Mar 052011

As any water quality report will show, tap water contains some combination of chlorine (a proven carcinogen), fluoride (a chemical of questionable value and arguable danger that is also an iodine blocker), and/or a variety of other minerals and chemical residues. 1 In the past decade, studies have shown pharmaceutical traces of antidepressants, birth control pills, and other medicines. 2 Some water supplies are better than others, of course. Brita water filters take out some pollutants, but they do not remove chlorine entirely, they do not remove fluoride at all, and they do not remove pharmaceutical and some chemical residues.

Several companies do make effective water filters and shower filters — these tend to be more expensive up-front but less expensive over the long term. In my opinion, the best “bang for the buck” is provided by Aquasana water and shower filters. These filter out only 2 of the 4 fluoride ions; however, there’s a countertop version for $99 that doesn’t require any fancy under-sink work to install and that filters out almost all other unwanted residues, while leaving in valuable minerals. Moreover, your tap water may not be fluoridated at all — you can check at the CDC’s site. Other options include reverse-osmosis filters and gravity filters.


  1. City of Chicago 2009 Water Quality Report (provided as a sample water quality report).
  2. An AP Investigation: Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water. The Associated Press, 2008.