Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Whacky Water

This news doesn’t surprise me, but our nation’s drinking water has become an unhealthy, chemical soup.

Not long ago a New York Times report—among others—unveiled unwanted substances in our drinking water. According to the article, more than one-fifth of the nation’s water treatment systems have broken the Safe Drinking Water Act, leading to at least nine million Americans being sickened.

Here are some of the substances the EPA has already found in our drinking water:

• Arsenic:  A pesticide and wood sealant, arsenic can be deadly if ingested at high levels, while intakes of lower levels can put a person at risk for skin, liver, bladder and lung unhealth. More than three million Americans have been exposed to arsenic in their water since 2005.

• Uranium:  Large amounts of uranium can severely and adversely affect kidneys. Three million Americans have also been exposed to illegal amounts of this radioactive substance.

• Radium:  At high levels, radium is carcinogenic and can adversely affect bones, liver and breasts. Radium levels were 2,000 times the legal limit in some areas.

• Tetrachloroethylene:  High exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, unconsciousness—and menstrual problems for women. Drinking water in Ramsey, N.J., for example, has allegedly had illegal concentrations of this substance since 2004.

• Lead:  Lead-tainted water can lead to physical and mental developmental problems for kids and high blood pressure and kidney problems for adults, so you may want to check your water for lead content. The EPA’s threshold for lead is 0.015 parts per million.

• Prescriptions and Personal Care Items:  Prozac, birth control, makeup and shampoo are among the many items that make their way into our water supply, too, causing ecological harm and threatening human health.

Additionally, atrazine, an herbicide widely sprayed on corn fields in Midwestern states such as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Ohio, is said to cause human birth defects. "Atrazine. . . appears to have effects during critical stages of fetal development," said Suzanne Fenton, Ph. D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a former EPA researcher.

Atrazine can also cause reproductive defects in amphibians and fish, including lowered testosterone levels and fertility in male frogs—many of which were chemically castrated or even turned into females following exposure to the chemical. The EPA says a “safe” level for atrazine is 3ppb (parts per billion), but studies say that levels as low as 0.1 ppb can cause developmental and reproductive problems.

You can read more about Dr. Suzanne Fenton’s and other scientists’ findings on atrazine here. Interestingly, atrazine is manufactured by Syngenta, one of the Big Six seed companies with a stranglehold on agriculture and has already been banned in Europe.

You can see why levels of 30 ppb—ten times the “safe” level—had some Illinois residents whose water tested positive for those high amounts of atrazine up in arms.

Can you blame them? Who wants to drink that and these other chemicals?
Not me. I want to drink the purest, healthiest water available—and I bet that you do, too.

If you’re curious about how your drinking water measures up, you can go to the EPA web site and check it out.

In the meantime, be sure to avoid the “whacky” in your water.

Drink the purest, healthiest water available. I do.