We talk about food a lot but let’s talk about water shall we… It’s something that is often overlooked. We know we need it and a lot of it, but what about water quality? It may be affecting us more than we realize.
First let’s start with our Municipal water supplies. Two of the chemicals that are added to municipal water supplies are chlorine and fluoride. Chlorine has been added to kill bacteria in the food supply. Fluoride has been added mostly to reduce tooth decay. Let’s start by talking about the flouride.
I grew up being told that we need fluoride and that it’s good for our teeth and a cavity fighter. This seemed to be popular opinion by everyone and since dentists were preaching this information, why wouldn’t we believe it? It’s only been fairly recently that we have started to discover that fluoride is not the beneficial substance that we were lead to believe it is. Within the past couple of years, there were some previously classified government documents that were released (from WWII) that revealed that the scientists, who first asserted that fluoride was both good for us, and a good cavity fighter, and that was harmless to human health, were actually associated with the bomb-making Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during WWII. These scientists found themselves with a very large stockpile of toxic fluoride, which was an unwanted byproduct of manufacturing the weapons-grade plutonium and uranium that they produced. At the time, this chemical was getting into the atmosphere and causing a lot of damage to livestock, crops, and individuals in nearby communities as well as to the workers.
These bomb program scientists, who asserted that fluoride is safe for humans in small doses, had actually been secretly ordered to provide “evidence useful in litigation” against defense contractors for fluoride injury to citizens. Researchers who have reviewed these declassified documents fear that Cold War national security considerations may have prevented objective scientific evaluation of vital public health questions concerning fluoride. So what did they do? They found a convenient disposal option, which is the nation’s municipal water supply. It allowed the nuclear scientists to avoid hazardous waste storage problems similar to other industry and nuclear power waste.
People that back fluoride give it a really high level of endorsement. A lot of professional groups back it. Some are a little bit ambiguous. The American Medical Association which is a very respected authority has somewhat of a murky official position on it. The AMA endorses fluoride application in general, but admits that it has not carried out any research on the subject. They released a statement quote that says that the AMA is not prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by water fluoridation.
The book The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson goes into this subject in way more detail. It’s scary to discover what we were raised to believe is good for us may actually be harming us. Unfortunately, this is the case with much of the foods we eat as well.
Now on to chlorine. Chlorine reacts with other organic materials and creates chloroform. It also creates trihalomethanes, or THMs, and other products called PBCs, that are strongly linked with cancer!
Get yourself a filter! About 2/3 of the nations municipal water has added fluoride in it and almost all use some type of chlorine-based process. A good filter will pull out about 99% of the chemicals in the water. It’s also a smart idea to place a filter on your shower heads as well since your skin is your largest organ through which those same chemicals can enter. Many restaurants will filter their water as well but not all, so ask.
And before you decide that bottled water is the only way to go, buyer beware! Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, which has a poor record of protecting consumer health and safety. So here are some things to note:
- About 50% of bottled water comes from municipal water supplies. So basically, you’re just paying for the packaging.
- Many plastic water bottles contain chemicals called phthalates, which can leach into bottled water. Phthalates are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, which can lead to abnormal sexual development, male infertility, premature breast development, cancer, and miscarriages. The bottled water companies successfully opposed the FDA’s proposal to regulate phthalates in the bottled water industry.
- U.S. FDA regulations allow for some contamination of fecal material and E. coli in bottled water. Additionally, there are no requirements for bottled water to be tested for parasites or disinfectants. Bottled water companies are also not required to notify their customers if elevated levels of contaminants are found.
- The production of plastic water bottles in the U.S. alone creates 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
- Making a plastic bottle uses twice as much water as fits inside the bottle.
- Americans empty 2.5 million plastic water bottles an hour. Each one takes 500 million years to decompose. Less than 25% of water bottles are recycled.
Never is my intention to scare, only to inform. When we are informed, we can make better decisions. And the decisions we make, can and will in turn change the foods (and water) that are available to us, for the better. We use filters in our house on the sink and on the shower heads. I also have my own water bottles that I fill up from home and take with me. At least this way I know what I’m drinking!