Chemicals in water

Chemicals in water

Chemicals in the Water Supply-Are You Adding to the Problem?

water supply

It is a proven fact and not a mere conspiracy, that public water supplies in much of the so-called civilised world are full of harmful chemicals and pollutants.

That first sentence should not be news to anyone involved in natural health who has the remotest scrap of awareness. Yet for those who are new to the field, perhaps this is something you’ve not looked into, until now.

The purpose of this article is no so much to focus on the many dangers of more well known pollutants in our water supplies, such as chlorine and fluoride. Instead we’re concentrating on the lesser known chemicals and pharmaceutical products which make their ways into our drinking water…often through our very own actions, not just the actions of government authorities.

It’s not possible to cover the entire range of subject material that such a discussion brings up, so take the initiative yourself and research all the subjects and questions this article offers you, if you wish to learn more. As always, when you venture into one rabbit hole, you’ll find several more within it waiting to be explored.

Public Water: What’s really on the Menu?
A brief recap:
In many parts of the world, chlorine (that’s right, the deadly chemical) is used to clean water supplies of harmful bacteria and water borne pathogens. This is despite other methods being available which are much less harmful to human health. The remnants of this chlorine make their way into our tap water. Have a sniff of your bath water, its chlorine content may just give your nasal passages a hint of your local public swimming pool.

Fluoride (a highly toxic industrial byproduct) which is also in most toothpastes, is being added to water supplies by an increasing number of local and national authorities, under the erroneous notion that it brings about a tangible improvement in the health of the nation’s teeth, without any side effects.

Firstly, the fluoridation of public water supplies is a form of mass medication which, under EU law, is illegal without the consent of the individual. Secondly, fluoride is not only terrible for human health, it is also only effective at improving dental health when applied on the surface of teeth. Therefore the drinking of fluoride is about as effective as drinking shampoo and hoping for better hair. Weigh up the pros and cons, you can get healthy teeth using natural toothpastes and eating properly prepared healthy food, which contributes to healthy teeth, or you can rely on the current fluoride frenzy, and be the whitest toothed corpse in the cemetery.

What Else is in the Water: Pills, Creams, Lotions and Potions
Are You Adding to the Problem?
What many have yet to realise is that everything you throw down the kitchen sink, down your bathroom plughole, and even down your toilet (yuk!) can find it’s way into the water supply.

“Surely not!” I hear you shout.

Oh yes, the plughole is not a magic portal to oblivion. What you put down that plughole has to go somewhere.

When unused medications go down the pipes, (or even used medications which have already been through your body and end up in the toilet), they aren’t all ‘specially treated’ and magically vaporised by some jolly looking folk merrily working away in your favour at the local water treatment establishment.

Due to the shear variety of chemicals, ranging from prescription medications, contraceptive pills, painkillers and hormones, to industrial and household cleaning products, bleaches, soaps, shampoos and moisturisers, the water treatment methods currently in use are overwhelmed and simply not capable of filtering out the ever increasing chemical soup. Hence, there is a vast amount of chemicals recorded floating around in our waterways and oceans.

So if you see smooth skinned male marine life with breasts, zombified eyes, and full-bodied, shiny , silky hair, you know what’s happened.

In fact, the Simpsons cartoon, sometimes illustrates a three-eyed fish, living near the nuclear plant where Homer Simpson works. Well, that joke may not be all too far from the truth.

This is all backed up with valid science, for example: Medications in rivers and oceans have already caused male fish to start turning female! In the USA, 80% of male Bass fish examined in one river, had started producing eggs like female fish. Check out the studies for yourself, many are online for all to see.

Let the Drink Prozac!
Unfortunately for the human population, the pollution we create does not just end up harming innocent wildlife, as if that wasn’t already bad enough.

Wastewater in the UK and other countries such as the USA, is …wait for it…recycled and treated so that it can be reused. Nice.

However, water purification methods do not remove the entire Pandora’s box of drug and chemical substances. Thus, when you drink tap water, you guessed it, you’re drinking much of those chemicals right back up, albeit in small quantities.

In 2004 the UK Environment Agency stated that Prozac was detectable in Britain’s drinking water! This is just the tip of the chemical iceberg, because a whole variety-pack of sinister substances lurk in what may appear to at first be plain old tap water.

Many drug manufacturers have relocated their production facilities to third world countries because it is so much cheaper. However, the environmental impact on the poor communities living nearby these factories is substantial enough to cause measurable damage to humans and the environment alike.

An associate professor at Gothenburg University, Joakim Larsson, has spent several years analysing river water in central India, where numerous pharmaceutical production facilities s are located.

Professor Larsson published a report in the February 2009 edition of the journal Nature. This report revealed that the drug manufacturing facilities discharged around 45KG of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin into nearby rivers, in just 24 hours!

Some poor communities have little option but to obtain their water from these very same contaminated rivers and streams, thus creating all manner of health problems.

Similar issues have arisen in China where Chinese scientists discovered that emissions from one particular factory, manufacturing contraceptive pills, was releasing 10 times the amount of oestrogen into local rivers that it takes to cause fish populations to collapse.

Evidently, this issue is a worldwide problem and a problem whose long-term effects are not yet fully understood. However, what we do know is that such water contamination definitely contributes to the already excessive chemical burden on the human population and the environment, which in turn contributes to the rising levels of chronic diseases and environmental damage spreading across the world. Plus, the exposure of water borne pathogens (germs, viruses etc) to antibiotics, allows pathogens to ‘figure out’ ways to adapt and mutate in order to survive, thus becoming drug-resistant bacteria, often called ‘Superbugs’, which are already a growing problem worldwide, and is exacerbated by personal overuse of medications.

What Can You Do?

Buy a Water Filter
In terms of avoiding chemical nasties in your water, unless you are blessed enough to have access to a fresh, clean, underground water well, like my aunt in Florida (how cool is that!) then you should invest in a good water filter, if you haven’t done so already. At the very least, this will protect you from some common contaminants such as chlorine and various metals.

You also need a filter for the water you bath/shower in. Remember that one bath/shower in unfiltered water is equivalent to a whole day of drinking unfiltered water. This is because your skin absorbs the chemicals present in the water you bathe in.

Filters are not all expensive and range from the basic table top filter jugs such as the widely available Brita filters and other similar brands, which primarily filter out chlorine, pesticides, heavy metals (meaning heavy metals from water pipes, not the musical kind), and other pollutants. Or you can go further and buy a more expensive water filter unit which resembles the kind of water dispenser you might find in many offices. These filters are more expensive but filter out a greater number of harmful substances.

Then of course, there are simple under-the sink filters, which are easily fitted beneath your kitchen sink, thus negating the relatively time consuming activity of filling up a jug and waiting for the water to filter through.

One other option is to purchase a whole house filtration system, which filters all the water coming into your house. This is more of an investment, but still, for an average family home, it is affordable.

Each of these filters come in a variety of descriptions (carbon filters, reverse osmosis etc) and generally, the more expensive and comprehensive filters and whole house systems filter out a lot more than the cheaper table-top jugs. All of these filters discussed, have some capability to filter out many, but not all of the aforementioned chemical contaminants.

Even if you are on a budget, buy a half-decent tabletop filter and a shower filter, which are both easily affordable.

Stop Using Harmful Substances!
Stop taking such a chemical cocktail when you really don’t need to. Then you won’t dump so many pharmaceuticals into the environment. Simple.

As a society we are massively over medicated, often needlessly so. We have been brought up in a pill-popping paradigm, believing that every ailment can be cured with a magic pill.

Despite the fact that in the USA alone, pharmaceuticals kill around 200 000 people a year, (Yes, you read that correctly, it is a statistical fact), the population of the western world still consumes pills and potions at an alarming rate. Yet the death rate from those taking natural supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements in the year 2009 was a big fat zero, according to the U.S National Poison Data System.

There are endless adverts for medications, often with generic cheesily themed storylines depicting grey-looking, sick people, who then take some magic medication, and the sun comes out, the rain stops, the person is happy, their wholesome, smiling family arrive on screen and they dance merrily around the countryside, all because one of them took a headache pill.

Yes, because life is just like that. Or so the marketing people would have us believe.

The population is conditioned into believing pill popping, rather than natural healthy living, is the right way to go about things. For more discussion on this matter, read my article ‘A Pill Popping Paradigm’.

When you turn on the TV in the morning you can watch pharmaceutical marketing campaigns scattered about in almost every commercial break. Then once you turn off your TV, perhaps deciding to read a newspaper on the train to work, there again you’ll see more medications promoted, often on whole-page advertisements. You might put your paper down, but then a big old advert screams at you from the wall of the train…more pharmaceuticals!

Every week it seems an old brand comes out with a re-labelled ‘groundbreaking’ new version of the same medication. No longer simply a headache pill, but a super strength, instant acting, extra-strong version. As is usually the case with mainstream western medicine, only the symptoms and not the cause are treated, and people begin using medications as a crutch to get them through each day. It makes you wonder how our ancestors survived the harsh conditions of everyday life without a pill for every real and imagined ache and pain.

With the obvious exception of some life saving medications, most of us can limit or completely stop consuming pharmaceuticals…if we start looking after ourselves properly.

There are many natural alternative remedies and preventive measures for things like headaches, muscular aches and pains, minor ailments and just about any other condition. This is a subject deep enough for another article, so my suggestion would be…you guessed it… do your research.

Pharmaceuticals are rarely the ideal, or safest, option for your daily life and you should do your best to wean yourself off of them unless they are 100% essential.

The same basic natural rules apply to your personal care products. Most mainstream brands of soaps, make-up, moisturisers etc, are full of chemicals, which also contribute to water contamination, not to mention the insidious damage they have on your own health.

I’m not trying to be a doom-monger, rather I am simply explaining the facts/ The situation is not all bad, because there are affordable alternatives. So whatever you do, you should not recoil and announce the false yet common line, ‘Well everything makes you sick nowadays…nothing’s really safe.” That, my dear friends, is the gateway to making an excuse not to bother. You don’t want to go down that route. Again, healthy personal care products are yet another area of investigation in their own right, which you should look into if you wish to attain optimal health. Do your research.

Once you have a good basic understanding and put this into practice, you naturally start eating better, exercising, experiencing more positive emotions, and enjoying a better quality of life. Your body becomes less susceptible to illness because you have a much stronger immunity, and even if you do feel under the weather, you are far more aware of how to deal with it without automatically reaching for a chemically laced medicine.

It’s not just about you, but about the millions of people, animals, and areas of the environment around the world that are effected as a result of all of our daily actions.

You might think that one person won’t really make a difference to the amount of harmful substances present in the world’s water supplies, rivers, oceans and eco-systems, but if everyone makes a change, then it certainly does add up.

Choose Organic
What? More pro-organic preaching? Yes, apart from the massive health benefits (see my article Organic Food-Why It IS Better-Beyond the B.S), non-organic food is sprayed and grown with chemicals, which pollute nearby water supplies. In addition to this, many fruit and vegetables inevitably end up thrown away as they go past their sell-by date or get left on dinner plates, thus more chemicals enter the environment via that route.

Another reason to choose organic is that non-organic, intensively farmed meats are pumped with antibiotics and other drugs in order to prevent infection and ensure that the animals survive long enough to yield a good supply of meat for their owners to profit from. I say survive, because to say that factory farmed animals live, is stretching the word a bit too far. Nonetheless, waste from factory farms finds its way into the land and water in surrounding areas, and the chemicals and medicines within the meat, creep into the environment and our water supplies through leftover meat, and …yes, digested meat which has been through the human body and down the toilet. Then there is the literally massive environmental impact of factory farming methods in general, which are a huge strain on food and energy resources worldwide.

Cheer Up! The Future Is in Your Hands…So Make it a Good One
As always, true health is achievable for one and all. Despite the many hazards of modern unhealthy lifestyles and societies, we can all live full and healthy lives.

So don’t get paranoid, just start implementing gradual yet consistent steps to optimise your own health and the health of your loved ones. It’s all do-able, however, you must do one thing first, understand the basics yourself, so that you don’t have to take the word of some sensationalist mass media headline as your only source of information, and neither will you need to give responsibility for your health over to a pill-happy doctor with little understanding of natural health and nutrition.

I tell you the truth, but don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

Research, research, research! If you don’t have time, find and make time.

It’s all up to you.

Remember, you can achieve even the seemingly impossible, if you just believe and work at it.

Be happy that you do have control over your own health.

May your efforts be fruitful and may you achieve true optimal health, happiness, longevity and freedom from the shackles of modern unhealthy society.

Have the most awesome day, every day.

Richard Winborn

Sources and References

Drugs on Tap- John Naish, May 2009

Medication Pollution Spreads: Water Supply of 24 U.S. Cities Found Contaminated with Pharmaceuticals. Mike Adams, March 2008 Zero Deaths from Vitamins, Minerals, Amino-Acids or Herbs. Poison Control Statistics Prove Supplement’s Safety Yet Again-Orthomolecular News Service January 5th 2011