How healthy is tap water? | pharmacy magazine

Thursday is World Recharge Day. The day aims to draw attention to plastic pollution in the world: users should save plastic and use reusable containers instead of disposable containers, for example for drinks.

In fact, here the proportion of single-use plastic is high. In Germany alone, two million disposable plastic bottles are used every hour, writes German Environmental Aid.

At least with sparkling water, everyone can reduce their plastic consumption: because tap water in Germany is strictly controlled and is basically drinkable everywhere. We explain whether tap water is as healthy as mineral water from a bottle, how much CO2 you can save with tap water, and how much water a person should drink every day.

How good is the tap water in Germany?

Drinking water in Germany is constantly monitored and analysed. Its quality is regulated by the Drinking Water Ordinance. It states: “Drinking water must be of such quality that its consumption or use does not cause any harm to human health, in particular due to pathogens. It has to be pure and edible.”

The Federal Environment Agency also writes on its website: “In Germany, tap water is generally available in very good quality, which is why tap water is preferable to bottled water from the point of view of prevention of waste and the environment.

Can tap water also be harmful to health?

You should not drink tap water if it contains lead. Pregnant women, infants, or children up to six years old should avoid this type of water. The Federal Environment Agency also warns of this. Tap water may contain lead if lead pipes are installed in the building. This may be the case for some buildings built before 1973. When in doubt, ask your landlord or property manager if there are still lead pipes in your home.

Another frequently mentioned problem is nitrate in the water. In the body, the substance can be converted to nitrite. At least in animal experiments, the researchers found a carcinogenic effect. Nitrate can enter groundwater from fertilization in agriculture. Under the Drinking Water Ordinance, a limit of 50 milligrams per liter applies to drinking water. The Federal Environment Agency gives the go-ahead for nitrate in drinking water. The authority writes on its website: “Drinking water is the best monitored food. Its quality is consistently very good to good. This also applies to practically nationwide compliance with the limit value for nitrate.”

If you want to know more about the quality of your drinking water, you can check your local water company’s website or request data from them.

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Should I let the water run after a vacation?

If you have not opened the tap for a long time, for example after a vacation, you should let the water run for a few minutes. That’s what the experts advise. Because if the water stays too long, metals, contaminants or legionella can migrate into the water.

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Is tap water healthier than bottled water?

Bottled water can be a good source of minerals like magnesium or calcium. So says Dr. Jens Neumann, a specialist in internal medicine and balneology, in an article in SWR. But he also points out that with a good, health-conscious diet, you can get these substances through the food you eat.

However, tap water can also contain minerals. But many people don’t know that, explains the SWR expert. He speaks of an “image problem”: “In tap water, the minerals are called lime; in mineral water they are the good minerals. But that is exactly the same thing: these are ions, that is, charged particles found naturally in the water.

Tap water also contains minerals, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium, for example. The amount of minerals may vary by region. However, people get most of their minerals and other nutrients from other foods anyway. These usually contain enough to cover the needs of the body.

What is the environmental balance of drinking water?

Tap water is also significantly cheaper and more environmentally friendly because it doesn’t have to be bottled, packaged and shipped. The climate impact of mineral water in Germany is up to 600 times greater than that of tap water, according to the consumer advisory center. The load is caused, among other things, by the packaging and the transport route.

How much water should I drink daily?

On average, healthy people should drink 1.5 to two liters a day. People with advanced kidney failure or heart failure may need different daily amounts. Urine shows whether someone is drinking enough: the lighter it is, the more balanced the water balance is. Read more about the proper amount to drink here.

Can drinking water have a different taste?

Depending on the region, drinking water may taste differently. The taste of drinking water depends, among other things, on the minerals it may contain.

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