The Dirty Truth About Your Drinking Water
By Dr. Roy M. Speiser
You may think your drinking water is safe because it
meets federal regulations, but recent studies have found
that even low levels of contaminants that are within legal
limits pose health risks.
A recent New York Times article reported that the
35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out-of-date
that the water Americans drink can pose serious
health risks. Only 91 contaminants are regulated
by the Safe Drinking Water Act and yet more than
60,000 chemicals are used within the US according to
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.
Hundreds of these contaminants have been detected in
drinking water sources across the U.S.
Toxic Contaminants Found in Source Water
Scientific studies have revealed the shocking truth
that in addition to chlorine, toxic contaminants
commonly found in source water include: industrial
chemicals, pesticides, fluoride, arsenic, lead, parasites,
and radioactivity. In the past several years, new
contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, perchlorate
(rocket fuel), and gasoline additives have also been
detected in many water supplies.
Recent attention has been focused on "Trihalomethanes"
(THMs), which are chemicals formed by the action of
chlorine with naturally-occurring organic matter in water.
Scientific studies have linked THMs to increased risk of bladder and colorectal cancer and possible heart, lung,
kidney, and liver damage. Many public water systems
have now added ammonia to disinfect the water and
reduce the levels of THMs. However, this has created
toxic byproducts called "chloramines."
Drinking contaminated water for decades contributes
to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases such
as Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), even at
small concentrations. In addition, pesticides, plastic
compounds like Bisphenol A (BPA), and contaminants
from personal care products found in drinking water
can interfere with normal hormonal function.
How to Protect Your Health from Water Contamination
In its official annual report, the President's Cancer
Panel recommends people use home-filtering devices
to decrease exposure to cancer-causing agents found in
drinking water. With most drinking water containing a
wide range of contaminants, how does one know which
water filtration system is best?
Many consumers have tried small faucet filters
or pour-through pitchers to remove toxins from
their drinking water. However, these measures are
inadequate for the types and levels of contaminants
found in most water systems. Real protection requires
a multibarrier filtration system that can effectively
eliminate even the most harmful toxins that have
leached into your drinking water.
Effective filtration at the sink utilizes the best available
technologies such as ceramic microfiltration for parasites, VOC
carbon for THMs, and Ion Exchange Filters for special contaminants
such as fluoride and heavy metals. Filtration tanks on the
main water line are used to reduce the total load of chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, hardness, and iron in the entire home.
The first step is to have a water-quality expert review your
local consumer water report, or if it is well water, test the well
to determine the types and extent of the contaminants. Then,
a specialized filtration equipment solution can be provided to
eliminate the contaminants from your household water.
A customized system is the best way to address your water
purification needs as well as your budget. In the long run, you
will reduce the incidence of health disorders that result from
drinking and bathing in contaminated water.