Is it safe to drink water well?

Drinking water - healthy and well tested

Bottle or pipe - what do you prefer to drink your water from? Many people prefer bottled water because they suspect it is healthier than tap water. The water check of the Stiftung Warentest (edition 7/2019) comes to a different conclusion: "Costs, purity, environmental protection - our comparison speaks more for the water from the tap."

Both types can be considered to be overall safe and healthy thirst quenchers. Both tap water and mineral water are strictly controlled foods in Germany. The water from the tap is subject to even more test criteria than the water from the bottle. Stiftung Warentest says: "It has to be of such good quality that someone can drink it every day for a lifetime without getting sick."

Another misconception is that all mineral water provides more minerals than tap water. Mineral water does not necessarily have to be rich in minerals. Until 1980 there was a requirement of at least 1000 milligrams of dissolved minerals per liter. They don't exist anymore today. The water check by Stiftung Warentest shows: Many mineral waters do not even reach 500 milligrams - less than the drinking water in some regions.

Testing of drinking water

Drinking water is obtained from ground, surface and spring water and treated for human consumption in compliance with strict legal requirements. This applies, for example, to the levels of nitrate, nitrite, pesticides and heavy metals. They are set in such a way that health effects can be excluded when consuming two to three liters of water a day.

The values ​​determined during the regular checks in the waterworks are usually many times below the limit values, so that drinking water from the public network is considered safe for human consumption and the preparation of baby food.

However, pipes in the house installation can change the water quality. In older houses in particular, lead water pipes can still be found in some cases. This can dissolve in the water and be harmful to health. Copper pipes are also problematic. High concentrations are suspected of causing so-called early childhood liver cirrhosis. The water supplier must ensure that the pipes are in perfect condition up to the house connection. The owner or landlord is responsible between the connection and the tap.

Drinking water ordinance with stricter limit values

Since 2011 there has been a limit value for for the first time within the European Union in a member state uranium in drinking water. At 0.010 milligrams (= 10 micrograms) per liter, the uranium limit value in Germany is the strictest in the world and offers all population groups - including infants - health security from possible damage caused by uranium in drinking water. The chemical toxicity of uranium is decisive for the limit value.

This also sets the limit for the heavy metal cadmium reduced from 0.005 to 0.003 milligrams (= 3 micrograms) per liter of drinking water.

The stricter one that had been planned for 2001 has been in force since 2013 leadLimit of 0.010 milligrams (= 10 micrograms) per liter of drinking water.

There is for the parameter Legionella Comprehensive new regulations that introduce a technical measure value (100 legionella per 100 milliliters of drinking water).


  • Drain the drinking water before using it
  • Boil drinking water for the preparation of baby food or use special water that is suitable for baby feeding
  • Your local water company will inform you about the content of copper, lead, nitrate and other substances
  • If in doubt, it may be useful to examine the water in your household. Copper and lead lines may need to be replaced