What exactly is the UK’s policy on tap water?
Isn’t the UK’s tap water safe? It’s very unlikely to be completely unsafe, but the truth is that purity levels do vary widely across the country. According to the Water Industry Act 1991, domestic tap water should be clear, odourless and ‘wholesome’ and is routinely tested for micro-organisms, chemicals, metals as well as taste and appearance.
Despite this, many contaminants are legally allowed in tap water – even though they may potentially cause harm to health. In fact, under UK legislation some harmful contaminants are not even required to be tested for, such as microplastics and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). A recent article in the Guardian reported on this, stating that PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment and are linked to numerous health issues. PFAS are designed to never break down in the environment and are used for water and grease repellent properties. When they enter the human body, they can be linked to high cholesterol, thyroid disease, cancer and other health conditions.
Even those contaminants that are tested for may be present in small quantities – arsenic, copper, cyanide and lead to name a few.
Water companies can only provide you with water that is deemed safe to drink, within legal and regulatory frameworks and acceptable limits. But did you know, you also have a responsibility towards the quality of the water supplied to your home?
According to the Drinking Water Inspectorate, ‘the part of the service pipe leading from the stop valve outside your property to the point where it enters your home is the responsibility of the owner’ along with, of course, all the plumbing inside your home.
Would you like to find out more about what may be in your tap water? Download your free report here, which details the contaminants found in your postcode’s water.