The Risk of Using Tap Water In Home Medical Devices

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of tap water to fill home medical devices such as humidifiers, neti pots, and CPAP machines can pose a potential threat to our health.

Although tap water is treated to meet safe drinking standards, it is not sterile and is unsafe for inhalation. Therefore, using tap water to fill certain home medical devices is not recommended.

Unsterilized water contains microorganisms such as Legionella spp. and Pseudomonas spp. Inhaling these pathogens can lead to infection. Both pathogens are responsible for a large portion of hospitalizations and deaths related to waterborne diseases.

Some individuals are more at risk for acquiring infections than others, they include:

  • The elderly
  • Infants and young children
  • People with weakened immune systems

To avoid the risk of developing an infection or waterborne illnesses caused by the inhalation of pathogens, the CDC recommends using clean, sterile water ( Tap water can be sterilized by boiling it for a minimum of one minute and allowing it to cool), or using distilled water. It is important to note that bottled drinking water is not considered sterile.

The CDC also recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting home medical devices to help reduce exposure to waterborne pathogens.

To learn more about waterborne illnesses and ways to use water safely, please visit

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.