Is your ice water filtered? Even if you think it is, chances are the filter is out of date. And for those of you making ice the old-fashioned way with ice cube trays, more likely than not you’re filling up those trays with tap water. In either case, your ice may be contaminated
How can you tell if you’re water has contaminants? Check it. Is it cloudy or clear?
I’m willing to bet it’s cloudy. Keep reading to find out why your ice is making you sick.
Why Homemade Ice is Cloudy
After a little research I found there’s a reason why most ice cubes made at home are cloudy. Cold water from the tap or even filtered water fed through a refrigerator with an ice maker usually contains contaminants and air trapped that cause the cloudy appearance. On the other hand, commercially-made ice makers typically use purified water and have a system of cooling water to release air and contaminants to create clear ice.1
What’s Lurking in Your Water?
There are hundreds of contaminants in tap water. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted an analysis of nearly 20 million drinking water tests conducted by water suppliers nationwide between 2004 and 2009. Most of the contaminants are byproducts of the disinfection process at water treatment facilities and chemicals used in agriculture.2
The EWG found the following topped the list of most commonly detected tap water contaminants:
- Chloroform – disinfection byproduct
- Bromodichloromethane – disinfection byproduct
- Dibromochloromethane – disinfection byproduct
- Haloacetic acids – disinfection byproduct
- Nitrates – fertilizer
#1-4 are linked with elevated cancer risk, while #5 is linked with “baby blue syndrome” – a fatal condition when an infant ingests infant formula made with tap water that contains excess nitrates.
Fortunately, the EWG found that most water treatment facilities in the US complied with government-set standards for safe water – yet there’s always a chance of contamination. Plus, other chemicals are often added to water such as flouride and chlorine, which are a concern for many people.
So really, the best solution is to find a water purification system to remove some or most of these contaminants and additives.
Types of Water Purification
There’s really no system that can remove everything. The best thing is to have your water tested by an independent and certified lab to find out what’s in your water. Still, my recommendation is any kind of water purification is better than none.
- Pros: Removes microorganisms
- Cons: May increase concentration of lead and nitrates (avoid if water is known to contain these)
2. Activated Carbon Filter
- Pros: Some types remove cleaning solvents and pesticides and chlorination byproducts; absorbs organic contaminants
- Cons: Doesn’t remove nitrates, bacteria or dissolved minerals
3. Ion Exchange
- Pros: Removes minerals that make water hard, such as calcium and magnesium; some types remove radium and barium; removes fluoride.
- Cons: If water has oxidized iron or iron bacteria, the ion-exchange resin will become coated or clogged and lose its softening ability.
4. Reverse Osmosis
- Pros: Removes nitrates, sodium and other dissolved inorganic and organic contaminants; may reduce level of some pesticides, dioxins and chloroform and petrochemicals
- Cons: Does not remove all inorganic and organic contaminants
- Pros: Removes nitrates, bacteria, sodium, hardness, dissolved solids, most organic contaminants, heavy metals and radionucleides
- Cons: Does not remove some volatile organic contaminants, certain pesticides and volatile solvents; bacteria may recolonize on the cooling coils during inactive periods
Source: Water on Tap: What You Need to Know, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A simple activated carbon water filter that fits in your refrigerator is great place to start. A water purification system that filters out pesticides, VOCs, bacteria and other contaminants is another affordable option (this one actually filters out red food dye out of water).
Why Not Bottled Water?
Bottled water used for drinking is at least as safe as tap water – so basically you’re paying for tap water. Rather than spend money on bottle water, invest in a water purification system that can remove more contaminants from your tap water. Plus, you’ll cut down on waste from plastic bottles.
How to Make Clear Ice
Okay, so how do you make clear ice? It’s actually pretty easy and a fun experiment to try with the kids. Here’s the How to Make Clear Ice tutorial.
So tell me: Are you using filtered water to make your ice? Is your ice clear or cloudy? What’s your favorite water purification system?
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