What is Water?
Water is a substance found all over the Earth. There is no environment on Earth that functions without the presence of water. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless to some, though the only real way to describe the taste would be “the taste of water.” It exists in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms simultaneously, the form being determined by temperature. It consists of billions of molecules, held together by covalent bonds. On a molecular level, “water” equals one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, thus creating what we know as “H2O.”
Water exists on land in a freshwater form, and over 70% of the Earth is its oceans. It lives and travels deep underneath the ground, and in the sky, even existing in the atmosphere. Water fuels more than just biological processes, too. Transportation, cleaning, agriculture, food production, and power generation, to name a few, are all fueled by water. No living creature can survive without it. Human’s can even go weeks without any type of solid food, but without water, they will not survive for more than a few days. Water is, metaphorically and literally, the lifeblood of this planet.
Water and our Bodies
Human beings are between 60% and 70% water. The water in the body regulates our internal temperature and aids in digestion to help remove toxins and waste from the body. Water also protects our blood, bones, tissues, and even our brains. The brain and heart are about 70% water, and our lungs may be over 80% water. When we are hydrated, our bodies are better able to perform normal functions and fight off sickness and infection. We are losing water all the time, so we need it a lot more than we may think. We lose water through sweating, digestion, and even breathing. The amount of water you need to rehydrate your body depends on things like age, weight, activity level, and the climate you live in. Water, in a word, makes everything in the body work.
Why shouldn’t I drink tap water?
Being the singular thing we actually need to survive, it makes sense that it would be pretty important to ensure the water we’re ingesting and absorbing is of a high quality. Because of this, you would think that the drinking water offered in our cities and towns would be safe to drink straight out of the tap, but that is not the always the case. Troubling studies have revealed that the chemicals used to sanitize our tap water may actually be doing more harm than good. In 2015, just below 8% of Americans were shown to be reliant on tap water that did NOT meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) standard for clean and drinkable water. Even the water that is so-called “safe to drink” contains chemicals and compounds that have disturbing connotations.
One of the most common toxins found in our drinking water is fluoride. Toxic in high doses, the neurotoxin can disrupt brain function and cause up to a 7% decrease in IQ when ingested in high doses from tap water. Recently, however, the EPA has decreased the amount of fluoride permitted in drink water from 1.2 mg/L to 0.7 mg/L. This is thought to be a safer range and less toxic for the brain. Neurotoxicity, however, is not the main concern with fluoride. It has very damaging effects on the hormone production of the thyroid gland in our bodies, even by ingesting what is thought to be a “safe amount.”
While you’re looking out for fluoride in your water, you can’t forget about lead poisoning. Lead in water affects the body by travelling through the bloodstream, and over time, can be damaging to fertility and liver function especially. Approximately 30% of the groundwork for the United State’s plumbing system consists of lead service lines, piping, or other plumbing constituents. There is no safe threshold for lead exposure. It’s even more fear-inducing to note that many of these pipes and other sewage components are over 50 years old. Lead didn’t even become a real concern until the 1970’s. It’s safe to assume that many of these pipelines are out of date, or at least approaching the threshold of being so. Corrosion is one of the easiest ways for lead to enter into tap water.
On top of both of those hits, one of the most widely used sanitizers by the government for tap water is chlorine. A chemical used in water, it has been linked in several studies to colorectal and bladder cancer. To prevent such a disaster from taking place, chloramine has been used as a substitute for chlorine in water sanitation. The problem here, however, lies in the fact that chloramine is caustic to lead and results in mass corrosion, thus furthering the contamination of water by lead that was mentioned earlier. Additionally, chloramine is nowhere near as effective as chlorine in destroying pathogens, and chloramine and its byproducts cannot be removed through heat sanitation (boiling) or distillation.
What kind of water should I drink?
If you feel scared after reading through all that, know you are not alone. Nevertheless, a benefit of living in a modern society where this kind of information is accessible is that solutions are readily available and plentiful. One of the easiest ways to prevent the adverse effects of ingesting contaminated water is to use a filter. Filters certified and tested by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) are available for every budget. Moreover, water can even be delivered, so unfiltered tap water ceases to be an issue. There are also filter options available for the bathroom, and for the whole house.
How to choose a filter:
The cheapest and most viable option for many people, especially for apartment living is to purchase a Brita countertop filter pitcher. It’s NSF certified to remove 99% of lead and 97% of chlorine from your water. Another great option is the Berkey Filter. More so than Brita, “a Berkey Water Filter is the world's most effective and most cost-effective personal water purification system available. It uses gravity water filtration technology to remove toxic elements, parasites, bacteria and hundreds of other contaminants from water without removing the beneficial minerals, and without the use of any electricity.”
According to lab testing, Berkey water filters have been proven to remove in margins of over 99% the following materials across all categories: Lead, Arsenic, Iron, Mercury, Chlorine, Bisphenol-A, Chloramines, Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum Contaminants, Methylcyclohexane-methane, Pesticides, Heavy Metals, Coliform and e-Coli, Atrazine, AND Fluoride. They can even filter soft water, while not altering the mineral content of the water. “The micro fine pores are even so small that they prevent micro fine particulates such as bacteria, viruses and even food coloring particulate from passing through the tortuous path that water is able to pass through. These contaminants are trapped in the micro fine pores while the much smaller H2O molecules are not. This method separates the contaminates from the purified water.” Berkey really is one of the premier and top options available to protect your drinking water.
Bathroom Water Filtration
We already know that fluoride, chlorine, and chloramine can be extremely detrimental to the health. Outside of ingestion, water enters the body in other ways. One of these is through our pores. Pores are especially susceptible when subjected to heat. Naturally, then, it makes sense that these harmful chemicals in unfiltered bath water can enter our bodies through our pores during a hot shower. Studies have linked the chlorine present in shower water to an increase of chloroform present in our breath when we are exposed. Other studies even show the eventual development of some types of cancer after long term or life long exposure to contaminated bath/shower water.
Whole House Water Filtration
It should now be very apparent to you that protection of your bath and drinking water is a top priority. Rather than buying several separate filters for all the different areas of your home, an easier solution is to purchase a more advanced water filter for your whole house. Not to mention, a choice like this is more cost-effective in the long run.
So which one?
Carbon block filters are on the lower price end, costing between $300 and $400, plus installation. They can be purchased individually, and each block lasts for several months. The water line that connects to your house will be hooked up to the filter, and then continue running toward your house. These filters are safe and effective for tap water, showers, and faucets. Plus, NSF certified options are available that guarantee defense against pesticides, lead, and chlorine, to name a few.
On the higher price end, reverse osmosis filters are the go to for guaranteed safe and effective water filtration. A “whole-house” reverse osmosis filter retails for about $1500, while under-the-sink options can be purchased from upwards of $400. They remove just about every harmful thing from your water that could be in there. In addition, the water filter only needs to be changed a few times a year. The biggest downside to these filters is the amount of water they waste through the process. Though they guarantee a phenomenal result, these filters are not the most cost-effective, nor the most environmentally-viable options.
If a filter is not for you at all, there are other methods of obtaining water that has been safely and properly decontaminated. One option is to have it delivered. The Mountain Valley Spring Water is a great choice for a retailer who provides this service. They have more than 100 locations and distributors nationwide, and they bring safe, clean springwater from the source straight to your door.
Natural Springs: How do I find them?
If filters, delivery, and special water doesn’t cut it for your water safety, you also have the option to pursue the lesser know, less travelled path of natural springs. Many clean and safe freshwater springs are naturally occurring all over the United States. With a little time and a little research, fresh and natural water could be yours! Many sites online have resources available for locating these springs. Www.findaspring.com is one of the most popular sites, but a myriad are available. Find whatever suits you. However, don’t forget to always proceed with caution. You never know what could be present in the water, so bring always bring water testing materials with you as a precaution. Additionally, take care not to disturb any natural environments.
You don’t really have a choice when it comes to water: you must drink it or you will die within days. You body is composed of more water than any other element. Water, or the lack thereof, has been implicated in depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and even brain shrinkage. Whatever health challenge you may by facing, water is part of the solution. Proper hydration will never be a fad; it will always be a foundational element of every wellness plan.
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