Jul 31

Is Your Water Bottle Really BPA Free?

Think your Water Bottle is “BPA Free”? Better double check.

JULY 14, 2011

By Margot Pagan, EWG Summer Press Intern

Is your reusable water bottle aluminum? In an effort to be more sustainable and protect my health, I made the switch from plastic water bottles to my reliable metal bottle that I carry with me every day. I thought this switch was a positive change, which is why I’m a little concerned to read headlines that “Metal Water Bottles May Leach BPA.” Just when I thought I was doing something good for my health and the environment, I learn otherwise. Just my luck!
Aluminum water bottles aren’t just aluminum

The issue is that some aluminum water bottles aren’t just aluminum – they’re lined with a resin meant to prevent that bad aluminum taste in your water. Problem is, the resin is epoxy, and epoxy is made with bisphenol A, or BPA, which is a synthetic estrogen. The epoxy molecule is unstable. It comes apart and releases BPA readily into whatever it touches.

This new study from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine has discovered that switching from polycarbonate to aluminum might not protect you from BPA exposure as well as you thought. Keep in mind – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has called for parents to take action to reduce their children’s exposure to BPA. The chemical isn’t healthy for any age group: it is linked to an alarming list of health conditions – breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The study found that epoxy-lined aluminum bottles (including older SIGG bottles) leached BPA. But SIGG’s new linings, made of a synthetic the company calls Ecocare did not emit the troublesome chemical. Stainless steel bottles, which are unlined, were also free of BPA.

BPA is an essential ingredient of polycarbonate, a hard, clear plastic ideal for safety glasses, safety helmets and computer and cell phone houses. Until a few years ago, Nalgene water bottles were made of polycarbonate. Like epoxy, polycarbonate is unstable and, experiments show, readily leaches BPA into surrounded liquids, even cold water. Nalgene, Camelbak and some other sports bottle makers moved to a non-BPA-based plastic called Tritan. The University of Cincinnati study found bottles made with Tritan did not emit BPA.

BPA leaching by the “worst” water bottles is still less than the amount you’d get from a serving of most canned foods but still important to consider since exposures add up.

The study also examined the effects of BPA on heart muscle cells and found that increasing exposure to this estrogen-like chemical can result in potentially deadly heart arrhythmias in rodents. This finding leads the group to suggest that heart arrhythmias could be an issue for women specifically, because they already have natural estrogen in their bodies.

Does the Claim “BPA Free” Mean Anything?

“BPA free” is not a defined and consistent term, noted the study’s author Scott Belcher in an interview with Science News. For “BPA free” to have a useful meaning for consumers there should be regulations to limit its use, Belcher said.

Legislation to control BPA in food containers, especially those made for infants and children, is making its way through lawmaking bodies, with varying degrees of success.

In Maine, a bill to remove BPA from children’s products became law without the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. Now Maine’s Environmental Health Strategy Center is accusing LePage of foot-dragging and has petitioned the state Attorney General to force LePage to put the law into effect. LePage is famed for declaring that BPA is harmless, except that “some women may have little beards” if exposed to the chemical. (LePage confused it with another sex hormone, testosterone).

Meanwhile, in California, the state assembly is moving the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act, which would bar BPA in bottles or cups intended for infants or children three years of age or younger.

So what should you do to protect your health?

– Buy a glass or stainless steel bottle without an epoxy liner.

– Examine the inside of a bottle. A golden-orange coating indicates a material that can shed BPA, while a white coating doesn’t. Contact the manufacturer to see if it has tested its product for BPA leaching.

– Don’t put hot liquids in your water bottles.

Remember, BPA is most harmful during pregnancy and early childhood. Pregnant women, babies and children should take extra efforts to avoid BPA. Check out what EWG has been saying about kid-size Klean Kanteen bottles.
Buying a water bottle might seem like a simple purchase (it should be, right?), but doing your BPA research before you buy could grant you peace of mind that your bottle isn’t leaching BPA.

Jul 30

Beauty Underwater

Published in National Geographic, July, 2011

World Beneath the Waves – People do beautiful things in the water. They become braver and calmer, more fluid and playful. The freedom of buoyancy allows us to act as we truly are.

I grew up near the ocean in Australia, but I didn’t appreciate our ancestral ties to it until I’d spent years living abroad. When I returned, I noticed how people here are drawn to the beaches. The pull is shared—a human equalizer. When you see swimmers in the ocean together, you see them react intuitively to the tide’s push and pull.

I like the clarity of salt water. In the past dozen years my technique and equipment have stayed simple: a deep breath, a small camera, and transparency film, for its dense blacks and saturation. Despite new technologies, the magic of the darkroom still fascinates me.

On hot days I hang out where the waves are forming. Just before they break, I dive to the bottom. A flash of sunlight penetrates the curl and the churn, illuminating the swimmers above. They look like actors dancing or flying on an underwater stage. I take one picture, surface, breathe, and repeat. Shooting 36 frames might take a day.

We love the sea, yet we pollute it. As a mother, I agonize over what my children will inherit. But I’m also optimistic. If we can notice natural beauty, we might learn how to preserve it.

—Narelle Autio

Narelle Autio is a photographer based in Adelaide, Australia. Her images of the country’s coastal life are exhibited internationally.

 

Two girls frolic in a wave’s effervescent wake.
Jul 25

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater, And They’re Coming Soon

BY MICHAEL J. CORENWed Jul 20, 2011

As the U.S. slowly abandons its dams, more and more pilot programs pop up for deriving power from tides and river currents. Welcome to a new age of water power.

Every day, enough water flows down America’s rivers and streams to power tens of millions of homes. With the era of big dams effectively over in the U.S., halted by the lack of suitable sites as much as environmental concerns, the time for hydrokinetic energy may just be dawning.

The ideas of using turbines, or other mechanical devices, to capture the energy of moving water is not a new one. Yet the technology for such hydrokinetic energy has met serious resistance from conditions below the surface. As water is 832 times denser than air, it poses tough engineering challenges for power generators who must contend with corrosion, stray electromagnetic fields, and rules to safeguard sealife.

“There’s a lot of electricity to be had from these device and probably fewer environmental impacts, says Glenn Cada, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the Department of Energy’s program to improve hydrokenetic technology and minimize the environmental impacts. “It’s not as easy as taking a taking a wind turbine and putting it under water. The forces are much greater. We are trying to understand how to make them sturdy enough to generate electricity from river currents.”

Demonstration projects in the Mississippi and New York’s East Rivers have been steadily perfecting the technology needed to capture this energy for almost a decade. Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York’s East River (soon to be expanded) has successfully operated six underwater turbines between 2006-2008, and delivering 70 megawatt hours to a nearby supermarket and parking garage in what the company called the “world’s first grid-connected array of tidal turbines.” Free Flow Power Power has installed its own turbines, resembling jet engines, in the Mississippi and is eying more than 50 expansion sites.

Now, everyone from state agencies to universities are racing to get into the game. Applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for new hydrokinetic sites have soared in the last three years: 79   have been approved since 2009 (almost double those as of 2008), and 145 more are awaiting final approval in  Missouri, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey and other states.

Eventually, based on the ambitions of several energy developers, underwater fields of hundreds of turbines could generating enough megawatts to power cities around the country.

“We’re trying to prove these things right now,” says Cada.

[Image: Atlantis Resources Corporation]

Reach Michael J. Coren via Twitter or email.

Read More: World’s First Floating Wind Turbine Installed, Ready for Testing

Jul 23

Multipure 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis – The Most Technically Advanced RO System Available

Water is one of your body’s basic needs. Water is a component of all the fluids in your body, including blood, digestive juices, lymph, sweat and urine. It also supports chemical reactions that regulate life processes.

But water could also quickly turn on you. The United Nations reported on World Water Day that contaminated and polluted water kills more people than violence or war, and that 60 percent of potable water supplies are lost because of leaky pipes and poorly-maintained sewage networks.

As a result, about 2.2 million people succumb to diarrhea, mostly from dirty water. Water-borne diseases have claimed the lives of some 1.8 million children aged under five, or one infant every 20 seconds.

While these deaths come mostly from developing countries, this doesn’t mean that Americans don’t have to worry about the quality of drinking water, Dr. Joseph Mercola warns. You simply can’t tell if your water is free from tap water contaminants just by how it looks, smells or tastes.

Here are 5 dangerous contaminants that may be lurking in your drinking water:

1.    Chlorine and Disinfection Byproducts 
Drinking water disinfected by chlorine in pregnancy can increase the child’s risk of heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects. On the other hand, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are formed when the disinfectants used to purify your water, like chlorine, react with natural organic matter like decaying vegetation in water, Dr. Mercola explains. DBPs are more than 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, making them the worst type of contaminants.
Chlorine has been linked to health problems associated with drinking water but new studies suggest that DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for almost all of the toxic effects of chlorinated water. The two most common disinfectant byproducts formed when chlorine is used are trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Trihalomethanes have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and have also been associated with spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital malformations.

2.    Drugs and Hormonally Active Chemicals
A comprehensive survey of drinking water in the U.S. reveals that your drinking water may also contain a number of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals, Mercola points out. The drugs that you take, or those that are given to livestock, do not necessarily become inert in your body. Some of the active components that are not absorbed are deposited into sewage treatment centers that are not always testing for, or removing, pharmaceuticals. Also, unused prescription drugs are sometimes flushed down the toilet or deposited into landfills by individuals, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, where they ultimately end up back in the environment.
Among the drugs and chemicals found in tap water were atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease; atrazine, a herbicide banned in Europe linked to the decline of fish population and in changes in animal behavior; meprobamate, a psychiatric tranquilizer; phenytoin, an anticonvulsant, and sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic.

3.    Fluoride 
Fluoride is one of the toxic chemicals still at large in America. It was actually one of the toxic components evaluated for use in the production of the atomic bomb during World War II. For Dr. Mercola, water fluoridation is absurd and unethical because studies show that this chemical can damage your brain, and your immune, gastrointestinal system and skeletal systems. Fluoride is so dangerous that a family-sized tube of fluoridated toothpaste is toxic enough to kill a 25-lb child.

4.     Heavy Metals 
Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and nickel can seep into your water, are inorganic, have relatively high densities and are toxic even at low concentrations.Heavy metal poisoning can cause blood disorders, and brain, kidney and nerve damage. These heavy metals usually accumulate in your water supply through human activity, such as industrial and consumer waste. In homes built before the late 1980s, copper and lead can leach into passing water from water pipes and soldered joints on the way to your tap.

5.    Rocket Fuel
Perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel which is also used in fireworks and road flares, was found in the water supplies of 36 states. This chemical can inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, which are essential for pre- and postnatal development. The Environmental Protection Agency has also found that perchlorate exposure led to the development of thyroid tumors in rats.

Because of the dangers of tap water contaminants, water filtration systems are no longer considered a luxury; they’re health products. For most people a countertop water filter that effectively removes chlorine and inorganic and organic contaminants is the best, most practical and cost-effective choice. A reverse osmosis filter helps remove virtually all tap water contaminants, including fluoride and a muriad of other cancer causing contaminants.

The best water filter that we have found that virtually removes these contaminants is the Multipure MP750Plus RO unit.

The Multipure MP750PlusRO Unit is easy to install and simple to operate. It uses no electricity and the impurities removed through the reverse osmosis process are flushed down the drain. The pre-filter component provides 5 micron filtration to remove large particulate matter and extend the life of the reverse osmosis membrane. The reverse osmosis component reduces the level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), rust, dirt scale, and organic tastes and odors. The processed water is conveniently stored in a 3 gallon pressurized tank which is small enough to fit neatly under your sink. The post unit, is a solid carbon block filter that is considered to be the most effective method for reducing a wide range of contaminants of health concern, which may be present in the water.  The carbon is compacted into a dense structure, causing every molecule of water to be forced through microscopic pores of carbon, effectively reducing pollutants.  The Solid Carbon Block Filter is a replaceable cartridge designed so that it can be easily changed.  Some additional advantages of the Solid Carbon Block Filter are that it does not waste water, there is no electricity required, it does not remove essential trace minerals that are beneficial to good health, it does not add salt or silver to the water; and it provides fresh, delicious, healthy drinking water.

Multipure’s MP750PlusRO Unit includes pre-filter, RO membrane, and Multi-Pure’s Model MP750SB as a post-filter, giving you the highest quality water possible.

For more info on Multipure’s water filtration systems, visit our website at  www.indianawaterfilters.org

Jul 16

Arsenic in drinking water – How to protect yourself

A one-time oral dose of 60,000 ppb of arsenic will kill you. That’s no more than 1/50 the weight of a penny, which shows how dangerous arsenic really is.

It’s unlikely you won’t be exposed to that much arsenic at one time. However, there’s a very good chance you will be exposed to much higher levels over just a few years, merely through the water you drink, food you eat and air you breathe. Why? Unfortunately, the arsenic to which you are exposed is typically colorless, odorless and tasteless. So if arsenic is in your water, you won’t notice it by sight, smell or taste.

How does arsenic get into your drinking water?
Arsenic occurs naturally in some soil and rock. When water comes in contact with arsenic in soil or rocks, it’s absorbed naturally.

Industrial processes such as mining, smelting and coal-fired electric power plants contribute to the presence of arsenic in your water. Arsenic can either be discharged directly into rivers and streams or pumped into the air.

When arsenic is pumped into the air, it travels with the wind before settling back into lakes and rivers. Or if arsenic settles on the ground, it’s carried into the underground water supply by rain or melting snow.

Arsenic is also used in agricultural pesticides and chemicals used to preserve wood. The residue from these applications can be washed into rivers, lakes and underground water supplies.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising to you that arsenic is very common in ground water across the United States.

What are the possible health effects of ingesting even low levels of arsenic?

Skin cancer
Nervous system damage
Diabetes
Circulatory diseases
High blood pressure
Reduced intelligence in children
Studies have also linked long-term arsenic exposure to an increased risk of cancer of the bladder, lungs, liver and other organs. Arsenic can also damage chromosomes, which house the genetic material inside the cells of the body.

It’s believed the side effects from arsenic exposure in drinking water typically take years to develop. Much of it depends on the concentration of arsenic to which you are exposed. Most arsenic leaves your body within three days of exposure. But the arsenic that remains is stored in the brain, bones and tissue and continues to do serious damage.

How much arsenic in my water is considered safe?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has reduced the safe drinking water standard for arsenic in your water to 10 parts per billion (ppb). That standard — a dramatic decrease from the current standard of 50 ppb — goes into effect in January 2006. The agency reduced the level it currently allows in water because newer scientific studies found the old standard did not protect people exposed to arsenic for many years.

While the new standard is lower, it’s certainly not enough to eliminate all the risk of cancer and other side effects. Your exposure to arsenic in past years could cause problems to your health later in life. That’s why the EPA set a goal of zero as to the amount of arsenic that should be in your water.

But their goal is not enforceable.

You might feel a little safer knowing arsenic is not easily absorbed through the skin and doesn’t evaporate from water. But don’t get too comfortable… If arsenic is in your water, you will primarily be exposed to it from the water you drink, and not to bathe, wash dishes or clean your clothes.

Find out if arsenic or other harmful contaminants are in your water supply. If they are, get the appropriate water purification system to treat your specific problem. Then, see your health practitioner about removing the contaminants that are already in your body.

More about Arsenic & how to protect yourself
Arsenic (abbreviated As) is a naturally occurring contaminant found in many ground waters. Arsenic in water has no color, taste or odor. It must be measured by a lab test. Public water utilities must have their water tested for arsenic. You can get the results from your water utility. If you have your own well, you can have the water tested. The local health department or the state environmental health agency can provide a list of certified labs. The cost is typically $15 to $30. Information about arsenic in water can be found on the Internet at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website: www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic.html.

There are two forms of arsenic: pentavalent arsenic (also called As(V), As(+5), and arsenate) and trivalent arsenic (also called As(III), As(+3), and arsenite). In well water, arsenic may be pentavalent, trivalent, or a combination of both. Special sampling procedures are needed for a lab to determine what type and how much of each type of arsenic is in the water. Check with the labs in your area to see if they can provide this type of service.

Specially formulated Carbon Block systems are very effective at removing pentavalent arsenic. A free chlorine residual will rapidly convert trivalent arsenic to pentavalent arsenic. Other water treatment chemicals such as ozone and potassium permanganate will also change trivalent arsenic to pentavalent arsenic. A combined chlorine residual (also called chloramine) may not convert all the trivalent arsenic. If you get your water from a public water utility, contact the utility to find out if free chlorine or combined chlorine is used in the water system.

A study from the Water Quality Association (WQA) revealed that the top two contaminants which Americans are concerned about in their drinking water are LEAD and ARSENIC. Multi-Pure has been the leader in the drinking water industry with products which treat both lead and arsenic. Currently, MultiPure is the only manufacturer with a filter system NSF certified to reduce levels of Arsenic V.

The MultiPure MP880 Models are designed to remove only pentavalent arsenic. It will not convert trivalent arsenic to prevalent arsenic. The system may remove some trivalent arsenic, however, it has not been evaluated for its ability to remove trivalent arsenic. The system was tested in a laboratory to remove pentavalent arsenic. Under lab conditions, as defined in ANSI/NSF Standard 53, the system reduced 0.050 mg/L (ppm) pentavalent arsenic to 0.010 mg/L (ppm) (the U.S. EPA standard for drinking water) or less. The performance of the system may be different at your installation. Have the treated water tested for arsenic to check if the system is working properly.

* Only MultiPure’s MP880 Series is certified to reduce Arsenic V

Jul 10

Why do I need a water filter?

Never before has the need been greater for quality home water purification.

America’s tap water is contaminated with toxic heavy metals, synthetic organic chemicals, chlorination by-products, biological parasites and virtually thousands of harmful contaminants.

“E.P.A. reports show that U.S. water supplies contain over 2300 cancer causing chemicals…” — Ralph Nader Research Group

Studies also show that bottled water isn’t any purer than tap water, it simply costs more. Most quality home water purification products can provide water far superior to bottled water, at a fraction of the cost and in the convenience of your own home. The intention of this site is to promote the use of home water filtration, show what products are available and how to determine which ones are the best. Our goal is to also increase basic awareness of this critically important subject.

In America’s highly industrialized society we use over 80,000 toxic chemicals every day, and over 1000 new ones are being developed every year. We are learning the hard way that all of the chemicals we use, will ultimately show up in the water we drink. There is no “new water”, this planet keeps recycling the same water over and over. As we use more synthetic chemicals, the levels in our water supplies increases proportionately.

In contrast to popular belief, our water treatment facilities were not designed to take out synthetic organic chemicals and toxic heavy metals like lead. Municipal water treatment today is essentially the same as it was over 100 years ago, the water is flown through sand beds to remove visible particles and then bleach (chlorine) is added to kill most of the bacteria! We do not filter out the synthetic chemicals!

75 years ago, before all of these chemicals were present in our environment, 1 out of 50 Americans would get cancer in their lives… now, 1 in 3 Americans… 1 in 2 males, will become cancer victims! 1 in 8 women get breast cancer, childhood cancers have increased 300% in just the last 20 years… and much of this can be linked to the accumulation of man made chemicals in our body.

Cancer is not natural, it’s a man made disease, and for the most part… completely preventable. The purity of our water is one of the most critical factors in the prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Water is our body’s only means of purifying its self. If our water already contains chemical contaminants, our body is not able to use it to its full benefit. When the risk is so great and the solution is so simple… why chance it?

In-home water purification is the most effective, by far the most convenient and most economical means of providing clean, healthy water for you and your family.

“Healthy water” is the best health insurance we can get… and home water purification is the best way to get it… possibly the only way.

Click here to see which water filter reduces more contaminants than any other water filter on the market.

Jul 07

Feeling Sick? It May Be Your Tap Water

Public water supplies in 42 U.S. states are contaminated with 141 unregulated chemicals for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never established safety standards, according to an investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Tainted Tap Water Used by Millions of Americans
Another 119 regulated chemicals—a total of 260 contaminants altogether—were found by the environmental group in a two-and-a-half-year analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests. The tests, which are required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, were conducted at nearly 40,000 utilities that supply water to 231 million people. If you are feeling ill, for no apparent reason, it really could be the water in your own home! Below are listed some contaminants found in your public water supply that truly could be making you sick!

Water Disinfection Byproducts

  • What are water disinfection byproducts?
    The term refers not to one chemical compound but a group of chemicals that are formed as byproducts of water treatment. Up to 600 disinfection byproducts have been identified but only a fraction of them — including bromate, total trihalomethanes (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform) and haloacetic acids (dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monochloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid and dibromoacetic acid) — are monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • How often do they occur in drinking water?
    According to the Environmental Working Group’s analysis of about 20 million drinking water tests conducted by water suppliers between 2004 and 2009, disinfection byproducts, many of which are unregulated, were the most common water pollutants found in US water supplies.
  • How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
    Chemical byproducts are formed when disinfectants used to treat water, such as chlorine, react with organic pollution washed off from cities, suburbs and agricultural farms.
  • What are the possible health effects of water disinfection byproducts?
    Disinfection byproducts can cause gene mutation, induce birth defects, accelerate the aging process, sets off an inflammatory response in the body, and even induce cancer after long-term exposures.
Associations have also been made between exposure to certain trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids at concentrations above the maximum contaminant level and injury to the liver, kidney, eyes, nerves and the reproductive system.
  • How to remove water disinfection byproducts from water?
    Water filtration systems using activated carbon filters can reduce levels of disinfection byproducts (such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids) as can a reverse osmosis unit. Look out for certification, or confirm with the manufacturer before making your purchase.

Nitrate and Nitrite

·What are nitrate and nitrite?
Nitrates and nitrites are common inorganic compounds that are found contaminating drinking water.
·How often do they occur in drinking water?
Nitrate ranks number five in EWG’s list of frequently detected water pollutants. Nitrate and/or nitrite contamination is also not uncommon in drinking water drawn from private wells in the US.
·How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
The major sources of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water are excessive use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers (e.g. potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate) by farmers and homeowners, leaching from septic sewer systems, discharge by chemical, petrochemical and metal-finishing industries, human and animal organic wastes, as well as erosion of natural deposits.
·What are the possible health effects of nitrate and nitrite?
Infants are susceptible to ‘blue baby syndrome’, or methemoglobinemia, after drinking water containing excess nitrate. This potentially dangerous condition occurs when hemoglobins in the red blood cells are converted into methemoglobin in the presence of nitrate and/or nitrite and loses their ability to carry oxygen.
Although older children and adults can tolerate higher levels of nitrates, little is known about the possible long-term effects of nitrate ingestion. Some evidence suggests that nitrate exposure above safety limits may be carcinogenic.
·How to remove nitrate and nitrite from water?
Unfortunately, nitrate and nitrite cannot be removed by carbon-only water filters. Technologies that can reduce the water pollutants effectively include reverse osmosis and atmospheric water generation.
But these technologies have their drawbacks too.
Although reverse osmosis filters are effective in eliminating most disease causing organisms and chemical contaminants, they generally use about three times as much water as they treat. They also remove most of the minerals in the water and may worsen mineral deficiency in those who are already getting insufficient minerals from their diet.
Atmospheric water generator, which extracts water from humid ambient air, is slow, huge (almost the size of a medium refrigerator), and requires an environment with a relatively high humidity to generate water at an acceptable rate. Though you can connect it to a water supply and use it as a regular purifier, its water filtration capabilities may not be sufficient to remove the types of contaminants in your water.

Pharmaceuticals

·What are pharmaceutical contaminants?
Pharmaceutical contaminants refer to a cocktail of dissolved prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs as well as ingredients used for making drugs that are found in drinking water.
According to the 2008-2009 annual report presented by the President’s Cancer Panel, some medications found in water supplies include antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, medications for hypertension and diabetes, steroid medications, oral contraceptives, non-prescription pain relievers, hormone replacement therapy medications, anti-convulsants, heart medications and antibiotics.
·How often do they occur in drinking water?
A shocking Associated Press report in 2009 revealed that at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals have been poured into US waterways that often provide drinking water.
Unlike nitrate and other regulated contaminants, the presence of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is not monitored by government in most countries and hence, water suppliers are not required to test for them. To make things worse, conventional water treatment plants are also incapable of removing dissolved medications that have entered the water systems.
·How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
Dumping of active pharmaceutical ingredients by manufacturers into waterways, as well as improper disposal of medications by consumers into household drains and toilets. Drugs of all types also enter the water supply when they are excreted.
(If you’ve the habit of flushing expired drugs down the toilet, please stop!)
·What are the possible health effects of pharmaceuticals?
Currently, there is no study looking into the long-term effects of drinking water containing low doses of multiple drugs for extended period of time. However, considering that a number of medications are formulated to work at relatively low dosage, their long-term unintended effects cannot be ruled out completely.
· How to remove pharmaceuticals from water?
Water filters that use only basic carbon blocker are unlikely to remove pharmaceutical contaminants. Reverse osmosis system, however, is able to remove dissolved drugs, so is atmospheric water generator which skips contaminated water altogether and generates water from air.

Arsenic

·What is arsenic?
Arsenic is a natural occurring element found in soil, rocks, air, food and water. It’s also used for producing electronic parts, automotive batteries, wood preservatives, glass, pesticides and more.
·How often does it occur in drinking water?
Arsenic contamination of water is a global problem. According to the Wikipedia, over 137 million people in more than 70 countries, including America, are probably affected by arsenic poisoning of drinking water.
· How did the water pollutant end up in water supplies?
Arsenic leaches into water when water flows pass arsenic-rich soils and rocks. Mining activities, discharges from industries that use arsenic compounds, and runoffs from farms and homes that use arsenic-containing pesticides also add to the amount of the pollutant in water supplies.
·What are the possible health effects of arsenic?
Arsenic is a highly toxic substance and is classified as a carcinogen which can cause cancers of the skin, lung, and bladder as well as heart disease.
·How to remove arsenic from water?
Reverse osmosis is currently the most effective way to remove arsenic. Generating water through air is also another way to avoid arsenic. But take note of the cons highlighted earlier for each of them before purchasing to make sure you can live with the drawbacks.

Hexavalent Chromium

·What is hexavalent chromium?
Hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, is a common industrial chemical used for the production of textile dyes, pigments, stainless steel, wood preservation, leather tanning, anti-corrosion coatings and other niche uses.
It was made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich”, starring Julia Roberts, that tells the real-life story of cancer-stricken residents of Hinkley who in 1996 won a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for contaminating their tap water with hexavalent chromium.
· How often does it occur in drinking water?
A 2010 study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found that water from 31 out of 35 US cities was polluted with hexavalent chromium. Of those, 25 had levels that exceeded the safety limits proposed by California regulators.
·How did the water pollutant end up in water supplies?
Discharge by irresponsible industries that produce or use hexavalent chromium, such as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities as well as steel and pulp mills.
Other forms of chromium, such as chromium-3, also occur naturally in soil, rocks, rivers, plants and animals.
·What are the possible health effects of hexavalent chromium?
Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled. There are also increasing scientific evidence linking the pollutant to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers in lab animals.
·How to remove hexavalent chromium from water?
Use a water filter that is certified to remove hexavalent chromium (chromium-6). MultiPure’s Reverse Osmosis water filter unit is NSF certified to remove all or most of these contaminants.
Jul 01

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

Corporate giants like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and others have done an great job selling us on the idea that bottled water is safer, better, perhaps sexier than tap water. However, there is a real dark side to bottled water as the movie “Tapped” has pointed out. When you seriously look at the petroleum needed to produce the plastic bottles, storage issues and potential water contamination by the plastic bottles themselves, the transportation needed to transport the water to the store shelves and environmental impact of plastic bottles have on the Earth, one can see that bottled water is not only wasteful, the discarded plastic bottles create one of the most dangerous environmental hazards known to man. This little video tells the story beautifully.

http://www.myspace.com/video/trailerpark/oceans-exclusive-use-less-plastic/104426743

One can easily see that filtered water not only is a better product, it costs significantly less. The fact is that roughly 25% of all bottled water is actually tap water that has been processed and repackaged. Corporate America treats local municipal sources as a commodity and sells it back to the community at a profit. When you really look at the cost of bottled water compared to filtered water, the numbers are staggering.

Example; bottled water averages around $2.50 per gallon. A Multi Pure 750 gallon filter is $69.95. To produce the same amount of bottled water you would spend $1850.00!! (750 gallons x $2.50= $1850.00)

To find out how your bottled water rates, check the Environmental Working Group Widget below. Simply enter your favorite brand or click the first letter to get the details on that product.

Jun 27

The Story Of Bottled Water – Annie Leonard

The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.

Jun 25

How to Read Your Water Quality Report – EPA

Reading Your Water Quality Report

From coast to coast, the news has been awash with reports of consumers kicking the bottled water habit and taking back the tap. People are catching on to the industry‚ marketing con job. They now know that bottled water is an overpriced rip-off that‚ no more pure or healthful than tap water. Furthermore, its production and transportation gobbles energy and spews pollution and climate-changing gases into our atmosphere.

If youre among the growing mass of people making the move to tap water, perhaps you have questions about the quality of your city or town‚ water supply. Although most municipal water beats the stuff in the bottle, learning more about it makes sense.

We all have the right to know what‚ in our drinking water. Congress codified this principle in 1996 with amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The changes greatly improve public access to information about drinking water quality.

The Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1976, authorized EPA to set drinking water standards for all public water systems. Water utilities monitor and treat drinking water to abide by these federal standards. The 1996 amendments added a requirement for utilities to notify the public about any detected regulated contaminant and any water quality violation.

The centerpiece of these right-to-know provisions is the annual water quality report. Although these reports are intended to help consumers make informed choices about their drinking water, they can be confusing and full of jargon. This guide is intended to help you understand what your water quality report is and how to interpret what it tells you.

What Is a Water Quality Report?

A water quality report, also called a consumer confidence report, lets you know what contaminants, if any, are in your drinking water and how these contaminants may affect your health. It lists all the regulated toxicants that were detected in your water over the preceding calendar year.

Who Gets a Water Quality Report?

A water quality report is available for every customer of a community water system, which is one that provides year-round service to more than 15 households or more than 25 people.

When Is a Water Quality Report Issued?

You should receive your water quality report by July 1 of each year.

What Does a Water Quality Report Tell You?

Every water quality report must contain certain information:

  • The source of the drinking water, be it a river, lake, groundwater aquifer or some other body of water;
  • A brief summary of the state‚ source water assessment of the susceptibility of the source water to contamination and how to get a copy of the complete assessment;
  • EPA regulations and health goals for drinking water contaminants;
  • A list of all detected contaminants and their levels;
  • Potential health effects of any contaminant detected at a level that violates EPA‚ health standard;
  • An educational statement for people with weakened immune systems about cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants;1
  • Contact information for the water system and EPA‚ Safe Drinking Water Hotline

Why Is a Water Quality Report Important?

Your water system must tell you about any violation of EPA water quality standards at the time it occurs and again in the annual report. You should not drink water that fails to meet EPA standards because it may be unsafe. Thankfully, public utilities have worked hard to improve water quality, and today, more than 90 percent of water systems meet all EPA regulations.

Another important part of the report is the list of all detected regulated contaminants. EPA sets the maximum level of contaminants — the MCL — that it will allow in drinking water based on the filtering and treatment capabilities of today‚ technology. The water quality report also tells you about potentially harmful substances found in your water at levels below their legal limit, which often is or approaches the agency‚ more stringent, optimum human health goal for the maximum level of contaminants, the MCLG.

How Is a Water Quality Report Distributed?

This depends on the size of the water system. All large water systems mail out the reports, often as an insert in the bill, and very large systems must both mail and post them online. Small systems serving fewer than 10,000 people can have the mailing requirement waived. In this case, however, they must publish the report in at least one local newspaper and make it available to the public upon request.

Water systems also must make a “good faith effort” to reach renters, workers and other consumers who do not receive water bills. These systems should use a combination of different outreach methods, such as posting the reports online, mailing them and advertising in local newspapers.

More information is available online at www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr/index.html. For general queries about water quality reports and other safe drinking water issues, you can contact EPA‚ Safe Drinking Water Hotline toll-free at 1-800-426-4791.

Printable Guide

Download the printable How to Read Your Water Quality Report for this easy to read chart:

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Endnotes

1 This section does not indicate if these microbes are in your drinking water. EPA requires that utilities remove 99 percent of cryptosporidium.

2 Most types of coliform bacteria are harmless, but they indicate possible fecal contamination, which can carry disease-causing viruses and organisms.

Source: foodandwaterwatch.org