Articles by Natural Health Author Barbara Minton
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Stop Worrying About Your Water
(The Best Years in Life) Having plenty of good clean water seems like a basic human right, especially because having it is so fundamental to health. But a constant stream of headlines is keeping us alert to the toxic chemicals and pollutants showing up in tap water. Is there anything we can do to assure ourselves that our water is clean? Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization devoted to human and environmental health says yes. The group has created a data base that rates all water companies in the U.S. and lists the specific hazards of each so they can be addressed.
Since this initiative began in 2004, drinking water quality analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials by EWG has revealed 315 chemical pollutants in the tap water we bath in and drink. In December, 2010 the group spotlighted one of the most dangerous findings: the tap water of more than 30 US cities contains hexavalent chromium (chromium-6), a probable carcinogen made famous in the film Erin Brockovich.The average content is considerably higher than the limit proposed recently by the state of California. This chemical is linked to leukemia and other cancers as well as liver and kidney damage.
There have been no standards set for more than half of the chemicals identified by EWG, meaning there are no health or safety regulations acting as safeguards, and these chemicals can be present in water in any amount. Although the federal government does have guidelines for others, 49 of these regulated chemicals have been found in various places at levels exceeding those guidelines. There have been no new government drinking water standards set since 2001.
In fact, the water utilities that provide our water have spent 19 times more on water treatment chemicals each year than the federal government spends on protecting the environment from pollution what would make this excessive chemicalization unnecessary.
In the past, EWG has called for the federal government to conduct a national assessment of drinking water quality and set pollution prevention priorities and projects to restore water quality. The group has also called for consumers to be alerted to the pollutants in their water. The lack of response to these calls is what gave EWG the impetus to create this data base, which is the largest drinking water quality database in existence, covering 48,000 communities in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
How the rating work
Water utility ratings for cities with populations over 250,000 were based on three factors: total number of chemicals detected since 2004; percentages of chemicals found; and highest average level for an individual pollutant relative to legal limits or national average amounts, including common pollutants such as disinfection byproducts, nitrates and arsenic.
Since the data base became available to the public in December, 2009 EWG has received new water test results from several utilities.
Is bottled water better?
All this sounds pretty bad, but there is still more to think about. With bottled water it is true that you can read the hype on the label, but you have no way of knowing what is actually in the bottle. EWG recently found 38 common contaminants in 10 popular brands of bottled water.
Because tap water suppliers publish all their water quality tests, you know what you have and you can take steps to deal with it and restore quality water to your home. Getting the answers to what's in your water allows you to choose a filter certified to remove those specific contaminants. But remember that effectiveness of brands of filters varies, so read the labels carefully.
Carbon filters (pitcher or tap-mounted) are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants like lead and byproducts of the disinfection process used to treat municipal water supplies.
If you are able, install a reverse osmosis filter to remove contaminants that carbon filters cannot eliminate, such as chromium-6, arsenic and perchlorate (rocket fuel). Whole house filtration will allow you to bath or shower in high quality water, which is important because your exposure to contaminants while cleaning your body is much greater than it is simply from drinking or cooking with tap water. Once the proper filtration system is in place you can feel secure enough to use tap water for all your needs including baby's formula.
Filters must be changed on time to be effective. Old filters fill up with bacteria and let contaminants through.
If you have a private well, have the water tested. Because it comes from your well does not mean your water is any cleaner than the water in municipal pipes.
Are you ready?
Go here and look for the blue box on the right. Put in your zip code and the name of your water company. Then learn the truth about your water.
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About the Author:
Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.
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