It’s a common question I’m asked: “Is tap water safe to drink in Malaysia/Singapore/Etc?”
In short, the answer is yes. The tap water is safe to drink in Malaysia. However in some high rise buildings, especially in big cities like Kuala Lumpur, the water is usually stored in a water tank about the block. So some will advise you to boil the water first to kill any bacteria and microorganisms that might be in it.
Lots of Malaysians have grown up drinking tap water and are completely fine. You might put this down to people’s bodies becoming accustomed to drinking the tap water in Malaysia because of years of exposure to it.
Ice provided in drinks at restaurants and local eating places with almost definitely be tap water and there has yet to be a case of someone’s stomach churning over because of it.
If you have a weak stomach, which travellers usually have due to the influx of new foods into their system added with the weakened immune system from all the aeroplane travel, it would be advised that you stick to bottled water from known brands to be 100% safe.
But wait a moment
A report from IAMAT.org mentions that the water in Kuala Lumpur is not safe to drink at all (see reference). It’s not clear why they have given this warning and it is worth investigating further.
Activated carbon and clean water
First a bit of background about clean drinking water. In order to keep the water that we are drinking clean, it is common to use chlorine. This element is essential when cleaning drinking water: it is a very effective tool to kill bacteria and to generally enhance the quality of the water. Even though this is the case, chlorine is also very harmful to ingest, since it can easily react with other organic materials found in the water we are drinking. This reaction has been proven to increase the amount of cancerogenic substances in the water, and could be deadly. To stave off the harmful effects of chlorine, it is common to use activated carbon.
What is activated carbon and what does it do?
This type of carbon has a surface which consists of a lot of small pores which increase the surface area and make absorption more effective. The carbon simply absorbs harmful elements such as chlorine and can therefore be used to filtrate the water so it becomes safer to drink. It can also remove a lot of less harmful elements which may cause a foul smell or odour.
Activated carbon in Hydroguard filtration systems
If you’re thinking of living in Malaysia long term, or are currently living in Malaysia, it would be worth investing in an active carbon filter. Hydroguard, a Malaysian based company, have filters that use activated carbon in the filtration systems itself to prevent diseases stemming from the use of chlorine in drinking water. It is one of the most effective filtration systems in the world, and removes not only chlorine, but other dangerous toxins as well. This kind of technology is especially important in countries like Malaysia, where it could be risky drinking tap-water.
With these systems, you will be able to enjoy clean and fresh water, without worrying about harmful toxins. Check out the Hydroguard website for more information regarding their water filtration systems and the use of carbon.
What are your thoughts on whether tap water is safe to drink in Malaysia?
Have you had a bad belly or have you been completely fine? Answer in the comments below?