Is Tap Water Safe to Drink
Author: Nigel Green
Published: 2010-10-25 : (Rev. 2014-05-12)
Synopsis and Key Points:
Tests have shown that our drinking water supply contains over 200 different chemicals and contaminants.
Main DigestJust what are these chemicals? Why are they in our water? What damage can they do? And what can you do to avoid them
Why are these chemicals in our water supply
Contamination of our drinking water comes from many different sources, cracks and leaks in pipes, lead solder and joints, chemicals in the environment and natural water ways, not to mention the chemicals added by the water companies during the treatment process. The contamination of our water is directly linked to the degree of contamination in our environment. Air borne pollution is washed into lakes, rivers and aquifers and chemicals, such as pesticides and detergents, seep through the earth into underground reservoirs.
A large amount of man made chemicals and pollution will eventually end up in our water ways, consequently finding there way into our drinking water supplies.
What are these chemicals and what harm can they do
There are over 200 different chemicals found in today's public water supply and many of them have been linked to disease or illness by medical studies.
Chlorine and Fluoride -People will be familiar with chlorine and fluoride which are added to our water during its treatment to disinfect and kill bacteria but chlorine and fluoride have nasty properties of there own which people may not be so aware of. Chlorine is used in industry as a bleach and can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and mouth, as well as allergic reactions and damage to the respiration system. Fluoride has been linked to Skeletal fluorosis, increased risk of Alzheimer's and depression of the thyroid gland, a common cause of obesity. Worryingly fluoride has even been associated with low IQ, mental retardation and learning difficulties in children.
Lead -Lead was regularly used in pipes, solder and fittings before its harmful effects where fully understood. Many of these pipes are still in use meaning that we our exposed to this harmful substance on a daily basis. Lead is toxic and has a cumulative effect meaning that it builds up over years and can cause serious health problems in later life. It can cause memory problems, damage to the kidneys, brain and central nervous system and reproductive problems in both men and women.
Lead has also been linked to premature birth, reduced birth weight and learning difficulties in children. Lead is most easily absorbed by growing tissue meaning that infants, children, pregnant women and unborn babies are even more venerable to lead poisoning than others.
Benzene -Benzene is used in petrol and is released into the air through exhaust fumes and is also used in the making of plastic, rubber and synthetic fabrics. Its finds it way into the water systems through air pollution and ground contamination. Benzene is a cancer carcinogen and has been linked to causing cancer of the heart, lungs, liver and brain along with irritation of the stomach, dizziness and convulsions.
Benzene also causes damage to red blood cells, decreasing their number, which can lead to anaemia, bone marrow disease, depression of the immune system and increased risk of infection.
Bromate -Bromate is formed when ozone used for disinfecting water reacts with bromide which is a naturally occurring element. Bromate targets the kidney so people with existing kidney problems are especially at risk. Can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Over the long term bromate can lead to nervous system damage, hearing loss and kidney defects.
- Copper is released into our water from the erosion of pipes. In small doses it can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and mouth, headaches, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. Long term exposure can lead to liver and kidney damage.
- Arsenic, causes skin damage and has been linked to cancer of the lungs, skin, bladder and kidneys.
- Cyanide, respiratory, heart and central nervous system most at risk, prevents cells from using oxygen causing them to die.
- Mercury, disruption of brain functions, learning problems, deafness, memory loss, sperm damage, birth defects and miscarriages.
- Pesticides, Ontological cancer, inborn deformities and immune system deficiencies.
- Nitrates, birth defects and increased risk of cancer. People with heart, lung disease or cancer are more susceptible to nitrates toxic effects.
The list goes on and on! Exact water content does vary from area to area but the above list is just an example of the most commonly found chemicals in our water supply.
To find out exactly what's in the water in your area please follow the link at the bottom of the page to request your free local water standards report.
How can I remove these chemicals from my water
Water is important to a healthy lifestyle and it is recommended we each drink 2 liters a day to keep ourselves healthy and hydrated but when it contains harmful chemicals, what can we do
Adding more chemicals to the water supply to combat contamination and infection, as the water companies do, only adds to the problem as these remain in the water and have there own harmful effects as we've shown above.
Water filtration is the best way to remove these chemicals, although some methods are unreliable, removing part but not all of the contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis water filters are the most efficient solution, they are convenient, fit under your sink and provide clean pure water from the tap. RO works by forcing the contaminated water through a selective membrane that keeps the contaminants on one side and allows the water to pass through to the other, removing up to 99% of all contaminants as it does so.
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