Drinking tap water - not a real good idea!
A more basic question we might ask is, is tap water even SAFE to drink?
First of all, it's pretty accepted among health aficionados that tap water is not safe. It's rife with all kinds of chemicals to kill the germs - chemicals like chlorine which are not good for human consumption. And since you can't put amounts of poisons to kill germs without rendering the water toxic, lots of germs 'slip through'. One of these, clostridium, a virulent form of one of the friendly bacteria we have in our colons, causes diarrhea and illness regularly in populations who drink tap water.
Secondly, let's take a look for a minute, at the route tap water takes. Through miles of pipes under the streets and homes of the city. Are these pipes a totally closed system? Of course not. Can germs 'seep in'? I would betcha! When it comes to your house, is that a closed sterile system? No way. You have rust, corrosion, seepage and all kinds of things getting into the tap water before you draw it out of the tap.
Third, an easy way of terrorism would be to poison the water supply. Drinking bottled water would protect us from that also.
Fourth, ground water must be really treated much more aggressively than the city water plants can afford to do, due to world-wide pollution.
Fifth, some studies show that drinking tap water increases the risk for kidney stones. Indeed, when I went to the ER a couple of years ago, and they thought I had a kidney stone, that was one of the questions they asked me, i.e. did I drink tap water.
So if it's such a hotbed of dirt and germs, why don't us who drink it die or get very sick? you might ask. Well, some of us DO get sick from time to time, with infections from bacteria or even occasionally, amoebic dysentery. We never think of blaming it on the tap water we drank!
Also, our immune systems are pretty good at fighting germs and especially if the route of entry of those germs are through the digestive tract which is one of the strongest part of our immune system.
That being said, in today's world of things which disable the GI tract in one way or another, such as surgery like the gastric bypass (for obesity) or the billroth II for ulcers, or chemicals which disable the stomach acid which is how we kill a lot of the germs entering our bodies... chemicals like Prevacid - the so called Proton Pump inhibitors, in this environment, sickness and organ failure runs rampant.
Again, most of us do not exercise regularly enough or take supplements to strengthen our immune systems.
The bottom line is that our society should be the last to take chances with things like tap water! A while ago, a research study tested the tap water of all the major cities and found that 3/4 of the samples contained virulent bacteria. And no, the home filters which are not powerful enough, and not changed often enough, do NOT screen out bacteria but only some of chemicals and some particulate matter. Compare this process from the Sparklett's website to your home filter (note, the last step of sterilization is the most important one to me!).
So what about Flouride in the water?
Fluorine is a chemical which is generally not safe for human consumption but it was added to the water supplies as a supposed deterrent to tooth decay.
From discussions I've read in the ADA literature, whether fluoride really helps in tooth decay or not, is controversial. It's an old remedy that was used in the 1940's when I was a young kid. But kids back then, didn't eat much candy, pop was not a household word and food eaten was much more wholesome.
Recently however, the ADA discussions have wondered whether fluoride which is toxic in larger amounts, should even BE added to toothpaste. You can see where this is going. The question we should ask is whether the fluoride in tap water is somewhat toxic or not? I would vote for it being somewhat toxic.
Consider switching to 'designer water'. We have been drinking it since 1970 when I realized that the level of pollution in major cities warranted the bucks allotted for designer water. We used to only drink it and use it to make baby formula, Kool-Aid, Orange Juice and used the tap water to cook in. For the last 15 or 20 years, we've also cooked in designer water because of the high level of chemical additives you find in tap water. The water you cook in is partially absorbed by the food.
Is all designer water the same? No it isn't. When you buy water, look on the label - if it is from springs, it will say so, otherwise, it's likely filtered tap water. Some companies like Sparklett's and Hinckley & Schmid sell ONLY spring water. Other companies like Arrowhead have a choice of filtered tap water or spring water. The water you buy in the super market is likely filtered tap water.
What about a water filter?
The filters work by reverse osmosis (charcoal) and charcoal can absorb all it can in about 2 weeks (remember fish filters?) and after that, the filter is useless. Additionally, filters DO NOT do anything for the myriads of bacteria and viruses in tap water. Bottom line, if you change the filter every two weeks, it will filter out some of the chemical impurities and particulates but not the bacteria. However, that would make a water filter far more expensive than designer water!
Although it's a sad commentary on our society that we no longer can drink the water coming from the tap, it's better to grin and bear it - and get designer water. By cutting down pop (soda) and like drinks, it's easy to fit the expense of designer water into the budget and it's well worth the price.