With Joelle Mintzberg, CNP, EPC
Do you know what is in your D R I N K I N G W A T E R? Did you know that the tap water you are drinking contains an excess of pharmaceuticals, bacteria, carcinogens, heavy metals, and drinking parasites, which are not being eliminated by water treatment systems?

The only thing more important than the food we eat is the water that we drink. Staying hydrated with clean water is critical to our overall health — it purifies the body and fills us up with crucial nutrients. But, the quality of that water matters, especially considering that our water may have as many as 300 pollutants in it, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Generally speaking, water filters can improve the overall taste, smell and appearance of drinking water and can remove some chemicals. But it’s important to select a water filtration system that suits your water conditions. To do that, you need to know the pros and cons of each system so that you can choose a method that is most beneficial for you and your family.


The quality of tap water can differ from place to place — there are many water companies that service different areas of Canada. Though tap water is highly regulated it does still contain lead, since old lead pipes in some of our homes can leach into the water. Certain pollutants such as personal care products and pharmaceutical drugs have been found in tap water, after they were washed into rivers and sewers.


Distillation is a water purification process that uses a heat source to vaporize water and separate it from contaminants and other undesirable elements commonly found in ground and surface water. The distillation process will reliably remove bacteria and viruses and dangerous heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury; therefore, distillation is ideal for recipients of non-municipally treated water. Distillation is extremely effective in removing bacteria and is often used in areas at high risk of waterborne diseases.

One downside is that distillation strips water of natural trace elements. When these elements are removed from water, the hydrogen composition becomes greater in proportion, making the water very acidic. Drinking distilled water, stripped of minerals, can actually be harmful to the body. Long-term consumption of such de-mineralized water can result in mineral deficiencies in the body.


Bottled water has started becoming less popular recently and for a good reason! Bottled water isn’t a good option for several reasons. Chemicals from the plastic bottle itself can leech into the water. In most cases, the water itself is no different than tap water but has added chemicals, such as BPA, from the plastic bottles. Plastic bottles contain a chemical called bisphenol A or BPA, which is a synthetic hormone disruptor that has been linked to serious health problems such as learning and behavioral problems, altered immune system function, prostate and breast cancer, risk of obesity, and early puberty in both genders.


  1. Granulated Activated Charcoal – Example: Brita

Water filters like Brita use Granulated Activated Charcoal to remove some contaminants. Since the carbon is not solid, it doesn’t remove all of the parasites, bacteria, heavy metals, fungi, herbicides and other chemicals (known as VOCs) that are present in the water, because they are only designed to make the water comfortable to drink.

  1. Ceramic Filter Gravity System – Example: Santevia

Santevia filters have a ceramic filter on top, which not only cleans your tap with a multi-filter system, but also re-mineralizes the water to make it more alkaline. The water is filtered and alkalized through an eight-stage system. Santevia water reduces chlorine taste and odor, and the presence of heavy metals, industrial chemicals and agricultural contaminants.

  1. Solid Block Carbon Filters – Example: Berkey

Solid block carbon filters like the Berkey remove all of the bad stuff like pesticides, bacteria, parasites, nitrates, fluoride and chlorine. The catch is that they don’t remove trace minerals. These are the most effective systems that are affordable too! The units are however, quite large so you will need to have sufficient space for it.


Reverse Osmosis uses a membrane, which removes many contaminants from water. It is usually paired with a Granulated Activated Charcoal filter to remove chlorine and many mount under the sink and have a holding tank. Reverse osmosis filtration systems remove most contaminants from water including chlorine, VOCs, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and other chemicals, but they also remove trace minerals like calcium and magnesium. In order to compensate for the loss of minerals, mineral drops can be added to the water upon drinking.


Spring water gains minerals as it is filtered through layers of underground rock. As the water runs through underground rocks, minerals such as calcium, sulphur and magnesium dissolve into it. When it reaches a layer of impermeable rock, the water flows out onto the earth’s surface in the form of a spring. Mountain spring water is the ideal range on the pH scale. It is considered to be free of most contaminants typically found in drinking water. There is a great website called FindaSpring.com where you can find a natural spring in your area.

Now that you are aware of the many different sources of drinking water, you can best decided how to drink your way to better health!