To survive, the only thing we need more than water is air!!
With all the different types of water out there and the hype that goes with each, it can be very easy to get confused about which water is really best for your health.
So, if you find yourself struggling with the environmental concerns of bottled water versus the potentially dangerous chemicals in tap water, I understand.
Unfortunately not all of us live close to a mountain stream where we can fill up our water bottles and drink some of the best water on the planet for free – the way nature designed it.
Most of us live in large urban areas and need to rely on commercial water distribution systems that are often loaded with chlorine, disinfection by-products, fluoride, and many other toxins.
Here’s the sobering truth… Every year a greater number of contaminants are uncovered in public and private water supplies. And with each passing day, we learn more about how these substances have the potential to jeopardise your well-being.
Let me ask you… when was the last time you checked to ensure the water you and your family are drinking is truly safe? And I mean, really checked?
What's In YOUR Glass of Water?
If you’re like most people, you probably take your drinking water for granted. You crack open a bottle or turn on the filter on your tap and pour yourself a nice tall glass of cool, sparkling water.
Did you know that the cleanest-looking water isn’t necessarily the healthiest? Sometimes the greatest dangers with drinking water can’t be seen, tasted, or even smelled.
Impurities in your drinking water can come from a number of sources.
There are many different toxic synthetic chemicals used in society today. And, unfortunately, the list grows longer every year.
To make matters worse, even some naturally occurring substances can be harmful when they end up in your drinking water.
Then there’s the question of water treatment and the myriad contaminants that can result from the process of disinfection. Finally, distribution systems and pipes create hazards all on their own.
To be sure, your drinking water is subject to many, many potential points of contamination. And honestly, these potential hazards can vary from water source to water source…
Five Sources of Water – What You Need to Know About Each
Tap Water – Easy, quick, convenient. But how many pollutants lurk in your water? And what is your associated health risk? More on this in just a moment…
Bottled Water – Did you know that 40% of bottled water is actually TAP WATER? With or without added filtration – you’re paying through the nose for it. Worse, an independent test by the Environmental Working Group found arsenic, DPBs and 36 other harmful pollutants hiding in bottled water. Read more about this below…
Plastic bottles are a less than optimal idea too. They can contain the potentially hazardous chemical BPA.
And the devastating environmental impact is staggering.
Distilled Water – Use with caution… Long-term use can invite health problems, because its minerals are evaporated out. So to try to maintain mineral balance, it sucks minerals out of your body.
What’s worse, the contaminants in the water are more concentrated in the finished distilled water. You can just imagine what that does to your health…
Alkaline Water – Although there is some controversy on this, I and most experts believe that this water should be used for short-term detoxification only (1-2 weeks max). Additionally the alkalinization process does NOT filter the water so you need to carefully evaluate the water filter for the specific alkaline water unit it’s using.
Vitamin Waters – Don’t be fooled… Vitamin waters contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial colours, additives, preservatives, and caffeine. Even worse… they use distilled water to produce these products – which as you just read, is one of the worst types of water you can consume.
So, to complete the full circle back to tap water…
What the (US) Government Isn't Telling You About Your Drinking Water
Passed by Congress in 1974, and amended in both 1986 and 1996, the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act was intended to ensure safe public drinking water.
It’s been documented that each year there are over 200,000 violations to the Safe Drinking Water Act – involving over 20 percent of water treatment facilities.
However, I have no information that your particular water treatment facility had violations.
EPA standards are based on a 175 lb. male drinking water with only one chemical present.
It’s scientifically recognised that if 2 or more chemicals exist at the same time in your tap water, the synergistic toxicity of those two chemicals greatly magnifies the negative effects.
Imagine what happens when you have 6 or 7 chemicals in your water...
How Your Local Water Company May Be Jeopardising Your Health
To make your water safe to drink, your local water treatment plant most likely adds chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or chloramines to the water.
The practice of adding chlorine to drinking water began in the late 1800s and by 1904 became the standard in water treatment, and for the most part remains so today.
Chlorine isn’t necessarily used because it’s the safest or even the most effective means of disinfection. It’s used because it is the cheapest and it is highly effective at eliminating water borne infections that are all too common in countries like India and Mexico..
While chlorine effectively kills the harmful, disease-causing micro-organisms, an unwanted side effect typically occurs at the same time.
Water supplies naturally contain organic matter, such as decaying vegetation. The chlorine-containing disinfectants react with this matter, generating toxic chemical disinfection by-products, or DBPs for short.
And here’s the point that I want you to grasp…
Chlorine itself is relatively harmless. Research reveals that the disinfection by-products (DBPs) produced from chlorine are potentially harmful to your health!
In other words, it’s typically the disinfection by-products, the DBPs – not chlorine – that are responsible for the potential toxic effects of chlorinated water.
The Potentially Dangerous Effects of Disinfection By-products, or DBPs
Some of the more dangerous DBPs created from the chlorination of water include trihalomethanes (THMs) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
These chlorine by-products can trigger the production of free radicals in your body.
Three Disinfection By-products, or DBPs, You Want to Avoid… At All Costs
Cause cancer in laboratory animals
Trigger the production of free radicals in your body
2.Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
Lead to central nervous system depression and drowsiness
Can irritate skin and mucous membranes
3.Haloacetic Acid (HAAs):
Is a Class B2 probable human carcinogen
May cause liver disease in test animals at very high levels
Are They in Your Drinking Water?
According to a recent New Scientist report, a comprehensive survey of U.S. drinking water reveals that drinking water may contain a host of hormonally active chemicals. Some of the most frequently found substances included:
1.MTBE (Methyl-tert-butyl Ether) – a chemical added to fuel to raise octane number; a potential human carcinogen at high doses
2.Atrazine – a U.S. herbicide banned in the European Union; a known endocrine disruptor, it feminizes wildlife and lab animals, is linked to reproductive problems in lab animals, impairs immune function, and is linked to both breast and prostate cancers in humans
Granted, the levels detected were low. But let me ask you: do you really want to drink someone’s recklessly discarded fuel boosters and pesticides?
I certainly don’t.
Incidentally, the U.S. government does not regulate or set rules for pharmaceuticals or any of these other compounds in your drinking water, except for one: the herbicide Atrazine.
Why Your Body Needs Healthy Water
Your body depends on clean water for countless functions.
Your body depends on clean water to perform its daily functions, such as digestion, temperature and blood regulation, respiration, and detoxification.
In particular, your body’s ability to flush out toxins and properly assimilate nutrients depends heavily on an abundant intake of clean, chemical free water. The more stress, toxins, and pollutants your body battles with each day, the more water it needs.
The quantity and quality of the water you use largely determines your body’s ability to shed excess fat and properly maintain your body’s largest organ, your skin.
While your entire body is 72 percent water, your skin is 80 percent water. Plentiful water is needed to maintain your skin’s elasticity and moisture barrier.
Your blood is over 90 percent water and uses water to transport oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies throughout your body.
How Much Water Does Your Body Really Need?
I’m often asked what is the ideal amount of water to drink on a daily basis.
Eight glasses of water a day is a good start, but your body may need more
A good rule is to use the colour of your urine as a guide. When you’re well hydrated, your urine should be clear, or nearly so.
Please note this guideline does not work when you are taking B supplements with riboflavin which will turn your urine bright yellow.
It’s been estimated that over two-thirds of all people don’t drink enough water, and suffer from some degree of dehydration.
Did you know that just a 5 percent drop in body fluids can cause a 25 to 30 percent loss of energy?
Unfortunately, many people turn to stimulants like caffeine and sugar to boost their energy level when they feel drained.
Problem is, these substances only increase your need for more water, as well as potentially cause a myriad of other health issues.
Next time you feel a drop in your energy, pour yourself a cool, tall glass of water and see if it doesn’t make a difference in how you feel!
Remember Your Kids – They Need Clean Water, Too!
Your children need healthy water when they head out to school and play, just as much, or even more so than you or me.
Children need three times as much water per pound of body weight than adults. As their immune and detoxification systems are not yet fully developed, any ill effects from contaminants in the water impact far more children’s bodies.
Lead in particular is dangerous for kids. Studies show that fluoride, added to most public water supplies, can actually increase your child’s absorption of lead.
Pesticides and herbicides are beginning to show up in school drinking water supplies as well. Since developing children are less capable of fully removing them from their bodies, researchers are increasingly suspecting them as one cause for the exploding number of cases of autism and ADHD.
As attention deficit and hyperactive behaviour in children have been linked to changes in levels of thyroid hormone, so are irritability and aggressive behaviour. Pesticides and herbicides are proven to adversely affect thyroid hormones.
If You Think Your Child's School is Protecting Them
Against Unsafe Drinking Water – Think Again!
Unfortunately, you can’t always depend upon schools to protect your children against unsafe drinking water. When schools get their water from municipal supplies, as many do, they’re not required to test for toxins.
If your child attends an older school with lead-soldered pipes, he or she may be drinking lead contaminated water. This highly toxic metal can flake off into the water, or simply leech into the water as it sits in the pipes over weekends and holidays.
According to a 2010 National Geographic report, a nation wide investigation discovered that the drinking water in schools in 27 states was contaminated with lead and other toxic substances from lead-soldered pipes installed before 1985. However, I have no information that the water supply at your child’s particular school contains lead.
As bad as lead is for your child, it’s not the only potential concern with your school’s drinking water. In 2009, the Associated Press analysed school drinking water data from the Environmental Protection Agency and uncovered some disturbing findings.
About 100 school districts and 2,250 schools nation wide were found to have drinking water that violated federal water safety standards, including one out of five schools with well water.
What did they find in the water? Lead, pesticides, and toxins such as coliform bacteria, copper, arsenic, and nitrates. It is for this reason that I suggest packing water for your child for school.
The Most Popular Solution… But is it the Healthiest?
Drinking bottled water opens up a whole new set of health and environmental concerns.
Is drinking bottled water the solution? Evidently, many people believe so.
Bottled water represents, by far, the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry with annual sales exceeding $11 billion.
How has the bottled water industry created such a demand for a commodity that’s available for free?
By slick marketing tactics and taking advantage of lax governmental regulations.
Playing the message that bottled water is cleaner, and therefore healthier, the bottled water industry has successfully created one of the most incredulous scams of the century.
Here’s how you’ve been duped:
Studies reveal that about 40 percent of bottled water is actually regular tap water with possibly no additional filtering treatment.
The EPA standards that apply to public water supplies do NOT apply to bottled water
There are no restrictions protecting against a source of bottled water being located near industrial facilities or waste dumps.
Overall, bottled water is less regulated than tap water.
A recent Environmental Working Group test uncovered 38 contaminants in 10 brands of bottled water, including DBPs, nitrate, caffeine, arsenic, Tylenol, bacteria and industrial chemicals.
The Problem with Water Bottles
The alarming environmental impact of discarded plastic water bottles. In the time it takes you to read just this one short sentence, over 8,000 empty water bottles are being thrown away worldwide.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, in the U.S. alone, more than 67 million plastic water bottles are discarded each day. That’s enough empty plastic water bottles to:
Fill 5500 garbage trucks each day.
Bury Manhattan Island one foot deep each day.
Wrap around the planet 149 times each year!
Not easily degraded, empty plastic water bottles have become a major contributor to worldwide pollution.
In fact, water bottles make up a sizeable portion of the garbage patch of discarded plastic swirling in the Pacific Ocean just a few hundred miles off the coast.
This enormous plastic “stew” is currently larger than twice the size of Texas and growing rapidly!
The waste issue is not the only problem. According to the Sierra Club, the U.S. alone uses 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce all the water bottles we toss each year.
And along with oil, comes unwanted toxins. The processing of plastic water bottle releases toxic compounds such as nickel, ethylbenzene, ethylene oxide, and benzene into the environment.
What I Believe is the Best Way to Protect Your Child (and Yourself) Against Unsafe Drinking Water
Choose your reusable water container carefully!
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the best way to protect you’re your child against the uncertainty of school drinking water is to pack clean water you trust from home.
And, of course, you want pure and clean water in a safe, non-toxic, and reusable container.
What kind of container should you choose?
My personal favourite, and the kind I use myself, is glass. Glass is non-toxic and does not leach any undesirable contaminants. If breakage concerns you, purchase a silicone sleeve to slip on the outside to protect the bottle.
If you feel you must use plastic, be sure to select a water bottle designed for reuse labeled with one of the following numbers, as these are known to not leach harmful substances:
High-density polyethylene, labelled as "#2 HDPE"
Low-density polyethylene, labelled as "#4 LDPE"
Polypropylene, labelled as "#5 PP"
Above all, be sure to avoid all plastic bottles labelled “Nalgene”, PVC #3, and Polycarbonate #7. These can leach potential endocrine disruptors and/or highly dangerous dioxins. However, not all plastics labelled with #7 contain BPA. For instance, corn PLA plastic and other biodegradable and renewable resource resins are classified under 7 as well. Be sure to inquire about what #7 plastic is made from before using it.
Make sure the bottle you select – whether it’s glass or one of the safer plastics – has an opening that allows you to hand wash the insides with hot water and a bottle brush.
If not cleaned thoroughly and often, your water bottle will begin to harbour unhealthy bacteria and mould growth – definitely not something you want in your water!
Water Filtering Options
How to Find some of the BEST Water in the World? In my opinion, the finest source of clean water is from a gravity fed mountain spring, directly from where it emerges.
Naturally filtered by the earth and untreated by commercial bottling companies, this fresh, “living” water still contains organisms such as algae, which are beneficial to your health.
Where can you find these gravity fed raw springs? Go to FindaSpring.com to locate a natural spring near you. Most are even monitored by local municipalities for contaminants and are free to use!
It is no mystery that most of us need some type of water filter system. However for nearly ten years I did not offer a water filter system as I wasn’t convinced that I knew enough to recommend one.
After many years of review I have reached some conclusions. Before I share those with you let’s review your options, As you’ll soon see, I believe that your ultimate choice should come down to three factors:
Effectiveness. How many dangerous contaminants is the filter certified to remove? Most importantly, does it remove the toxic disinfection by-products (DBPs)?
Value. How much, on an on-going basis, will it cost you for clean water? (HINT: Initial costs can be deceiving!)
Ease of Use. If it’s time-consuming and a struggle to install or use, you and your family are less likely to use it.
With these three points in mind, let’s take a closer look at the options available and discover what’s best for you.
What's YOUR Best Water Filter Option?
Your options basically come down to just a few categories:
Carafe or Pitcher Style Filter
The pour-through pitcher style filter is generally the least effective filter when it comes to removing harmful contaminants.
Certified to remove only five substances, a pitcher-style filter is designed primarily for taste and odour. Most importantly, these typically do NOT remove dangerous THMs, VOCs, and cysts.
Although their initial cost may be only about $25.00, you’ll need to replace cartridges every 30 gallons. All figured, at a whopping cost of 25 cents per gallon, these filters are the most costly on an on-going basis.
Plus if you forget to refill the small reservoir after use, you’re out of water!
Reverse osmosis (RO) filters, are my personal favourite, but they may not be for everyone. I prefer RO filters because they generally remove more impurities, including hard-to-remove fluoride. However, they also remove natural minerals in the water.
I add the essential minerals back into my water, but it’s an extra step you must remember to do for naturally healthy water. RO filters also tend to be more expensive.
Ion Exchange Filter
- Ion exchange is designed to remove dissolved salts in the water, such as calcium. This system actually softens the water or exchanges natural-forming mineral ions in the water with its own ions, thereby neutralising their harmful effect of creating scale build-up.
The ion exchange system was originally used in boilers and other industrial situations before becoming popular in home purifying units, which usually combine the system with carbon for greater effectiveness.
Distillation is the simple process of boiling water to create steam. The steam cools and condenses to form mineral-free water droplets, which are deposited in a container. When combined with carbon, the result is typically 99.9% contaminate-free water.
Like a reverse osmosis filter, all healthy minerals are removed.
Granular Carbon and Carbon Block Filters
These are the most common types of counter top and under counter water filters.
Granular carbon filters and carbon block systems perform the same process of contaminant removal, adsorption, which is the chemical or physical bond of a contaminant to the surface of the filter media.
Granular activated carbon is recognised by the EPA as the best available technology for the removal of organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals. However, one of the downfalls of granular carbon filters is that the loose material inside can channel--the water creates pathways through the carbon material, escaping filtering.
Carbon block filters offer the same superior filtering ability but are compressed with the carbon medium in a solid form. This eliminates channelling and gives the ability to precisely combine multiple media in a sub-micron filter cartridge. By combining different media, the ability to selectively remove a wide range of contaminants can be achieved.
A sub-micron pore structure gives the added benefit of cyst reduction. By creating a sub-micron physical barrier, the filter can eliminate dangerous organisms like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
Ideally, you want a filtration system that offers a variety of methods to remove different contaminants. Most systems do not address a combination of organic, inorganic, cyst, sediment and metals.
Why SELECTIVE Filtration Makes a Difference
Looking to protect all your home water sources from DBPs and potentially toxic chemicals? A Pure & Clear Whole House system could be your best bet. It protects all sources of contaminated water in your home…
Ice-makers and water dispensers
Avoid this Type of Water Purification
Posted By Dr. Mercola | December 18 2010 | 11,098 views
By Dr. Mercola
It's a well-established fact that clean, pure water is a foundational cornerstone of good health. What's open for discussion, however, is what constitutes "clean, pure water."
There are many opinions and much confusion about which kind of water imparts the greatest health benefits, particularly when it comes to its pH.
I recently addressed the danger of alkaline water. In this segment I'll address distilled water, and review the pro's and con's of reverse osmosis water filtration. Since most water sources are now severely polluted, the issue of water filtration and purification couldn't be more important.
It's unfortunate, but the value of plain water is vastly underrated by most experts when it comes to achieving optimal health.
I'm convinced that we could prevent many of our chronic health problems if we would simply start replacing all soda and nearly all commercial fruit juices with pure water.
As you may know by now, the number one source of calories in the U.S. comes from high fructose corn syrup primarily in the form of soda. Americans drink an average of one gallon of soda each week, and this excessive fructose consumption is a driving force behind obesity and chronic degenerative disease in this country.
Drinking alkaline or ionized water, however, is not a healthful choice in the long run, and as you will see, neither is drinking distilled water…
Why I Do Not Recommend Drinking Distilled Water
Long before natural health enthusiasts began touting the benefits of alkaline water, there were similarly glowing claims for distilled water.
During distillation, water is boiled and evaporated away from its dissolved minerals, and then the vapor is condensed and the resulting water droplets collected. Distilled water is an active absorber, and when it makes contact with air, it quickly absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes acidic.
Since it is free of dissolved minerals and other particles, it has the ability to absorb toxic substances from your body and eliminate them.
However, although drinking distilled water may be helpful when detoxifying for a week or two, the longer you drink it, the more likely you'll develop mineral deficiencies and an acidic state.
You can rapidly lose electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals, which can cause cardiac irregularities, high blood pressure, and cognitive/emotional disturbances.
In a paper by F. Kozisek of the World Health Organization (WHO), [i] water low in calcium and magnesium, such as distilled water, is associated with the following health problems:
Higher risk of bone fracture in children
Motor neuronal diseases
Pre-term births, low birth weights, and preeclampsia
Various types of cancer
Increased risk of "sudden death"
Acute magnesium and calcium deficiency, weakness, fatigue and muscle cramping
Clearly, changing the water you drink can have profound and potentially disastrous effects on your health, as this research shows.
For these reasons, I've been discouraging people from drinking distilled water for well over a decade now, but there are other far more problematic issues with distilled water that make potential mineral deficiencies pale in comparison.
Distilled Water is Only as Pure as the Water You Begin With...
One of the primary benefits commonly attributed to distilled water is its lack of contaminants.
However, this usually turns out to be far from true...
There are two primary reasons why your distilled water may not be as pure as you'd like to think:
Any contaminant in the water that vaporizes at a lower temperature than the water, such as volatile organic compounds, such as disinfection byproducts that are thousands of times as toxic as chlorine, will be condensed and actually concentrated in the finished distilled water. So what you end up with is water that contains even more dangerous contaminants than what you started with.
Because the water is acidic and demineralized, it will pull contaminants out of whatever container you put it in.
Many distillers on the market are made of metal, which will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back into the water. And if you use a distiller with a plastic bottle, you have a number of plastic chemicals to contend with – many of which we now know are extremely toxic.
The Most Shocking Fact About Distilled Water
In recent years we've learned a lot about the dangers of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) found in most treated water supplies, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs).
These DBPs form when water treatment disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine dioxide react with natural organic matter in the source water.
Researchers have now discovered that DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and out of all the other toxins and contaminations present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst.
Trihalomethanes (THMs), for example, are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they've been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They've also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.
The process of distilling actually worsens the presence of these extremely toxic contaminants in your water because anything that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC's and trihalomethanes (THM's), will also be boiled and condensed.
Sure, the heavy metals are left behind. Lead, for example, will not vaporize. But chlorine will change into chloroform during the distillation process, and will be present in your distilled water.
Distilled Water is Actually MORE Toxic than Municipal Tap Water
So, not only will distillation not remove one of the most significant toxins in water, which are the DBPs, it may actually deliver a more concentrated dose of them.
AND, you're also drinking whatever chemical or metal contaminants the water has dissolved out of the container it's stored in!
Talk about a double-whammy of toxic contamination!
This fact alone should be reason enough to ditch the idea that distilled water might be good for you, unless you start with entirely pure water to begin with, which defeats the whole purpose of distilling it.
Remember that every municipal water supply is treated with chlorine or chlorine like substance that will induce the formation of disinfection byproducts in your water supply. So unless you are using the distiller on well water, you need to be very concerned about this.
A volatile organic compound is a chemical that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water and has carbon in it. And there are hundreds of thousands of volatile organic compounds out there, including benzenes, trihalomethanes, and trichloroethylene. Exactly what and how much of these toxic compounds are in your source water will naturally vary from one location to another.
Many of these are industrial organic solvents that are very destructive to the human body. Many if not most of them are carcinogenic at extremely low levels.
DBPs, for example, are measured in parts per BILLION, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the goal for some of these byproducts at zero because they are so dangerous. Unfortunately the EPA goal is impossible to enforce.
Still, the maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb (parts-per-billion), and the maximum annual average of HAAs permitted by EPA regulations is 60 ppb.
It goes without saying that if distilling were to concentrate these contaminants just a little bit, the consequences to your health could be quite severe.
The Drawbacks Clearly Outweigh Any Potential Benefits
So, in the end, distilled water:
Is energy intensive
Doesn't remove VOC's and DBPs
Is ineffective at removing toxic fluoride
Draws out chemicals and metal contaminants from whatever container it's stored in
Leaches minerals from your body which can lead to health problems
On the positive side, it may help draw out toxins during a short-term detoxification program, but all in all, I believe the drawbacks are stacked quite high and clearly outweigh any perceived benefit.
A Special Note on Removing Fluoride from Your Drinking Water
Distillation also will not effectively remove fluoride, another dangerous element added to most water supplies.
Distillation can remove an estimated 55-60 percent of fluoride, but the rest will get transferred. A reverse osmosis system is slightly more effective, capable of removing about 80 percent of fluoride.
Currently, the only commercially viable way to get non-detectable levels of fluoride (in water that is been treated with fluoride) that I know of is using an activated aluminum filtration system. However, I'm not convinced it will remove all volatile compounds…
The real solution is to convince the US to stop water fluoridation altogether, a campaign I'm currently waging together with the Fluoride Action Network.
I urge you to join us and get involved at any level you can.
If this is a topic that interests you, I would strongly encourage you to sign up for their site as we are shortly going to launch a social networking strategy that will allow you to network with those in your local community so you can initiate the process to have fluoride removed from your water supply.
This is clearly the best solution and it will also produce an improvement in the public health of your community, so you would be doing a major service for your uninformed and deceived neighbours.
Why I'm Changing My Stance on Reverse Osmosis...
I've recommended reverse osmosis (R/O) as the water treatment system of choice for some time now, because I was convinced it was the best solution on the market. It's the system I've used in my own home, primarily to reduce the salt content of my water as I had initially installed a water softener.
However, lately I've begun to rethink my stance on reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis, like distillation, creates fairly acidic water, and it also strips the water of minerals. Additionally, some contend that R/O destabilised the structure of the water, and the system has other drawbacks as well.
It's expensive, and it wastes water. According to Houston, depending on the system it can use anywhere between two to 10 gallons of water to produce one gallon of drinking water.
Another concern is that most of the systems have a holding tank that must be cleaned out regularly to prevent growth of bacteria.
Still, R/O has certain benefits, and there are ways to circumvent some of its drawbacks.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Reverse Osmosis
On the plus side, R/O is excellent for removing all sorts of contaminants, including herbicides, pesticides, lead, fluoride, disinfection by-products (DBP's) and even all but the smallest viruses or protozoan cysts.
Some hormones will slip through, but overall, it does a remarkable job of filtering out some of the absolute worst water contaminants.
It does, however, also create water that is both slightly acidic and de-mineralised.
One way to ameliorate this is to re-introduce minerals to the water. I add about ¼ teaspoon of Himalayan salt per gallon of water to compensate for the minerals lost.
To restructure the water, you can store it in a large round glass jar. Before placing it in the fridge, create a vortex in the container using a large mixing spoon. I believe this restructures the water closer to its natural state, and if nothing else it helps aerate it.
There are vortex machines that you can purchase for $400-500 but they use electric motors and I don't believe they do a much better job than merely swirling the water around with a spoon.
Keeping it cold, around 39 degrees Fahrenheit, also greatly helps to impart the natural restructure back to the water.
Prior to using my current whole house carbon-based water filtration system I used R/O to purify my water. I still use R/O when I travel in the winter, but I put the filtered water into glass jug rather than a metal holding tank. I also use it as the final stage in my whole house system to remove any possible contamination that occurs in the water after the purified water leaves the filter and travels through the pipes.
Aim for Living Water
In the end, what you want is pure, clean, well-balanced water that is neither too alkaline nor too acidic. Ideally, the pH of your water should be close to 7, which is neutral. Somewhere between 6.5 to 7.5 is likely fine. Some of the mountain springs have water in the 6.5 pH range, which would be my preference if it were readily available. You CAN actually collect your own water from natural springs, and if this is something that interests you, take a look at FindaSpring.com.
Natural spring water is "living water," in the same way that raw food is "living food" which is why it's some of the most healthful water on the planet.
As for tweaking your body's pH, I don't recommend going overboard in either direction by drinking either alkaline or distilled water.
Most people simply need to normalise their pH because their diet has already made them unbalanced.
A great way to normalise your pH naturally is by juicing vegetables. You can't find higher quality living water than that extracted from fresh veggies!
How Great is Your Exposure to Toxic Tap Water?
When it comes to completely protecting your entire home from unsafe, unfiltered water, a larger challenge presents itself.
Why is that?
Well, most people have more than one shower and more than one sink in their home. US government census data from 2007 shows that 95% of new single-family homes have 2 or more full bathrooms. 28% have 3 or more.
And as far as occupied homes in the US, around 50% of them already have 2 or more full bathrooms.
So, the chances are high, you have more than one shower and certainly more than one faucet that can expose you to chlorine and the associated DBPs.
Plus, what about your dishwasher, your washing machine, and your bathtubs? Some people prefer soaking in a hot, soothing tub instead of showering.
The Hidden Dangers of Taking Long Hot Baths
Most folks equate a long hot bath to a very cleansing and relaxing experience.
Few people rarely give it a second thought about any potential dangers from the chlorine in their bath water… but the dangers are there.
Very similar to your shower, there are inherent health risks when bathing in hot chlorinated water.
A hot, soothing bath…
Opens your skin pores and allows easier absorption of chlorine and other contaminants directly into your system…
Creates chemical steam which you inhale and can contain up to 20 times the chlorine levels of tap water…
Breaks down your skin’s natural moisture barrier, resulting in drier skin…
So, just like the hidden dangers associated with taking a shower in unfiltered water, the same holds true when taking a lengthy hot bath. The only real difference is that showering may be more hazardous because it takes place in a more enclosed area.
But the health risks in your home from unfiltered water don’t stop here.
How Invisible Chemical Vapours and Gases Could Be Potentially Harmful
One of the most significant risks from unfiltered water is something you cannot see or even feel… chlorine vapours and chloroform gas.
The FDA and other US government agencies report that most homes in the US have measurable levels of chloroform gas.
You might wonder how this potentially harmful gas winds up in your home. If you obtain your water from a municipal water supply, it has chlorine added. And unless you have a whole house water filter, chlorine will vaporise from every toilet bowl in your home and also every time you wash your clothes, dishes or take a shower or bath.
Chloroform gas, chlorine vapours, and the associated DBPs may increase your risk of asthma, airway inflammation, and respiratory allergies. Chloroform gas alone can cause dizziness, nausea, and general fatigue.
Who wants to breathe any of these nasty vapours in their home? I certainly don’t.
As I mentioned above, trying to solve this problem inside your home goes beyond installing filters on your shower and kitchen faucet.
Here are the typical sources that can release chlorine vapours into your indoor environment and contribute to poor air quality:
1.Dishwashers – Most people wash their dishes using hot water, and many even use the ‘hot’ dry cycle as well. This generates steam that can easily be released into the air you breathe.
2.Washing Machines – Using cold water to wash your clothes certainly helps minimise vapour release. But washing your clothes in chlorinated water can embed the chemical into the clothes you wear, potentially leading to rashes and other irritations.
3.Toilets – The flushing action of a toilet potentially releases chlorine vapours into your indoor environment. Regardless of the flushing, unfiltered water just sitting in the bowl has the potential to release chemical vapours.
The bottom line – there are multiple unfiltered water sources and common appliances within your home that can expose you to dangerous chlorine vapours, chloroform gas, and disinfection by-products (DBPs).
Even though it’s a great place to start, you might want to consider going beyond simply filtering your tap water in your shower and at your kitchen faucet. Clearly it is a good idea to have a filterright at the entrance of the water to your house.
Q & A
Q: How can I tell if there are contaminants in my water?
All public water systems contain some level of one or more unhealthful chemicals. Regulations only require periodic testing of about 91 chemicals. There are many chemicals used in our society with over 1000 new ones being developed each year.
Contaminant levels fluctuate throughout the year making it impossible to know the actual level of contamination in a central water system. So far, over 2100 toxic chemicals have been detected in America's water systems. There's an excellent chance many are in your water, too. However, the contaminants discussed above may not be present in your particular water system.
Q: Does the Pure & Clear Water Filtration system remove fluoride?
Fluoride is not one of the contaminants that the Pure & Clear system is certified to remove. However, there is usually a moderate reduction in fluoride levels in water filtered by the Pure & Clear. If you are concerned about the presence of some remaining fluoride in your water, then you’ll need to consider a Reverse Osmosis filter.
Q: Can the Pure & Clear products be used on well water?
The Pure & Clear filters are intended for use on municipally treated water and are not warranted for use on private wells. In most situations, these filters will work fine on well water as long as it is drinkable water.
The Pure & Clear should not be used on wells that are non-potable due to excessive bacteria. Wells with such high levels of iron or sulphur that cause staining of sinks and plumbing fixtures should not be used with the Pure & Clear.
Q: How do you know when the filter cartridges need to be replaced?
The countertop system is rated for 500 gallons or 6 months without any loss of effectiveness. The performance testing for this product was run to a 1000-gallon capacity with no loss of effectiveness to allow for an adequate safety margin. As long as you replace the filter cartridges every 6 months, you can be sure of peak performance.