Archive for February, 2012

Bottled Water Industry Exposed

Filed Under Category Health, Water by Annie Barbour

Have you ever drunk bottled water? If you’re like most Americans or Canadians, of course you have. Bottled water is a healthy alternative to soft drinks, and has been marketed in a way that suggests it’s also safer and more pure than tap water. As stated in the previous post, that’s simply not the case. Bottled water is less regulated, unsustainable, and expensive and consumes a great deal of precious natural resources. Thanks in part to truthful, informative media coverage like “The Story of Bottled Water,” the public’s positive attitude about the once beloved beverage has rapidly decreased. Watch this telling clip about the full life cycle of a one-time-use plastic water bottle, from production to consumption.

To recap, bottled water is wasteful and unnecessary, to say the least. It depletes the oil supply, requires more water to produce the bottle than goes into it, can contain illness-causing contaminants, and unless the plastic bottle is recycled pollutes the earth with each bottle consumed. An alternative exists, and it’s good for you, your wallet and the planet: use a refillable, reusable water bottle. If you’re not happy with the taste of your tap water, consider filtering your water for a pure, clean glass of water.

So, after knowing the facts, why would you buy and drink from the plastic bottle?

You Have a Right to Know

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Annie Barbour

Lead, arsenic and unpronounceable words like Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”) aren’t your everyday vocabulary words. We understand that. However, these specific words are important in determining everyday health for you, your family and your neighborhood.  Water is an incredible ingredient for your well-being, and the quality can and should be guaranteed. Today, community water systems ensure drinking water quality through compliance with primary standards for approximately 90 contaminants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with setting the standards and regulating the levels of contaminants and indicators in drinking water. What may be surprising is these public drinking water standards have only been in place since 1974 when the Safe Drinking Water Act became law.

Drinking water, as well as bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants doesn’t necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk.[1] Annual drinking water reports, also known as Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), are provided each year by water utilities, detailing local water quality to customers. The EPA requires community water systems to supply these reports by July 1st each year to the people it serves including home-owners, apartment building landlords and mobile home park residents.

CCRs are required to include several key points about the water it delivers. What source does the water come from? What are the contaminant levels in the local water as compared to the EPA maximum contaminant level (MCLs)?  What is the probable cause of the delineated contaminants? If contaminants exceed the maximum level, what are the potential health effects? The community water system must also provide a plan of action to bring the contamination level below the MCL. The dangers of lead, nitrates, arsenic and illness-causing Cryptosporidium are also entailed in the report.

Each summer, a report is distributed to community members via newspaper, direct mail and/or the Internet. Some reports are also available for download from the EPA’s website.  If a contaminant does surpass the maximum EPA level, consider having your drinking water tested. In addition to the yearly report, pay attention to changes in the color, odor and taste of your water. Changes in these characteristics can indicate that something is not right in your water; a home water-quality test will inform you of specific contamination concentration levels such as lead, iron and coliform bacteria. With this information, if a contaminant, such as lead, exceeds the MCL, consider installing a home water treatment system like the Zuvo Water Filtration System to reduce the concentration to below the MCL.

The United States government amended the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1999 to include the vital, public information the CCR provides. Take advantage of it. Check your water quality. If necessary, improve your water quality with a home water filtration system.

Have you read your annual Consumer Confidence Report provided by your local water utility? Do any contaminants in your drinking water exceed the MCL? If so, what have you done to mitigate the risk?

[1]EPA Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants

Is Eight Glasses of Water Still the Magic Number?

Filed Under Category Health, Water by Annie Barbour

There’s no use denying that we’re biased. So okay, we admit it. We love water, and our bodies need it!

We feel better when we regularly drink it, and are more alert and more active.  There’s a good reason for this since our body is made up of 60 percent water. More than that, the majority of our vital organs are made up of water:

  • • 90% of lungs
  • • 83% of blood
  • • 80% of brain
  • • 75% of muscles

We need H20 because we’re made of it, and because our bodies naturally lose a great deal everyday. To be more precise, about 1.5 liters of water is lost daily through urination for the average adult, and another liter through the combination of breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Because of this, replacement of the body’s liquids is vital.  So, how much water is enough?

According to recent studies, the old magical rule of 8 glasses per day is considered outdated and inaccurate. The new rule of thumb varies, but the Institute of Medicine recommends 91 ounces (2.7 liters) and 125 ounces (3.7 liters) of total water a day for women and men, respectively. But before you get overwhelmed by this number, it’s important to note that 20% of your daily fluid intake comes from food, and the remaining 80% comes from water and any other beverage you consume throughout the day. This equates to just over 9 and 12.5, 8-ounce servings of water and other beverages per day for women and men, respectively, making the recommended amount less daunting, right?

Still, drinking water enables the body to function optimally. This calorie-free beverage helps suppress your appetite, which is very helpful when trying to lose weight. Staying hydrated provides you with energy and healthy skin, and also cures digestive problems and cleanses the body of toxins. After a six-year study, researchers found that drinking more than 5 glasses of water a day reduces the likelihood of dying from a heart attack by 41% compared to people who drink less than 2 glasses. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches, so try drinking a glass of water before reaching for the aspirin.

To feel your best and stay hydrated, try bringing a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. It’s a good reminder to continue drinking the good stuff throughout the day, instead of reaching for the convenient, less healthy, and less sustainable alternatives like bottled water and carbonated beverages.  If for some reason you’re not keen on the taste of water, try adding a slice of lemon so you can enjoy the incredible effects this natural beverage has.  To your health!