Fresh & New Articles
If you have city water, more than likely each year you should either receive or have access to your water company's Annual Water Quality Report... but what DOES an Annual Water Quality Report tell you?
- The report will identify the sources of your drinking water (i.e. lake, river, underground aquifer supplying managed drinking water water wells, etc.)
- Applicable EPA regulations and guidelines affecting your drinking water and any noteworthy health goals your water company has.
- Your Annual Water Quality Report should contain a list of all detected drinking water contaminants (i.e. Lead, Arsenic, Coliform Bacteria, Heavy Metals, etc.) and critical water quality parameters (i.e. pH, Hardness, Alkalinity, etc.) as well as their respective levels.
- A list of reported water quality violations involving contaminants detected at levels exceeding MCL's (maximum contaminant levels) established and enforced by the EPA as well as potential health effects of the listed contaminants.
- Information about microbial contaminants that may affect the very young, pregnant women, the elderly, and/or those with weakened immune systems.
Take the time to review the contents of your Annual Water Quality Report when it becomes available. You may learn a few things that you did not know about your water such as it does or does not contain fluoride, it comes from another town's water supply, it contains chloramines rather than free chlorine, etc.
If the report is GOOD then my water's GOOD, right?
Regrettably, the answer in NO.
Water testing by your water supplier typically gets done at the source (i.e. the water treatment plant) and literally miles of underground water lines connect that plant to your home.
- At ANY point in those lines bacteria could get introduced.
- Many cities' water lines have sat in the ground, un-maintained or poorly maintained for a very long time.
- Depending on the age of a city's water infrastructure, it may still contain lead service lines which could introduce lead into the water supply.
- Many older homes still have copper plumbing held together using solder that contains lead and that means lead could leach into the water supply.
While the majority of water systems here in the United States have excellent track records when it comes to the quality of the water they distribute, a chance always exists that contaminants could enter the water stream down the line so periodic testing at home certainly makes sense.
WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit
WaterSafe City Water Test Kit
Lead in Water Test
Each year during swimming season countless people get very sick from 'dirty' pool water... and after investigation it usually comes out that most of those illnesses did NOT have to occur! With that in mind, here's a brief list of ways that YOU can help reduce the number potential health problems present in your local swimming pool:
- Before entering the swimming pool, take a quick shower with soap and water. This will reduce the amount of body oils, makeup, sweat, and dirt that enters the pool and leave chlorine or other sanitizers in the water free to tackle other contaminants.
- Absolutely do NOT enter the water if you have had episodes of diarrhea in the last few days.
- Take the time to use the bathroom every 30 minutes and make sure your children do, as well.
- Make sure to thoroughly wash hands after using the bathroom and, for the parents of young children, after changing their diapers.
- Speaking of diapers, make it a habit to check the contents of children's diapers every 30 to 60 minutes and definitely take children away from the pool area before changing soiled diapers.
We will repeat this for dramatic purposes: Most instances of sickness resulting from exposure to contaminated pool water do NOT have to occur. Taking simple precautions as swimmers can go a long way toward helping everyone stay safe and have enjoyable experiences at the pool!
OK, so once in a while we talk about... other stuff. According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, the following items are owned by pool owners:
- Automatic pool cleaners: 60.8 percent
- Timer/electronic controls: 59.2 percent
- Decking: 45.2 percent
- Safety gate: 42.1 percent
- Safety cover: 39.9 percent
- Lighting: 38.4 percent
- Gas/electric heater: 30.5 percent
- Waterfall, fountain, etc.: 28.1 percent
- Saltwater chlorine generator: 24.9 percent
At first it surprised us that such a low percentage of pool owners used saltwater chlorine generators. Then, however, we recalled that most above ground swimming pool manufacturers used to void warranties on their products if the pool owner installed a saltwater chlorine generator because of the corrosive nature of salt water toward metal pool parts.
We have had the pleasure of swimming in all sort of different types of pools using a wide range of sanitizing systems and definitely believe the saltwater pools 'felt the best' on our skin and eyes. Another benefit? Colors on bathing suits don't fade as fast!
Safety First... ALWAYS!
Just because a child or an adult knows how to swim, never assume accidents cannot happen. A simple slip-n-fall on the deck could render a person unconscious before he or she falls into the water.
Also, never forget that an unlocked or otherwise unsecured pool area poses a danger to anyone and everyone -- especially at night or if children are around.
Keep proper safety equipment on-hand and in good working order. That crusty old life ring from 1973, despite its nostalgic value, may not be the best and most effective way to save a life!
Many people take for granted that safe, clean drinking water will flow from their faucets... but how many of us have ever taken just a few minutes to think about how MUCH water flows from our faucets each day or swirls down and out of our toilets each time we flush?
- According to recent studies, on a daily basis U.S. residents use more water to flush toilets than they use to take showers
- The largest (residential) use for water has nothing to do with cooking or even drinking. We use more water to wash our cars, water the lawn, water our plants, and wash our pets!
- When shaving with a razor, the average person uses roughly 2 gallons of water during the process.
- When a leaky faucet has a d rip rate of roughly one drip per second, in a year that faucet leaks a total of about 3,000 gallons.
- On average, the normal citizen uses about 100 gallons of water in everyday life.
( source )
No matter how we look at it, water will one day become one of the most widely sought after substances on the planet so we all need to take positive steps toward conserving the safe, clean water we have left and developing new technologies that will help us clean up 'gray' water and improve efforts to conserve water in all aspects of our lives.
Lead in Water Test
Water Metals Test Strips
Total Iron Visual Test Kit
"Can I use the Arsenic Quick test kit to test human urine for traces of arsenic?"
Good morning. We have not, yet, heard that the kit would not do so, but we have also not heard that it would... so unfortunately we really cannot say.
We suspect, however, that first you may want to research the PPB levels of arsenic that a person could expect to find in urine and see if they match up with what the test kit can detect. We offer several different versions of the Arsenic Quick and each has its own specific detection range for arsenic.
Our next thought deals with the color of the sample possibly skewing any results obtained. But, since the test reagent pad in the Arsenic Quick test kit does not actually touch the sample during the test procedure, we suspect that the color of the urine ought not pose a problem.
HOWEVER we do believe that the sometimes very 'bubbly' action that takes place in the reaction vessel COULD result in the formation of foam due to various things often found in urine. That foam COULD reach the test reagent pad at the top of the reaction vessel... and ruin the test.
What is National Drinking Water Week?
During National Drinking Water Week water quality professionals and organization engage in activities designed to draw attention to the importance of safe, clean and healthy tap water.
WaterSafe City Water Test Kit
The majority of Americans obtain their drinking water and cooking water from municipal water supplies, though most take for granted that clean drinking water will come out of their faucets. It is the hope of water professionals during National Drinking Water Week that people will take a few moments to acknowledge that here in the United States we have some of the absolute best quality and most consistently drinkable tap water in the world.
Testing Tap Water... Necessary?
Although the quality of water distributed by most United States water systems ranks very high, freak occurrences such as equipment failure and water main breaks can result in drops in water pressure which can allow potentially harmful bacteria to infiltrate the water supply.
Additionally, one must take into account the age of the water distribution infrastructure that carries water to their home. Back before science recognized the detrimental health effects of lead, many water systems used lead components... and over time the lead from those components creeps into the water that passes over or through those components.
Then, of course, one must also give thought to the plumbing inside their own home, apartment building, school, or office. Again, back before science recognized the ill health effects of exposure to lead, the plumbing in most buildings contained copper components joined together using lead-bearing solder... which over time leeches lead into the water that passes through the plumbing.
My Tap Water Stinks of Chlorine! Is It Safe to Drink?
In most cases, tap water that 'stinks like a swimming pool' probably poses no health risk. But... the SMELL is so POWERFUL at times. Chlorine off gases quite easily in most cases and generates a far more potent smell (stench) that lead s one to believe the water contains a much higher chlorine concentration than it really does.
But, if still unsure, you can always test the free chlorine and/or total chlorine concentrations in the water using one of the following products:
SenSafe Free Chlorine Water Check
Detects 0 - 6 ppm
SenSafe Total Chlorine Test Strips
Detect 0 - 10ppm
Free & Total Chlorine Test Strips
The United States Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of Primary Drinking Water Standards that contains contaminants known to cause harm to humans, a list of Secondary Drinking Water Standards that contains contaminants known to cause aesthetic problems, and a list of what some people call 'emerging contaminants' that contains chemicals and compounds that scientists have detected in the global drinking water supply at trace levels but have not yet determined if they pose a risk to human health.
Items on the third list include things like personal health care products, prescription medications, over the counter medications, herbicides, pesticides, and other compounds that mankind has added to the products it uses on a daily basis.
Why have we not noticed some of these contaminants previously? Quite simply, advances in analytical techniques and its associated instrumentation has made it possible for scientists to detect them.
Should we worry about emerging contaminants? We should certainly keep an eye on their levels and monitor their effects on people, that's for sure!
Remember: In the not-too-distant past compounds like asbestos, lead, mercury, arsenic, and thousands of man-made chemicals got used all around the world without so much as a single person batting an eye or questioning their safety for the general public.
We recently received the following inquiry from 'Tanveer' who asked,
"We would like to know about the availability of spare chemicals reagent no 1 and bromide paper for Econo Quick Arsenic Test Kit in Bangladesh. We have a good number of test kits still to be used in which the reagent 1 need to be used by June/2014 and the bromide paper by September/2014. But our testing program will continue upto the end of this year. The other reagents arsenic OK for use by this year 2014."
Good morning, Tanveer, and thank you for your inquiry.
At this time we do not carry replacement reagents for the Arsenic Quick test kits and do not know of anyone other than the manufacturer (www.sensafe.com) that does. We suggest contacting them to see what they can do to help you purchase the test kit reagent(s) you require.
For those in search of a full arsenic test kit...
The Water Test Kit Store currently carries several different Arsenic Quick Test Kits:
Many people believe that well water drawn from deep underground will contain nothing but good ‘ole H20… but in reality, well water, regardless of how far beneath the ground it comes, may contain a whole host of possibly harmful contaminants; just not as many man-made ones… usually.
Today we received a question from ‘KuntreeBoy’ who asked, “I live outside of town and don’t have city water pipes coming to my house. We have used the same water well for better than 20 years now and now some article in the local paper says all of us need to test our water for fluoride, like the toothpaste? Why test for that stuff in well water? That gets added to city water by water companies I thought?”
KuntreeBoy has a very valid point: Many city water departments DO add fluoride to the water they distribute, er, sell to the public. They do so for the purpose of reducing tooth decay.
Many people object to the addition of fluoride to the public water supply and a good number of countries have gone so far as to BAN the addition of fluoride to the water supply. But, here in the United States, until the USEPA reaches a firm decision on whether or not fluoride poses health risks to US Citizens, well, regional and local water departments have the discretion to add fluoride or not add fluoride… as long as any added fluoride does not exceed concentration limits established by the USEPA.
KuntreeBoy asked about well water, though…
Fluoride occurs naturally in the environment and may show up in well water depending on where a person lives. In fact, we have read over the years that some areas of the United States have groundwater with fluoride levels IN EXCESS of those deemed safe by the USEPA.
So why test for fluoride if you have well water? Simple: Because it the chance exists that your well water may contain fluoride since it occurs naturally in many parts of the world, including the United States.
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