Person filling up their cup with water at their sink

Debunking 5 Common Water Myths: The Truth About Drinking Water Contaminants 

Water is essential for life, and access to clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental human right. However, concerns about water quality and the presence of contaminants have led to a flood of information, sometimes conflicting, about what’s in our tap water. Read on as we delve into the truth about drinking water contaminants, dispelling common myths and presenting the facts to help you make informed decisions about your water sources. 

Myth #1: Tap Water Is Always Safe to Drink

Fact: While many developed countries have strict regulations governing tap water quality, it’s not a universal guarantee of safety. Aging infrastructure, industrial pollution, and natural contaminants can still affect the quality of tap water. Contaminants in drinking water can also pose significant health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to contaminants in drinking water can lead to various health issues, including gastrointestinal illnesses, developmental problems in children, and even certain types of cancer. Therefore, understanding and addressing these contaminants is crucial for safeguarding your health and well-being.

Tip: Regular water quality testing is essential to ensure that your tap water meets safety standards.

Myth #2: Bottled Water Is Safer Than Tap Water

Fact: Bottled water is not inherently safer than tap water. In fact, some studies have found that bottled water may contain contaminants like microplastics. These tiny plastic particles can leach from the plastic bottles themselves and have been detected in various bottled water brands. When ingested over time, microplastics can potentially pose health risks.

Tip: Using reusable bottles helps reduce the 50 billion plastic water bottles sold in the US every year.

Myth #3: Boiling Water Removes All Contaminants

Fact: Boiling water can kill most harmful bacteria and pathogens, making it safer to drink in emergencies. However, it does not remove chemical contaminants or heavy metals and in some cases, boiling water can even concentrate these contaminants, making the water more toxic. If there are concerns about chemical contaminants or heavy metals in the water supply, additional treatment methods, such as using activated carbon filters or chemical purification, may be necessary to ensure the water’s safety for consumption. 

Tip: The CDC recommends boiling water for at least one minute (or three minutes at higher altitudes) to ensure it’s safe to drink.  

Myth #4: Filtration Systems Are 100% Effective

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Most pitcher systems use carbon filters to remove contaminants.

Fact: Water filtration systems vary in their effectiveness and the types of contaminants they can remove. For example, basic carbon filters are effective at improving taste and odor by removing common impurities like chlorine, but they are not sufficient to eliminate heavier contaminants such as lead, mercury, or certain chemical pollutants that can be present in your water supply. It’s essential to choose a filtration system based on the specific contaminants present in your water and to regularly replace filters as recommended. 

Tip: RO (Reverse Osmosis) systems are typically the best option for removing a wide range of contaminants, including dissolved salts, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and certain chemical pollutants, from your drinking water. Learn more about different water filtration systems in this Goettl Homeowner Tip on YouTube:

Myth #5: Water Contaminants Are a Third-World Problem 

Fact: Water contamination is a global issue with wide-ranging implications for public health and the environment. While developed countries often boast more robust water treatment infrastructure, they are not immune to challenges. For example, in the United States, much of the water infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life, with some pipes dating back a century. This aging infrastructure can lead to issues like leaks and water main breaks, potentially introducing contaminants into the water supply. 

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, emerging contaminants, including PFAs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), also pose an ongoing challenge worldwide. PFAs—also known as “Forever Chemicals”—are synthetic compounds found all over the environment that don’t break down easily. A recent study found that more than 200 million Americans are exposed to PFAs in their tap water. 

Tip: A reverse osmosis water filtration system is the most effective tool for removing PFAs, according to Goettl Master Plumber Gary Eisenhauer. To access information about your public water system, such as system characteristics, sampling data, violations, and enforcement, utilize tools like the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) Federal Reporting Services. 

Safeguarding Our Water Supply

Access to clean, safe drinking water is a vital part of public health, and understanding the truth about water contaminants is crucial. While many myths persist, it’s essential to rely on scientific facts and regularly monitor your water source’s quality. Whether you use tap water, bottled water, or natural sources, being informed and taking appropriate precautions can help ensure that your drinking water is safe for you and your family. Water is life, and it’s our responsibility to safeguard it. 


Goettl experts can help you make the switch to a whole-home water purification system. Contact us today to provide you and your loved ones with pure and clean drinking water that’s easy to access. Contact Goettl today for expert advice and professional installation services.


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