Ever wonder what's in the city's drinking water? Well, I do (especially given last summer's water-ban) and decided to check out what minerals and compounds are in the water we drink everyday.

Taking a look at 2012's municipal water report, I got the skinny on Montreal's water pretty easily. At first glance, everything seems fine. Montreal meets all of Canada's and Quebec's guidelines, which made me feel safe.

But then something strange popped out.

More than a few chemical compounds have a suspicious 'see note three' in their recommended amount column. After reading note three, I discovered these are compounds are known as trihalomethanes, and pose some serious health risks.

THM's are created from the chemical disinfection of water, usually due to chlorine used as a disinfectant. The annual mean concentration of total THMs in Montreal's water must not exceed 80 micrograms (µg) per litre of water, and once again, Montreal meets that requirement.

The scary part is that lower quantities of TMHs, or any amount, is capable of causing serious health concerns.

Exposure to TMHs have been linked to birth defects, types of cancer, and organ failure, among others.  These effects were seen in individuals who consumed as low as 20 µg/L.

Stranger, and scarier still, is how TMH's were found to be most easily absorbed into the body by contact and bathing, not through drinking. Think about that the next time you take a long shower.

And TMHs are only the compounds the city and government is testing for.  Fracking, a type of water-mining for oil which uses anywhere from 55 000-220 000 Litres of chemical compounds, has been found to be further contaminating water sources.  It is a hotly debated topic in Quebec right now, one that definitely deserves your attention.

The thing is, fracking is still done because of the potential money to be made from the oil extracted, but so little is known about the compounds put into local water supplies, like Montreal's. Tons of harmful chemical could be in our drinking water, and we have no clue because no tests are performed by the government to find and analyze water supplies effected by fracking. 

Take a good amount of this with a grain of salt, though, as no study on TMHs or Fracking is entirely conclusive.

Still, be wary of what's in your water Montreal. 

For more on news, health, and life in Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte
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