Fireworks, picnics, and baseball games–July 4th has come and gone, and summer is almost over. Kids will be going back to school soon, and college freshmen will soon be traveling to their chosen campus. They will meet their new roommates, decide on which classes to take, and learn how to navigate a new town or city.
The shopping list for your student’s new apartment or dorm room probably includes new linens, notebooks, and maybe even a laptop. But, have you thought about whether or not your student will have access to good, clean water?
Colleges and universities usually have two options for student housing: residence halls that are owned and maintained by the university or private apartments selected by the student. Depending on the age of the apartment building or dormitory hall and the source of the tap water, your student may be at risk for exposure to lead, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants that could be damaging to his or her health. How can you avoid these contaminants and make sure that your newly-minted high school graduate will be safe? Here are a few steps you can take to provide your college student with the best and safest water possible:
Step 1: Find out more about the tap water
The first step to protecting your college student is finding out more about the source of water. For example, if your student is going to college in Los Angeles, CA, he or she might be exposed to high levels of cancer-causing “THMs” and even Arsenic.
- Contact the college or university and ask them for information. A small amount of colleges and universities have begun to realize the need for filtered water and may already provide it in cafeterias or student lounges.
- Read the most recent customer confidence reports for the municipality where your college student’s future alma mater is located. This research will provide you with the
information needed to decide the best water filtration system.
Step 2: Give your college student an easy to use product that will provide great tasting, filtered water.
1. If your student’s new home has water that tastes and smells like chlorine, but has few other contaminants, the easiest solution is to give him or her an OmniFilter PF500 Water Filter Pitcher. For just $30.98 (not including shipping), this pitcher and water filter 3 pack will provide the college student with an easy to use solution for filtered water. This product even includes an electronic change indicator, that reminds the user when it is time to change the carbon filter.
For tap water that contains more hard to remove contaminants like pesticides, bacteria, or lead, a different water filtration system is needed. Here are three options that will work nicely in a dormroom or apartment:
2. Culligan FM-15A Faucet Filter
- Reduces lead, cysts, and other contaminants.
- Easy to install, only $19.99 (before shipping).
- Filter must be changed every 2-3 months.
3. AquaCera HCP Countertop Ceramic Drinking Water Filter System
- Reduces 99.99% of pathogenic organisms (including E. Coli, etc.).
- Reduces chlorine, lead, arsenic, and other contaminants.
- Easy installation that requires no under the sink plumbing.
- Costs $99.99 (not including shipping).
- Ceramic filter candle will only need replacing after 6 months to a 1 year.
4. Nimbus Water Maker Mini RO System
- Reduces 96% of Total Dissolved Solids (includes nitrates and other chemicals).
- Fits simply and easily over the faucet.
- Costs $98.99 (not including shipping).
- Interior membrane filter cartridge lasts for about 1 year.
Don’t forget to get a reusable, stainless-steel water bottle with a Neo-Tote that will let your college student carry along this great tasting, filtered water!
As news reports about pharmaceuticals in water circulate, here are several facts for consumers to consider:
- Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking water. Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these “point-of-use” systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
- While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the U.S. EPA, home filtering systems
act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking.
- While specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals,
many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging contaminants. Nano-filtration and reverse osmosis systems removed drugs tested by the Colorado School of Mines at full-scale facilities in Arizona and California. Activated carbon, distillation, ozonation, and advanced oxidization have likewise shown promise in removing many of these contaminants. Individual manufacturers can also test products for specific pharmaceuticals if they choose.
- According to Utah State University Extension, up to 90 percent of oral drugs can pass through humans unchanged. These often then move through wastewater into streams and groundwater. It is generally cost prohibitive for utilities to use systems such as nano-filtration, long contact activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. However, these technologies have proven successful at removing many contaminants in home water treatment systems.
- In addition to pharmaceuticals, water quality experts are examining other emerging contaminants, such as those found in personal care products and pesticides. These are often referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals. Home filtering systems have also been proven to treat threats such as lead and mercury.
- WQA provides Gold Seal certification for products that remove a variety of contaminants.
- Consumers can learn about different treatment systems and find locally certified dealers by visiting the WQA Web site’s Gold Seal and Find A Professional features.
- More information is available at WQA’s Water Information Library online, which includes a search feature.
WQA is a non-profit association that provides public information about water treatment issues and also trains and certifies professionals to better serve consumers. WQA has more than 2,500 members nationwide.
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