I have been researching water for almost four years now and what I have found out about tap water is frankly shocking. I’d always had a hunch there is something not quite healthy in there, but my research has really surprised me.
Tap water is actually a lot worse than even I thought.
The problem is so worrying because it’s the water we’re drinking so much of, all day, every day!
How and Why Did Our Tap Water Get SO Bad?
I’ve always been a little suspicious of anything that is controlled, en masse by the Government. Government’s tend to look at things from a cost-saving efficiency point-of-view first and foremost, and then look at the benefit/cost to the public. Especially with things such as this – things that there is very little visibility over.
I mean, it’s not killing us directly, so nobody will notice right?
But these toxins are slowly damaging our health. Day by day. Glass by glass.
Tap Water Contains 316 Known Contaminants!
A 3-year study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) assembled an unprecedented database of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004 and found…get this…316 contaminants in US tap water.
And most scary…Among the contaminants were 202 chemicals that are not subject to any government regulation or safety standards for drinking water
This would be not too much different in the UK and Australia and lots of other countries too.
Some of these contaminants find their way into our water supply through insufficient filtration and faulty pipes, while others are actually added to the water as a way to kill biological toxins or to add some sort of claimed health benefit to those who drink it.
In small amounts, the damage that these contaminants cause are not noticed in the short term, but regular consumption of water contaminated with chemicals and other materials can definitely contribute to and lead to serious health issues.
And let’s face it. They’re all HIGHLY acid-forming.
I don’t want to get all political on this…
I could easily go into my problems with fluoride, the poor level of filtration, and the general malaise of Government’s who think that throwing one toxin (chlorine and chloramines) into water to kill other toxins (waste of time?) is all they have to do. I could blog about that all day long. But that’s not actually going to give you any real benefit (although it is interesting).
Instead, I’m going to keep it to the info that matters to YOU and your family’s health right now.
What’s in YOUR Family’s Drinking Water?
This is not for the feint of heart, but this is my low down of the nasties we most commonly find in our local tap water:
- Fluoride: This chemical is quite weirdly added to drinking water in the belief that it strengthens and hardens our teeth. This is the exact reason I DON’T want to be putting it into my digestive system! Why would I want to consume a hardening agent! If it coats and hardens my teeth I don’t want that going into my stomach, colon and being processed by my liver and kidneys. Weird!
There is absolutely no evidence that this supports our dental strength or condition either, meaning that it’s quite possibly simply a political or financial move rather than something that is genuinely an attempt to benefit our health.
Too much fluoride can cause a condition called dental fluorosis, which alters the appearance of teeth as it develops in children. In severe cases, a consistent overdose of fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis which can damage the bones and joints and cause pain in people with this condition. Several studies on the dangers of fluoride have also uncovered other long-term health risks caused by fluoride poisoning which include kidney failure and decreasing IQ.
Again – why is this hardening agent in our drinking water? It’s a known toxin to human health and is added to our water in quantities which, sure, won’t kill you on the spot, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
- Chlorine: This chemical is used to destroy bacteria and other waterborne diseases to make tap water safe for drinking and is also used to treat the water in swimming pools.
Recent studies done on chlorinated water revealed that regular intake of tap water with high levels of chlorine has been linked to the development of several forms of cancer, mainly bladder and colon cancer. Of course, it does kill bacteria, but the downsides are SO big that I think filtration is a far better way to remove this.
Dr Zoltan Rona (graduate of McGill University Medical School and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut) states: “Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation). This might explain why supplementation of the diet with essential fatty acids like flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and others helps so many cases of eczema and dry skin.
Chlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens.
To make matters worse, chlorinated water also contains chemical compounds called trihalomethanes which are carcinogens resulting from the combination of chlorine with compounds in water. These chemicals, also known as organochlorides, do not degrade very well and are generally stored in the fatty tissues of the body (breast, other fatty areas, mother’s milk, blood and semen). Organochlorides can cause mutations by altering DNA, suppress immune system function and interfere with the natural controls of cell growth.
Chlorine has been documented to aggravate asthma, especially in those children who make use of chlorinated swimming pools. Several studies also link chlorine and chlorinated by-products to a greater incidence of bladder, breast and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma. One study even links the use of chlorinated tap water to congenital cardiac anomalies.
- Heavy Metals: This is a very real danger to our health. Lead, particularly, is a very common contaminant in our drinking water and is very often in the tap water across the UK, USA and Australia plus many countries in Western Europe. Corroded plumbing, contamination and faulty filters can introduce these harmful elements to our drinking water.
While some metals such as copper and zinc are good for the body’s metabolism, too much of it can cause heavy metal poisoning which can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, digestive system and respiratory system. The big worry is getting imbalances of these metals from our drinking water, which has a HUGE knock on effect. Copper toxicity can cause incredible damage to the kidneys and liver, and as we all know, excess mercury can be life threatening!
- Drugs: Even after the water supply has been treated by our local water company, drug residue may still remain in our reservoirs. Though the amount of prescription and over-the-counter drug residue in tap water may seem negligible, the prospect of having long term effects due to exposure to these drugs is troubling.
This is something that has never been studied over the long term to see whether the explosion of drug and pharmaceutical use in our modern society (over the past 100 years) has led to a long-term build up of these drug residues in our water. Maybe we should think about that.
- Pesticides and other harmful chemicals: Chemical wastes and pesticides coming from farms and industrial establishments near a water reservoir can contaminate the water that comes through our taps and faucets. The type of chemicals found in tap water is different depending on the location and the effects of exposure to these contaminants vary as well. An example of a chemical that has found its way into the water supply is atrazine, an herbicide used to kill weeds. This chemical has been known to affect testosterone levels in frogs and in some cases have “chemically castrated” them. In humans, this chemical has been known to cause low sperm count in males, as well as low birth weight and birth defects in newborns.
Not good. There are so many chemicals used in industry and agriculture nowadays and the wash off into our water supply is a very real and very scary prospect.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms: Despite treating the water supply with chemicals that should kill bacteria and other microorganisms, many of them still find a way into the tap water we drink. Most of the time, these organisms cause gastrointestinal problems in those who ingest them. In some cases, these bacteria and microorganisms can cause more serious illnesses like pneumonia and hepatitis A.
There is definite reason to be concerned and that is why I SO strongly recommend that you filter your water.
Don’t Forget Those 316 Recorded Contaminants!
Remember – The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) found that between 2004 and 2009, water suppliers across the U.S. detected 316 contaminants in water supplied to the public. The list of detected contaminants includes:
- 97 agricultural pollutants, including pesticides and chemicals from fertilizer- and manure-laden runoff
- 204 industrial chemicals from factory discharges and consumer products
- 86 contaminants linked to sprawl and urban areas or from polluted runoff and wastewater treatment plants
- 42 pollutants that are byproducts of the water treatment processes or that leach from pipes and storage tanks.
This is all scary stuff and I haven’t even gone into THAT much depth on each toxin. Each of those could be a report in itself.
But I just want you to get the message here – tap water is NOT clean, is acidic and contains more toxins and chemicals than we should consume on a daily basis.
IMPORTANT: however, this is not me saying that you should not drink tap water if this is all you have access to.
——> Put it this way: tap water is still better than being dehydrated.
I hope this helps – look out for my new article later this week on the problems of bottled water (inc. the 7 worst brands and the reason why ALL BOTTLED WATER IS ACID-FORMING.
And then next week we’ll take all of this to the next level and I’ll give you the total run-down on how to filter your water, make it alkaline and how to get the best, most healthy water for you and your family, on-tap, all day, every day.
Until then, stay alkaline and stay hydrated!