It came from the water

Imagine dying because of something in your tap water -- not in some remote Third World country, but right here in the United States.

Now, stop imagining, because our water is not nearly as clean as you've been led to believe -- and in many parts of the country, it's positively filthy and even outright deadly.

At least two people are dead in Louisiana because their tap water contained a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. The two victims both used neti pots for nasal irrigation, hoping it would clear the nasal passage so they could breathe better.

Instead, they gave the amoeba a free ride up the nose and right to the brain, resulting in a deadly condition called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Basically, it's when an amoeba eats your brain -- and while there's no "good" way to die, this is one of the worst.

The risk of this happening to you is pretty small, so it's not something worth losing sleep over.

But the risk of getting sick from your drinking water isn't small at all, and it's certainly not limited to amoeba and Louisiana -- and that's definitely worth losing sleep over.

From coast to coast, U.S. drinking water routinely flunks tests. It not only fails to meet current standards, but the standards themselves are badly out of date and don't even include many of the most dangerous contaminants now turning up in the water.

As a result, your drinking water could contain trace amounts of cocaine, hormones, antibiotics, chemical residue, and more -- not to mention dangerous levels of the fluoride and chlorine that are often put in on purpose.

But just because your water is dirty doesn't mean you have to drink it. You have other options -- and they're not limited to sending your money down the drain on case after case of bottled water.

Don't waste your money on faucet attachments and pitchers with built-in filters, either, because they're practically useless against many of today's common water contaminants.

The only way to really make sure your water is clean and clear is with a reverse osmosis filtration system or a water distiller. You can find them in hardware stores and online for a few hundred bucks.

And if you use a neti pot, be sure to keep it clean and use only purified water.