~ Is boiling water sufficient enough to kill anything harmful compared to water filters? ~
It would probably be safe to guess yes since the majority of restaurants and fast food chains don't filter their water, and there isn't an outbreak of deaths?
again with the boiling....curiouser and curiouser.
The water in the vast majority of restaurants and fast-food chains isn't boiled or filtered -- but there's no "outbreak of deaths" because those establishments are located in developed nations with modern sanitation -- it's not boiled or filtered because it's safe to drink, right out of the tap -- boiling and filtering isn't necessary.
First of all I take these sites with a giant grain of salt. What a surprise! All the top-rated filters were Aquasana. From the "About" page: "The information on waterfiltercomparisons.com has been compiled by Aquasana, Inc...." (At least they were up front about it.)
The information may be accurate, but an independent lab's tests would be more credible.
First, we must compare apples to apples. Boiling will not remove the harmful things that filters will. In fact, boiling will actually concentrate the "big chunks" as they will be left behind as the water boils off. The only way to get pure clean water is to distill it...boil the water and condense the vapor. We did this at sea when I was in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club. Even then, we treated the potable water with chlorine.
Boiling can kill most living organisms, germs, parasites, etc, that can have adverse effects on your health.
In general, if you are on town/city water it is safe to drink. If you are unsure ask to see the tests. (Our water authority sends one to everyone yearly.) You can also send samples to an independent lab for testing.
If I were on a well I would probably routinely have it tested. I would be wary of anyone who tests water and also sells systems.
As far as restaurants, etc, some will have filter systems, but none I know of routinely boil their water before using it.
The reality is that in general the water in the US is safe to drink and much of the hype from water filter companies is fear-mongering. Yes, there are exceptions, and that is what filters are for, but most of us don't need them. But they couldn't stay in business if they only catered to that small audience.
Don't get me wrong...with few exceptions, these filter systems do what they say and using one won't hurt you. It just won't help as much as most people think.
BTW - don't confuse hard water with bad/tainted water. Most of the stuff that clogs the shower heads, kills the coffee maker, and stains the dishwasher isn't harmful to you health.
re: al b. darned
Hard water frequently just includes some calcium and magnesium carbonates, both of which are good for your bones. The usual water softeners replace the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions and so can be harmful to people who must limit sodium intake.
The referenced filter comparison does not include anything on removing bacteria, which could hurt you and which their filters almost certainly do not remove. I noticed two protozoa in the table that could pose problems. These are rarely a problem with municipal water systems in the United States.
Most of the stuff the filters remove is not a serious health problem, so of course there is no outbreak of illnesses let alone deaths due to restaurants not filtering municipal water. In Chicago the main reasons for filtering are for taste and smell: to remove residual chlorine and to buffer an off taste that is common in late summer from algae in Lake Michigan, which is the source of our drinking water.
re: Eldon Kreider
The direct answer seems to be "no, boiling or filtering water are insufficient methods to kill any potentially harmful stuff"
The more helpful answers seems to be "safe enough in developed countries like the US so who cares"
This is interesting though as various green rankings like http://www.sustainlane.com/us-city-ra... rate various places low. Nonprofits and the environmental dep of the US gov similarly rates places low as well.
Guess those low assessments don't say much since nobody or relatively few people die or receive immediate cancer from poor quality water.
....in developed countries.
Filtering, in a civil engineering sense, is a very effective way of removing "harmful stuff", which is why it is so widely used. However the filters used in industrial applications or in developing countries are rather different to the water filters people have fitted at home, or the jug types that you fill with clean tap water. These are purely cosmetic, if you like, and will remove some minerals etc to make tap water more palatable to some people.
I couldn't find any information in the link you provided to see what pollutants they were testing for. "Low quality" in relation to municipal drinking water in developed countries is a relative term. Doesn't necessarily mean unsafe. Anyway in developing countries the water-borne diaorrheal diseases and parasites, and water-related diseases such as malaria, will get you long before cancer does.