True Cellular Formulas Team - May 8, 2023

Examining the Risks of Tap Water

Pharmaceuticals, PFAs, Chlorine, and Fluoride

Examining the Risks of Tap Water

Safe drinking water is essential for human health and well-being. Tap water is an important source of water for many people, but there are increasing concerns about its safety and quality.[1] Tap water is treated to remove contaminants and meet regulatory standards, but it can still contain various pollutants and toxins that pose potential health risks. This blog post discusses the dangers of drinking tap water, highlighting the pharmaceuticals, PFAs, and other toxins commonly found in tap water.

Pharmaceuticals in Tap Water

Pharmaceuticals have been detected in tap water in many parts of the world.[2] These contaminants can come from a variety of sources, including improper disposal of unused medications and excretion by humans and animals.[3] While the levels of pharmaceuticals in tap water are generally low, there are concerns about potential health risks, including endocrine disruption and antibiotic resistance.[4] Commonly found pharmaceuticals in tap water include ibuprofen, caffeine, and birth control hormones.[5]

PFAs in Tap Water

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams.[6] These chemicals have been detected in tap water in many parts of the world.[7]

Exposure to PFAs has been linked to a range of health effects, including cancer, thyroid disease, and developmental and reproductive problems.[8] Commonly found PFAs in tap water include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).[9]

Other Toxins in Tap Water

In addition to pharmaceuticals and PFAs, tap water can contain a range of other toxins that can pose potential health risks. These toxins can come from various sources, including industrial and agricultural runoff, wastewater discharges, and natural sources such as algae blooms and soil erosion. 

Common toxins in tap water include lead, arsenic, and disinfection byproducts such as trihalomethanes.[10] Exposure to these toxins can lead to a range of health effects, including cancer, developmental problems, and neurological disorders.[11]

Chlorine in Tap Water

Chlorine is a commonly used disinfectant in tap water treatment. It is added to tap water to kill bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases. While chlorine is effective at disinfecting tap water, it can also react with organic matter in the water to form disinfection byproducts, such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, that can pose potential health risks.[12]

Exposure to these disinfection byproducts has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental issues.[13] The recommended levels of chlorine in tap water are set by regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[14]

Chlorine, a common disinfectant used in tap water, effectively kills harmful pathogens to ensure water safety. However, it does not discriminate between good and bad bacteria, potentially harming the beneficial microorganisms that contribute to gut health. Chronic consumption of even trace amounts of chlorine may lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, negatively impacting overall health and well-being.

Fluoride in Tap Water

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, but the synthetic version what is added to tap water in many communities to prevent tooth decay. While fluoride has been shown to be effective at addressing tooth decay, there are major concerns with the associated health risks associated with fluoride in tap water, and with using it as the primary resource to address tooth decay.[15]

Exposure to high levels of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis, a condition that can cause white spots and discoloration on the teeth, as well as skeletal fluorosis, a condition that can cause joint pain and stiffness. Some studies have also demonstrated link between fluoride exposure and cancer.[16]

Addressing tooth health from the inside out is vital to achieve long-term dental wellness, as demonstrated by the work of Dr. Weston A. Price. Price's research indicated that proper nutrition and a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, played a crucial role in maintaining strong, healthy teeth and preventing dental issues.[17] Relying solely on external solutions like fluoride may provide temporary relief, but it is a bandaid approach that can lead to potential side effects and overlooks the root cause of dental problems. By addressing tooth health holistically, we can ensure a more sustainable and comprehensive approach to oral care.

Filter Your Tap Water

There are several options available to filter tap water effectively and remove harmful contaminants. One popular option is to use a pitcher-style filter that uses activated carbon to reduce chlorine and other impurities. Faucet-mounted filters are another common choice, which can be easily attached to your tap and are capable of removing a variety of contaminants. 

Reverse osmosis systems are a more comprehensive option, utilizing a multi-stage filtration process to remove everything from minerals to pharmaceuticals. Finally, whole-house filtration systems can be installed to provide clean water for all your household needs, including showering and washing dishes. 

Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to ensure that your filter is certified to remove the specific contaminants you are concerned about, as not all filters are created equal!

  1. World Health Organization. (2011). Guidelines for drinking-water quality. Fourth edition. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  2. Li, W., Shi, Y., Gao, L., Liu, J., Cai, Y., Zhang, X., & Zhang, H. (2018). Pharmaceuticals in tap water: human health risk assessment and proposed monitoring framework in China. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987), 242(Pt A), 130-139.
  3. Fatta-Kassinos, D., Meric, S., Nikolaou, A. (2011). Pharmaceutical residues in environmental waters and wastewater: current state of knowledge and future research. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 399(1), 251-275.
  4. Kostich, M. S., Batt, A. L., & Lazorchak, J. M. (2014). Concentrations of prioritized pharmaceuticals in effluents from 50 large wastewater treatment plants in the US and implications for risk estimation. Environmental Pollution, 184, 354-359.
  5. Zeng, X., Liu, Y., Wu, L., & Wei, S. (2018). Occurrence, distribution, and risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in surface water, wastewater, and sediment in a typical urban-rural watershed in the south of China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 25(10), 9927-9940.
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2020). Basic Information on PFAS.
  7. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. (2019). Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Drinking Water.
  8. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2020). Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
  9. US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016).
  10. United States Geological Survey. (2019). Water Quality: What You Need to Know About Contaminants in Your Drinking Water.
  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2019). ToxFAQs™ for Lead.
  12. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Drinking Water Contaminants.
  13. Chen, H., Liu, J., Zhao, Y., Wu, X., Zhang, Y., Cao, H., & Zhang, H. (2020). Association of disinfection byproducts in drinking water with cancer and reproductive health risks: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environmental Research, 191, 110150.
  14. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2019). National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.
  15. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Frequently Asked Questions About Community Water Fluoridation.
  16. United States National Cancer Institute. (2021). Fluoridated Water and Cancer Risk.
  17. Fallon Morell, Sally. "Nutrition, Fluoridation and Dental Health." Weston A. Price Foundation, 29 Nov. 2010,

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