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It’s Water Quality Month: WHAT Are YOU Drinking?

“Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams have all been touched by man;
The poison floating out to sea now threatens life on land.

Let’s all help the water; Right away; Do what we can and ought to; Let’s start today”

— Lyrics from “Don’t Go Near the Water” by Mike Love and Al Jardine (The Beach Boys)

 

What is National Water Quality month?

National Water Quality month has the goal of raising awareness for what your household and your community can do to help protect our sources of fresh water. Clean Water Action offers a brief, educational fact sheet on what people can do to help protect our water supplies. Here are some other quick readings on ways to protect water from Natural Choice Water, Green Living Ideas, and the Good Speaks Project.

How important is water quality?

All of our water systems are connected in some way.  Even though we treat our water, wherever it may come from, we should protect it at its initial source. Higher quality water means less contaminants will get into our bodies from a poor water source, and poor water quality tends to affect disadvantaged communities disproportionately. The quality of the water that we consume influences not only us as humans, but the planet itself. Poorer water quality means we are less healthy. The ecosystem — which is mostly made up of water – effects our own health.

Hydration: how much water you need?

Water sustains all life.  Every living thing on this planet depends on water, in some fashion, for its survival.

The human body is no different. We are all made up of around 60% water, serving many different purposes: it is the primary building block of our cells; it helps regulate our internal body temperature; it helps us digest our food for energy; insulates our organs, and is used to flus waste and toxins from our body. Learn more about the chemistry of water here.

How Much? There are several schools of thought on how much water you need to intake per day, depending on several things such as gender, age, weight, etc. The general consensus seems to be an average of about 100 oz. of water a day (just under 1 gallon of water) or half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight, per day.

Are water filters effective?

Putting a water filter in your home is far less damaging to the environment than bottled water.

In their booklet Drinking Water: What Health Care Providers Should Know, the Physicians for Social Responsibility estimate that 900,000 people get sick, and 900 die in the US every year, from contaminated public and private drinking water. However, despite the problems with public water, it is still as safe as bottled water (http://aqualifeusa.com/eng/water_purehype.htm). Most of the public opinion that bottled water is safer is paid for by beverage companies.

Water Filters. The effectiveness of your filter is also determined by the quality of water that comes out of your tap to begin with.  The goal is to purchase a filter that targets the specific types of contaminates in your area. (Call the EPA’s Safe Water Hotline for more information on testing your water, (800) 426 – 4791). Read more here.

Improving or declining in the US?

While the US has one of the safest water supplies in the world, incidents like what occurred in Flint or Charleston, lead one to question how extraneous circumstances could affect our potable water. In 2006, the EPA found that just under 90% (89.3%) of the nation’s water were within their regulations for safety. In a 2009 report, the EPA reported that overall compliance for public water systems is improving

Bottled water? Filtered? Etc.

Bottled water is not safer for the environment, nor for the individual purchasing the water. Tap water is perfectly safe in the United States, but a properly chosen, high quality filter can reduce the number of contaminants in your water further than what is recommended by the EPA. A 2009 study found that up to 44% of bottled water is just tap water, left unfiltered and tainted with the same pollutants. This study found that certain water filters can increase the number of bacteria in water, when compared to tap water. Filters have been improved since then, so the findings may not be relevant anymore.

Soda, coffee, etc, are not substitutes for water. The research seems to show that they are not necessarily good substitutes, but can be considered a fluid for certain purposes. The diuretic effect is negligible compared to getting the extra fluid into your body.

 

 

 

 

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