Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeHealthExperts issue tap water warning as common mistake could make you ill

Experts issue tap water warning as common mistake could make you ill

Many of us are aware of the importance of drinking water every day. Not only does it help prevent dehydration and the removal of waste through urination, but it also lubricates joints and regulates the body’s temperature.

According to the NHS, we need between six and eight glasses of fluids per day to stay healthy.

Luckily tap water in the UK is safe to drink so we don’t have to rely on bottled water. However, experts have warned there is a simple mistake we could make when it comes to using tap water that could be dangerous.

Doing this could be unsafe to drink, cook with, or even brush your teeth with, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) says.

This mistake is drinking or using water to cook from the hot tap – even if it’s just to fill a pan to boil.

This might seem fine to do but according to the DWI it has a bigger risk of being contaminated by metals like copper and lead – which can have immediate and long-term effects on our health.

The DWI says: “Remember that you should only be using cold water from the kitchen for drinking and cooking.

“Water from the hot tap is not recommended for drinking as it can contain elevated levels of metals, such as copper, which makes the water taste astringent.”

Water that has come in contact with copper, iron or galvanised pipes, tanks or fittings for long periods “may pick up a metallic or bitter” flavour.

The DWI continues: “This can be more noticeable when the water has been warmed. Flushing of the tap before use will draw fresh water through the pipes and fittings and remove the taste.”

Similarly, you should never drink cold water from your bathroom’s tap as it could be from a tank that is “not suitable for drinking water purposes.

“Ideally you should only use a tap connected to the mains water supply for drinking, food preparation or teeth cleaning; however, if your drinking water comes from a storage tank then it will be safe to use if the tank is properly designed, correctly installed and kept in good condition,” the DWI says.

Drinking water with even small amounts of lead can be harmful, affecting children’s development and causing kidney and heart problems in adults.

In the UK, using heavy metal in pipes was stopped in the 1970s, but some older houses might still have them.

To check, you can look for your internal stop tap, where the water first comes into your house.

The DWI explains: “This may be in or behind the cupboards in your kitchen or a downstairs toilet. Unpainted lead pipes appear dull grey and often have a swollen joint next to the tap. The metal is soft and, if gently scraped with a coin, you will see the shiny, silver-coloured metal beneath.”

If you think your home might have lead pipes, you can ask your water company to test the water from your kitchen tap.

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