Drinking enough water is a very important part of a healthy diet. Everyday the body releases 10-15 cups of water and that water needs to be replenished with clean pure drinking water. There is a growing problem of chronic dehydration today and many people do not recognize the symptoms. Some possible symptoms of dehydration include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Premature aging
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
If you are plagued with any of these problems it would be a good idea to start being mindful of the amount of water you drink each day. In addition to the amount of water you drink, it is also important to consider the quality of the water you drink.
The topic of clean water has been in a lot of recent news locally where I live. Although I have been filtering my drinking water for many years, it is still a big concern to me. Our water is treated with disinfectants before it is sent through the faucet. There is no filtration plant where I live, the water comes from an unfiltered pond and is treated with chemicals to kill any possible hazards. The real problem is that combining any organic with inorganic matter forms chemicals called disinfection byproducts. The Environmental Protection Agency has standards for controlling the levels of these byproducts in the drinking water and our local tests have failed on multiple occasions. One of the failed tests even happened to be at an elementary school.
What’s wrong with Disinfection Byproducts?
The EPA has studied the effects of Disinfection Byproducts (DBP’s) on laboratory rats which has shown that several of the disinfection byproducts to be carcinogenic. Some disinfection byproducts have also been shown to cause adverse reproductive or developmental effects in laboratory animals.
Other Dangers in Your Drinking Water
Merocla.com referenced a report in New Scientist, a comprehensive survey of U.S. drinking water reveals that drinking water is also likely laced with a wide variety of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that may effect hormones.
The 11 most frequently detected compounds were:
- Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease
- Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behavior
- Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilizing drug used to treat bipolar disorder
- Estrone, an estrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender changes in fish
- Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug
- Meprobamate, a tranquilizer used in psychiatric treatment
- Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence
- Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy
- Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic
- TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology
- Trimethoprim, another antibiotic
So What Can We Do?
Drinking straight tap water is just not a safe and healthy option anymore. There are really only two safe options.
Spring water is a healthy option because its not treated with disinfectants and it tends to have a neutral pH. This does not include “spring water” on the shelf at the grocery store. The best spring water comes right out of the ground from springs that you visit yourself. I just came across a really neat website called FindaSpring.com where you can find a natural spring near you. The added bonus is that most of these springs are actually free. When visiting a spring, bring along glass jugs to fill up to avoid leeching chemicals in plastics (read this post Why you should not buy BPA free plastics).
Filtered Drinking Water
The easiest and most economical way to get clean pure water is to use a filter for your drinking water. There are a few different types of water filters.
Reverse Osmosis Filter
Reverse Osmosis filters can remove chlorine, inorganic, and organic contaminants in your water and will also remove about 80 percent of the fluoride and most DPBs. One problem with this type of system is the expense of installing an RO filter as most need a plumber to get up and running. Reverse Osmosis filters also tend to remove beneficial minerals from the water as well.
Ion Exchange Filter
Ion exchange is designed to remove dissolved salts in the water, such as calcium. This system actually softens the water or exchanges natural-forming mineral ions in the water with its own ions, thereby neutralizing their harmful effect of creating scale build-up.
These are the most common types of counter top and under counter water filters. Granular activated carbon is recognized by the EPA as the best available technology for the removal of organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals. However, one of the downfalls of granular carbon filters is that the loose material inside can channel–the water creates pathways through the carbon material, escaping filtering.
Ideally, you want a filtration system that offers a variety of methods to remove different contaminants. The water filter that has been recommended to me many times is the Berkey Filter. Several filtration methods are combined and blended to produce a unique filtering process.
How does the Berkey Filter Work?
The Berkey purification elements are composed of a formulation of more than six different media types, all constructed into pores that are so small it makes it impossible for pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, sediment and sedimentary minerals to pass through. These unwanted materials become trapped therefore eliminating them from your drinking water.
In addition, the filter uses adsorption which works to create an ionic barrier similar to surface tension. This blocking process is how the Berkey water filter is able to remove submicron viruses that other brands of water filters cannot without the use of obnoxious chemicals like iodine or chlorine.
Lastly, the heavy metals ions (mineral molecules) are extracted from the water through an Ion exchange process where they are attracted to and transformed by electrically bonding to the media.
Another feature of this filter is that it takes several minutes for the water to pass through it so the water is in contact with the filter for a longer period of time.This longer contact time between the water molecules and the filter media, provides much greater removal rates of harmful water contaminates.
I researched water filtration products for a long time and have even tried a number of them. After learning about the Berkey system for drinking water I haven’t seen any products that have better claims. Berkey is the water filtration system that I trust for my own family.