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Water contaminants and health

Drinking water contamination is on the list of health risks for quite a while now. Built to disinfect water, not to purify (detoxify), municipal water treatment facilities are not just outdated - they are plain incapable of coping with alarmingly increasing levels of water pollution. So unless you do something on your own,

your protection level from drinking water contaminants is
unacceptably low.

Water is one of the six basic nutrients and it is the most important one. You could survive months without food, but only days without water. By the volume, our daily water intake (3 liters average, roughly half of it coming from food intake) is greater than intake of any other basic nutrient. Up to 3/4 of your body weight is water - it is both medium and mediator for all body processes and functions, including the very detox system of the body. This makes ensuring safe drinking water especially important for protecting your health.

Easier said than done. While the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has mandate of ensuring general safety of our drinking water, their idea of safe drinking water is controversial to say the least. Adding toxic chemical elements like chlorine and fluoride to drinking water is seen by many as causing more harm than good, and there is

 plenty of evidence to support that notion.

Both, chlorine and fluoride in drinking water have being linked to increased rates of degenerative diseases and cancer10. It is not only their direct toxicity that is a concern; at least as much it is that they can react with other substances present in water, forming even more toxic compounds. For instance, chlorine can form toxic chlorinated carbohydrons (chloroform, dichlorobromomethane), or hypochlorite ions. The latter, when combined with phenolic compounds in the water form phenyl chlorides, chemically similar to DDT4.

Adding to it is water contamination by toxic industrial and agricultural wastes. Nitrates, which negatively affect the red blood cell's ability to transport oxygen, often contaminate water supply in agricultural areas. Pesticides, toxic metals, plasticizers, radioactive particles, medications and volatile organic compounds (VOC), like chloroform, PCBs, tuolene, trichloroethylene, acetone, and others, have long ago penetrated water supply.

No one knows for sure how many - and which - toxic chemicals contaminate your drinking water, but the number is in hundreds, if not thousands.

Part of drinking water contamination comes from water distribution systems themselves. There is still some lead piping in use, contaminating drinking water with this deadly poison. Copper pipes leach copper, making many people sick from high body levels of this mineral, or from nutritional imbalances it causes. Various local water "treatments" add more of undesirable chemical residues, mostly inorganic components.

In addition to this, about half of the U.S. population uses drinking water containing recycled discharged wastewater. While regulations are in place for wastewater treatment, many toxic elements are not efficiently removed, increasing levels of water contamination. This includes bio-contaminants, like bacteria, viruses, parasites, amoebae and others.

Water acidity

Water acidity level is also affecting health. Being very low in alkalizing minerals like calcium and magnesium, tap water is very acidic, with pH of 5-5.5 (pH number - or potency of hydrogen - is an exponent, showing how many normal, or uncharged water molecules there is for every hydrogen ion, as 10pH; the denser hydrogen ions, the more alkaline water). This is too far from pure water with a neutral 7pH or, better yet, somewhat alkaline water with pH between 7.4 and 8 (groundwater tends to be alkaline, which indicates that it is the mother nature's default).

Based on hydrogen ion density, water at the pH of 5 is 251 times more acidic than at pH 7.4.

Though not directly toxic due to acidity itself, acidic water may contribute to the overall acidity of your body. With many people already on high-acidic diets consisting mainly of meats, dairy, sugars and (most) grains, acidic water is the last thing they need. It would worsen mineral acidic imbalance, forcing the body into sub-optimum, potentially unhealthy compensatory modes of operation in order to maintain acid/alkaline balance. Similarly to junk foods, acidic water is detrimental to the body

more because of not supplying it with what it needs for optimum functioning, than due to causing direct harm.

Growing evidence, particularly from Japan, shows that consuming alkaline water has numerous healing effects, primarily due to antioxidant/detox activity of activated hydrogen it supplies.

Since most bottled waters are also acidic, the only solution is to alkalize your drinking water. It can be done by adding alkalizing minerals - like unprocessed salt - or lemon juice to it. Another option is to have water-alkalizing machine installed; those including water filter also significantly reduce water contaminants. While somewhat pricey (close to $1,000 and up) they are good long-term investment, especially if you are already buying bottled water.

Water filtration

While some common drinking water contaminants are positively linked to diseases, health effect of most water contaminants is little known, especially long-term and in synergy. Also, it is not uncommon that municipalities are - for any number of reasons - in violation of federal water safety regulations, already very questionable with respect to their adequacy in guarding public health.

Fortunately, purifying your drinking water can be as simple as installing a small activated-carbon (A-C) filter on shower heads, faucets or under the sink. Such filters significantly reduce contaminants, bringing your drinking water close to a really safe level.

For showers, KDF (copper/zinc compound) water filters are better solution: they are more effective in reducing chlorine, and do not support bacterial growth (which becomes a problem when A-C filters are used with warm/hot water).

Alternate water filtration methods are distillation and reverse osmosis. They are both less practical and more expensive than A-C filters, also with some drawbacks.

Distillation is less efficient in removing chemical contaminants; also, it removes minerals from water, which makes it more acidic and "aggressive" - capable of leaching minerals out of your body, contributing to deficiencies.

Reverse-osmosis filters are relatively inefficient in removing volatile chemicals, and also remove minerals, although somewhat less than distillation.

Sediment filters are limited to removing particulate contaminants, while leaving in both biological and chemical contaminants. Ultra-violet light kills micro-organisms, but doesn't affect chemical and particulate contaminants.