BOTTLED WATER FACTS!

Why is bottled water a concern? Here are just a few reasons…

  • Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year1. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.
  • The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes2.
  • Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.3
  • Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year3.
  • The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
  • Antimony, which is found in PET plastic bottles, in small doses can cause dizziness and depression; in larger doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and death.8

Ditching bottled water keeps Mother Earth and your wallet green.

  • One water pitcher filter can effectively replace as much as 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles. So you can get great-tasting water without so much waste. Talk about refreshing.
  • The average water pitcher filters 240 gallons of water a year for about 19 cents a day4. Put in perspective, to get the same amount of water from bottled water would require 1,818 16.9-ounce water bottles a year5 – at an average cost of a dollar a bottle, that’s $4.98 a day6.
  • Hydration at its best – carry the water you need and reduce your impact on the environment – one Nalgene bottle can last for decades, making it easy to stop buying single-serve bottled water to fulfill your everyday hydration needs.

Many people drink bottled water because they believe it to be of a higher quality, cleaner and better-tasting, but that’s not necessarily true.

  • In the United States, 24 percent of bottled water sold is either Pepsi’s Aquafina (13 percent of the market) or Coke’s Dasani (11 percent of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water3.
  • If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, try a getting a water filter from http://www.filtercon.com
  • Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, told The New York Times that “there is no reason to believe that bottled water is safer than tap water.”7
  • In the U.S., public water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and makes results available to the public. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, only requires weekly testing and does not share its findings with the EPA or the public7.
  1. Pacific Institute. “Fact Sheet: Bottled Water and Energy – Getting to 17 Million Barrels.” December 2007.
  2. “Not Disposable Anymore.” P.O.V.’s Borders. 2004. PBS.
  3. Fishman, Charles. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine July 2007: 110.
  4. This cost assumes the purchase of a $25 pitcher (one filter included), plus 5 replacement filters at $9 each, for a total yearly cost of $70, or $0.19 cents a day.
  5. Each filter produces 40 gallons of water and the average owner uses 6 filters in a year, to produce 240 gallons, or 30,720 ounces, of fresh-filtered water. 30,720 ounces is equivalent to the water found in 1,818 16.9-ounce water bottles.
  6. Purchasing 1,818 16.9-ounce water bottles at the cost of $1 each costs $1,818. Over the course of a year, that’s $4.98 a day.
  7. Burros, Marian. “Fighting the Tide, a Few Restaurants Tilt to Tap Water.” The New York Times [New York City, NY] 30 May 2007: Section F, Page 1.
  8. Shotyk, William. “Toxic risk in bottled water?” Royal Society of Chemistry. September 2006.

If you do not have Filtercon water, YOU may be the filter!

1

WATER IS THE SUBSTANCE OF LIFE

Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. Water can be a miracle cure for many common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and much more. We can go for weeks without food, but only 3 days without water!

2

THE BODY IS COMPRISED OF 80% WATER

Water makes up nearly 85 percent of your brain, about 80 percent of your blood and about 70 percent of your lean muscle. (Because there are a lot of tissues that have less water, the average is about 50 percent.).

water intake

3

WATER SOURCE

It is difficult for the body to get water from any other source than water itself. Soft drinks and alcohol steal tremendous amounts of water from the body. Other beverages such as coffee and tea are diuretics therefore stealing precious water from the body.

4

A VITAL ROLE

Water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

5

WATER TRANSPORTS AND METABOLIZES

Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. The carbohydrates and proteinsthat our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. No less important is the ability of water to transport waste material out of our bodies.

6

WATER IS ESSENTIAL

Water is essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because there are increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy.

7

REMOVES TOXINS

Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.

In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

8

REGULATES COOLING SYSTEM

Water regulates the body’s cooling system. Sports drinks are useful when consumed after or during vigorous and prolonged exercise in high heat. But most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise. For instance, if you drink 12 ounces of plain water, your body will absorb 8 ounces of it within 15 minutes.

Most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise.

“MOST EXPERTS AGREE THAT WATER WORKS BETTER THAN CARBOHYDRATES OR SUGARED BEVERAGES FOR MODERATE EXERCISE.”

If you drink 12 ounces of a 10% sugar solution, less than 1 ounce will be absorbed in the same period. The typical soft drink is a 10 to 12% sugar solution.

9

CHRONIC CELLULAR DEHYDRATION

Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. This condition where the body’s cell are never quite hydrated enough leave them in a weakened state, vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body’s overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.

10

DEHYDRATION CAN HAPPEN IN WINTER

Dehydration can occur at any time of the year, not only during the summer months when it is hot. The dryness that occurs during winter can dehydrate the body even quicker than when it is hot. When you are dehydrated you tend to eat more.

General Rule: Due to the fact that every body is different the rule we often hear about drinking 8-8oz. Of water per day can be misleading. We need to drink half our body weight in ounces of water every day to provide the body with its MINIMUM water replacement requirements. Triple the intake for better results.

TOP 10 REASONS TO CONSUME WATER INSTEAD OF SOFT DRINKS!

1

SOFT DRINKS STEAL WATER FROM THE BODY

glass of water

They work very much like a diuretic which takes away more water than it provides to the body. Just to process the high levels of sugar in soft drinks steals a considerable amount of water from the body.

To replace the water stolen by soft drinks, you need to drink 8-12 glasses of water for every one glass of soft drinks that you consume!

2

SOFT DRINKS NEVER QUENCH YOUR
THIRST

Soft Drinks never quench your thirst, certainly not your body’s need for water. Constantly denying your body an adequate amount can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration, a condition that weakens your body at the cellular level. This, in turn, can lead to a weakened immune system and a plethora of diseases.

3

ELEVATED LEVELS OF PHOSPHATES

The elevated levels of phosphates in soft drinks leach vital minerals from your body. Soft Drinks are made with purified water that also leach vital minerals from your body. A severe lack of minerals can lead to Heart Disease (lack of magnesium), Osteoporosis (lack of calcium) and many other diseases. Most vitamins can not perform their function in the body without the presence of minerals.

4

SOFT DRINKS CAN REMOVE RUST

Soft Drinks can remove rust from a car bumper or other metal surfaces. Imagine what it’s doing to your digestive tract as well as the rest of your body.

5

THE SUGAR CRASH

The high amounts of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a “sugar crash”. Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems.

The high amounts of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a 'sugar crash'.

“THE HIGH AMOUNTS OF SUGAR IN SOFT DRINKS CAUSES YOUR PANCREAS TO PRODUCE AN ABUNDANCE OF INSULIN, WHICH LEADS TO A ‘SUGAR CRASH’.”
6

CREATES POOR DIGESTION

Soft Drinks severely interfere with digestion. Caffeine and high amounts of sugar virtually shut down the digestive process. That means your body is essentially taking in NO nutrients from the food you may have just eaten, even that eaten hours earlier.

Consumed with french-fries which can take WEEKS to digest, there is arguably nothing worse a person can put in their body.

7

DIET SOFT DRINKS CONTAIN ASPARTAME

Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illness. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame, that’s 80% of all complaints about food additives.

8

SOFT DRINKS ARE EXTREMELY ACIDIC

Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic, so much so that they can eat through the liner of an aluminum can and leach aluminum from the can if it sits on the shelf too long. Alzheimer patients who have been autopsied ALL have high levels of aluminum in their brains. Heavy metals in the body can lead to many neurological and other diseases.

9

AND MORE ACIDIC

Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic: The human body naturally exists at a pH of about 7.0. Soft Drinks have a pH of about 2.5, which means you are putting something into your body that is hundred of thousands of times more acidic that your body is!

Diseases flourish in an acidic environment. Soft Drinks and other acidic food deposit acid waste in the body which accumulates over time in the joints and around the organs.

For example, the Body pH of cancer or arthritis patients are always low. The sicker the person, the lower the Body pH.

10

THE WORSE THING

Soft Drinks are the WORSE THING you can possibly put in your body. Don’t even think of taking a sip of a Soft Drink when you are sick with a cold, flu or something worse. It will only make it that much harder for your body to fight the illness.

How important is water to your body?

What do you, the trees, and a hamster have in common? Give up? You all need water. All living things must have water to survive, whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud, or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage.

Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight, and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.

Water is also in lymph (say: limf), a fluid that is part of your immune system, which helps you fight off illness. You need water to digest your food and get rid of waste, too. Water is needed for digestive juices, urine (pee), and poop. And you can bet that water is the main ingredient in perspiration, also called sweat.

Besides being an important part of the fluids in your body, water is needed by each cell to function normally.

Your body doesn’t get water only from drinking water. Any fluid you drink will contain water, but water and milk are the best choices. Lots of foods contain water, too. Fruit contains quite a bit of water, which you could probably tell if you’ve ever bitten into a peach or plum and felt the juices dripping down your chin! Vegetables, too, contain a lot of water — think of slicing into a fat tomato from the garden or crunching into a crisp stalk of celery.

How Much Is Enough?

Since water is so important, you might wonder if you’re drinking enough. There is no magic amount of water that kids need to drink every day. Usually, kids like to drink something with meals and should definitely drink when they are thirsty. But when it’s warm out or you’re exercising, you’ll need more. Be sure to drink some extra water when you’re out in warm weather, especially while playing sports or exercising.

When you drink is also important. If you’re going to sports practice, a game, or just working out or playing hard, drink water before, during, and after playing. Don’t forget your water bottle. You can’t play your best when you’re thinking about how thirsty you are!

When your body doesn’t have enough water, that’s called being dehydrated. Dehydration also can keep you from being as fast and as sharp as you’d like to be. A bad case of dehydration can make you sick. So keep that water bottle handy when the weather warms up! Not only does water fight dehydration, but it’s awfully refreshing and has no calories.

Your body can help you stay hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system. The body can hold on to water when you don’t have enough or get rid of it if you have too much. If your pee has ever been very light yellow, your body might have been getting rid of excess water. When your pee is very dark yellow, it’s holding on to water, so it’s probably time to drink up.

You can help your body by drinking when you’re thirsty and drinking extra water when you exercise and when it’s warm out. Your body will be able to do all of its wonderful, waterful jobs and you’ll feel great!

The Hidden Dangers of Drinking Water

I was born in the early 1960s in Seoul, Korea, and clean water was hard to come by. We bathed at the local bathhouses and had toilets outside of the home.

As a child, I remember we pumped our water from a well in our backyard. We were able to wash our hands, feet, and clothes with the well water, but never drink it.

My mother had a daily ritual of boiling our water in two to three pots at a time for at least one hour, then cooling it down for another hour before refrigerating a pitcher of clean water or making “boricha,” a roasted corn tea. This went on all day.

South Korea was a third-world country with poor infrastructure where municipal water was found only in large cities and on U.S. military bases. When my family immigrated to Monterey, Calif. in the summer of 1975, I was delighted to find out that we could drink water directly out of the faucet without boiling it. I especially enjoyed drinking fresh, cold water from our garden hose on a hot summer day after playing with my new neighborhood friends!

Today, 40 years later, you may believe that municipal water is clean and safe to drink, but too many disturbing studies show otherwise.

One investigation in the New York Times, for instance, found that American tap water contributes to rashes and skin burns, erodes tooth enamel, and often contains arsenic, lead, barium, and other toxic chemicals.

An Associated Press investigation found numerous contaminants in every state’s school water. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed 1 out of every 5 schools investigated violated the Safe Drinking Water Act during the past decade.

The EPA and Congress regulate over 100 pollutants and 91 chemicals through the Safe Drinking Water Act. Even so, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson admits thatAmerican water fails to meet public health goals, and water pollution law enforcement is unacceptably low.

These countless microorganisms and toxins in tap water can contribute to allergy symptoms and disease. Removing these chemicals from your drinking water will significantly reduce your internal toxic load and may improve your body’s natural ability to deal with allergy symptoms.

For day two of my book, The 7 Day Allergy Makeover, I focus on cleaning up your tap water and purifying it into optimal drinkable water. Pure water is an essential nutrient, the basis of fluids of all living organisms, and necessary to sustain life. Water needs to be clean, free of toxins and microbes to prevent disease.

Water is considered a universal solvent, which can aid in reducing your allergy symptoms through cellular hydration. Water ingestion can reduce illnesses by decreasing the concentration of toxin and inflammatory histamines, as well as increasing lymph and bowel movement to flush out contaminants, waste, and microbes.

I invite you to incorporate the following five steps into your lifestyle to safely remove toxins, particulates and microbes from tap water and get adequate amounts of purified water to decrease allergy symptoms and restore your health.

Step 1: Only Drink Purified Water — Water makes up approximately 60 percent of the human body. Your blood is 93 percent water and your muscles are about 75 percent water. Optimal water intake is an essential for human survival.

Tap, carbon filtered, alkaline, and even some bottled water contains chemicals, heavy metals, nuclear material, and potential allergens. By drinking purified water, you will minimize your exposure to contaminants and may potentially reduce your allergy symptoms.

Purified water comes from two methods of filtration: either distillation or reverse osmosis. Many patients ask me, “Isn’t distilled water — dead water? There are no minerals in it!”

Yes, both distilled and reverse osmosis water are devoid of minerals, but ingesting mineral-free purified water is not harmful to your body. A majority of third-world countries still drink rainwater. Warm, moist air rising up into the sky from evaporation of natural large bodies of water including rivers, lakes, and oceans builds clouds. Condensation of water vapor forms larger water droplets, and when the droplets are heavy enough they will fall from the clouds as rain. This process of water evaporation and condensation is the largest distillation process on Earth!

Rainwater is not “dead water!” Minerals are essential to our cellular metabolism, growth, and vitality, and we get majority of them from eating food, not drinking water. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and you will be optimally mineralized and alkalized.

Water bottling companies usually clean water using a triple purification system: carbon filtration (removes chlorine, chemicals and larger particulates), ozonation (eradicates microbes) and reverse osmosis (removes heavy metals, aluminum, nuclear waste.) You can buy purified drinking water in large bottles, preferably glass bottles, from delivery service companies and water service stores/clubs.

Step 2: Drink the Right Amount of Purified Water — Dehydration slows your metabolism down, as well as the natural healing process of the body. When you drink adequate amounts of water, you can reduce allergenic symptoms and feel more alert and energetic.

Forget the eight-glasses-a-day myth. I want you to base the amount of water consumption by your body weight: Drink one-half of your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water. In another words, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water daily.

Increase your water intake if you sweat excessively from fever or exercise, or if you consume alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks, since they are diuretics and will dehydrate your cells and tissues. (And no, these drinks do not count towards your water quota.)

Sip purified water — do not guzzle. Water-guzzlers are always running to the bathroom! Drinking water slowly gives your cells time to absorb it, and reduces how often you need to urinate.

Think of drinking water like pouring a bucket of water on dried-up leather. It won’t adequately absorb the water, but if you drip water slowly over the leather, it rehydrates, becomes supple and malleable in no time.

Choose room-temperature over cold or iced water, which is easier on your digestive system.

Step 3: Invest in a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Unit — If you want to significantly reduce water contamination, purchase a reverse osmosis (RO) unit.

Among the toxic chemicals you eliminate with an RO unit is arsenic. A disturbing study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found arsenic is prevalent in American drinking water and can contribute to skin cancer.

Chlorine is another prevalent toxin in tap water. A study in the journalEnvironmental Health Perspectives found chlorination disinfection byproducts in drinking water, such as trihalomethanes (THMs), could potentially contribute to low birth weight, preterm birth, birth defects, fetal deaths, and other adverse pregnancy problems.

An RO unit completely filters all natural and synthetic toxins, microbes, debris, and minerals. When you drink water filtered through an RO unit, you’re getting 100 percent pure, high-quality drinking water that tastes great.

Until you install a reverse osmosis unit (step four), buy purified bottled water, triple-filtered (reverse osmosis, carbon filtered and ozonated) and preferably, in glass (not plastic) bottles. The label should indicate that its water has been filtered and processed through a reverse osmosis (RO) unit.

Another option: Have a company deliver your water monthly. Just specify reverse osmosis filtered, not spring or fluoridated water.

Step 4: Buy a Whole House Purification System — “The best thing you can do for your hair costs less than nine cents a day,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz on one episode of Oprah. “Get a charcoal filter and put it in your shower head.”

Your skin also absorbs water when you wash your hands or shower. Toxins can seep through your skin and into your cells, triggering and exacerbating allergens.

I recommend you buy a whole house water purification system that you attach to the plumbing system at the point of entry into the house that will filter out chlorine, chemicals, particulates, and microorganisms. This water is not to be used for consumption, only for brushing your teeth, washing your hands and body, and washing your laundry.

If that’s not possible, buy a shower filter that attaches to any showerhead. Rather than a poorly functioning small, round filter, I recommend a foot-long shower filter that attaches to your showerhead with an extension. The solid carbon block filters eliminate chlorine, chemicals, and allergens from your water. You should change the filter twice a year.

Step 5: Avoid Fluoridated Water

Most cities in the United States electively fluoridate their municipal water. In addition to your tap water, fluoride lurks in numerous products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, medications, green and black tea leaves, and drinks such as soda and juice.

Some critics argue that fluoridating drinking water prevents dental caries and tooth decay, but no diseases have ever been linked to a case of fluoride deficiency. To prevent tooth decay, fluoride works best when it is applied to the outside surface of the tooth, not when it comes from the inside of the body. So why do we swallow it?

A 2001 article in the Journal of the American Dental Association concludes that fluoride that is swallowed and incorporated into teeth is “insufficient to have a measurable effect” on reducing cavities. Oral intake of fluoride may not be necessary and can even be detrimental for your health.

In The Journal of the American Dental Association, another study showed thatfluoride is a toxic substance that destroys teeth in developing young children and babies.

In short, fluoride is not something you want in your drinking water. If your city adds fluoride to your tap water for drinking purposes, you should filter it with a reverse osmosis unit. You may want to invest in a fluoride whole house filtration system that are available online, but some argue that it may not filter out all of the fluoride and may be a waste of your money.

I have been using water filtration systems for over 15 years, and have both a whole house water purification system and a separate fluoride filtration system. I have installed a five foot fluoride filter last year. I did a before-and-after water analysis by a reputable lab on the fluoride level, and found that the fluoride filter I installed removed more than 95 percent of the fluoride. (For accuracy, I collected the water samples from my facet after running the water for 10 minutes through the filters.)

It has been about a year now, so it’s time to perform a second analysis on the fluoride levels. I will make sure to post the results on my health blog!

Next Time: “Day 3 — Clean Up Your Air.” For more information, you are welcome to a free chapter from my book, The 7 Day Allergy Makeover.

For more by Dr. Susanne Bennett, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

Sources:

Bove F, et al. Drinking water contaminants and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a review. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Feb;110 Suppl 1:61-74.

Levy SM, et al. Associations between fluorosis of permanent incisors and fluoride intake from infant formula, other dietary sources and dentifrice during early childhood. J Am Dent Assoc. 2010 Oct;141(10):1190-201.

The Science and Practice of Caries Prevention. Featherstone, J.D.B. Journal of the American Dental Association 2001 131, 887-899.

Smith AH, et al. Cancer risks from arsenic in drinking water. Environ Health Perspect. 1992 Jul;97:259-67.

I Drank a Gallon of Water a Day and This Happened.

First, FULL DISCLOSURE. I used water from a Filtercon Whole House Water System. Visit them to learn how awesome the water tastes.

http://www.filtercon.com

WEEK 1: DRINKING A GALLON OF WATER ISN’T EASY

Although my gallon water jug became my sidekick for the month as I lugged it around with me to and from work, I didn’t always make it to a full gallon every day—it’s way harder than you’d think! At first, it felt more like torture: A sudden influx of water into my system left me feeling bloated. I spent more time running to and from the bathroom than working at my desk. I’d enjoy the first part of my afternoon walk with my dog, but then end up racing him home because I had to pee. It wasn’t exactly a good time, but the promises that come with being less dehydrated—sleeping better at night, eating less junk food, clearer skin, and more energy—kept me chugging along.

 

By the start of week two I didn’t feel any different—just full of water. I was bummed. And bloated. But then I started noticing that I was actually making better food choices. I am a sucker for sweets and a notorious impulse buyer, but after about 10 days of such intense focus on just water, I started reaching for apples instead of Airheads and for fresh cherries instead of Skittles. Was the change in my liquid diet making me a bit more adult about the rest of my food choices? Maybe. I wasn’t noticing an uptick in my energy levels or more restful sleep, but I was definitely noticing some upgrades to my plate.

Related: 13 Weird Places Water Ends Up In Your Body
WEEK 3: CONSTANT WATER CRAVINGS

Heading into week three, I felt intensely thirsty—it was like I couldn’t get enough water into my system. I would gulp down an entire 16-ounce water bottle in seconds and still want just a bit more. I also wasn’t craving intense flavor anymore—although I did indulge in a pink lemonade or two every now and then—but it felt like my body was yelling out to me “Water! Water!” and I just wanted to sit down with a long straw in my gallon jug and sip away all afternoon.

WEEK 4: BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE PROMISED HEALTH BENEFITS?

By the end of my month-long challenge, I was disappointed that I didn’t enjoy all of the health benefits I’d hoped for—I was still not sleeping well and my face would break out the minute stress knocked on my door—but I did feel healthier. I was eating better and drinking significantly more water than I ever had in my life. I recently gave up coffee, which was almost my worst nightmare, but having water to replace my caffeinated morning companion made the transition just a bit easier. I didn’t notice massive energy boosts like other Gallon Water Challenge participants did, but I didn’t feel as “dead-to-the-world-til-coffee” as I thought I would. I’m putting that in the win column.

Now that my challenge is over, I can’t say I’ll keep drinking a gallon of water—I’m too excited about being able to get things done outside the bathroom. But I’m definitely not going back to the sad amounts of water I was taking in before. Who knew plain old water could be so satisfying?

READ what is in your tap water

How to Read a Water Quality Report

Public or community water systems are required to provide a drinking water quality report to its customers on an annual basis. These reports (also known as consumer confidence reports-CCR), which EPA developed in consultation with water suppliers, environmental groups, and the states, enable Americans to make practical, knowledgeable decisions about their health and their environment. Many bottled water companies also provide a water quality report to their consumers. These reports can be distributed through a variety of means including printed publications, internet, postings and direct contact. They help people make informed choices about the water they drink, and let them know what contaminants if any, are in their drinking water or bottled water. CCRs also give the public water system a chance to tell customers what it takes to deliver safe drinking water and how contaminants may affect their health.

Some public water systems may be exempted from certain testing requirements. Also, public drinking water may be allowed under EPA regulations to exceed the MCL’s for certain contaminants under special conditions. Should public water systems exceed an EPA MCL, they must notify their customers of that exceedance. Additionally, public drinking water that exceeds the microbiological standard for coliform and e coli is required to issue a boil water alert to its customers for health and safety purposes. Bottled water may not exceed the MCL for any contaminants under any condition. A recall is required on all affected bottled water product if an MCL is exceeded.

The EPA has a site that provides greater details on Consumer Confidence Reporting. It can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr/basicinformation.html. While the EPA regulates public water supplies as a utility, the FDA regulates bottled water as a food product. Public water systems must meet EPA Drinking Water Standards as established under the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Bottled Water must meet the FDA Bottled Water Regulations and through the SDWA also meet EPA Drinking Water Standards.

 

Understanding Water Quality Terms

Water quality reports use terms that help to define and report on the presence or absence of contaminants, substances or physical parameters. Common to both bottled water and public drinking water are the terms:

MCL: Maximum contaminant level: the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the maximum contaminant level goals as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
MCLG: Maximum contaminant level goal: the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

 

Because typical public drinking water systems treat surface water with best available methods, they may also report in terms such as:

TT: Treatment technique: a required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
AL: Action level: the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
Variances and Exemptions: State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.
MRDLG: Maximum residual disinfection level goal. The level or a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
MRDL: Maximum residual disinfectant level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

CONS of Chlorine in your WATER!

Chlorine introduced into the water supply reacts with other naturally-occurring elements to form toxins called trihalomethanes (THMs), which eventually make their way into our bodies. THMs have been linked to a wide range of human health maladies ranging from asthma and eczema to bladder cancer and heart disease.

In addition, Dr. Peter Montague of the Environmental Research Foundation cites several studies linking moderate to heavy consumption of chlorinated tap water by pregnant women with higher miscarriage and birth defect rates.

A recent report by the non-profit Environmental Working Group concluded that from 1996 though 2001, more than 16 million Americans consumed dangerous amounts of contaminated tap water. The report found that water supplies in and around Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and the Bay Area in California were putting the greatest number of people at risk, although 1,100 other smaller water systems across the country also tested positive for high levels of contaminants.

“Dirty water going into the treatment plant means water contaminated with chlorination byproducts coming out of your tap,” said Jane Houlihan, EWG’s Research Director. “The solution is to clean up our lakes, rivers and streams, not just bombard our water supplies with chlorine.”

Alternatives to Chlorine

Eliminating water pollution and cleaning up our watersheds are not going to happen overnight, but alternatives to chlorination for water treatment do exist. Dr. Montague reports that several European and Canadian cities now disinfect their water supplies with ozone instead of chlorine. Currently, a handful of U.S. cities do the same, most notably Las Vegas, Nevada and Santa Clara, California.

Those of us who live far from Las Vegas or Santa Clara, though, do have other options. First and foremost is filtration at the faucet. Carbon-based filters are considered the most effective at removing THMs and other toxins. The study compares various water filters on the bases of price and effectiveness. The site reports that filters from Filtercon remove most if not all of the chlorine, THMs and other potential contaminates in tap water.