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Water filters: do we really need them?

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar23,2024

Water filters ;: do we really need it?

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Make sure the water filter you buy meets your needs.

    < li class="mt-2 flex first:mt-0">Élise Madé (View profile)Élise Madé

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90% of drinking water in Quebec comes from aqueduct systems which provide some of the best water in the world. Despite this, a third of users equip themselves with a filtration system. Do we really need water filters? If so, what are they filtering, exactly?

We can be proud of our municipal infrastructures, put in place in recent decades, to ensure 100% quality service, 100% of the time, explains Mathieu Laneuville, president and CEO of Réseau Environnement, a non-profit organization that brings together environmental specialists.

The standards in force in Quebec are among the highest in the world, not only by the type of treatment that our water undergoes, but also by the frequency of tests carried out to ensure compliance with these standards, adds the specialist.

However, it happens that the water from municipal aqueducts smells of chlorine, which is completely normal and harmless given the low concentration of this disinfectant. In our aqueduct network, we often reinject chlorine to ensure that the water remains of good quality throughout our network, adds Mr. Laneuville.

If your tap water smells like chlorine, you should know that this substance evaporates on its own when you leave it to water. water to stagnate in a pitcher for a few hours. And if your water is cloudy, it means it contains air. Just leave it in the open air for a while. In these two cases, a water filter is not necessary.

Also, some people are concerned about the presence of pesticide residues or other contaminants in the water. However, this is not the main source of concern for Benoit Barbeau, full professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal.

We talk about contamination in water, but there are also other sources of contamination: the air you breathe, the food you eat. When we do this analysis, we realize that well, ultimately, water is not our main vector of contamination most of the time, he declares.

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The basic component of a filter is activated carbon, which acts like a sponge to absorb organic molecules.

For around a million people in Quebec, water comes from sources other than an aqueduct, for example a well. In this case, the water must of course be analyzed, and it may happen that it has to be filtered.

It is even when the pipes are obsolete or made of lead. In older homes, service lines, that is, the section between the pipe and the faucet, may actually contain lead.

The municipalities are aware and there is work currently being done to be able to repair them. In the meantime, before repairing these pipes, the use of a filter may be recommended.

A quote from Mathieu Laneuville, CEO of Réseau Environnement

The basic component of a filter is activated carbon, which acts like a sponge to absorb organic molecules, but it is not effective against all molecules.

We created small plastic balls specially made to eliminate different types of compounds. We call them resins. Often, the most efficient filters will be made of a mixture of carbon and a mixture of resin, explains Benoit Barbeau.

The report by Myriam Fehmiu.

When a filter is really necessary, you have to take the time to choose it wisely.

If you have a lead service line, the risk of exceeding the lead standard is almost 100%. In this case, it is best to use a filter pitcher that has been certified to remove lead. Not all filter pitchers eliminate lead, specifies Benoit Barbeau.

Even if a filter has certifications from recognized organizations, such as NSF certification or Gold Seal from the Water Quality Association, it is not necessarily certified to remove lead.

The very large ZeroWater filter contains activated carbon and resins; it filters lead. It's a filter that will completely demineralize the water, says Mr. Barbeau.

Not all Brita filters filter lead. Brita has two types of filters: white filters and elite blue filters. If you want to eliminate lead, Elite blue filters are to be used. Filters do not offer the same performance, explains our expert.

The human body needs minerals, so if you only drink deionized water, you could possibly suffer from a deficiency.

It's difficult to know which filter model eliminates which type of contaminant. In the absence of clear labeling, you often have to consult the manufacturer's website.

If you want to ensure the optimal effectiveness of If you have a water filter, you must replace it at the appropriate time. Filters are mainly absorption. And an absorbent retains contaminants, explains Benoit Barbeau.

It warns of the danger of filter saturation. We will therefore start drinking contaminants that were previously retained. The recommendation to change the filter regularly is a good recommendation, he advises.

Avoid the trash, since most Manufacturers collect used filters for safe disposal.

In short, are water filters still useful? If you are connected to a municipal water system, this is not really necessary for health reasons. If you do it, it is for aesthetic reasons only, concludes Benoit Barbeau.

With information from Alain Roy

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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