Activated Carbon is basically charcoal that has been heated up in order to increase the absorption of hundreds of different types of compounds that cause a discoloration or odor in water. Charcoal is highly porous, I’m sure you have noticed when you BBQ and pour lighter fluid to start the fire, it’s quickly absorbed. In water treatment that absorption works to take out organics and a catalytic reduction attaches negative ion contaminants to the positive ions of activated carbon. With these two processes working together it removes thousands of organic compounds and chemicals like chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, radon, VOC’s, and benzene. However, nitrates and salts slip right through. It soaks up almost everything, but there is a limit. These bonding sites DO have an expiration. Once all the spots of the activated carbon are filled it no longer works. This is why it is important to replace your water filters at home.
Chlorine is added during the treatment process in order to kill bacteria and viruses that can make you sick, however there are by-products such as THMs and HAAs that are carcinogens and found in almost every tap in the U.S. From using an activated carbon system, these traces will be removed. When you turn on your tap and drink water you are not only drinking what has been treated, but also what the water has picked up from traveling miles in various pipe systems that are usually 30-40 years old. My point is, overall it’s not going to hurt you to just drink tap water in the U.S., but you can make the water you intake healthier.
Ideally, water that is the best for the human body is a little bit alkaline meaning needs some Mg2+ and Ca2+. This is where the term hard water and soft water are commonly used, because we don’t want an excess of either. This balance is best achieved with filtering your water through an activated carbon system giving your water the little bit of the alkalinity you need. Overall, with the things I have seen in my travels with water, nothing you drink in the U.S. is going to hurt you, but when you are able to see what other people are drinking, our water is beyond incredible. However, if you have the time to replace the filters every 1-3 months and can afford it, then it will be better for you and your family.
Just do NOT forget to REPLACE the filter otherwise you wait a long time for the water to trickle through a maxed out activated carbon system for a glass of water that is the same thing as the tap.