Do You Know What is in Your Drinking Water?

By Karen Cioffi

Home sweet home. There’s no place like home. Home is where the heart is.

There are loads of old adages that demonstrate how you feel about your home. Your home is usually thought of as a safe place, a refuge. It’s even thought of as your castle.

Unfortunately, between indoor air pollution and the water you and your family drink and bathe with, your home can be downright harmful to your health.

Reports from numerous sources, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), show that there are harmful chemicals in the water.

A report, “Drinking Water Contaminants,” on the EPA’s site, lists the maximum allowable levels of chemical contaminants. The list contains:

• Inorganics: such as arsenic, fluoride, lead, mercury, and nickel.

• Radionuclides: such as uranium

• VOCS: such as benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, vinyl chloride, and xylenes.

• SOCS: such as chlordane, ethylene dibromide, pentachlorophenol, and toxaphene.

• Disinfection Byproducts: such as bromate and chlorite.

In another report at CNN Health, “Harmful Chemical Found in Tap Water of 31 U.S. Cities,” the researchers discovered the dangerous carcinogen hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, in more U.S. cities than expected. Millions are possibly being exposed to the contaminant.

The lead author of the study, Rebecca Sutton, said she “didn’t expect it to be so widespread.”

Chromium-6 was the chemical that the movie “Erin Brockovich” revolved around.

The cities found with chromium-6 are from states across the country: New York, Connecticut, Florida, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Wisconsin, California, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Georgia. For the full list go to: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/20/carcinogen-found-in-31-of-35-cities-water-supply/

The research and evidence is prevalent. According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG), within a five-year span from 2004 to 2009, U.S. water suppliers found 316 contaminants in the water they provided to the public. The contaminants included: 97 agricultural pollutants; 204 industrial chemicals; 86 pollutants from runoff and wastewater treatment plants; and 42 pollutants from water treatment process byproducts and from water pipes and storage tanks.

And then there’s also all the pharmaceuticals that find their way into the drinking water. It’s frightening.

So, what’s the solution to the dangerous water situation? Bottled water?

Sutton, who is also a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) doesn’t think bottled water is a good idea. There’s no way to know what contaminants are in bottled water. She suggests “an effective water filter.”

For added protection, Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya, a family medical doctor and Ayurveda practitioner, recommends that in addition to filtering tap water you should also boil it. The boiling process allows for some chemicals that aren’t trapped by the filter to dissipate through the steam.

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