As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.
When the water out of the tap is yellow or brown we know something is wrong. But what about when it looks clear and has no smell, are we free and clear to drink at will? Not necessarily.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) took a three year look at the country’s drinking water. What they found was truly startling: 85% of the population’s drinking water contains contains 316 contaminants!
What’s worse is that over 60% of these contaminants have absolutely no regulations or safe drinking levels. Some are known to cause cancer, others serious infections, and many can simply shorten life expetancy.
Organic toxins and microbes are the main culprit and they can’t be seen with the naked eye or even tasted. Without adequate testing, you and your family could ingest them for years with no awareness, only when locals start to get sick does the government take notice.
It is our goal to inform the public of these lurking dangers and encourage them to take steps to take control of their water and in turn their family’s health.
Most Common Contaminants in Water
Lead is an extremely toxic metal that can cause health effects even at low doses and the most susceptible public groups are children and pregnant women. It can enter drinking water when plumbing corrodes, especially if the acidity level is high or there is low mineral amounts. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are corroded lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures that can be found across the world. Lead found in homes typically depends on how long the water is exposed to the pipes, the amount of corrosion on the pipes, and the water temperature.
Mercury is another heavy metal that is extremely toxic and can be found worldwide as well in in various natural deposits. The main contributor to mercury contamination is from the erosion of natural deposits, effluent discharged from refineries & factories, leachate from landfills, and runoff from crops.
Possible symptoms of mercury poisoning may include the following:
- loss of peripheral vision
- “pins and needles” feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth
- dizzyness and lack of coordination of movements
- slurring of speech, loss of hearing, and inability to walk
- muscle weakness
Chlorine is a powerful oxidant added to the water by several municipal water systems to control microbes. Yet, this doesn’t mean that it is completely safe to ingest or that you even need to have it stay in your water.
Chlorine is a naturally occurring element with many uses, from purifying water to disinfecting and bleaching. Even in very small quantities, exposure to chlorine gas or liquid can be poisonous. It is absorbed through physical consumption but can also be absorbed through your skin while bathing.
Chlorine can have the following serious health effects:
- increase risk of cancer
- cause cellular damage
- increase risk of asthma
- severely dry skin and hair
- irritate eyes and nose
- cause water to taste bad
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include a variety of chemicals emitted as gases or evaporate off of spilled liquids. There are millions of products that contain VOCs and their degradation often leads to water contamination. When water is heated and vaporized, your body can absorb these contaminants.
Side effects include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
- Some are known to cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
There are some substances that are emitted into water that might cause a side effect, and then there are substances that were specifically created to cause a side effect: Pharmaceutical waste. These synthetic chemicals are found in prescription, therapeutic and veterinary medication. They commonly make it into the water stream from poorly controlled manufacturing facilities and improper disposal. Pharmaceutical waste can cause a wide array of issues, each being unique.
A common buzz word in today’s news, glyphosate may be the most wide used herbicide in the world. It and other herbicides enter the drinking water system by accumulating in soil and water as well as from rainfall and irrigation which wash herbicides off farmlands and into lakes and rivers. Another common herbicide, Atrazine, a herbicide commonly used on golf courses, and it can interfere with the bodies hormonal activity and reproductive organs.
In the US farmers and homeowners apply about 1 billion pounds of pesticides annually. This helped to make us one of the largest producer of food in the world and has provided other benefits, but has also been accompanied by concerns about their effects on the environment and human health.
These pesticides travel through sewers that run from drains within the home, carrying all wastewater to treatment plants where they remain untreated throughout the detoxifying process. There are hundreds of different compounds with few tests and studies on how these contaminants may impact our health.
There are a number of potential microbial invaders in our water. Cysts are the most common cause of human illness. A microbial parasite that can be found in lakes and rivers, cysts can enter the water through sewage, leaking septic tanks and runoff from feedlots. Several types of cysts include: