A few years ago our whole country was in the grips of a fifty year drought. Water levels in reservoirs were at alltime lows.
A seldom discussed consequence of low reservoir levels is the concentration of existing contaminants, including organic and ‘live ones’ such as parasites. A naturopath friend confided in my that her live blood tests were showing far higher levels of parasites in her patients’ blood samples during the same period. A new twist on ‘Living Water’!
In that time just turning on an outside faucet gave an instant experience of chlorine. When I discussed this with the local water lab they told me the truth: the only tool they had in their arsenal against high levels of parasites in our drinking water was mote chlorine. And yes, the levels were above safety guidelines.. but as they saw it, there was no other option. More chlorine or more live parasites.
They had a further problem during that period, and so did we. Higher chlorine levels in the water increased the acidity of the water, which, if not ‘balanced’ would have caused corrosion of pipes. And in old homes with brazed copper pipes, this meant a dose of heavy metals with your first glass of the morning.
It affected us because their way of overcoming the acidity was to add more calcium to the water, which in turn began to foul up the plates in the electrolysis chamber of our thousands of electric water ionizers for such extremes of contamination. So our phones were running hot. (It’s a big reason we sought a better solution; the UltraStream).
But it brings up an inportant point: do you trust your water supplier? Our local ‘expert’ is the guy who stands on the side of the road most days with a flaf to stop traffic. Once a week his job is to add more chlorine to the municipal water treatment plant.
What’s that? You though a scientifically trained person would be in charge of that important and critical job? Er.. no. This is what happened in Stillwater this week.
So when I hear people assure us that it’s better not to have a water filter.. well… I think of seatbelts. Once upon a time we thought they were unnecessary. Like bike helmets.
The Ultrastream has the best and most powerful form of carbon. It’s called catalytic carbon and it’s around EIGHT time more efficient than big box carbon filters.
Since the implementation of chloramine disinfection by municipal water agencies, many, many stories have surfaced regarding their efficacy and safety.
Chloramines have been around since the 1930s, but when they were widely introduced over 15 years ago, the claims made were for better efficiency and less disinfection by-products. The particular type of chloramines used in drinking water disinfection, monochloramine, is mixed into water in levels that kill germs but is still safe to drink. To this day, the EPA defends the usage of chloramine disinfection, in spite of its controversy in existence for many years.
Documented Side Affects from Chloramine Disinfection
It has been well documented on the side affects of chloramine disinfection. Even the EPA discusses these potential problems in their web site:
- Chloramines are all respiratory irritants with trichloramine being the most toxic (order of toxicity: monochloramine < dichloramine < trichloramine-most severe.)
- In contrast to what water utilities claim, it is impossible to have only monochloramine. It is not unusual in water systems for harmful di and trichloramines to occur.
- Chloramines actually create some of their own by-products, the original claims made for their introduction.
- Chloramine stays in the water system longer than chlorine and is difficult to remove—it can’t be removed by boiling, distilling, or by standing uncovered. Its vapors can accumulate in indoor air and concentrate in an enclosed area, such as your shower stall, bathroom, kitchen, or apartment. Chloramines combine with organic matter in water supplies to create iodoacids and nitrosamines, which are extremely toxic. According to David Sedlak of UC Berkeley: “Nitrosamines are the compounds that people warned you about when they told you shouldn’t be eating those nitrite-cured hot dogs… They’re about a thousand times more carcinogenic than the disinfection byproducts that we’d been worried about with regular old chlorine.”
- High amounts of ammonia serve as nutrients for nitrifying bacteria in the water, which can cause nitrate levels in the water to rise. Nitrate is converted to nitrite in the stomach. Nitrites can react to N-nitrosamines with proteins in fish. These compounds may be carcinogenic. Young children are more susceptive to nitrites. When children are below six months old, they cannot drink nitrate-rich water, because nitrites cause the oxygen level in the blood to fall (Blue Baby Syndrome). It is advised to feed baby’s with water that has a nitrate content of below 25 μg/L.
- Chloramine can cause leaching of lead from lead pipes, lead soldering and from so-called “lead-free” brass plumbing parts. Lead leached by chloramine can cause lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can cause neurological damage, health problems and even death in young children.
- Chloramine is toxic to fish, amphibians, and water-based reptiles and marine invertebrates. Chloramine enters directly into the bloodstream of fish, and amphibians through gills and skin, respectively.
- Chloramine can cause rubber corrosion of rubber plumbing parts like toilet flappers and rubber casings. Rubber-corroded parts need to be replaced with chloramine-resistant parts such as synthetic polymer. Rubber corrosion can be spotted as early as six months after chloramine has been added to the water supply. Signs of corrosion can be seen when little black specks appear in the water from plumbing parts.
- Chloramine can aggravate other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Chloramine can aggravate digestive disorders.
- Chloramine must be completely removed from the water in dialysis treatment using extensive carbon filtration and a reverse osmosis or Cation filtering system to remove both chlorine and ammonia from the water.
But Wait, there’s more!
Although water utilities are required to provide high-quality drinking water that complies with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the water quality issues associated with monochloramine disinfection continues.
Here’s a quote from the World Health Organization’s “Managing Water in the Home” document:
“Disinfection of water with chloramines or ammonia-chlorine is widely practiced in community water supplies in order to provide a long-lasting disinfectant residual and to reduce tastes and odors associated with the use of free chlorine in some drinking water supplies.
Chloramination also reduces the formation of free chlorine by-products that are considered toxic, such as trihalomethanes. However, compared to free chlorine, ozone and chlorine dioxide, chloramines are relatively weak oxidants and germicides. Based on the product of disinfectant concentration, C, and contact time, T, (CxT) it takes about 10 to 100 times more chloramine than free chlorine to inactivate an equivalent amount of most waterborne microbes. Chloramination is also more difficult to apply to water than free chlorine because it requires the combined addition of controlled amounts of both free chlorine and ammonia.”
This statement reflects just some of the issues causing various municipalities reviewing the efficacy of monochloramines.
Science Daily” on November 24, 2015 , states “cooking with chloraminated water could put potentially harmful toxins in your food, according to a new study published in Water Research. The study reveals several molecules that are almost completely new to researchers, created by cooking with chloraminated tap water and iodized table salt. (Journal Reference) 1. Yang Pan, Xiangru Zhang, Yu Li. Identification, toxicity and control of iodinated disinfection byproducts in cooking with simulated chlor(am)inated tap water and iodized table salt. Water Research, 2016; 88: 60 DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.10.002
There’s also evidence pointing to the ineffectiveness of chloramine disinfection, because of issues with deadly pathogens and algal blooms surfacing in some municipalities. Some have even reverted back to straight chlorine, and during this process, have inconvenienced consumers with the so-called “burnout” switch.
In the US national news headlines in January, Flint residents have struggled to maintain access to drinking water following financial troubles that have made this utility increasingly expensive. In 2014, in an attempt to save money, the city switched its water source to the nearby Flint River — a switch that has since been linked to heightened levels of lead in residents’ bloodstreams, thanks to outdated pipes and a corrosive agent present in the water supply. Flint’s mayor says the city is now facing a “man-made disaster.”
The latestFlint news is the potential side affects from chloramine disinfection are hitting hard to a community in crisis. “Flint residents have been wary about their tap water for quite some time. They first started raising concerns about their drinking water — which they complained appeared cloudy and had a foul odor — just one month after their water source first switched to the Flint River. But no matter what government officials do now, some of the consequences of the water crisis may be irreversible. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), lead affects children’s brain development in significant ways, “resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening or attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment.”
“This is a crisis,” Governor Rick Snyder acknowledged this week. “And that is something I apologize for in terms of the state’s role in all of this.”
Well-known environmental activist and spokesperson, Erin Brockovich, stated on her Facebook post on January 11, 2016, “the single most dangerous Flint River water treatment process that caused the corrosion leading to lead leaching was the use of CHLORAMINE as a disinfectant. I have personally brought this problem to the Administration’s attention repeatedly. In February 2015 my associate brought it to the attention of the City of Flint and the State of Michigan… it was ignored.”
“Many Drinking Water systems switched from free chlorine to chloramine… haphazardly, in order to comply with the Stage II Disinfection Byproducts Rule. Drinking Water Disinfection has always presented water utilities with challenges… and no two water qualities are the same. Implementation of the Rule has been an absolute catastrophe. USEPA has turned a blind eye to it’s blanket implementation….”
Sourcing Solutions to Address Chloramine Toxins
In a detailed report by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) on February 27, 2013, WATER TREATMENT CONTAMINANTS: Forgotten Toxics in American Water, goes into detail about the entire chloramine controversy and how the EPA has failed the American people.
Since the inception of chloramine disinfection, we in the industry have known about the difficulties of removing it from tap water. Some consumers still contend drinking and bathing in untreated tap water is completely safe. For most, though, they are aware of the potential harm. Over the last few years, the paradigm has shifted, and, through the Internet and social media today, people are so much more informed, and are starting to stand up to the ever-growing health issues stemming from contaminated tap water.
The chloramine controversy will definitely escalate in the next few years, and raise awareness to the lack of research that was done on its safety. It is, therefore, up to consumers to take necessary precautions. We can tell you, but you need to hear.Learn more in USA: http://www.alkawayusa.com
Learn more in Canada: http://www.alkaway.ca
Learn more in Australia: http://www.alkaway.com.au
Learn more in Singapore/Malaysia: http://www.alkaway.sg
Learn more in NZ: http://www.alkaway.com.au
Learn more in UK/EU: http://www.alkaway.co.ukSources:http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/01/11/officials-announce-new-steps-flint-water-crisis/78634678/
For people who want to control their weight or reduce their intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat, there’s something in your kitchen sink.
It seems that tap water may be what the doctor ordered.
A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 U.S. adults found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water — tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle — by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams, according to a paper by University of Illinois community health professor Ruopeng An. They also consumed 5 grams to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7 to 21 milligrams daily.
Here’s what he said: (and here is the report)
“The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status. This finding indicates that it might be sufficient to design and deliver universal nutrition interventions and education campaigns that promote plain water consumption in replacement of beverages with calories in diverse population subgroups without profound concerns about message and strategy customization.”
In plain words?
Drink water. Lose weight.
Ian: Of course the study didn’t take into account water quality which has reared its head recently with the discovery of a vast avoidance of water quality testing in hundreds of locations across the US. here in Australia my friend and water technologist Neil Sweeney has this to say:
“I would encourage all families to get the news out about the dangers lurking in our drinking water. Encourage them to join here or read up as much as they can about the hidden risks in the water supply. Connect my page to any groups you are in if you feel I am right after reading and considering this.
For the past 2 years I have been writing articles about the dangers of Bioaccumulation in the body from Heavy Metals, Chemicals and Pharma in our Potable (Tap) Water.
If you have been following the news you will have seen, finally, this year, Sydney Water and the NSW govt are now coming clean about the dilapadated state of our ageing water pipe system and the impossible and restrictive costs placed on replacing the thousands of kilometres of 60 to 100 year old pipes in this country. The costs runs into the billions PLUS we just dont have the manpower to replace it quickly.
Have you noticed the increase in water main bursts?
So why are we JUST being told now?
The growing presence of Endocrine Disruptors in our reservoirs, the increased concentrations of pharmaceuticals, in particular; antibiotics, the development of organic super bugs and the ever-growing concentration of heavy metals from mining are polluting our catchment and dam systems in this country like never before.
This means that every time we have a heavy downpour of rain the concentration levels of bio-toxins and metals increase exponentially in the reservoirs creating new mutations at the molecular level of harmful chemicals, larger concentrations of soft and heavy metals and more virulent and resistant super bugs and microbial infestations which effect our G.I. tract, Neurological and Endocrine systems.”
Ian: We are about to field test our new UltraStream UltraH2+. It’s still in prototype but the BIG news is that we’ve been able to enhance the already excellent filtration of the present UltraStreams. It will increase its ability to filter out:
>99.9 % of viruses, (polio, rotovirus, norovirus)
>99.99% of bacteria (e-coli, legionella, pseudomonas, etc)
>99.95% cysts( giardia, cryptosporidium)
>80% Ferrous Iron
>95% Arsenic V
PCB’s and BPA
This takes the UltraStream, already an unchallenged leader in water filter and ionizer filtration, to a level unparallelled anywhere in the industry, yet still at a price ordinary people can manage.
You don’t even have to wait for the ‘new improved model’ with an UltraStream. If you order our present model, you’ll get the new model when you order a new replacement filter. That’s the joy of the UltraStream. It never gets obselete!
Most people don’t think even contemplate that things that we use on daily basis can be dangerous to our health. We don’t want you to upset you, but it may be good to be aware of the potential dangers that you consume or use every day. We absorb thousands of chemicals into our bodies from personal hygiene paper and other products. Think about it. We even wipe our faces, hands and intimate areas with these products, exposing our bodies to harmful chemicals and toxins over and into our bodies repeatedly. We think we’re limiting the risk of disease, not increasing it.
Everyone will go for the softest and the whitest loo paper possible. Unfortunately chlorine is the most toxic for your body. The amazing fact that there are 100.000 chemicals used in commercial paper products: baby wipes, paper towels, coffee filters, milk cartons, etc is, frankly, mindblowing.
The most dangerous of these toxins is chlorine. Along with other chemicals, these substances enter through our skin, get into our blood and can cause serious illnesses. Chlorine is dangerous in a way that forms dangerous toxins dioxin and furans.
It’s common knowledge that toilet paper is made from wood. Logically, it should be brown. Why is it so white then?
Because we think white equals clean!
Paper industries use chlorine and chlorine dioxide to bleach it. Some scientists have said that bleached paper is the most carcinogenic chemical known to science. These chemicals react with organic molecules in the wood and other fibers to create many toxic byproducts, including dioxin. The term dioxin is often used to include three acutely toxic chemical groups: true dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All these are responsible for many health problems such as cancer, hormone imbalances, immune system impairments, reduced fertility and birth defects. Chlorinated toilet paper contains highest amount of furans of all cosmetic tissues, and is one of the most toxic human-made chemicals. The scary thing is that dioxins accumulate in our body overtime because it cannot be excreted, and causes dangerous health situation. Studies have found correlations between high workplace exposure to dioxins and increased risk of cancer.
Other Harmful Chemicals in Toilet Paper
There are other chemicals in toilet paper thatweu are wiping onto our bodies and which are known to be carcinogenic:
– Bisphenol A (BPA) – concentration is proven to be very high in paper products, including recycled toilet paper.
– Formaldehyde – used ”to improve the wet-strength and other ‘important’ characteristics of paper and paper products”.
What To do? What to do?
You need to read the labels on your toilet tissue too.
Here’s what to look for:
– Brown or beige paper! Toilet paper brown or beige in color is usually made without bleach but lacks softness and comfort.
– BPA-free paper products that have not been recycled and have not, therefore, ever been exposed to chlorinated bleach.
– TCF (Totally Chlorine-Free items). Look for toilet paper marked TCF which is non-recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen or
– PCF (Processed Chlorine-Free), recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone or hydrogen peroxide, therefore, processed chlorine-free.
– Avoid paper marker ECF (Elemental Chlorine-Free) which may contain higher levels of toxicity.
Look, chlorine has been introduced to us ina time when the idea of long term accumulation of toxicity in the body simply wasn’t spoken of. Today we know better.
BTW, chlorine has a nasty relative, chloramines, which is a half breed; half chlorine, half ammonia. It’s used by m,ore and more water facilities because: (a) it’s cheaper and (b) it stays in the water better than chlorine. So if you are chasing a water filter that is relevant to the water challenges we have today, ask if it removes chloramines as well. Most don’t.
If you can’t be bothered sifting through the hundreds on the market you can go for the best here.
Thanks to Water Man Neil Sweeney for these disturbing questions we all need to ask.
QUESTIONS THAT MUST AGAIN BE ASKED AND CONSIDERED BY ALL FAMILIES DRINKING TAP WATER
*What causes people to drink and cook in Chlorinated/Ammonia treated tap water?
*Why is it unsafe to drink chlorinated pool water?
*Why do fish die in chlorinated tap water?
*Why does direct contact with chlorine powder cause skin burns and breathing difficulties?
*Why do we accept the word of government that treated chlorinated water is safe to drink?
*Why has a worldwide ban been placed on chlorine as the base ingredient used in chemical warfare?
*Why is chlorine used as a bleach in whitening and disinfection?
*Why has there been an increase in G.I. conditions and cancers since chlorine was introduced as a disinfectant in 1901?
*Why do people suffer with irritating skin conditions after taking long baths/showers in hot chlorinated water?
*Why does skin feel dry and tight after long showers?
*Why do hairdressers recommend to not wash in chlorinated water?
*Why dont we consider that Bioaccumulation of chemicals like chlorine and metals wont harm us?
I invite people to write in their answers so that we all can consider.
Most water filters should remove VOC’s (Volatile Organic Chemicals.
Contrary to what many people think, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) aren’t necessarily harmful, writes Dr. Joe Cotruvo in the latest issue of Water Technology.
“VOC” describes a chemical’s physical property. Because volatility can increase the potential for chemicals to be exposed to humans, VOCs can be health concerns if the chemical is also toxic.
“The principle environmental aspects of VOCs are the ability of some to be released into outdoor air and contribute to smog due to photochemical formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere or ozone reduction in the upper atmosphere and the presence of some in drinking water from external contamination and as disinfection byproducts,” says Cotruvo.
View the full article at water tech online
How to protect yourself.
Drinking Water: The UltraStream uses the world’s best catalytic carbon. It’s almost 8 x the efficiency of ‘big box’ carbon, a.k.a granular active carbon and we have sufficient quantity to protect you for over a year.
Shower water: A shower filter when you have chlorine in your water is, to me, an essential of life. Not just to reduce VOCS and chlorine, but you’d be amazed at the improvement in your skin when you give up showering in a gas chamber. (Which is hugely more dangerous than drinking chlorinated water!
What’s really in the water at the community swimming pool?
Summertime, especially if you live in a hot region means that a swimming pool becomes a boon and a lifesaver when the temperature soars. It’s a refreshing way to keep cool on a hot day, and a good swim gives us the chance for some healthy exercise. And yet… with great fun comes great responsibility, as these oases can easily turn into a bacteria soup.
Pools may be the best way to cool off, but not all of them are as benign as we might think. If you thought take care of germs, well… you’re … partially right.
But some single-cell bacteria, like Giardia andCryptosporidium, don’t mind the chlorine. These parasites are the leading factor in world-wide pool-related illnesses associated with the digestive tract. Their protective outer-layer allows Giardia and Crypto to survive in pool water for up to 10 days, which is plenty of time to meet new acquaintances.
Chlorine smell isn’t the guarantee of safety you thought it was!
Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and even fever, are all common symptoms caused by Giardia and Cryptosporidium. But pool water seems to be the last thing on our minds when we suddenly fall sick in the summer. Indeed, no more than 1-in-10 people report to their doctor when these symptoms occur.
Even fewer submit samples for lab tests, which means that when they next go to the pool, other people will contract the parasites and get sick.
When we smell chlorine, we’re used to thinking safety. First impressions are not always right, however. Besides the fact that chlorine doesn’t kill every germ that loves to take a dip, the smell is a bad sign on its own. When chlorine comes in contact with sweat, urine and other micro-organisms from our bodies, a chemical reaction is triggered. The result is what you can tell by your nose.
Chlorine is not everlasting. Each and every reaction it passes through transforms the substance into chloramines, a by-product that does nothing but smell. If more chlorine is put into the water, the smell is reduced and the by-product is eliminated, which means that an optimally clean pool should have enough chlorine to kill potential germs, as well as cover up the resulting scent of this magnificent process. No smell is therefore a much better sign. However, exposure to all those chemicals is certainly not healthy.
Nasties are more likely than you think
If you thoughtn that the people you swim with don’t have embarrassing accidents, think on this. You don’t need “big accidents” to release the microbes into the water. All it takes is a very small lack of attention to personal hygiene, or skipping that shower before getting into the pool, to unleash the likes of Escherichia coli (E. coli), Norovirus, Shigella spp and their highly-infectious close-relatives already at home in chlorine.
It gets worse.
Pools that are poorly tended to and mismanaged in terms of chlorine levels can spread parasites that cause amoebic meningitis. Children bathing in lakes, springs and rivers are more likely to contract this brain-eating parasite, but they can also flourish in warm, fresh water that’s inadequately chlorinated. With at least one “accidental release” every week throughout the hot summer, paying attention to the place you decide to take a dip might save you and your family from a multitude of health concerns.
How to protect yourself
Smelly, dirty or cloudy water should be avoided under all circumstances. Other cues to watch for are the tiles on the edges. Generally, if they are not really clean or if they have grease on them, it’s best to keep your clothes on. When you jump in, try not to ingest any of the water, since this is the main way for parasites to get into your system. Also, try to make sure that children take trips to the bathroom as often as possible. Pee may be sterile, but if a “number 1” is allowed out, what’s to keep a “number 2” in?
And while we are on the subject of chlorine.. have you read the post about chlorine and carcinogenic coffee here?