The health risks of drinking from your bathroom tap
Let’s be honest, how many of us have risen in the middle of the night with a seemingly unquenchable thirst and bolted for the bathroom to then drink right from the tap? And how many of us neglect to use a cup or mug to wash our mouths out when brushing our teeth? The latter is fine as long as you’re spitting it out, but if you’re drinking from your bathroom tap you could be exposing yourself to several potential dangers.
We all probably have distant memories of our mums telling us not to drink right from the bathroom tap and it transpires they might have been right all along. At least to a degree.
Is it safe to drink from your bathroom tap?
While all UK homes are provided with safe drinking water by law, there are several reasons why it’s perfectly safe to drink from your kitchen sink tap but not from your bathroom tap.
Plumbing – The pipework that directs water to your bathroom is likely to be made of different materials than the pipe on the ground floor of your home. The water is also left in the pipes for longer and can grow stagnant. This is particularly true if your house is a little older, as it was standard practice to install lead piping in the UK until the 1970s, which can lead to lead poisoning. If you’re worried about lead poisoning, you can always have your water tested.
Toilet proximity – It’s not particularly pleasant to think about but if we flush our toilets with the lids open, particles of faeces can fly into the air and make their way onto our toothbrushes and taps. These might only be trace amounts, but it can be more than enough to harm some people with weak constitutions. Also, it’s just not very nice!
Medical waste – The pharmaceuticals produced today are made to be as long-lasting as possible and a significant amount of these medications get excreted into wastewater. This will enter the domestic supply in a small quantity and this cocktail of medication could find its way into your bathroom tap water. Not that bad when you’re showering with it or bathing in it but quite harmful if you’re drinking it.
Water tanks – If you’re staying in a hotel you should also try to avoid drinking from your bathroom tap as that water will most likely have come from the hotel’s water tank. If vermin and birds get into the tank they can taint the water. If you really want to lose your lunch, meanwhile, read about the incident at the Cecil Hotel in LA and you’ll never drink from a hotel tap again!
Of course, the best way to ensure you can drink from your bathroom tap safely is to get a water filter installed. This will filter out any potentially harmful contaminants and leave you with clean, clear and (most importantly) drinkable water. So, you’ll never need to feel iffy about popping to the bathroom for a drink in the middle of the night again!