According to the Environmental Working Group, there have been 315 pollutants found in America’s tap water since 2004, and over half of these pollutants are completely unregulated and can legally exist in any amount.
At the current levels of contamination, people are starting to question the quality of tap water, and whether it is safe enough to drink. Lead, asbestos and trihalomethanes are all contaminants that could end up in our drinking supply.
When it comes to tap water, there are 5 main contaminants to be concerned about, which are:
In a 1992 study in The American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that people regularly drinking tap water with high levels of chlorinated hydrocarbons were at greater risk of developing bladder and rectal cancers than people who drank un-chlorinated water. The study approximated that roughly 9% of all bladder and 18% of all rectal cancer cases were attributable to chlorinated water.
Since chlorine is a strong oxidant, it oxidizes, deteriorates and ages the body. It is imperative that chlorine be removed from water before it is consumed. Chlorine dries the skin and scalp causing them to flake. It is a known carcinogen and has been linked to the increased risk of stillbirth and birth defects. It also disrupts digestion by killing the probiotics (friendly bacteria) in the body.
Giving unfiltered town water to an infant is dangerous because anything that is put into an infant’s body is magnified many times because of its tiny size. Bathing an infant in chlorinated water is also harmful, as it is for anyone. Showering in unfiltered town water can be quite dangerous, since the body absorbs more chlorine through the skin pores and lungs during a hot shower than it would if you were to drink a glass of the same water. Skin pores absorb substances such as chlorine up to twelve times the normal rate in a hot shower because they are fully dilated.
Lead is another element at the centre of the tap water health debate. Many studies have shown that overexposure to lead can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells. It can also stunt growth and has been linked to a variety of behavioural problems with anti-social outcomes. Lead typically comes from pipes, however although houses stopped being built with lead pipes in the 1930’s, they are still connected to water plants with lead pipes.
Fluoride is in our toothpaste, the food we eat, and is the biggest reason for the advancement in tooth care. It is also a genuine source of controversy, especially when considering that it was introduced in 1945 and has been showing negative effects ever since. Firstly, fluoride has been linked to tooth discoloration, causing yellow or brown pits and patches on teeth. Chronic exposure at higher levels (over 4 parts per million) has even been linked to bone spurs and birth defects.
The biggest problem with adding fluoride to tap water is that it interferes with the absorption of iodine, which is one of the most important minerals required by the body. Without iodine, the thyroid cannot produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones regulate growth, protein synthesis, metabolism and a host of other bodily functions. Since fluoride, chlorine and bromine are all considerably smaller and lighter than iodine they are also much easier for the body’s iodine receptor sites to bond with. These other competing halides make iodine absorption quite difficult, which leads to tremendous imbalances in the body including weight gain, metabolism problems and lethargy.
“Based on data from the National Academy of Sciences, current levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water may cause arthritis in a substantial portion of the population long before they reach old age.”
- Dr. Robert Carton, former EPA Scientist.
“The plain fact that fluorine is an insidious poison, harmful, toxic and cumulative in its effects, even when ingested in minimal amounts, will remain unchanged no matter how many times it will be repeated in print that fluoridation of the water supply is safe.”
- Dr. Ludgwig Grosse, Chief of Cancer Research, U.S. Veterans Administration.
Arsenic was formerly prevalent in many ‘rat poisons.’ It is a naturally-occurring element that has no taste or odour, and is often a component of rock in the earth’s crust. Arsenic enters the food chain through drinking water or by consuming plants that have absorbed it. In very small amounts, arsenic can be found in our bodies, and believe it or not, it is actually an essential nutrient to our diets, however unfortunately, arsenic toxicity is never far off. Even a small amount beyond what is required can have terrible effects. Arsenic can lead to a decreased production of red and white blood cells, atypical heart functions, liver and kidney issues, and diminished nerve functioning resulting in the “pins and needles” feeling in extremities. The highest doses lead to death. The most common sign of lower exposure is the presence of light and dark spots on the flesh. Over time, these harmless spots can become malignant. Arsenic exposure can also cause cancer within the body, particularly in the kidney, liver, lungs and bladder.
Added to the above list, microorganisms (bacteria, fungus and algae) are a concern in tap water. The majority of fresh water contains some form of microscopic life, which is fine. Not all microscopic organisms are harmful; some are even beneficial, however certain micro-organisms are highly dangerous. Organisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia have been linked to many negative effects, especially in people who have compromised immune systems. For healthy individuals, cryptosporidium can lead to diarrhea, nausea, headaches, vomiting, abdominal cramps and low-grade fevers, lasting up to a couple of weeks. In people with suppressed immune systems such as HIV/ AIDS patients, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, infants, and the elderly, water with cryptosporidium is sometimes lethal. It is immune to chlorine and must be terminated through other means. Another microorganism to worry about is coliform bacteria. This bacteria is in all our intestines and excreted in our faeces. Thus, the presence of coliform indicates that there is fecal matter in our drinking water, which means that there are likely numerous other pathogens and disease-ridden or causing substances in the water.
Bottled water is not necessarily healthier than tap water and yet it costs much more. Often the only difference between tap and bottled water is the added minerals which have no proven health benefits.
A four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that a third of the bottled water tested contains levels of contamination which exceed allowable limits. Bottled water can also be slightly acidic, which affects your body’s pH balance. Finally, the environmental impact caused by the production and disposal of plastic bottles is harmful to our ecosystem.
In the United States alone, the general public goes through roughly 50 billion water bottles a year, and environmentalists warn that it’s ruining the environment as it takes thousands of years for these bottles for them to degrade. With some 80% of these bottles ending up in landfill, we are all paying a price. Fossils fuels and greenhouse gases aside, groundwater pumping by bottled water companies also harms watersheds and other precious habitats. According to several studies, it takes up to three litres of water to produce only one litre of bottled water.
Further to this, 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year, and 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, which is enough to fill the fuel tanks of 100,000 cars. Toxic chemicals are released into the environment during the production and disposal of these bottles. Added to this, the practice of tapping ground water supplies for bottled water has led to shortages in several places such as India.
If all this isn’t reason for concern, there are many studies linking plastic to deleterious effects on human health. Although reusable water bottles are better for the environment, many of them contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a substance believe responsible for reproductive problems and heart disease. In fact, even if you drink from single-use bottles, the resin, polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) has been shown to leach chemicals that may lead to cancer and hormone dysfunction.
A study undertaken by Monash University’s Institute for Sustainable Water Resources found that rainwater tanks in Australia are commonly contaminated with lead and other heavy metals at levels that exceed drinking water guidelines. “The studies that have been undertaken (Coombes et al., 2002; Simmons et al., 2001; Thomas & Greene, 1993) have all found some heavy metals at the outlet tap at concentrations higher than acceptable levels”.
The report goes on to say “An investigation of six pilot roofs (glazed tiles, pre-painted steel and 55% aluminium- zinc coated roofs with and without lead flashing) and tanks revealed that lead flashing significantly contributed to the lead content in tank water which was up to 50 times the recommended Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) limits. Similar results were found in two further studies of full scale tanks, where 33% of the 49 tanks contained lead concentrations in tank water exceeding the recommended limits, being up to 35 times ADWG values. Concentrations of aluminium, cadmium, iron and zinc were also found at levels exceeding acceptable health and aesthetic levels. It is concluded that metals concentrations and lead concentration particularly, is an important issue which must be addressed in the task of finding alternative water sources for Australian cities”.
RO (Reverse Osmosis) is a filtering process which may be effective in areas that do not receive municipally-treated water, and is commonly used in bottled water facilities. The problem with this process is that dangerous chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water, and can pass freely through the filter.
Ionised Water and purified water are exactly the opposite from each other in every regard:
- Purified water is acidic; ionised water is alkaline
- Purified water does not effectively hydrate the body; ionised water is extremely hydrating
- Purified water leaches minerals from the body; ionised water provides minerals to the body
- Purified water does not provide the body with oxygen; ionised water does.
- Purified water does not scavenge for free radicals; ionised water does
- Purified water encourages oxidation of the body; ionised water reduces oxidation
- Purified water has a positive ORP, which is an oxidant. Ionised water has a negative ORP, which is an antioxidant.
Purified water has had all the minerals removed from it, which is a substance that cannot be found in nature. When we drink purified water, we are consuming a pure chemical substance, H2O. Pure chemical substances of any kind are not found in nature collected together, but instead are always mixed with other substances. Because of its extreme purity, purified water absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, which makes it acidic and even more aggressive at dissolving the alkaline substances it comes in contact with.
The pH of purified water is much more acid than the body should be. It contains little or no dissolved oxygen and therefore is considered dead water unless it is re-oxygenated. Purified water enters the body pure, but does not come out pure. It leaches vital minerals from the body, turning it more acidic. Purified water that has been ionized should also be avoided. Even though ionization does increase purified water’s hydration properties, the trade off is not worth it because it still steals vital minerals from the body due to its acidity and absolute purity. Added to this, 7-11 litres of water are wasted for every litre of purified water produced.
The famous Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher, demonstrated that water which had been distilled, polluted or passed through the body after consumption had lost its structure or inner order. Destruction of this natural crystalline structure renders purified water useless to the body. It has been changed beyond its innate composition and structure the same way cooking foods changes their natural chemical structure. Heat destroys the energy of raw foods by destroying its enzymes.
“The longer one drinks purified water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state. Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of purified water.”
- ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water‘, F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
Since it has been transformed into an unadulterated chemical substance (H2O), purified water naturally seeks to balance or mollify its extremely pure, acid condition with an alkaline buffer. Removing minerals from water makes it hungry for anything that is not like itself, as all things in nature strive to balance themselves. What is immediately available to purified water when it is consumed are the alkaline minerals and other alkaline material of the body. Thus they are absorbed by the pure water and carried away with it as it leaves the body. It is the extreme characteristics of purified water that encourages this leaching of minerals from the body. Purified water also leaches plastic from the bottles it is contained in, which makes drinking purified water worse when consumed from a plastic container.
Unfortunately, most water available in convenience stores and vending machines is purified, primarily because the soft drink industry controls so much of the distribution and vending machine territories. Since soft drinks are made with purified water, it is easy for them to bottle and sell what they already produce. To them, water is simply another product in their beverage line, thus no consideration is given to whether it is worthy to consume.
“Purified water is dead, meaning that it is void of oxygen and has a positive ORP. We should strive to consume substances that have a negative charge, or ORP, such as Ionized Water and raw foods”.
- Paavo Airola, Ph.D., N.D. Internationally recognized nutritionist, naturopathic physician, award-winning author, and renowned lecturer. Regarded by many as a world-leading authority on holistic medicine and nutrition.
“The longer one drinks distilled water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state. I have done well over 3000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume distilled water exclusively, eventually develop multiple mineral deficiencies.”
- “Early Death Comes From Drinking Distilled Water”, Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc.