Sunday, June 20, 2010

H20

With nearly 70% of our body composition being water, we are truly "bodies of water."  Could we go as far as saying that we are what we drink?  If so, what can we do to ensure that our bodies are flowing with the cleanest and most pure water...

Reliable and pure water seems fundamental, right?  I think most people assume that our tap water is safe despite horrifying headlines about tainted water supplies.  Remember Erin Brockovich (the gutsy woman who uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric was poisoning a small town's ground water for 30 years with toxic Chromium 6).  Did anyone hear about the Marines at Camp Lejeune (their website is tftptf.com -- the few, the proud, the forgotten -- the water provided to the Marines and their family was highly contaminated with multiple toxic chemicals).

There are numerous types of classifications of water and the average consumer can easily be confused about what is available.  So, let's start the water discussion about common classifications:

Tap water:
Water from household taps that is generally from surface water (pond, creek, stream runoff which is collected in reservoirs) or ground water (extracted by a well).  About half of the tap water in the U.S. comes from surface water, 35% from municipal wells, and 15% from private wells.

Safety of tap water:
There are definitely a few things to be aware of with tap water.  There may be radon, fluoride, arsenic, iron, lead, copper, and other naturally occurring heavy metals.  Other concerns are pesticides, industrial chemicals, fertilizers, asbestos, cyanides, and herbicides which can leach into ground water from the soil.  Water can also contain viruses, bacteria, and parasites.  Often chlorine, carbon, lime, phosphates are added to public water supplies. 

Even if levels of individual substances are within allowable limits, the total of all may still be harmful to your health.  Private wells may not be regulated at all.

Biggest concerns with water
Chlorine: Chlorine is added to public water supplies to kill diseases-causing bacteria.  The levels of chlorine in drinking water can be quite high, and some byproducts of chlorine are known carcinogens. 

Pesticides: Pesticides pose a risk where tap water is extracted from the ground (well water).  These chemicals are suspected of causing, or contributing to, an increased incidence of breast cancer.  Some scientists believe that certain pesticides mimic estrogen in the body.

Municipal reporting
If you receive water from a municipal water source, they are required to send an assessment of the water and core contaminants. 

But...
More than one-third of community water has been cited for failure to meet the EPA's water safety standards, monitoring, or reporting requirements.  Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law issued a study in 1988 entitled Troubled Waters on Tap: Organic Chemicals in Public Drinking Water and the Failure of Regulation.  The report identified 2,100 contaminants in tap water.  According to a study released in 1995, 54 million Americans drank tap water that was contaminated by feces, radiation, lead, or dangerous parasites between '93-'94.  In 2007, Federal officials began studying the effects of pharmaceuticals (pain killers and depression medicine) in our water supply and how they are causing bizarre mutations to wildlife.

Source: Phyllis A. Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing.  New York: Avery, 2000. 
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition

Check back tomorrow for water solutions...

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