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SOME EPA-CDC ADVICE TO DRINK TO: YOUR TAP WATER MAY MAKE YOU SICK

SHARE SOME EPA-CDC ADVICE TO DRINK TO: YOUR TAP WATER MAY MAKE YOU SICK

Drink this in: Your tap water might make you sick. At least the risk is great enough that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control are advising people with weakened immune systems to treat their tap water before drinking it.

The specific concern is cryptosporidium, a microscopic, animal-borne parasite that can make its way to surface water supplies, such as reservoirs.Chlorine doesn't kill it, and no medicine will stop it from running its course once it has infected a person. It can kill someone with a weakened immune system, and even a healthy adult could suffer digestive-system misery.

Boiling your drinking water is a cheap, sure way to avoid crypto, but you may prefer the convenience of a filter - especially if you're already concerned about the taste, chlorine smell or the possibility of other contaminants in your tap water.

Look for a filter that's certified to screen out crypto - one meeting the "absolute one-micron" standard or that meets NSF International's "Standard 53" necessary to screen out the microscopic bug.

The following are among the filters certified to meet NSF International's Standard 53. Most are sold through plumbing-supply dealers, but they're starting to appear at retailers too. For a complete list, call NSF at 1-800-673-8010.

- THE PUR PLUS SELF-MONITORING WATER FILTER attaches to the end of your faucet and costs $70. Replacement cartridges cost $20.

- THE AQUA-PURE, an under-sink filter, costs $170. New cartridges cost $89.

- WATER FACTORY SYSTEMS FAUCETMATE, a more-elaborate under-sink model, costs $225 to $300. Replacement cartridges cost $80. Also available: a simpler under-sink system that costs $150 to $200. New cartridges cost $60.

- WHIRLPOOL plans to make its under-sink filters available in all markets by the end of the year. Its model WSC200YW retails for $199; the WSC300YW, which removes more types of contaminants, is $299. Replacement cartridges cost $30.