This is why you shouldn’t use tap water in home medical devices

tap water devices

Tap water is safe to drink but it might not be safe to use in your medical devices

When you use a humidifier, nasal rinsing device, vaporizer or contact lens cases, chances are that you’re filling those devices with tap water. Now, research shows that might not be the safest thing to do. It could even be dangerous for you to use tap water in your medical devices.


The CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published a study in the journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases. The researchers found that one-third of the thousand people surveyed, believe that tap water doesn’t contain bacteria. And over half of the respondents said that this tap water can safely be used in medical devices. And that is why the CDC wants to inform people on the dangers of using tap water in their medical devices. Shanna Miko, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Health: “This information is not intended to scare anybody or make people feel that their tap water isn’t safe for drinking, cooking or bathing. We just want people to know there are natural pathogens that exist in the environment and they make their way into our pipes.”


The tap water in the U.S. is completely safe to use. When you use it for drinking, bathing or cooking, that is. But there are still certain microorganisms that stay in the water. And it might not be safe to inhale these microorganism. Or to have them come into direct contact with the inside of your body. The danger of the pathogens depend on age, health or the type of device. Anastasia Wasylyshyn, clinical assistant professor of infectious disease at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, explains: “Any device that is going to blow or direct water directly into your body is of higher concern than a device like a humidifier that is acting in a single room or in a whole house.”

According to Health, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,000 deaths are caused by these microorganisms. The amount of pathogens in your tap water depends on the way your water is treated. But also on the location that you’re in and the age of the piping. Miko explains: “A lot of piping in the U.S. is well over 50 years old. When you constantly run water through those pipes, you will have a natural accumulation of pathogens that naturally live in the environment and unfortunately most pathogens are able to adapt and evolve. We really need more research to understand what this means for us in the future.”


Luckily, there is a solution. If you boil your tap water for one minute (when you live below 6,500 feet) or three minutes when you live at higher elevation, you can kill the microorganisms living in the water. After boiling the water, you can safely use it in your medical devices. If you feel unsure about it, you can always contact a medical professional to help you figure it out.

Read more: 6 tips that will help you drink more water

Source: Health | Image: Unsplash, Bob van Aubel