Staying Healthy with Detox

Are There Harmful Toxins in My Water?

drop of water

Hydration is Essential for Good Health – But Is My Water Safe?

shutterstock_338403404Keeping hydrated is an important aspect of being healthy.  Approximately seventy-five percent (75%) of the body mass is composed primarily of water. Hydration maintains the functions of blood circulation, cell reproduction, and nutrition, the digestive tract as well as the elimination of toxins in the body. Without sufficient water in the system, it would be difficult for your colon to properly move your bowels. In turn, your body will retain any harmful toxins that should be flushed out. As the toxins remain longer in the body it is reabsorbed and through circulation, it can harm every organ there is.

Although you may be following the daily recommended water intake, you might still be taking for granted the safety of what you are drinking. Drinking tap water has become the norm, and many deem it to be safe primarily because it is government regulated. However, if you consider the recent studies published with regard to drinking water, you will find out that what you are drinking contains more than 80 contaminants and even more toxins which haven’t been fully tested. Even if you opt for the bottled water, it might still contain unwanted chemicals and minerals that might cause buildup in your body which your system could not flush out.

Tap water contains a host of unhealthy toxins including fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, and other similar components that are harmful not only to the colon but to your overall health.

Fluoride is Added to Many City Water System and This is Not Good

One of the most toxic substances found in water, be it from a tap or bottled source is fluoride. This toxic substance is added deliberately to water with the intention to help prevent tooth decay.  While the benefits for dental health unclear, fluoride has been found to be as poisonous as arsenic and even more poisonous than lead. Exposure to fluoride, especially among infants and children is very dangerous. In can lead to reduction in IQ and other serious health complications.

Fluoridation is performed by adding one of several additives, including:

  • Fluorosilicic acid: a water-based solution used by most water systems in the United States.
  • Sodium fluorosilicate: a dry additive, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.
  • Sodium fluoride.

All of these are toxic to humans and other animals and should not be added to our water.  There are many reasons to avoid fluoride – the least of which is that it is being forced on all of us at uncontrolled doses.  The Fluoride Action Network is a great source of information about fluoride in water.

There Are Many Other Contaminants in Our Water

These additives are produced from phosphorite rock, that can also containing varying levels of arsenic.  Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal considered as Category I carcinogen by the International Academy for Research on Cancer. Fluorinated water is widespread in the water supply, be it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing and bathing. This means that every time you consume fluoridated water, you are also increasing your risk of disease from the arsenic that it contains. Arsenic exposure among children can cause problems in brain, endocrine, and immune system development.

Another chemical that is deliberately added to water is chlorine because of its bacteria-eliminating capabilities. Even with topical exposure to chlorine, it already has adverse effects on your body, so what more when you are consuming it? Once chlorine enters the body, it creates bonds with other chemicals. Its byproducts result in the production of free radicals which can lead to cellular damage.

water in stream

Water contains a host of heavy metals, some which are beneficial to the body, such as magnesium and selenium. However, tap water also has sufficient levels of lead and aluminum which is highly toxic for the body. Both of the latter heavy metals are harmful to the internal organs, to the brains and the bones. High level of aluminum buildup is also associated with the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. As for lead, there has been no study supporting that there is a safe level for it. Other heavy metals that are present in water and have the same effect with these two are cadmium, mercury, and silver.

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), or more accurately perfluoroalkyls, are man-made compounds used in the manufacture of stain, oil and many other water-resistant consumer products.  They persist in the environment and are now are present in drinking water, among other sources.  PFCs are commonly referred to as gender-bending chemicals because they can affect your sex hormones as well as your endocrine system. Being exposed to PFCs can lead to infertility and thyroid diseases.  Aside from the reproductive system, PFCs also have adverse effects on the immune system and can also cause prostate cancer.  It is also found to increase the LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol” levels in the body.


Importance of Filtering Your Water at Home

britaFiltering your water at home can help you reduce the amount of contaminants present in your water. Home filtration system typically uses carbon filters to trap the contaminants in the filter pores. It is then broken down by the medium within the filtering system. Carbon filters normally resolve problems in taste and odor associated with chlorine.  I highly suggest using some type of filtration – even if it is as simple as a Brita-type pitcher.  The water filtration system I used in my home is the counter top model by Santevia.  There are of course more elaborate ‘under the counter’ systems that provide more permanent solutions.

Water is also treated through the use of softeners which help in reducing the presence of excess calcium and magnesium. Through cation exchange resin, the minerals are replaced by potassium ions or sodium ions, which have more beneficial effects to the consumer.

Reverse osmosis or RO is another popular way to purify water. Its concept is to reverse the flow of water from the concentrated solution to a dilute solution when passing through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane normally has pre and post filters to reduce the amount of fluoride and other minerals that are present in hard water.  Many of the ‘under the counter’ systems operate via RO.

If you are uncertain of the purity of your water, it might be best to filter your supply both from the point of entry and the point of use. You can install a water treatment system from your main supply and then filter it again at the tap and from your other water sources, such as your shower.  During my travels, I’ve been in cities where it was possible to smell the chlorine as it is aerosolized during the shower!  At my home, I have a great shower head with a filter in the handheld wand that is very effective to remove chlorine from water.

Sadly, not all products are effective in reducing the amount of all contaminants. To be sure, you can get a water quality report or have your water source tested. This way, you are aware of the contaminants that are present in your water and employ the best filtering and water treatment to use.

Avoiding Toxins from Plastics

Plastic has become the main material used as storage and container for water.  It is important to be aware even plastics can leech synthetic chemicals, and the bottled water we choose as a safer option is also contaminated.

Plastics commonly used for water bottles have been found to release bisphenol A (BPA) and antimony, especially when exposed to heat. PET bottles also have a high risk of leaching estrogenic chemicals such as phthalates, depending on the temperature at which it was stored. BPA, antimony, and phthalates have endocrine-disrupting effects to the system. BPA is also associated with the onset of cancer and heart problems.

A better alternative to water storage is glass and nontoxic steel. Food-grade glass does not contain lead, which also has the tendency to leach into water eventually. The good thing about glass is that it is impermeable so there’s little risk in storing it. Non-toxic steel, just like glass, does not contain harmful chemicals, but more lightweight and unbreakable.

Do you filter your water at home?  Do you avoid plastic containers?  If these issues are important to you, please share what you are doing in the comment box below.

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Thriving on Plants is a resource for a whole food, plant-based way of eating and living. Here we celebrate all things plant and honor the power of informed awareness and a diet focused primarily of unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to support good health and happiness. Discover what a little more plant can do for your life!


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