This site was created to provide information about one thing.
Let's start by defining healthy pure water.
When scientists talk about pure water, they might be referring to decontaminated, distilled or deionized…a liquid that is nothing but H2O. The presence of anything other than H2O could change the results of their experiments.
But, distilled and deionized water lack healthy minerals. All naturally occurring water contains at least a trace of dissolved minerals. We need dietary minerals for many reasons, building bones for example. The traces of minerals found in water also perform another important function. In the blood and inside the cells of the body, they help to maintain homeostasis . . . water balance.
The mineral traces are sometimes referred to as electrolytes. They are needed to transmit the electric signals that tell our cells what to do. For example, the electric signals that keep the heart pumping and normalize the heartbeat are conducted by electrolytes.
Sometimes scientists and certain industries want water that will not conduct an electric current. For those purposes, they choose deionized.
The pH level might also be important in an experiment or an industrial setting. The pH level of distilled and deionized water is almost neutral initially. When exposed to air, the water absorbs carbon dioxide causing the pH level to decline to as low as 4.5, which is acidic.
Scientists must be very careful when it comes to storage to maintain the neutral pH necessary for some of their experiments. If they were studying cellular activity for instance, the more acidic pH could kill the cells.
Naturally occurring water has a pH level between 6.5 and 8.5. A pH between 6.5 and 7.5 (closer to neutral) seems to be perfect for drinking purposes.
For some experiments, water with a higher alkaline content might be needed. In order to increase the alkalinity, scientists could use an ionizer. An ionizer gives an electric charge to minerals naturally present in the water, increasing the pH level.
Ionizers are being sold for home use with the claim that drinking alkaline water is healthier. There is no scientific evidence to support those claims. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. There have been reports of alkaline water causing acid reflux and other digestive complaints.
The claims insinuate that drinking water with a higher pH level could change the pH of the blood and help fight or prevent cancer. Proponents say that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment.
As I mentioned above, cells cannot live in an acidic environment either. Increasing the alkalinity of the blood (if that were possible) would kill healthy cells along with the cancer cells. One of the obstacles that make treating cancer difficult is that practically anything that kills cancer cells will also kill healthy cells.
Blood pH is maintained in a tight range between 7.35 and 7.45. Anything higher or lower would indicate a serious health problem. According to doctors and chemists, it is not possible to change the pH of your blood by drinking or eating something.
It is possible that the things we eat and drink increase our risk of cancer. That's where contaminants come in. Remember that healthy pure water is free of hazardous contaminants. When it comes to cancer-causing contaminants, your tap water may be full of them.
Things like benzene and the pesticide lindane are known to cause cancer. Traces of those contaminants are often found in public water supplies.
About 10 years ago, high levels of cancer-causing benzene were found in a brand of expensive bottled mineral water, Perrier. It was pure luck that led to the discovery of the contamination and the eventual recall of millions of bottles of water. Apparently, the company does not regularly test for contaminants.
High levels of lindane, as well as other pesticides and herbicides, have been found in tap water samples taken from homes in the Corn Belt and other agricultural areas of the US. The treatment facilities are not required to test for the contaminants, report about them or take any action to remove them when they are found.
It is totally up to the consumer to find out what contaminants are present in their tap water and take steps to protect their family's health.
THMs or trihalomethanes are known carcinogens. Exposure to the amount normally found in tap water has been shown to cause a significantly higher risk of certain kinds of cancer. The risk of bladder cancer for example is over40% higher among people who are exposed to THMs.
Treatment facilities are required to test for THM levels and report the level found in a document called the Consumer Confidence Report. The report is meant to inspire confidence in tap water. Reading the report often sends consumers running to the store to buy bottled water.
Scientists have determined that the tests performed by the treatment facilities are inaccurate, because the water is cold. There are more THMs in hot water. The amount present in the air during a hot shower is very high.
One study showed that the amount of cancer-causing THMs in the bloodstream was higher after taking a 5 minute shower than after drinking a whole liter of tap water.
The chemicals enter the bloodstream through inhalation and they are absorbed through the skin. There is actually less risk from consumption, because the digestive processes and the liver help to keep them out of the bloodstream. That should explain why trusted doctors are recommending showerhead filters to remove THMs and other chemicals.
THMs are in our water because of chlorine and other disinfection methods, which are necessary to protect the public from germs. Without adequate disinfection, there are outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne illnesses. Thousands of people die in countries where there is a lack of adequate disinfection.
It is not possible for treatment facilities to remove THMs. The filtration must be done at the point of use…in the home.
Chlorine is not particularly dangerous, but it tastes bad and smells bad. Granular carbon and/or a solid carbon block can be used to trap chlorine.
Chlorine also damages and degrades pipelines. It is because of chlorine that the lead content of tap water is high in many cities of the US.
Chlorine is a corrosive. It breaks down the lead-based solder commonly used to connect older pipelines. The lead gets in the water.
Any processes used at a treatment facility to reduce lead would be of no benefit to the individual homeowner. The problem is in the pipes that lead to the house.
Water run through a reverse osmosis system lacks healthy minerals, but it still contains chlorine and other chemicals.
Luckily, there is a purification step called ion exchange. It traps lead and other metallic ions, exchanging them for ions of sodium and potassium, healthy mineral electrolytes. The best home purifiers include the ion exchange step.
Ion exchange, alone, cannot provide effective purification. That's why the best home purifiers include additional steps (like granular carbon) to remove chemical contaminants.
Last but not least on the list of contaminants to be concerned about is the cyst. A cyst or oocyst is a parasite in an early stage of development.
According to the EPA, cysts may be present in tap water or bottled water. The parasites are resistant to all public disinfection methods.
Consuming them causes an illness similar to food poisoning. The illness is not particularly dangerous to healthy adults, but it can kill children, elderly people and people with a weak immune system.
Public water supplies are not routinely tested for cysts. You have to assume that cysts are present.
The EPA recommends that at-risk individuals only use filtered water for drinking, washing produce and brushing teeth.
Only purifiers certified to filter down to 1 micron are effective for removing cysts. When you are shopping for a home purifier, remember these things.
In order to find out what contaminants a purifier will remove and to what extent, you can look for the company's certified Product Performance Data.
The company with the most certifications, the best product performance data and the highest consistent ratings from independent consumer groups is
Aquasana manufactures drinking water filters, showerhead filters and whole house units. They are among the most affordable purifiers on the market, even though they are among the most effective.
They are affordable, because the manufacturer sells directly to consumers. There is no mark-up. Some of the more expensive purifiers are actually manufactured by Aquasana and sold with a proprietary label at a higher price.
They are effective, because they include all of the necessary steps to remove contaminants without removing any naturally occurring minerals.
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