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11 Apr 2006

should i be worried about cape tap water?
in the last few months have been sick 2-3 times(upset stomach) which is not normal at all - there is a lot of media hype at the moment on the quality of cape tap water at the moment - is it worth looking into a filtration system ? if so could you suggest something effective and affordable ? is it possible to get sick from something in the water?
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Expert
EnviroHealth expert
envirohealth expert

01 Jan 0001

Despite all the rat-tailed maggot hype, I think it's most unlikely that it's the tap water that's causing the problem.

Drinking water in Cape Town meets South African Bureau of Standards specifications, which are also World Health Organisation standards (OK: somepeople would argue that these standards aren't stringent enough!), and is tested regularly. If you’re concerned about it, though, you can ask City of Cape Town for the results of tests on drinking water in your area.

One thing I would suggest is that as a general rule it's better to only drink water from the cold tap; sometimes nasty things can get into hot water tanks and cisterns if they're poorly maintained.

Home water treatment systems aren’t generally considered necessary if the water in your area meets specifications, unless you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to certain substances, and your doctor has specifically advised using a device to reduce these substances in your drinking water. Installing such a device will probably make the water taste better and encourage you to drink more of it – just make sure you maintain it properly (replacing flters regularly etc), otherwise it may end up worsening water quality. Keep in mind that sometimes less reputable water filter dealers can ‘talk up’ the potential health problems of drinking water. You could also try bottled water if you find that more reassuring - though the health benefits have not been shown to warrant the expense there either.

But after saying all that, I feel I'd like to investigate the issue of water filters in greater depth; I think perhaps the time is right to do an article on this. Thanks for your questions.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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