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Why is sodium in my water?

Sodium is a naturally occurring constituent in drinking water, and typically originates as water dissolves rocks and soils as it flows in streams and rivers or percolates underground. A sodium content of 20 mg/L or less in drinking water meets EPA's guideline for 'sodium-free' diets.

Should I be concerned about my sodium intake when I drink water from my tap?

The short answer is "Consult with your physician."

What we can tell you is that food tends to be the most important source of sodium in a person's diet.

The recommended Daily Value for sodium is 2400 mg. 'Low sodium' diets are typically between 1000 and 3000 mg per day.

If you drink a gallon of water (16 8-oz glasses) in a day you'll get less than 160 mg. That's if your water contains 40mg/liter (154mg/gallon) of sodium.

In contrast you'll get to a whopping 2400 mg of sodium by eating just two 1/4 pound hamburgers. In the U.S., adults average about 4000 - 6000 mg per day.


Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Room 244
PO Box 210207, Tucson, AZ, USA 85721-0207

Funded by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
Page Content: Stephanie Nardei
Webmaster: Stephanie Nardei