In the United States, our municipal water supply is overburdened by the poor quality source water and clean water is harder to come by.
The only way that cities are able to meet the federally mandated water standards is to add more chemicals, primarily chlorine (a known carcinogen). Those with a well aren’t better off, with herbicides and pesticides from farms making their way into the groundwater and into your drinking water. The challenges in drinking clean water are numerous, but we are sharing some valuable tips. To learn about them read further.
Clean Water Threats
People still believe today that tap water is clean water because it has been treated with certain chemicals that kill bacteria and other harmful organisms. The truth is that these very same chemicals that protect us from microorganisms are ironically linked to more dangerous diseases.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) produced a drinking water quality report that included 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from around the United States. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount.1
In water, there are two major chemicals added that qualify as major threats that must be eliminated: chlorine and fluoride.
Chlorine is added to the water to kill microbes, yet the same chlorine reacts with naturally-found organic compounds in water to form chlorination byproducts (CBPs).2 Scientists are now realizing the harmful effects of CBPs in our bodies and our environment. Among the side effects of these CBPs, some of the most noteworthy are cancer, cell mutation, free radical formation (speeds up aging process), genetic mutation, increased rate of birth defects and miscarriages. Unfortunately, our “protective” agencies are not considering the long-term consequences of treating microorganisms with chlorine.
Fluoride is being put into most water sources in the U.S. The marketing campaign is that it’s healthy for our teeth, when in reality that it causes cancer, especially bone cancer in boys.
Fluoride entered the world of tap water in 1945 because it was thought to prevent tooth decay. This information was soon disproved by the World Health Organization. They compared countries that added fluoride to drinking water and those that did not, and found no difference in tooth decay rates. A 1992 study of dental records for 26,000 children in Arizona found that tooth decay actually increased in children as the natural level of fluoride increased from 0.2 to 0.8 ppm.3 In fact, higher levels of fluoride can cause a disease called dental fluorosis (which can be indicative of an underlying bone disease).
Many countries including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden have banned fluoride, as it has been linked to so many health problems and related diseases. Some of these diseases include bone cancer, breakdown of connective tissue, hip fractures, decreased immune system, and autoimmune diseases. Some of these effects can occur with levels of fluoride below 1 ppm, a level considered safe by the ADA in our water supply.
A larger threat to clean water is the pharmaceutical drugs that are currently present in our water systems. Prescription medications have and are continuing to pollute our municipal water supplies due to human consumption and household waste. The RCRA program regulates the management and disposal of hazardous pharmaceutical wastes produced by pharmaceutical manufacturers and the healthcare industry. RCRA does not regulate any household waste, which includes medications/pharmaceutical waste generated in a household.
It is a fact that our bodies absorb some but not all medications. A large percentage of drugs pass through our bodies and are flushed away. Unfortunately, wastewater treatment facilities are not set up to remove drug residue. If you are drinking, cooking or bathing in tap water, you are being exposed to other peoples’ medications.
Pharmaceuticals pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they are designed to act on the body at extremely low concentrations. The EPA has no set safety limits for pharmaceuticals in water and there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove drugs from our water.
According to an Associated Press investigation, a vast array of pharmaceutical drugs have found their way into the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. Philadelphia officials discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or pharmaceutical by-products in their treated drinking water.7 Today, we are finding psychotropic drugs and antibiotics in our water sources. Michael Thomas, a professor of evolutionary biology at Idaho State University, published a study that found the psychiatric medications in drinking water may be a cause of autism in humans.
There are several possible solutions for you and your family to have safe, clean water.
Distillation: This is by far the purest method of water purification. Units can range from $200 to $1000. An affordable option can be found here. This is perfect for your drinking water. Be sure not to store your water in plastic/BPA jugs, as those chemical will leach back into your purified water. If you are worried about the lack of minerals in your water, I recommend that you take a mineral supplement like MIN. The one thing that you can guarantee is that distilled water is clean water.
House filtration: The benefit of whole house Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems is that not only are you getting clean water for drinking, but so is the water that you shower and bathe in without having to use individual filters. At the same time, this allows you to wash dishes and clothes without infecting them with chlorine and CBPs. Systems can range anywhere between $1000-$4000.
Individual carbon filters: The benefit is that these faucet filters are inexpensive and remove most chlorine and fluoride. They do not remove some of the CBPs, however. On average, a good filter will remove anything larger than 1 micron. Ranges between $35 and $200.
Berkey filters: One of the best solutions for drinking and cooking water is the Berkley Water filtration systems. These are a gravity filters that cost 1.7 cents per gallon to produce. Berkey filters remove viruses to purification standards, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites to non detectable levels, and harmful or unwanted chemicals to below detectable levels. They also reduce toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury without removing the beneficial and nutritional minerals needed to support a healthy body and mind. We love the Royal Berkey.
Carbon filtered pitchers: These pitchers aren’t highly recommended because they do a poor job at filtering chlorine and fluoride. If you already have one, use it. You’re still better off than drinking tap water.Shower carbon systems: This option is cheaper compared to a whole house system. However, they won’t rid your shower water of all the CBPs. These filters can range between $50 and $80.
Bottled water: This water is normally better than tap. However, it’s normally bottled in plastic that contains BPA. Stay away from “natural” spring water, because you don’t know what you are getting. Opt for RO or distilled water.
Use toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Our favorite is Jason PowerSmile Whitening Toothpaste
Want to eliminate more toxins in your life? Read about how to eliminate toxic plastics.