Is your water clean? Why it matters
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How clean is your water really? It looks clear, it smells good, the city tells me it's safe, do I believe them? In the search for clean water, let's also discuss conservation and giving gratitude for what we do have, as we are nothing without it!
1 in 3 people globally don’t have access to clean drinking water
785 million people lack basic services to drinking water
At least 2 billion people use contaminated drinking water (feces, diseases etc.)
1 Million people die each year from improper sanitation and hygiene-related diseases
The search for clean water Sanitized tap drinking water is something we in the United States have taken for granted and many people hadn’t even thought about the potential contaminants until Flint Michigan had a health crisis over Lead contamination in their water system in 2014. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated event and thousands of other cities across the country were also serving Lead contaminated water. In fact, closer to home, Denver found unusually high Lead levels in many old homes that they could not filter out and therefore gave each household a Brita filter to use. However, safe water is not just about Lead contamination, as there are many other contaminants that can be lurking in our water that may be negatively impacting our health, even in seemingly safe chlorine and fluoride treated water. Before I delve into the topic of water contaminates and how to protect yourself, let me start off by saying some words of gratitude for having sanitized, clean and accessible drinking water readily available at all times. We are extremely lucky to live in places where we have facilities that sanitize our water and for right now, we have an abundance available to us. It is important to note that despite this, we can do better and we must do better for our health, wellness and ultimate survival. So what is in our water anyway? Chlorine Let’s start with chlorine. Chlorine is one of the most common methods of disinfecting drinking water. Chlorine was first used in the U.S. in 1908 as a disinfectant. Chlorine can kill viruses, bacteria and other microbes, and has been hailed as one of the greatest public health achievement due to eradicating disease in the 20th century. New evidence by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that that this practice is not as safe as was once thought because the reactions between chlorine and natural compounds called “phenols” in water may produce previously unknown toxic byproducts. This study did an analysis that revealed 2 related compounds in the water that are known to be toxic and carcinogenic that have never been detected in drinking water before: 2-butene-1,4-dial (BDA), and chloro-2-butene-1,4-dial (BDA with chlorine). It was noted that these chemicals were found under lab conditions, and there still is question over whether these compounds are at high enough concentrations to pose a threat to human health, and over whether the tradeoff for preventing waterborne illness may be for the greater good. There are other methods to disinfecting drinking water beside using chlorine readily available such as ozone, UV light or filtration to keep water borne diseases at bay, without producing any toxic byproducts. So is it time to reevaluate these methods in search for a better approach to sanitation? Fluoride Is Fluoride safe? Fluoride occurs naturally on earth and is released from rocks into the soil, water and air. However, because fluoride levels in water are not usually enough to prevent tooth decay, the government has decided to add it to our water. Fluoride is present in toothpaste and mouth rinses, however the government says that by adding it to our water to ingest orally, it is the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all and reduces tooth decay by 25%. The main chemical used to add fluoride to drinking water is “silicoflorides” which, instead of being pharmaceutical-grade, is an unprocessed industrial by-product of the phosphate fertilizer. Since there is no purification procedures, these fertilizers can contain high Arsenic and possibly Lead. Unfortunately, the dose matters when it comes to fluoride and studies have found that excessive fluoride has been linked to neurotoxicity, ADHD, lower IQ levels, Arthritis, bone fragility, glucose intolerance, GI distress, thyroid disease, dental discoloration “fluorosis” and possibly cancer such as Osteosarcoma. Foods can also contain extremely high levels of fluoride, especially in non-organic foods that use fluoride based pesticides (iceberg lettuce is one of the largest offenders according to Jeff Green, a fluoride expert. It is best to avoid fluoridated water and instead brush with fluoride toothpaste and don’t swallow it. Heavy Metals Unfortunately there are other metals in our water besides Lead, which include; Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper and Hexavalent chromium.
An Analysis of toxic elements (heavy metals) in 100 Municipal Water Samples from across the US showed some samples had higher than EPA recommended levels in the public water.
Aluminum is neurotoxic (Alzheimer’s disease) and is linked to Breast cancer (is not considered a contaminant of concern in the municipal water systems by the way)
Arsenic has been shown to cause skin damage or problems with circulatory systems and cause cancer
Cadmium can cause epigenetic changes, leading to cancers due to DNA damage and oxidative stress, blocks mitochondrial energy (fatigue) and has been linked to Kidney damage and Thyroid disease
Copper has been shown as a possible cause of gastrointestinal distress and long term exposure to Copper has been linked to Liver and Kidney damage
Lead poisoning in infants and children has been shown to cause delays in physical or mental development and children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning ability. In adults lead poisoning has been linked to kidney problems and/or high blood pressure, anemia, weakness and fatigue with alterations in the mitochondria, Osteoporosis and brain damage.
High Mercury concentrations in drinking water can lead to kidney damage, Autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Neurological diseases, mood disorders AND MORE (look for upcoming newsletter on dangers of Heavy Metals)
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found there are 22 carcinogens commonly found in tap water including arsenic and other byproducts of water disinfectants and radionuclides, such as radium and uranium, which was found to cumulatively result in over 100,000 cases of cancer over the lifespan. According to World Health Organization (WHO), long term exposure to arsenic can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancers; and byproducts of disinfectants are classified as possible human carcinogens that are known to cause liver and bladder cancers. Other contaminants of concerns, Atrazine, Nitrates, Radioactive contaminants, Vinyl Chloride, Perchlorate, Pharmaceuticals and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Even though most American tap water meets the minimum legal standards set by EPA officials, it has been found that contaminates that remain present in tap water create a real and measurable risk for cancer. So what is a PFAS and why are they in my water anyway? The PFAS can be released to the environment by manufacturing and use of items that have PFAS in them. PFAS in the environment may enter surface water, groundwater, and drinking water wells. Some drinking water wells may have PFAS in amounts that are high enough to cause concern for human health. The most-studied PFAS chemicals are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental issues for developing fetus’, low infant birth weight, thyroid disease, liver, kidney and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals, such as liver, testicular, breast and pancreatic cancers. The most consistent findings are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, leading to Heart disease. Although chemical manufacturers in the United States voluntarily stopped making PFOS and PFOA years ago, these persistent chemicals may be found in factories years after they were used. Water sanitation facilities do have requirements to remove PFOA and PFOS, but it does not remove PFAS.
Scary right? Other problems with our water? How about we look close to home? Boulder Wastewater Treatment Plant has found our fish that were exposed to the outflow pipe have been changing sex, spawning more females and transgender fish and males with lower sperm count because of endocrine disrupting chemicals in our water. These chemicals include pharmaceuticals, personal – care products and environmental pollutants.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
The good news …..yes there is good news! Some wastewater plants across the U.S. will be required to start monthly testing for 25 PFAS compounds starting in October 2021. This is a hot topic in Colorado right now, but we need your voice to get proper legislation in place so we have safer, cleaner water for all, so write your local representatives today! We can improve upon our sanitation process by incorporating better testing and removal of harmful chemicals that we are exposed to in the process. More good news? Proper home filtration units can help! Luckily, we have technology to filter out these contaminants and improve our health outcomes as a result. Buying a filtration device can be confusing and you want to make sure you have the best filter possible for your health. Luckily, filters need to prove they can pass standards of proper filtration and so when buying a filter this is important to know. The NSF International, founded in 1944, is an independent, not-for-profit organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Check the link below for more information on their requirements and look for the NSF mark to ensure your filter is certified. Some people have heard Zerowater and other sources recommending using Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meters to measure water impurities, however there are some concerns with these devices and you should not use them. TDS meters do NOT measure contaminants properly, such as all of the above contaminants mentioned, as well as Motor Oil, Pesticides, Herbicides and Pharmaceuticals. Let me take the headache out of finding a filter and simply get an Epic Water Filter for your home, work and travels. Epic Water Filtration is a local Boulder company where you can purchase their home or on the go filtration systems that will remove all of the nasty toxins and give you wonderful tasting water in the process (and it will reduce the excessive plastic in our environment as well). Why is Epic Water Filtration better?
Exceeds NSF/ ANSI 42, 53, 401 standards for contaminant removal
Removes Fluroide, Chlorine, Sulfates, BPA, Heavy metals, Herbicides, Pesticides, trace pharmaceuticals, Chromium 6, bacteria, viruses, glyphosate (Round up), microplastics and microbeads, DDT, PFAS’ and more!
It tastes amazing too (I did a blind taste test with a few filtered waters and this was my favorite- which is a good thing as it’s the one in my house and at the office)
Reverse Osmosis Systems (ROS) are also good, but they can be expensive and they unfortunately removes key minerals during the process, which are much needed nutrients for optimal health. Is carbonated or sparkling water safe? To keep this from becoming a novel, the short answer is yes. Currently there is no evidence to support carbonated or sparkling water being bad for health; it is not bad for teeth and appears to have no effect on bone health. Evidence does suggest they may help to enhance digestion by improving swallowing ability and reduce constipation. If you enjoy these waters there is no reason to give them up, provided they have not been sweetened and have had proper filtration. How can I treat my body from contaminated water?
Heavy metals exposure past or present means you will need tested and chelated with a special protocol. Chelation using EDTA and DMPS for example are very good at clearing heavy metals
Under “normal” or “average” circumstances, 6-12 months of treatment should chelate most heavy metals out of most bodies. However, if you continue to ingest the toxic substance (i.e. Lead) then ongoing therapy would be necessitated for approximately 5-6 months after the last exposure. For metal testing - inquire at BIH
Add binders to your health program, such as Rice Bran Fiber, Bentonite clay, Zeolite and Charcoal.
Add in extra liver support such as Glycine, Glutathione and B Vitamins
Take more Anti-Oxidants! Vitamin C & Green Tea
The natural antioxidant effects of vitamin C and epigallocatechin gallate (green tea components) were tested against hexavalent chromium in a study conducted by Olivet Nazarene University researchers, who reported the antioxidants appeared to inhibit the toxic effects of hexavalent chromium.
Photo by Alexandre Lecocq on Unsplash
Conservation of this precious resource is necessary for life There is nothing more essential to life on earth than water, yet we are in a global water crisis with people struggling to access water and many struggle to access even the basic sanitation necessary for health. Water access is certainly becoming a hot topic here out West as our climate is changing and so it’s important for us all to do our part to preserve what we have. We must all be actively engaged in water conservation, as it is a finite resource (unless we figure out how to globally desalinate our ocean water without putting excessive energy demands on our planet and preserve our aquatic life in the process). There is conservation on a large scale happening, however there are simple steps we can all do personally to be a part of the solution as well.
Brush your teeth with the tap off (this can save up to 8 gallons of water a day and up to 200 per month)
Get a dual Flush Toilet (and if it’s pee- let it be to save the times you flush)
Get a Rain Barrel to collect to feed your plants, wash your car and more
Zeroccape your lawn or at least water early morning to avoid evaporation from the hot sun
Store cold water in your fridge so you don’t have to wait for the faucet to get to the cold temp you desire
Cut down on baths and don’t take long showers.....I mean are you really that dirty? There are plenty of other ways to relax than taking a long shower
Long showers strip away natural oils of the skin and opens up pores to allow moisture to escape which is ultimately drying
Photo by mrjn Photography on Unsplash
Have gratitude and appreciation for our water! For a fun read, check out "The Hidden Messages in Water " by Masaru Emoto It’s not scientifically proven but the message of how energy changes the molecular structure of water, whether it's positive or negative energy is remarkable, and let's not forget we are made of 70% of water! Our words and thoughts are powerful people so share life with love!!! Together, we can protect our water, make sure it's healthy to drink and give gratitude for the life giving nourishment it gives to us. Yours in Health, Carrie RESOURCES Epic Water Filter (Boulder’s very own!!) https://www.epicwaterfilters.com/collections/home-filtration http://info.nsf.org/Certified/DWTU/listings_leadreduction.asp https://www.ewg.org/research/erin-brockovich-carcinogen-tap-water-more-200-million-americans https://www.naturalsciencejournal.org/ICP-MS-Analysis-100-Municipal-Water-Samples.html https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hexchrom/default.html Arsenic in water and on health https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/arsenic Cadmium impacts on health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312803/ Lead impacts on health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236465/ Mercury impacts on health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988285/ Denver and Lead https://www.denverwater.org/tap/you-received-a-water-filter-from-denver-water-now-what Basic info on PFAS https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas EPA recommendation to remove PFAS in drinking water https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-takes-action-address-pfas-drinking-water List of 29 PFAS contaminants that can be in treated waste water and filtered water alike https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2021-01/documents/ucmr5-proposal-factsheet-draft.pdf Boulder Wastewater Treatment Plant outflow/runoff into Boulder Creek https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/effluent-changes-gender-of-fish/article_09833221-f96f-5d85-a628-edb4662db9e9.html PFAS found in treated drinking water https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/0,9038,7-365-95571_95572_95573---,00.html https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/0,9038,7-365-88059_91299---,00.html https://www.who.int/news/item/18-06-2019-1-in-3-people-globally-do-not-have-access-to-safe-drinking-water-unicef-who https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/teflon-and-perfluorooctanoic-acid-pfoa.html https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/ Toxic byproducts from Chlorine https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200128142744.htm CDC on adding Fluoride in water for tooth decay https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm On trial against Fluorinating water https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-06-11-san-francisco-trial-could-get-fluoride-removed-from-drinking-water.html Desalination https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/is-desalination-the-answer-to-water-shortages/