After the Flint Michigan water crisis, local municipalities have been seeing the growing concern from their citizens wanting to know the facts about their drinking water. The ability for consumers to know what is in their personal drinking water seemed like a daunting task. While local governments make sure to test their water on a regular basis it is tested from the source, which means your drinking water has a long way to travel through the pipes to reach your home. Depending on the age and infrastructure of the pipes, the water quality could easily vary house to house even though they are in the same town receiving water from the same source.
In 2016 the company Tern Water was started by two Drexel University students wanting to provide citizens and communities with access to clean, sustainable water. Their “Know Your Water” product provides you with a kit so you can test your homes water quality. For $20 you receive a Tern Capsule to fill with your homes water. Once the water sample is returned to Tern they use a quantitative lab-certified testing procedure to give you a detailed report of you water sample. This includes the PH levels, Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Chlorine, Flu0ride, Lead, and Chromium.
I was able to talk with Mohamed Zerban about his company and the development of Tern Water. Zerban used to work for a municipal water department, and he saw the need to offer better services to customers and the ability to give them the answers they had about their drinking water. He explained how Tern Water has been providing their services and mailing out their test kits all over the country. “Some consumers are confident in their water and get surprised when they get their results back. It helps give consumers real clarity about their drinking water,” said Zerban.
After talking with Zerban, I thought it would be interesting to test the drinking water at our company office. I know that we have all used our water fountains to refill our water bottles throughout the day and thought it would be fun to get the results back so we could see what we have been drinking. We filled up our sample and mailed it back to Tern Water. A few weeks later we got the results and were very surprised! All of our levels returned in the safe category except for the Fluoride. It was at a 6.7 ppm, however, the Health Standards Safe Level is 1.5.
Fluoride can occur naturally in drinking water from the geological composition of soils and bedrock. Community water systems are required by the EPA to keep levels of fluoride less than 4.0 mg/L. Our water sample indicates a high level of Fluoride. According to the EPA the effects of high fluoride in drinking water can impact children aged eight and younger while their teeth are developing. This exposure can cause pits to develop in their tooth enamel. For adults with excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime, they may have an increased likelihood of bone fractures.
It was great to get the results back from our office water fountain and seeing that consumers have the ability to get answers and make changes in their communities.