Did you know that over one billion people do not have access to pure drinking water? Because of this, it is estimated that about half of all beds in hospitals in the world are occupied by patients suffering from the adverse effects of contaminated water.
Despite this disturbing statistic, some communities in third-world countries have natural practices that make their drinking water safe for consumption. One of the techniques is exposing water to sunlight. The downside is this process takes about six to 48 hours and there are variables that need to be considered, like cloud cover.
According to researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, sunlight exposure works better if lime juice or lime slurry is added to water contaminated with several types of bacteria and viruses. After the process, the water showed lower contamination compared to water exposed only to solar disinfection. (link)
United States water sources are not a hundred percent pure. Many of the modern disinfection methods used have limitations and carry a set of risks.
Why Chlorinated Water is a Danger to Your Health
The main goal of the government is to provide you with water that does not cause sicknesses like diarrhea, which is a cause of death in many third-world countries. In order to do this, they use chlorine.
Chlorine does a good job of killing germs, but some cysts and parasites (cryptosporidium and Giardia, for instance) survive the purification process. These microorganisms may lead to disease and even death, for those with poor immune systems.
It is also important to note that when chlorine interacts with the organic matter in water, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are formed.
Dr. Joseph Mercola says, “DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for nearly all the toxic effects of chlorinated water. Chlorine by itself is relatively harmless, but its side effects, by producing DBPs, are what cause nearly all of the problems.”
DBPs are actually 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine and more dangerous than fluoride, miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, and other toxins found in water. The most common DBPs formed with chlorination are trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs).
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) often regulates these compounds, which are measured by parts per billion (ppb). The maximum average of THMs in your local water supply cannot go over 80 ppb, while the annual average for HAAs should not exceed 60 ppb. Ideally, it is best to have them at zero levels.
Why DBPs Are Not to Be Taken Lightly
Dr. Mercola says that because the majority of the US population receives chlorinated water, it is safe to assume that Americans consume DBPs every single day. You are exposed to DBPs not only through drinking water, but also through inhalation, or showering or bathing.
The following are reasons why DBPs are dangerous substances to health:
- THMs are known Cancer Group B carcinogens, which are found to induce cancer in laboratory animals.
- DBPs are linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans.
- Human studies suggest that prolonged consumption of chlorinated water can double the chances of contracting bladder and rectal cancers in some individuals. (link, link)
- Chlorine can enter your lungs in the form of chloroform, a carcinogen, and chlorite, a byproduct of chlorine dioxide. These chlorine forms reach your bloodstream instantly before your organs get to detoxify them.
- When you bathe with chlorine-treated water, your skin absorbs the chlorine and it goes directly to your bloodstream. The absorption of skin doubles when you shower with hot water.
How to Ensure Water Safety at Home
These facts show that even with treatment from local water companies, your water is still not completely safe – even if it looks pure and clear. Dr. Mercola recommends investing in a water filter.
If you can afford only one type, a shower filter is your best bet. “This is because the damage you incur through your skin and lungs far surpasses the damage done by drinking water (which at least gives your body a fighting chance to eliminate the toxins through your organs of elimination),” Dr. Mercola explains.
Dr. Mercola believes that getting a whole house filtration system is the best defense against toxins, DBPs, and other hazardous substances in your water. This can also protect your appliances, as well as prevent waterborne toxins from entering the air you breathe.
Dr. Mercola advises homeowners to get whole house water filters with the following features and qualities:
- Should be a system that uses at least 60 pounds of filter media and can produce at least eight gallons a minute. This covers homes or apartments that are 3,200 sq/ft and smaller.
- Should be built with various contamination removal technologies. Each stage should be well-equipped to remove sediments, chlorine and heavy metals, hormones, drug residues, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides.
- Should be built with a granular carbon inside the carbon filter, and not with a solid block of carbon. The former allows more water pressure for better water flow.
- Should have NSF certification. This means that your filter is able to meet national standards and can remove everything it is designed to. It should also be able to remove all types of particles under .8 microns – examples of which are bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Remember: it is crucial for you to possess a clean water source to help your blood, kidneys, and liver detoxify. By consuming drinking water filled with dangerous byproducts, your body works twice or even thrice as hard, because it needs to purify the water FIRST before it can be used to clear toxic matter from your body.