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I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Mindful Monday: What's in Your Water?

Healthy Crumb: Mindful Monday

What’s in Your Water?

Did you know, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), testing  done by water utilities found there to be 315 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink daily. If that is not bad enough more than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can be legally present in any amount in our tap water. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001. Because it has not, the EWG launched a 3-year project to create the largest drinking water quality database in existence. It contains 48,000 communities in 45 states and the District of Columbia. 
I was curious how my water stacked up. I live in a dry cabin, in Fairbanks, Alaska, meaning I don’t have running water. I was disappointed to find the company we haul our water from was not listed as being tested by the EWG. However, I was still curious to see how the town of Fairbanks local water utility stacked up as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Here are my findings. 
First up, Golden Heart Utilities: Fairbanks, Alaska: 13 different contaminates were detected. 8 chemicals exceeded health guidelines while no chemicals where over the legal limit. The chemicals found included, Barium (Industrial Pollutants), Chromium (Industrial Pollutant), Bromochloromethane (Industrial Pollutant), Dibromoacetic Acid, Bromochloroacetic Acid, Arsenic (which is an agricultural, industrial, sprawl and urban pollutant by pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms, road runoff, lawn pesticides, and human waste.) Dicholoracetic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid, Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), (the last six are all from water treatment and distribution byproducts, i.e.: pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts) and Benzene (Industrial Pollutant, sprawl and urban pollutant). The EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tap-water for both Bromochloromethane, and Bromochloroacetic acid. They also had one EPA violation in monitoring.
Next up, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska: 16 different contaminants were found, 10 chemicals were over the health guidelines and 3 chemicals where over the health standard LEGAL limits. The chemicals found where, Trihalomethanes, chloroform, arsenic (these first three being the ones over the legal limit), bromodichloromethane, haloacetic acids (HAAs), dubrinicgkirinetgabem dichloroacetic acid, benzene, trichloroacetic acid, bromoform, monochloroacetic acid, nitrate, monbromoacetic acid, dichlorobenzene, dibromoacetic acid and xylenes. They also had 9 EPA violations, 5 in MCL and treatment, 2 in reporting and 2 in monitoring. 
Was I happy with what I found? No, not really. At first I thought well, these two sources don’t really affect me since we get our water from another source. But the more I thought about it the more I started to consider different scenarios. For example, I don’t usually drink water from the tap while I am out and about in the town of Fairbanks at drinking fountains etc. but, I do order water an awful lot when I go to restaurants and if they are using tap water, well, I guess now I know what I’m drinking! Also, I use the gym at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to both work-out at and shower (since I live in a dry cabin), so I both drink and bathe with the water provided from them. I wonder how much I am ingesting by showering, it's been found that 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream, that must count for water too, right?  No, now that I think about it, I am not happy at ALL!

So what can we do? There are a few things we can all do to help minimize our exposure to these chemicals through our water. One easy way is to use a water filter in our homes. There are many kinds, from ones that fasten right to the sink facet, to a filtered pitcher you keep in your fridge, to a newer refrigerator with a filtered water dispenser built right in. Choose a filter that is certified to remove contaminants found in your water. To find the best filters go to  www.ewg.org/tap-water/getwaterfilter. There are many different kinds of filters but the most common type of filter is a carbon filter (pitcher or sink mounted). Carbon filters are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants, like lead and byproducts of the disinfection process used to treat municipal tap water. You can also choose a whole house filter, which filters water as it enters the house for a wide range of uses including, tooth-brushing, showering, and other uses missed by just a standard kitchen filter. Whichever filter you choose make sure you change your filter on time. Old filters aren’t safe, they can harbor bacteria and let contaminants through. 

When you are on the go, carry stainless steel or other BPA-free bottles. Don’t reuse bottled water bottles. The plastic can harbor bacteria and break down to release plastics chemicals. Hard plastic bottles (#7 plastic) can leach a harmful plastics chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) into water.

A note on bottled water, you can read the bottle label, but you still won’t know if the water is pure and natural, or just processed, polluted, packaged tap water. EWG found 38 contaminants in 10 popular brands. Many popular brands are nothing more than bottled tap water, tainted with the same pollutants.  The huge growth of the bottled water market has increased the nation’s solid waste stream with vast amounts of plastic, causing phenomenon's like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, if you haven't heard of it, please read about it in my previous blog post here, everyone needs to be aware of what is happening in our oceans!
So now are you curious to find out what’s in your water?
Go to www.ewg.org/tap-water/whats-in-yourwater to find out how your local water stacks up.




4 comments:

  1. I never thought I would be afraid of water, but now I am.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm buying a water ionizer. I have been thinking about it and this does it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Isn't it an eye opener finding out something that should be so pure, such as water, has so many horrible things in it!

    ReplyDelete

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