Tuesday, January 1, 2013

5 Tips For Choosing A Water Filter

We are fortunate to live in a country where water is piped directly to our homes. The days of hauling water from an outside source are over for Americans. However, there is a price we pay for this convenient and somewhat safe system. Somewhat safe because we make a trade - our water is disinfected and much disease is prevented, but what we disinfect with has its own dangers.

Chlorine is universally used to chemically disinfect water. It kills germs, bacteria and other living organisms. Chlorine readily passes through the cell wall and attaches to the fatty acids of the cell, disrupting the life sustaining functions. Chlorine doesn't distinguish between a bacteria cell in the water or pipe and a human cell in your body. We know chlorine kills, that's why we use it; that it doesn't stop killing cells just because it enters our body is an important piece of information.

Chlorine also transforms into some very dangerous carcinogenic substances, like, trihalomethanes. These form when the chlorine interacts with organic material in the water that is being disinfected. Nearly all municipal water sources have been tested and shown to have trihalomethanes. The removal of these is recommended before drinking, washing or bathing in water.

One half of our daily chlorine (and trihalomethane) exposure is from showering. Chlorine is not only absorbed through the skin, but also re-vaporized in the shower, inhaled into the lungs, and transferred directly into the blood system. In fact, the chlorine exposure from one shower is equal to an entire day's amount of drinking the same water, according to some estimates. Add to this the fact that vaporized chlorine forms toxic compounds, such as chloroform that remains in the air in your home long after the shower is over.

"Almost two decades have passed since known or suspected human carcinogens were first found in municipal water supplies. One of them, chloroform, produced by the chlorination process, exposes millions of Americans. The potential for a major public health problem is unquestionably there, and yet, progress has been slow." 
-Dr. Peter Isacson, M.D., Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine.

Families with young children, people with compromised immune function and the elderly are particularly at risk when exposed to toxic chemicals. 

There are many point-of-use filtration devices which reliably remove harmful substances from household tap water. The EPA has a pamphlet available online and further information can be found at the National Resource Defense Council's website.

The ability to control your family's water quality is priceless, but the cost of the tools to do the job doesn't have to be astronomical.

Use these 5 Tips For Choosing A Water Filter
  • Research a variety of providers and technologies. 
  • Make sure the system doesn't waste water while cleaning it. 
  • Make sure the filtration system doesn't strip the water of all minerals and energy. 
  • Choose a system that provides water of the proper pH for the body. 
  • Confirm the manufacturer's claims with the Water Quality Association and the National Sanitation Foundation.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than 
thinking that a little won't matter.

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