After the Flint Michigan water crisis, local municipalities are seeing the growing concern from their citizens for safe drinking water. While local governments make sure to test their water on a regular basis, it is tested from the source before traveling a long way through the pipes to reach your home. Depending on the age and infrastructure of the pipes, the water quality could easily vary from house to house even though the homes are in the same town and receiving water from the same source.
In 2016, a company named Tern Water was started by two Drexel University students, who developed an at home water testing kit for citizens and communities to learn about the quality of their drinking water, and demand access to clean and sustainable water. Tern Water’s “Know Your Water” testkit only cost $20. The kit includes a Tern Capsule that is filled with your home’s water. Once the water sample is returned to Tern Water, a quantitative lab-certified testing procedure is completed and a detailed report of the water sample results is shared with the customer. This includes the PH levels, Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Chlorine, Fluoride, 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. During this time, he saw the need to offer better services to customers who questioned the quality of their drinking water, and the ability to effectively provide the answers. Zerban said their kits are used all over the country and that “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.”
After talking with Zerban, I thought it would be interesting to test the water from the water fountain at our company office. I know that we have all used the water fountain to refill our water bottles throughout the day, and thought it would be fun to get the results back. We filled the capsule with water and mailed the sample back to Tern Water. A few weeks later, we received the results and were very surprised! All of our levels returned in the safe category, except for the Fluoride! It was at 6.7 ppm as compared to the Health Standard’s Safe Level of 1.5 ppm.
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 the enamel of their teeth. For adults with excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime, they may have an increased likelihood of bone fractures.
It was eye-opening to get the results back from our office water fountain. Thank you to Tern Water for providing a product that allows people to seek answers on the safety of their drinking water and for empowering communities to demand quality water. If you are interested in testing your water, please visit Tern Water HERE.