The majority of Americans (almost 300 million people) get their tap water from public water systems. The other 15 percent receive water from private water systems not subject to government regulation.
Most tap water contains fluoride, a salt compound that helps to prevent cavities. Too much fluoride can decrease bone strength.
780 million people lack access to improved drinking water supplies and 2.5 billion people — half of the developing world — lack access to adequate sanitation.
The EPA requires all community water systems in America to reporter drinking water quality systems to its customers annually. This includes details on where the water comes from, what contaminants have been found in the water, and the potential health effects.
The CDC declared drinking water fluoridation as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.
Some old water pipes still contain lead, which is a poisonous metal when consumed. Each year, 480,000 children develop learning disabilities due to lead exposure.
The United States uses about 80 percent of its fresh water for irrigation and electricity.
Diseases like schistosomiasis (caused by parasites) and guinea worm disease could decrease by 80 percent with the help of improved hygiene, sanitation, and drinking water. In addition, safe drinking water and improved hygiene could reduce the global disease burden by more than 9 percent.
There are over 2,100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water in any given region.