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It’s a hot summer day, and you just got in from a refreshing run – listening to your favorite song, keeping a steady pace, sweat trickling down the side of your face. You could really use a nice, tall glass of water, so you head over to the kitchen sink and fill up a glass. As you eagerly gulp down every last drop, you probably do not stop to ask yourself what chemicals are used to treat the water. Perhaps, we can persuade you to give it a second thought.
The water we drink is not just water. Treatment plants use a wide variety of chemicals and compounds to medicate, sanitize, and purify our tap water. If you find the amount of pesticides used on the plants often purchased and consumed in the supermarkets distasteful and disturbing, then you will cringe at the chemical realities used in county or city water reserves. We washed out the murk that clouds this deceptive pond, and brought the truth about tap water to the surface for air.
Basics on Water Treatment
The water commonly used for tap water often comes from lakes and rivers, regulated by dams and treated inside of water treatment plants. These water treatment plants often function as the main center for ensuring that the water flowing through your sink tap contains clean, germ-free water fit for human consumption. While we agree that the process of cleansing drinking water is important and highly necessary, we question the techniques and chemicals often used in the process.
For instance, water treatment plants often use a combination of the following:
- boiler water chemicals
- corrosion inhibitors
- neutralizing agents for alkalinity control
- oxygen scavengers
- resin cleaners
- pH conditioners
Bet you did not realize the extensive list of treatments these plants infuse with the tap water that runs from our faucets. Bear in mind that there are numerous examples for each category of water treatment – so this list barely scratches the surface on what goes into a community’s drinking water. We will examine some examples of a few of these functional additives, and take a look at their potential or proven effects on the human body.
First, let us take a look at the chemicals often used as algaecides – the chemicals that kill off or prevent algal growth in tap water. A number of different algaecides exist that perform this function, such as copper sulfate, benzalkonium chloride, and iron salts. Iron salts are necessary to maintain a healthy physical existence and actually help the body in many ways. However, copper sulfate and benzalkonium chloride can have awful repercussions. Somehow, the water treatment plants managed to forget to warn the general public about the potential side effects for each.
Copper sulfate can be helpful – in small, spread-out doses. But when you ingest it on the regular via your tap water, then the long-term exposure your body experiences from it may eventually lead to some serious effects on your health. Some studies linked long-term exposure to this compound to kidney cancer. Another study discovered a potential link to Wilson’s disease – a rare genetic disorder. Wilson’s disease occurs when copper remains in the body, instead of metabolizing out of it in a healthy manner. The results of such include infertility, higher chance of miscarriage, hormonal imbalance, and a lack of function in the testicles.
One shocking ingredient – benzalkonium chloride – is suggested for topical use only on humans, yet is often used to treat the water we drink. An active ingredient often found in antibacterial products like soaps and wipes, it can create stronger sensitivity in multiple kinds of tissue. This chemical also can make infective germs mutate into stronger forms with greater resistance to medications and antibiotics commonly used to combat illnesses. It also contaminates the respiratory, immune, and epidermal systems with toxins and carcinogens that break these systems down over time. Still thirsty?
Anti-foams, or defoamers, lower surface tension on water to lower the potential buildup of foam. Anti-foaming agents can deconstruct foam’s potential to spread and regenerate. This is important because foam can slow down a water plant’s output and cultivate a higher production cost. But what exactly do defoamers contain as main ingredients? And what can they do to our bodies?
Polydimethylsiloxane, a commonly used anti-foaming agent, is also used in many different cosmetic products. Deemed harmless when applied topically, this chemical compound has a silicone base – which has been linked to different variations of cancers and organ failures. When ingested or injected, this compound can have poisonous effects. Additionally, when left on the surface of the skin, polydimethylsiloxane can increase the ability of other molecules to seep into the bloodstream, making it easier for toxins to enter into the body via the epidermis.
Of course, we want water free of potentially infectious microorganisms that pose a potential threat to our immune system and our health. But at what cost? What sorts of chemicals might a county water treatment plant use to ensure that we do not catch an illness from the very thing our bodies require to give us life? What can these treatments do to us?
One of the chemicals used in the water purification process – ozone – creates bromate. Bromate is thought to be a potential carcinogen. Carcinogens can cause cells to mutate or sicken, which can morph into a source for cancerous growth.
Another example – sodium hypochlorite – can affect many different systems and bodily functions when ingested, including respiratory with coughing, circulatory with chest pain and low blood pressure, nervous system with delirium and coma, and digestive with vomiting and abdominal pain.
Chlorine, a commonly used disinfectant, kills diseases that flourish in water. Because of the nature of chlorine, taking a hot shower can prove dangerous as the person showering may inhale or absorb around fifty percent more chlorine than when drinking water from a tap. Chlorine reacts with its by-products in the water, inducing a carcinogenic effect. Many scientists and doctors stand behind the idea that ingesting small amounts of chlorine through drinking water may cause the majority of documented cancers.
The problem does not just lie with what the water treatment plants inject into our water systems. Your water also encounters a number of other contaminates as it travels through your pipes to fill your drinking glass. You may wait with anticipation for that first cold sip, but some other things wait for you in the water.
Over time, your pipes become a predator of poison to the water that flows through them. Some pipes contain lead in their material makeup, and over time that lead can get into the pipe ways that water travels through daily. In 1986, use of lead to produce pipes became illegal. However, many lead pipes still function as main routes for water.
Fluoride, a common contaminant in drinking water, can cause various health problems including dental fluorosis. Fluoride also could potentially have carcinogenic qualities, so a high concentration in the water may have deadly consequences.
Another source of intrusion lies in the runoff from glyphosate, a common chemical compound often used in store-bought pesticides. It often ends up running into the water systems by soaking into the ground, or running into the sewage systems. A study was commissioned to test the level of this chemical in urine samples, discovering that 44% of these urine samples contained traces of glyphosate. Many scientists predict that, with passing time, more and more glyphosate will make its way into the water systems, with links to Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and the potential for cancer growth.
Alternative Actions To Take
75% of the human body is water. Drinking natural spring water, chocked full of healthy minerals, provides your body the liquid nourishment that your body was designed to consume. One option worth exploring is the installation of an in-home water treatment system, such as the Water Doctor. Such water purification systems can remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals that often come through in your tap water. This can improve taste and smell of the water, while also reducing the amount wasted.
Another route, portable water purifies, provide many of the same chemical-free benefits in a smaller form that you can carry with you on vacations or business trips. These self-contained purifiers are compact enough to fit in a backpack or suitcase. Plus, you can get accessories to compliment them and solidify the purification process.
Personally, we recommend the Berkey Filters for at home usage. This company has a 100% satisfaction guaranteed rating. With a full range of different purification systems, Berkey filters can make drinkable water from the tap, well, river, or lake. A highly adaptable system, allows optimal intake of minerals and removal of heavy metals.
The chemicals and treatments mentioned here are only the tip of the ice burg. Many more exist, poised to create insidiously understudied damage to the body. However, there are ways that you can insure that these chemicals do not make it into that tall glass of iced water you drink after a long run around the neighborhood. In order to keep your intakes of potentially toxic chemicals and heavy metals in check, contact your local health department for testing. And do not worry – it should be a free service. They can ensure that toxic materials like fluoride and lead do not have a high concentration.
So, next time you take a run after work or school, and head into the kitchen to quench your thirst – consider reaching for a BPA-free, alkalizing, natural spring, bottled water instead. If you do not already have a water filtration system that is.
Continue to research everything you allow to become a routine in your life. Make sure that what you are putting into your body is wholesome, and full of health. Take the extra steps to stay informed and keep your body clean of foreign chemicals that could potentially harm the body systems that keep you alive and well. Be well and enjoy your natural life on your organic journey to wellness!
- Subchronic 10 Day Immunotoxicity of Polydimethylsiloxane (Silicone) Fluid, Gel, and Elastomer and Polyurethane Disks in Female B6C3F1 Mice
- Water Treatment Chemicals
- Ozone Water Purification: Pros and Cons
- Sodium Hypochlorite Poisoning
- Copper Sulfate – General Fact Sheet
- Ingredient Watch List: Benzalkonium Chlorine, the Potentially Harmful Disinfectant
- Water Doctor
- General Ecology
- Pollutants in Drinking Water
- GMO and Monsanto Roundup: Glyphosate Weedkiller in Our Food and Water
- Chlorine in Water Could Be Linked to Human Cancers