April 25, 2024

You’ve been using tap water wrong – and error could make you really ill

In the UK we know it’s safe to drink tap water, but according to a little-known piece of government advice, there’s a mistake some people might be making that could cause health issues

It’s important to not take risks when it comes to tap water (stock image)(Getty Images)

From drinking to cooking, it turns out a lot of people making a huge mistake when it comes to tap water.

We know how important it is to drink water. The NHS recommends we drink between six to eight glasses of fluid a day to prevent us getting dehydrated so it can help our body function properly.

Luckily, tap water in the UK is safe so we don’t necessarily have to fork out on bottled water. But it turns out there’s a mistake many people make with tap water that could be making it unsafe to not only drink, but to use in cooking and brush your teeth with too.

According to little-known government advice, these habits should be altered or risk exposure to a substance that could harm our health. The most important thing to do is never drink, cook or brush your teeth using water from the hot tap – even if it’s just to fill a pan to boil.

You might think you’re saving time by using water from the hot tap when trying to boil water, but according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) you should never do this. This is because the water from the hot tap carries a larger risk of being contaminated by metals such as copper and lead – which can have immediate and long-term health effects.

The DWI says: “Remember that you should only be using cold water from the kitchen for drinking and cooking. Water from the hot tap is not recommended for drinking as it can contain elevated levels of metals, such as copper, which makes the water taste astringent.”

You should also not be drinking cold water from bathrooms as “it may be from a tank that is not suitable for drinking water purposes”. The DWI adds: “Ideally you should only use a tap connected to the mains water supply for drinking, food preparation or teeth cleaning; however, if your drinking water comes from a storage tank then it will be safe to use if the tank is properly designed, correctly installed and kept in good condition”.

If you’re exposed to water with traces of lead it can cause a number of health issues – from harming the development of children to causing kidney and heart problems in adults. In the UK the use of heavy metal in piping has been banned since the 1970s, but according to the DWI some houses might still contain the metal, which is why people should be aware of the risk.

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