liver, kidneys, bladder, and more.

So start to research and plan and prepare yourself now.

Again, you don’t want to dehydrate! So carry on drinking whatever the best water is you can access right now, while you make your decisions and do your research.

But you’ve just got to filter that water!

If you have ANY questions about this at all – please do put them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap.


Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You


  1. Craig Reply

    Great article, Ross. live in Scotland where our water is meant to be some of the best. It’s definitely not and you can smell the chlorine. Schools expect kids to fill bottles up from bathroom taps.

    I have hundreds of cherry angiomas all over my body. Doctors say it’s just hereditary but I have done a lot of research and I have found it is linked to heavy metals in the body and damaged liver.

    Can you tell me if tou know anything about this and if water is a source of this?


  2. Harry Richardson Reply

    Fascinating article and I wonder if you have any knowledge or have heard of a product called Zero Water . It is a 5 stage advanced filtration cartridge that’s fits to a jug .A water quality meter is included with the devices ..It’s an American product which I buy from Lakeland Ltd..
    It would appear to be sold in several countries as different languages on box.
    Many thanks


  3. Dawn Reply

    hi Ross the link to your water webinar keeps taking me to an advertising event, not sure why, but I would love to join you gor this at the end of March

  4. Ingola Reply

    Hi Ross, thank you for the info on water..My naturopathic doctor advises drinking distilled water. What do you think about this?

  5. Wendy Vanderbeck Reply

    So seriously, I know this is a problem. The water in my area is undrinkable so EVERYONE buys bottled. So please, is there a concrete answer on what system to purchase or what to do?
    I am sure many need an answer to this question.

  6. Rose Kalin Reply

    I have a Kangen Machine. This is supposed to give me a higher ph water. I believe it also filters. Have you heard anything about these machines?

  7. Sophia Reply

    Hi Ross,

    Thank you for the useful information. I’d really like to know what you think of distilled water with added Himalayan salts to add minerals back into the water? Many thanks

  8. Vas Reply

    Hi Ross,
    Thank you for the article. Could you suggest on the type of filter that we need to use. There are lot out in the market. It’s confusing.
    Thank you so much.

  9. Jan Reply

    Might you recommend a specific water filter for NYC, NY?

  10. Jannell Correia Reply

    What filter would you suggest?

  11. Jackie Hoover Reply

    Thank you very much for your book and website. I would like to drink quality water. I have read your recipes for adding lemon and others, along with your opinion on filtering water, using bottled or tap water. I have not used tap water in years. So, where or how do I get quality water to start with prior to following one of your recipes? I am very confused. If you have an article I should refer to please let me know. I use glass to carry my water in. I do have bottled water at work or buy distilled water, but that is in plastic. Another reason, besides what you mentioned, I do not like to use plastic is because of environment and the need to recycle rather than reuse of plastic bottles.
    Thank you,

  12. Lisa Marriner Reply

    Hi Ross Thank you so much for all this information. Please could you recommend a good under counter water filter? We live in Sydney. Thanks Lisa

  13. Gru Reply

    Please recommend a plumbed in waterfliter system. Reverse osmosis?

  14. AK Jain Reply

    What are norms for safe drinking water. pH value ppm we can measure at home

  15. Julie Reply

    Does boiling help as a short term solution before proper filtration can be done?
    I’m house sitting and they have a jug they get filled and I can taste that something isn’t right.
    Their tap water comes from a well and they don’t have any kind of filtration.



    • ross Reply

      I would definitely, definitely not drink unfiltered well or tank water, that’s a really bad idea. Boiling will kill bacteria, but well water needs really strong filtration before drinking!

  16. Gail Matthews Reply

    What about rain water? i.e. collected in tanks

    • ross Reply

      Hey Gail

      How’s my spelling and grammar?!

      Tank and well water almost always needs quite strong filtration. It’s always best to have it tested first and then you can get the filter that’s best for you.


  17. Eve Reply

    What do you recommend for on the counter water filter
    I have been using Dr. Mercolas the past two years. Prefer on the counter, as I can take it with me when I travel.
    Thank you

  18. Justina Reply

    Thanks , I have just been searching for info about this subject for
    a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out till now.

    But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the source?