Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo Da Vinci
It is important to think about the total picture when assessing whole body wellness. Yes, eating organic, nutrient-dense foods is an essential key to health, vitality and overall wellness, as well as movement, but there is another equally important variable. Did you guess it? Yes, good ‘ol fashion H2O–water! And I mean clean water! Being that our bodies are roughly 70% water, clean water is certainly nothing to take for granted. The Flint, Michigan lead crisis is a recent reminder of this critical issue. In fact, Dr. Batmanghelidj, who wrote “Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty,” actually found that a large number of his patients healed after correcting their severe dehydration. Such diseases included, obesity, ulcers, and even depression. So it seems clean water=optimal health!
According to the Environmental Working Group’s analysis,
Of nearly 20 million drinking water tests conducted by water suppliers nationwide between 2004 and 2009 revealed hundreds of pollutants in U.S. tap water. For most, the government has set no safety-based legal limits. Many other contaminants were found in drinking water at concentrations above government-issued advisory health guidelines.
More specifically, EWG stated that over 260 contaminants have been found in thousands of samples of tap water, of which include petrochemicals and their byproducts. Half of these contaminants are unregulated. In fact, there is no rule, law or regulation that these petrochemicals need to be listed in water quality reports. More startling, EWG found that 52 of these unchecked toxins are linked to cancer, 41 to reproductive issues, 36 to developmental toxicity and 16 to immune system damage. Finally, for some of these chemicals there have been no health studies ever conducted. (EWG, 2008)
Is Chlorinated Water Healthy?
Chlorine is meant to kill pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, however, while it is helpful in eliminating pathogens, at the same time, it is indeed harmful to our health. Because the chlorination process has byproducts of its own–trihalomethanes, acrylamide and haloacetic acids–these are showing up in our municipal water too. Even more, a startling 1992 study by The American Journal of Public Health reported a 15% to 35% increase in some types of cancers for individuals who consumed chlorinated water. Of course there is no question, chlorine has helped to reduce waterborne illnesses, however it is still a good idea to choose a filtration system that can reduce the byproducts from the chlorination process as well as the chlorine. (Strand)
The Bottled Water Addiction
Another issue when speaking of clean water is our addiction to bottled water, more specifically, the plastic that contains our water. Not only are plastic bottles a huge waste product in our environment, that end up in our oceans, rivers and lakes, but the plastic itself can poison you. Yep, that’s right, synthetic chemicals like Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS)–both found in plastic bottles–have been found to disrupt the endocrine system and mimic the hormone estrogen. Basically, this means that with the overload of “estrogen-like” compounds (also called xenoestrogens) in our bodies, our natural hormones are thrown out of balance. This can ultimately lead to what is known clinically as Estrogen Dominance. (I dare you to google symptoms of estrogen dominance…you definitely don’t want to go down that road). And men, don’t think you are disqualified from these “estrogen-like” compounds, they can also interfere with your testosterone balance. (Bauman, 2015) On a positive note, the FDA did ban the use of BPA in infant bottles and sippy cups in 2012 and in general it is being eliminated from the market place. However, BPS is still showing up in baby bottles and cups. Do yourself a favor and get rid of the plastic all together.
How to Ensure Clean Water?
So, how do we ensure the water we are drinking is pure and free of harmful byproducts? The key to clean water is a good water filter. Today our municipal water is filled with toxic pesticides, pathogens, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, petrochemicals, heavy metals and even hormones, which all greatly contribute to toxic overload in our bodies. Even, the shower water we bathe with, can actually cause allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to the aforementioned toxins. There are many filters available on the market, and the type of filter you choose is really up to your individual needs. Keep in mind you want your filter to remove the harmful contaminants, but not the beneficial trace minerals.
Water Filter Options
Upon doing my own research and considering all of the variables above, I have found the Berkey Water Filtration System to be the most superior. It not only filters chlorine and other contaminants, but also fluoride. If you’re looking to be more cost-effective, I suggest looking for used options of the Berkey on Craigslist or Ebay. Moreover, you can opt for a water pitcher filter, which may have the ability to filter chlorine and fluoride, like the one from Pure Water Freedom. Although much smaller than the Berkey, it is a more cost efficient way to filter water. If you have a large family, this is probably not the way to go. However, for the individual, a water pitcher filtration system is a great option. Another solution, while you are saving up for the Berkey or Pure Water Freedom Pitcher, is to use a Brita Water Pitcher. This pitcher doesn’t filter fluoride, but it does filter chlorine and heavy metals, including mercury, which causes kidney and neurological damage. (Bauman, 2015)
The Berkey, is a stainless steal filtration system that can filter up to 2.1 gallons. On top of this, it filters 99.9% of bacterias, viruses, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and inorganic materials, but it also has filters you can add on to remove fluoride (calcifies the pineal gland). If you’ve done any research about filters that can get rid of fluoride, it is nearly impossible to find one that can accomplish this. However, I am happy to say Berkey has achieved this. Here is a link to the full test results for the Berkey Filtration System.
Other Helpful Tips
- Have your water tested through a state-certified lab. Call EPA drinking water hotline 1-800-426-4791 (www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/labs.html)
- Look up the set standards for water filters at NSF international (www.nsf.org)
- Consider filtering the water you use for showering, since contaminants can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled from the steam
- Carry water in a glass or stainless steel container
- If you must drink bottled water, do not let it sit in the hot sun
- Maintain your filter, ensuring you replace it at the proper time recommended by the manufacturer
The Take Away
Water filtration is a long term investment, but definitely worthwhile. Whatever method of filtration you use, just remember how important clean water is for life. Staying away from plastic water bottles and using a filter at home will improve overall wellness for yourself and our environment.
In divine health,
Bauman, Ed. & Friedlander, J. (2015) “Foundations of Nutrition.” Bauman College: Penngrove , CA.
Strand, C. (n.d.) Introduction. Water warning. Retrieved from http://www.waterwarming.com/intro.htm