We have a whole house filter that takes out the chlorine and other contaminants, but it can't take out fluoride. We filter our kitchen water faucet through an osmosis contraption for fluoride removal. I don't take supplements, so it is important to eat well in order to replace the minerals lost through osmosis. Also, keep in mind that food and beverage processors may not filter fluoride from their water, which means that high levels of fluoride can concentrate in their products. L. Landes, ZWA http://www.zerowasteamerica.org/Fluoride.htm
Water quality in the United States is not good. Industries reported discharging nearly one billion pounds of toxic chemicals into America's waterways between 1992 and 1996, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The report, Troubled Waters, found that industries discharged an additional 141 million pounds into sewer systems, eventually being released to waterways, over the same five year period. However, according to The Environmental Defense Fund, the situation is more dire. They report that 2 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released by manufacturers each year, with 40% of the rivers in America are unfit for swimming or fishing. Also see: EPA's Toxic Release Inventory & EPA's 1996 State of the Nation's Water Quality.
To make matters worse, the federal government allows the addition of chemicals, such as chlorine and fluoride, into municipal water systems. These chemicals can pose major public health risks. Source: ZWA's Fluoride page & ZWA's Chlorine page. "Ultraviolet light (UV), ozone treatment, and improved filtration can eliminate the use of chlorine and hazardous by-products in water treatment systems. Hundreds of municipalities around the world are already using these alternative disinfection technologies, and several large cities in Europe are relying on those methods to deliver safe, chlorine-free drinking water to their communities. These include Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Nice and Paris, in France and Berlin, Munich and Muenster in Germany. Chlorine-free alternatives that use oxygen, ozone, UV, ionic treatment and other methods are available to disinfect swimming pools, as well," says Greenpeace.
On or before October 19, 1999 - and by July 1 in future years - residential water consumers who do not have their own private well are to receive annual reports on their drinking water. Officially called "Consumer Confidence Reports" (CCRs) these drinking water Right-to-Know (RTK) documents are to communicate basics about communities' drinking water: where it comes from, what's in it, potential health effects and likely origins of contaminants detected through testing. Source: EPA. Although the EPA tests for 83 contaminants, it is not a comprehensive testing of all threats to water quality. See "Test Your Water" below.
Some water delivery systems continue to use PVC (polyvinyl chloride plastic pipe) despite concerns about harmful health effects. "Of all the plastics, PVC plastic or vinyl can be considered the most problematic. Because PVC on its own is almost useless as a plastic, numerous additives are used to make a wide variety of products. Some of these additives are plasticizers to make it soft and pliable, heavy metals as stabilizers or to give it color, and fungicides to stop fungi from eating the other additives. So the production of PVC also creates a huge secondary toxic manufacturing industry," says Greenpeace. Stainless steel is, perhaps, the most desirable drinking water pipe material. Steel is used in parts of Europe and Japan.
Bottled water presents its own set of hazards. In 1998, The EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) announced that they are "moving toward" launching a screening program that will evaluate health and environmental effects of endocrine-disrupting synthetic chemicals used in thousands of common products, including plastics. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been found to leach from plastic, causing a rampant proliferation of breast cancer cells. See: ZWA's Plastics and Breast Cancer.
In addition, protections for bottled water are not the same as those for tap water: 1) The new drinking water Right to Know regulations will not apply to bottled water. 2) The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) bottled water standards are weaker than those for public water systems. 3) 60-70% of the bottled water sold (including much carbonated and all seltzer water) is totally exempt from the FDA's weaker standards. Source: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). CleanWater Action supports U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-NJ) proposed "Bottled Water Safety and Right To Know Act," (S 790) which calls for bottled water standards that are as protective as the current tap water standards. The bill would also entitle bottled water consumers to receive the same kinds of Right to Know information on bottled water sources and contaminant test results that are to be provided to tap water consumers. See below for more information.
History has proven that the public cannot not solely rely on federal, state, county, and local authorities to protect water quality. ZWA strongly recommends that consumers periodically test their drinking water, plus any water bodies on your property. Contact your state government for a list of state certified labs - http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/faq/sco.html.
If a public agency is involved in testing a contaminated site or a suspicious site in your community, ask for a "split sample" to be taken. This requires public officials to use an additional laboratory. Split samples enhance the integrity of the investigation. Public officials should not allow property owners who want to sell or develop their property to control the testing process, although owners may be held liable for the costs of testing.
NOTE: To obtain a chart for the monitoring/testing frequency schedule, call - Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. As a last resort, call EPA at (202) 260-4275.
Note: To test for chlorine, use an ordinary pool test kit.
Water Issues,Technologies, and Remediation
News Link: Water Online
NOTE: A whole house purifier will reduce contaminants, such as chlorine, so that you don't inhale them or absorb them through your skin - as well as not drink them. Some of water treatment companies are listed below. To locate companies that sell water treatment products and services, Search the Internet for "chlorine removal," "water treatment," etc.
For water filters, or water purification dealers, products, and information, check:
If you buy bottled water, be sure that it is...
DISTILLED WATER - Many people recommend distilled water. However, distilled water may draw harmful chemicals out of its container, so be sure the container is glass or stainless steel - not plastic. Although some health professionals believe that distilled water does not have the minerals necessary for good health and recommend taking mineral supplements, others point out that mineral supplements should be taken regardless of the purification process.
Chlorine: ZWA's CHLORINE PAGE
Fluoride Extraction Info & Products:
Composting Toilets and Greywater Systems:
The Groundwater Remediation Technologies Analysis Center (GWRTAC) compiles, analyzes, and disseminates information on innovative groundwater remediation technologies.
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