As an editor of a water magazine, I am frequently asked “Should we filter tap water? What kind of filter is the best? Should we go for reverse osmosis (RO) water?” Or I hear someone saying “I always buy bottled water when I travel. It’s better to be safe than sorry”. Then there are those who won’t be bothered to drink anything other than tap water.
In most Asian countries drinking water straight from the tap is not a good idea. Water borne diseases like typhoid and gastroenteritis have not disappeared. While municipal authorities do treat water in cities, quality control is not effective. Besides, there is always scope for re-contamination in pipelines. Most pipelines are old and might be adding lead, asbestos, copper, or PVC breakdown products to the water, all of which are toxic. The pipes may also be decayed or leaky, allowing bacteria to proliferate or ground contaminants (pesticides, arsenic, and other petrochemicals) to seep into the pipes. Cysts of protozoa (giardia) can persist even in chlorinated water. Continue reading