The quality of our drinking water is a huge deal, and it has been a subject of some big news as of late. The high levels of toxic lead found in the water in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of that. However, water quality issues is not new. In fact, this is a concern in many parts of the U.S. as well as the entire world. Government mandates, industrial dumping, and pesticides have all contributed to this growing problem that has residents feeling deceived and asking “Is the water truly safe to drink or even use?” Well, the more we educate ourselves on the possible contaminants floating in our water, the more measures we can take to both protect ourselves and work towards positive change in our communities. Let’s take a look at some of the contaminants that may be present in your local water supply.
The practice of water fluoridation dates back to the 1940’s around the end of WWII. Initially it was intended to improve dental health and reduce tooth decay. However, more and more people are recognizing its undeniable dangers given the current evidence and studies being conducted. Fluoride is both a neurotoxin and an endocrine disruptor. It can lead to severe brain damage and even lower IQ in children. Furthermore, other studies have linked fluoride to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and lower cognitive functioning.
As an endocrine disruptor, fluoride can adversely affect the body’s proper endocrine function and response. More specifically, fluoride can harm the thyroid gland, and damage the pineal gland. The thyroid regulates hormone balance and affects mental stability, weight, and mood. Drinking fluoridated water can reduce thyroid function and create a major imbalance, which can develop into serious medical conditions. Meanwhile, the pineal gland-or sometimes referred to as the third eye-helps secrete and regulate melatonin, which is an extremely important hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and certain sex hormones. Overexposure to fluoride alters the production of melatonin and destabilizes the body’s mineral balance, disrupting your natural hormones and rhythms. Lastly, fluoride can cause fluorosis, which damages both bones and tooth enamel.
The main toxin causing problems in Flint, (including other cities in the U.S. and around the world) lead is extremely dangerous to humans, causing permanent problems, and affecting children the worst. Developmental issues, cognitive impairment, deafness, autism, learning disabilities, stunted growth, and behavioral problems can all be result from lead exposure. It can also cause premature birth to women who have ingested lead while pregnant. Lead exposure has also been linked to prostate cancer, reproductive problems in men and women, and damage to both the heart and kidneys.
Chlorine is useful for cleaning products and swimming pools, cutting the growth of bacteria, and for sanitizing. It is often added to water systems as a disinfectant, however, it is not safe for human health. Being a reactive chemical, chlorine bonds with water, as well as the water in the gut, producing poisonous hydrochloric acid. Exposure to chlorine can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, and damage cells while long term effects may include impaired balance and memory loss.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element. However, not all things that are natural are safe. In fact, mercury is highly toxic and has no value to the human body. It can cause brain and nerve damage, blindness, headaches, weakness, cognitive disability, impairment of motor functions, memory loss, mood swings, muscle atrophy, skin rashes, and tremors. Furthermore, mercury exposure also affects pregnant women by contaminating breast milk.
Perchlorate is chemical commonly found in rocket fuel, explosives, batteries, fireworks, and bleaches. It dissolves and leaks into groundwater from military and industrial sites. Its effects on both humans and the environment are disastrous, contaminating rivers, crops, and causing serious health concerns by attacking the thyroid. This chemical is also no friend to women and children as perchlorate contaminates breast milk.
Most folks are aware that arsenic is poisonous despite its use in a variety of industrial procedures. However, contamination does occur due to improper waste disposal, or from ill-planned wells that happen to meet a natural source. Arsenic poisoning can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases. Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause lung cancer, skin cancer, and bladder cancer.
What’s The Next Step?
There is a common misconception that boiling water will remove toxins such as the ones mentioned above. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Boiling water will kill harmful organisms, but it will do nothing to toxic chemicals, metals, salts, and compounds.
So, how can we acquire clean drinking water? It’s highly recommended to invest in a quality water filter. Here are some of the best and recommended water filtration systems out there:
Now, this by no means is a complete list of all contaminants that might be in the drinking water. What may be in the water supply in, for example, Taiwan or Los Angeles may not be present in New York City or London. These are only some of the most common contaminants, which have been highlighted here to share with you. It’s critical to keep informed with the water quality in your area, and take proper measurements to ensure the health of yourself and loved ones.