The next step in hacking my environment was to analyze my drinking water quality. I consume probably 10-12 glasses of water per day, as I pretty much drink it exclusively (no soda, etc.). I live in New York City, which consistently ranks among the best-tasting and cleanest drinking water in the US. However, even if the municipal water system is clean, other things may be contaminating the water coming out of my tap such as plumbing issues, eroding pipes, or lead-based solder.
According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s 2013 report:
DEP also treats the water with food grade phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, and fluoride. Phosphoric acid is added to create a protective film on pipes that reduces the release of metals, such as lead, from household plumbing. Sodium hydroxide is added to raise the pH and reduce corrosivity, which also leads to a reduction in potential exposure to lead.
DEP is one of the many water suppliers in New York State that, since 1966, has been treating its drinking water with a controlled, low level of fluoride for consumer dental health protection. On February 14, 2012, after receiving authorization from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, DEP reduced the target dosage of fluoride from 1.0 mg/L to 0.8 mg/L.
I ordered two First Alert Drinking Water Test Kits (available online and major hardware stores) and began my tests.