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Drinking Water

Drinking Water

A cool glass of tap water is the perfect drink on a hot summer day. The water is clean and refreshing. It has no color or strong smell. But where does it come from? In the United States, it comes from streams, ponds, rivers, and other natural sources. Before it gets to your glass, it has been cleaned, treated, and tested for safety.

Do you ever wonder what chemicals and pollutants might be in your glass of tap water? In the United States, you shouldn’t have to worry. Our water supply is protected by law, so it is usually safe to drink. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets acceptable limits for pollutants in our water that might harm our health. To date, EPA has set such limits for more than 90 pollutants. Yet people do things that pollute water. And drinking polluted water can cause diseases and other health problems.

You can help save water and keep our water supplies clean!

  • Use very little chemical fertilizer in your yard or garden -- or even better, learn to build a compost pile and make your own fertilizer.
  • Don't waste water. Take short showers and don't leave the water running while you brush your teeth or wash your hands.
  • Take used motor oil to a gas station for recycling.
  • Repair water leaks and dripping faucets.
  • Save paper, plastics, aluminum products and glass for recycling. Reusing these materials helps save water and reduce water pollution.
  • Plant grass and other plants on hills to prevent erosion and help water sink into the soil.
cloud

Falling Water (a poem!)

Drops on dogs, on frogs and logs
Drip - Drip - Drip. They turn and flip.
The roll and patter, slip and splatter.
Drops on dogs and frogs and logs.
Drip - Drip - Drip, they turn and flip.
Drops on noses, heads and toe'ses.
Drops on dogs, on frogs, and logs
And even on the polliwogs!
Rain is coming down on me,
And all the world that I can see!

frog in the rain
My Health My World Explorations for Children and Adults are publications of the Center for Educational Outreach at Baylor College of Medicine, made possible by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. For more information, contact Center for Educational Outreach, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

Some content courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

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For parents
Unsafe water is a major health concern for doctors and scientists. Drinking unsafe water is harmful to human health. Wastes can leak into water supply and damage clean water. Learn more about water pollution.
For parents
If you think your water is polluted, call your city, county or state health department. For additional information, call the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.
For kids
Did you know small amounts of medicines can find their way to our drinking water supply when people flush unused medicines down the toilet?
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