Water Pollution is the Threat.
How do we protect ourselves?

We need to protect ourselves and our families from water pollution.  Filtering water at the point of use or at the point of entry to the home is a good first step.  At a minimum, get a water filter that removes chlorine for the kitchen.<

We usually think of water pollution as raw sewage overflow or industrial effluents or something equally nasty.  However, contaminated water covers a wide spectrum and if the water isn't pure, it's polluted.  Here's a few examples that we don't usually get alarmed about but they are still contaminants in our municipal water supply.

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Chlorinated and Flouridated Water?
This is Pure Water?

Although chlorinated water is not considered to be water pollution, the fact is that it is not pure water.  Anything we adulterate our water with, whether it be chlorine or flouride, is a contamination.

Have a Nice Cup of Trihalomethane.

Chlorine reacts with any organic substance to create new chemical compounds called trihalomethanes.

These are known or suspected cancer causing agents and we all are exposed to them.

To elaborate, trihalomethanes are a group of four chemicals that are formed along with other disinfection byproducts when chlorine is used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water.
 
The chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water to produce these toxic chemicals.

The trihalomethanes are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform; sounds appetizing, doesn't it.

We all have some level of this water pollution coming out of our faucets.

Now if we heat that water containing chlorine and those four disinfection byproducts and then combine it with an organic such as our nice, healthy herbal tea, brewed coffee, or whatever, we could substantially increase our risk of cancer.

The Solution Could be on Your Countertop

There are numerous water filter systems for the kitchen.  Some sit on top of the counter, others are installed below the kitchen sink. 

Either way, a filter system for drinking and cooking water should remove chlorine, chloramines, trihalomethanes, volatile organic compounds, pesticides and herbicides.

The one pictured below is the AQ-4000 Countertop Water Filter from Aquasana.

It uses a combination of carbon filtration, ion exchange and sub-micron filtration to produce healthy, great tasting water right from the kitchen faucet.

It filters out chlorine, lead, prescription drugs, volitile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine resistant parasites, trihalomethanes (THMs) and methyl-butyl ether fuel oxygenates (MTBEs).  All this while leaving healthy, natural trace minerals in the water. 

This is an ideal counter-top kitchen filtration system and has all the features to look for when shopping for a unit to give you and your family a fighting chance against the modern contaminants in our drinking water.  For more information, click on the image.
 
At a minumum any countertop system should reduce foreign tastes and odors below detectable levels which in itself is an indicator of safer, healthier water.

Filter My Shower Water?
Isn't That a Little Over the Top?

Next, put a filter on your shower head. 

That wonderful, hot, steamy shower causes all the pores of your skin to open up and absorb whatever chlorine and pharmaceuticals might be showering down on you.  Besides absorption, there is an inhalation hazard.

An excerpt from an article in New Scientist from way back in September, 1986 says, "Taking long hot showers is a health risk...... Showers, and to a lesser extent baths, lead to a greater exposure to toxic chemicals contained in water supplies than does drinking it.

The chemicals evaporate out of the water and are inhaled. They can also spread through the house and be inhaled by others.  It is possible to receive 6 to 100 times more of the chemicals by breathing the air around showers and bath than they would by drinking the water."  Yes, the fact is, water pollution is raining down on us everytime we shower.

The shower head filter system pictured above is the AQ-4100 Shower Filter, also from Aquasana. 

It has a two-stage filtratation process where stage one removes chlorine and improves pH balance with a natural copper/zinc mineral media. 

Stage two uses a carbonized coconut shell medium for the removal of synthetic chemicals, THMs and VOCs that vaporize from tap water and are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. 

Besides the health benefits, this type of shower filter will bestow some nice cosmetic benefits in terms of softer skin and healthier looking hair. 

Click on the image above or link below for more information.

Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter

Take it With You

Finally, get a few filter water bottles that are available in any sporting goods store or on-line.  Carry them with you on the road for use in filtering water from drinking fountains or other public sources.

Johnny, wash your hands!

One of the simplest, yet most overlooked, protective measures against water pollution is simply washing our hands. 

Transference of bacteria, virus and parasites from water to mouth usually occurs because we touch it.

photo from MA Academy of Sciences

Special care should be taken in hospitals, nursing homes, daycare facilities or anywhere small kids congregate.  We love 'em but they're dirty little critters.

Restaurants and food courts merit special attention since poor hand hygiene contributes to food-related illnesses, such as salmonella and E. coli infection.

It's a serious issue.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 76 million Americans get a food-borne illness each year. Of these, about 5,000 die as a result of their illness.

whole house water filtration system

How Well do Filters Handle Water Pollution?

There is no shortage of choices in water filters.  Take your pick.

Activated Carbon and Carbon Block

Activated carbon filters are the most familiar, probably because they are the most highly marketed; also the second least expensive.  They are easily put on faucets, shower heads, under the sink and on counter-tops. 

By themselves, they do a great job at removing chlorine, bad tastes and odors from water and do a good job at reducing solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, parasites and disinfectant by products.

If the activated carbon is combined with a silica filtration medium and a high-purity granulated copper and zinc based alloy and all packed into a dense filter block, we now have the makings of a really dynamite, effective filter. 

Sedimentation

Sedimentation filters are the least expensive and used mainly to remove large particles, such as dirt, from water.  The main application is for use with wells but it is important to understand that well water has the same contaminants as tap water. 

So if you have a well and employ a sedimentation filter, it would be wise to use carbon filters on the inside faucets and showers.

photo from Remco Engineering Water Systems and Control

The most common application of ion exchange filtration is in water softening where calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with benign (soap friendly) sodium and potassium ions. Ion exchange resins also used to remove toxic ions such as nitrate, nitrite, lead, mercury, arsenic and many others.

The ion exchange also acts to reduce mineral deposits in plumbing and fixtures. 

They also take out barium and other ions that can cause health
hazards by "trading" strong positive charged minerals for minerals with a lesser charge, as in the water softening process.

Distillation

Distillation filters simply boil water and condense the purified steam.  They are versatile and can be used for whole house entry points, under the counter or in combination with carbon filters. 

They do a great job at treating heavy metal water pollution but there is a downside to drinking distilled water long term.  It can leech minerals from the body and cause deficiencies. 

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis(RO) filters use a semi-permeable membrane for water pollution that separates out the impurities.  RO filters produce extremely pure water, free of most contaminants including parasites, heavy metals and other pollutants.

photo from Remco Engineering Water Systems and Control

The downside is that it is negative on the water stability index and can dissolve things as a result.

The stability index provides a guide as to the "aggressiveness"
of water and water for home use and drinking should be zero on the index.  Thus, the use of an RO filter in the home would be discouraged for the long term.

Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet filters aren't really filters.  They use UV light for water pollution to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms in contaminated water and are generally used in conjunction with carbon filters for the actual removal of impurities.

The carbon block filter from Aquasana has been tested to reduce a broad spectrum of organic compounds and chlorinated organics
Since there are no testing standards as yet for pharmaceuticals and their byproducts, at present there are no home filters or bottle filters that can claim to remove prescription drugs. 

Hopefully, technology will soon advance enough to create home filters capable of treating pharmaceutical water pollution. 

Fight Water Pollution with Supplementation

The contaminated water problems previously discussed are not going away.  It's something we are going to have to live with and adapt to as best we can. 

The keys to survival in a toxic water world is to maintain a strong immune system and bio-active sugars are vital for optimal immune health.

Next, learn about antioxidants and get rid of the free radicals and mutated cells that form every day in our bodies.  Consume both antioxidant supplements as well as nature's antioxidants such as berries, especially blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, red grapes and whole grains.

Try to avoid pesticides, fertilizer chemicals and antibiotics and hormones to the extent possible by eating organic produce, meats and dairy products.  Also supplement with a hydroponically produced vitamin, mineral and phytochemical product.

Use an endocrine system support product.  Hormones produced in the endocrine systems glands are the body's regulators and for everything else to work right, the right hormones need to be in the right place at the right time in the right amount.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own health and well being.   So after stocking up on the required supplements, next is to learn how to find, purify and store your own water.  When the water stops flowing out of the tap and it comes to survival, people will kill for water.

So take a look at the book "Harvesting H2O" shown above by Nicholas Hyde. He may be on to something.

Be Part of the Solution;
Not Part of the Water Pollution Problem

The efforts of one person may not seem like much, but if we multiply it by 200 to 300 million people, it would be quite and impact. 

Be aware of the simple, logical things we can do to help protect our environment and water.  Don't be a cause or source of water pollution.

photo from NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

It has been said before, don't flush drugs down the toilet or put them in the garbage disposal.  It fact don't use the garbage disposal at all; it just puts more junk in the water supply that has to be removed.  Food waste is better utilized in the garden.

Never, never pour solvents, paint thinners, used household chemicals and the like down the drain or in the water collection drain in the street.  Take them to your local hazardous waste collection site.

Use yard chemicals, especially pesticides sparingly, and don't apply them in such a way that they will run off the yard into the street and down the storm drains. 

Let's all think about what we are doing and whether or not it might contribute to our environmental load of water pollution.

As a final word, after reading all this material on filtration and keeping water clean, here is a blog that describes what can be done on a larger scale to help clean up our water resources.

The Water Blog is a site that offers some good advice on what we can do to help combat water pollution. Every little bit helps.


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