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Water Treatment

by Tim O'Shea, D.C.

In This Article:

  • Disease or dehydration?
  • Acid/alkaline
  • Tap water
  • Chlorine
  • Filters

Some years before he was cryogenically preserved, Walt Disney made an educational animated movie with Bell Science Labs called Hemo the Magnificent. It wasn't shown at movie theaters; it appeared in schools. Hemo the Magnificent was the story of human blood, a science film for kids. It was definitely ahead of its time and today would probably be considered adult level, things being what they are, dumbing us down and all. At the beginning of the film the question is asked - What substance on earth does human blood most resemble? We are surprised at the answer: sea water.

And then the story is told about how all life evolved from the ocean, and then they show primitive life forms like one-celled creatures, up to the jellyfish, who have sort of a primitive in-and-out flushing as a precursor of a circulatory system, then gradually getting into more complex forms who began to have a primitive heart and some blood vessels. And all this evolves to the mammalian circulatory system. Aeons later, our blood is still over 90% water - though not salt water, of course. Even though it's the other 10% that makes us human and has taken ages to evolve, we are still an H2O unit. I think it was Tom Robbins who said:

"Humans were invented by water as a means of transporting itself from place to place" OK.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER!

Without food, most humans will die in a month, if they have water. Without water, 10 days is about it. Water makes up 75% of the body, 90% of the blood, and 85% of the brain. An odd little book was published in 1994 that made quite a stir: The Body's Many Cries for Water, by an MD named Batmanghelidj. A claim is made by this doctor that the cause of most diseases is simply dehydration. Dr. B provides the reasoning as well as dozens of case studies to support the cure of a variety of illnesses by simply drinking between two and three liters of water per day.

Doubting such a theory because of its overwhelming simplicity, the reader is shown that physiologically, it makes perfect sense. As Dr B points out, dry mouth is a late sign of thirst. Saliva is produced even in chronic dehydration, because it is a digestive enzyme. Thirst, or the need for water on the cellular level is something entirely different. Chronic dehydration brings its own symptoms, which we have been conditioned to cover up, either with food or with drugs. Here are a few examples of dehydration signals:

SYMPTOM - USUAL REMEDY!

  • peptic ulcer
  • antacids
  • craving sweets
  • sugar
  • depression
  • antidepressant drugs
  • allergies
  • antihistamines

Dr B reports his successful treatment of 3000 peptic ulcer patients using water alone. Anecdotal? He explains how ulcer pain is really a thirst signal. It actually makes sense: if the intestine is too dehydrated to adequately refresh its mucus lining every time after the acidic products of digestion have passed by, the lining will become irritated and painful. The intestine is not protected from digestive acid like the stomach is. Antacids will only temporarily cover up the problem. Rehydrating the tract will enable to intestine to form adequate mucous lining, thus reducing acid irritation. (p31) Similarly with depression, allergies, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and addiction to sweets, Dr. Batmanghelidj shows how balancing the extracellular fluids and lowering the concentration of the blood to a more normal dilution can bring consistent resolution to these and many other illnesses.

It's almost too simple. But Dr. B takes the reader through the physiology of each illness. His premise is hard to deny. Obviously such an approach is not going to gain the favor of the drug cartels; here's a guy telling people they don't need heart medication and diuretics and insulin and Prozac and Viagra and pain drugs any more. All they really need is two liters of water per day. What if he's right and people find out about it? The drug business is the foundation our $1.5 trillion medical budget. See the dangers? So of course the good doctor ran into some formidable stone walls when he tried to get attention and funding from the AMA and other mainstream institutions for researching his theories. He was politely ignored. But a lot of people are buying the book.

DIURETICS? TRY WATER!

Most people don't seem to know the word diuretic; but they know what a blood thinner is. Batmanghelidj's views on treating high blood pressure with diuretics can't really be argued. He explains that the whole mainstream theory is based on a false premise: doctors say Oh, you have high blood pressure? Too much blood, too much fluid in the body. Take these drugs to make you get rid of water, thin out the blood a little. That'll take the strain off your heart so it won't have to work so hard. Amazingly most people believe this appalling distortion of physiological reality and take their pills like good little patients.

Then they have their heart attacks on schedule and go in for bypass, like good little lemmings, keeping heart disease as the #1 killer of Americans for the past three decades. Batmanghelidj points out the obvious: diuretics increase dehydration. They make you lose more water. But the original cause of the high blood pressure in the first place was loss of fluids. The less fluids, the more the blood vessels close up. Obviously the blood vessels can't leave room for gas when blood volume is decreased. So the blood vessels naturally constrict, or close up, with less blood volume. The constriction is what causes high blood pressure - it's harder to push water through a thin garden hose than a thick one.

Also the less fluids, the more concentrated the blood becomes. And this triggers the blood vessels to close down a little more, in order to prevent what? Water loss. By adding more water to the system, the heart won't be so desperate to hang onto both sodium and water. Increased blood volume, and also making the blood more dilute, will relax the vessels and open them up wider. Such a simple method consistently lowers blood pressure, on a long-term basis. The amazing thing is not that this is so absurdly simple; it's that the people we entrust our health to could possibly miss something as fundamental as hydration. What about the complicated stuff? Either Dr. Batmanghelidj is right or the HMO doctors selling Lopressor and Cardizem are right. Can't be both.

EVEN GOOD CHOLESTEROL CAN BE BAD IF THE BODY'S DEHYDRATED!

We know that cholesterol has many important jobs. It is necessary for making hormones, insulation for nerves, and the membranes of all our cells. But in a condition of chronic dehydration, water is constantly being pulled out of our cells, for the body's many operations. To protect the cells from losing too much water, cholesterol is poured between the cracks of the cells, as a sort of protective sealant between cell membranes. (Batmanghieldj, p 83) Many people who eat a lot of eggs can still have normal blood cholesterol, as long as they always have plenty of water. The body only feels the need to seal off the cell membranes with cholesterol if there's a reason to conserve water. Thus high cholesterol. In the hydrated body, there's no excess cholesterol production.

Thirst Quenchers

When we're thirsty, we don't drink water. We drink coffee and Coke and diet Dr. Pepper and ice tea and beer and milk and anything else we've been conditioned to buy. And we tell ourselves we don't need to drink water because all these beverages have water in them. Right? Wrong. It's a long story, but the punchline is this: all these drinks are actually diuretics - they make the cells and the body lose water. The sugar and caffeine in those drinks pull water out of the cells in order to maintain the delicate pH and electrolyte balance in the blood. Result: cell dehydration. Cell dehydration is the #1 cause of aging. Also a big contributor to degenerative diseases, like arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. One way to tell if you're dehydrated is to check the color of the urine. If it's dark all the time, you're probably dehydrated. It's a good bet that one of the above drinks is your beverage of choice.

Only one solution:

Two Liters a Day!

It's no picnic. Unless you already have this custom, drinking two liters of water a day takes effort. That's a least eight large glassesful. Every day. It takes planning and discipline. But it's cheap and harmless, and if you have any health problem whatsoever, including premature crowsfeet, you owe it to yourself to give this self-evident shotgun approach a try. In the unlikely event that it "doesn't work' after two months, something else needs to be tweaked. Probably in the dairy or sugar category. But read some of the testimonials in Dr B's book, and you'll likely find people with much more serious problems than yours who totally recovered. Many were on multiple medications. I know - you're thinking you'll be spending your life in the bathroom if you drink 2 liters a day, right?

Funny thing is, the bladder is a muscular organ. Like any other muscle, it weakens with inactivity and strengthens with use. The more water you drink, the more the strength and capacity of the bladder will increase. So very soon you won't have to make extra trips to the bathroom, even though you'll be drinking more water. Think of all the people who dehydrate themselves just because they wish to avoid the bathroom. Where are our priorities? Where is our education? Water is cell life. Two liters is the intake necessary to maintain normal good health. If you want to get into anti-aging applications, intake goes up to THREE liters. Obviously this is something you'd have to work up to. But for maximum hydration of skin cells, three is the number.

The pH of Blood!

Everyone has a general idea of pH: acidic means stuff like vinegar, and Coke, battery acid, and citrus. Basic, or alkaline, means stuff like soap, and milk, and bran. Acid/base - that's a scale we call pH. The scale goes from 1 to 14. It's a log scale: that means that pH 6 is 10x more acid than pH 7. The lower the number, the more acid; the higher the number, the more basic: All living substances have a pH, and also an optimum range of pH. Any standard physiology text, like Guyton's for example, will state that the range of blood pH is7.3 - 7.45 for human life. More acidic than 7.3, we die. More basic than 7.45, we die. Here's an example to show how inventive the body is at protecting itself. If you pour a glass of Coke into 10 gallons of water, the pH will drop from 7.8 to 4.6 immediately. (Whang, p 22)

Now, we have way less than half that much blood: only 5 liters. So what prevents one glass of Coke from killing us by lowering our blood pH below the 7.3 limit? A little trick the body evolved over millions of years: buffering. Buffering is how the body changes the acidic foods we eat in order to keep the blood pH always about the same. Two main kinds of buffering, and you can look them up the next time you decide to get a medical degree. (Guyton, p 387) For now, the point here is that this constant burden we place on the body to keep buffering all these Cokes, Johnnie Walker Black, burgers, tacos, and white sugar treats - uses up the body's stores of minerals, enzymes, and vitamins.

Actually, it wastes them, thereby making the person age faster. Those stores were supposed to be used for normal life functions, not for ridding the body of manmade indigestible chemicals mistakenly called food. Buffering also uses up free oxygen and breaks down cells and tissues by means of oxidation. And now we're talking about free radicals again. And aging. When we drink water, we're taking some of the stress off the body by helping to make the blood more basic (higher number). The pH of tap water is about 8.4, and of bottled water about 7.8 or so. The more we can keep the blood closer to the higher number, the 7.45, the slower we age.

Turns out there is a big difference between blood that is pH 7.3 and blood that is pH 7.45. The higher number blood has 64%more free oxygen than the lower number (Whang, p 21). That's a lot. Over the years, such a difference in daily stress definitely adds up. Reducing the amount of buffering we require the body to do is another big reason for drinking a ton of water every day. OK, the importance of water is pretty obvious. The next question is - does it make any difference what kind of water we drink? Tap water, spring water, bottled water, filtered water, distilled water, mineral water, what?

Tap Water!

City water, municipal water, tap water - no argument that one of the main reasons for the eradication of infectious diseases, as we saw in the Vaccinations chapter, was a controlled water supply. After all those centuries, it finally dawned on people that they wouldn't die quite so fast if the water they drank could be uncontaminated with sewage. So in the 1800s, the hallmark of the civilized city, both in Europe and in America, was a municipal water supply and a sewage system. This one development was the single biggest health advancement in history. Then politics saw an angle. What if we could convince the people that industrial wastes needed to be added to the water in order to make it "safe"? To the tune of billions of dollars per year? The money would change hands between the local governments and the chemical industry, not to mention state and federal government who would need to pass laws to keep the show on the road.

First contestant:

HOW ABOUT CHLORINE?

Chloride as it exists in nature is an element, a raw mineral that is actually an essential mineral in human nutrition, as we saw in the Minerals chapter. We evolved from the salt water of the ocean, which has natural sodium chloride. Industrial chlorine, by contrast, is another thing altogether. Industrial chlorine is not a natural compound. It must be manufactured, by passing an electric current through regular salt (sodium chloride) The result is a toxic gas which can then be complexed to form many industrial products. Examples are medicines, plastics, solvents, sealants, bleach, computer chips, paints, and disinfectants. (Chlorophiles)

From here on out, "chlorine' means the industrial type. Chlorine gas was a weapon used in WWI. This powerful neurotoxin is so poisonous that it was outlawed by international war codes. Chlorine gas cannot be screened out by our lungs - it goes in faster than oxygen, and is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream when it is inhaled. If the concentration is adequate, death is instantaneous.

Europeans remember all this - that's where WWI happened. Swimming pools in most of Europe are not chlorinated. When European athletes come to the U.S. to compete in swimming events, they have forfeited events rather than swim in a chlorinated pool. The problem is that chlorine gas is formed where chlorinated water comes in contact with air. That's why your nose burns when your put your face close to the surface of a chlorinated pool. Same thing happens with tap water, although to a lesser degree.

WHY IS CHLORINE IN OUR WATER?

Chlorine has been used in the U.S. as a treatment for water purification for most of the past century. When added to our water supply, chlorine complexes with free contaminants like iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide. Any chlorine left over can kill most bacterials and microorganisms. Chlorine was definitely responsible for a radical drop in cases of typhoid early in the century. (Water Review) Same with cholera and amoebic dysentery. (Rathburn) Cryptosporidium and Giardia are two biologicals resistant to chlorine because they form protective cysts. But most other living microbes in the water supply are killed by adding chlorine.

Now obviously we don't want microbugs in our drinking water, so it seems chlorine has some benefit. The problem comes in with:

- the amounts of chlorine added
- carcinogenic chlorine by-products (organochlorines)

Chemicals are measured in water in units called PPM, or parts per million. The standard amount of chlorine sufficient to kill biologicals is 0.5 PPM, as agreed by most scientists. This is the recommended dose for municipal water supplies. The problem arises when scientists don't have control of the input. Usually it's the local water guy. And this guy is all over the place as far as consistent levels are concerned. Some cities have been found to have levels as high as 50 PPM. The second problem is by-products. Chlorine has an annoying habit of reacting with hydrocarbons (organic matter) to form little devils like trihalomethanes - THMs. Definitely carcinogenic ( Simmon), THM levels have been set by the EPA as not to exceed 80 PPB.

That's billion, son. But that figure is really just a guess. Nobody really knows for sure how much THM is necessary to be taken in with daily tap water in order to eventually cause a single cell to mutate. All we know for sure is that some amount of THM can cause cancer. Predictably written at the moron level, 99% of websites about chlorine present it as a safe but necessary evil. They always say that it's an economic necessity and that the risk of cancer is dwarfed by the importance of disinfecting the nation's drinking water, etc. But other people aren't so sure. When you search the word "organochlorines" a whole different angle emerges.

ORGANOCHLORINES!

For the past century, industry has benefited from the weird reaction between chlorine and organic matter. So far about 11,000 different organochlorines have been created by the chemical industry. Some of them have great industrial value because they are so stable. They degrade very slowly. One obvious example is PVC pipe, which has revolutionized the plumbing industry in the past 15 years. Plastic pipes - easier to work with than soldering all that old copper stuff. PVC plastic is the single biggest application of industrial chlorine products, accounting for about 50% of the total. (How Chlorine Chemicals Are Made). Really stable.

But it is precisely the idea of stability that makes chlorine by-products so dangerous. Want to learn a new word? Here it is: bioaccumulative. When these plastics do degrade, the products of that breakdown last even longer - for decades. That means cumulative buildup in fatty tissues of living things that are exposed to the same water or air. In the cells, this can mean trouble:

  • genetic mutation
  • hormone disruption
  • birth defects
  • infertility
  • low sperm counts
  • cancer
  • neurological damage

- Fackelman, p. 142

Bioaccumulative means that these chlorine by-products keep going through the food chain time after time. The individual living carrier species die, but the chemicals persist unchanged, decade after decade. The result is that the levels of PCBs and dioxins found in meat and fish can today be millions of times greater than the amounts found in nature. (Chlorine Crisis) Slow breakdown of PVC plumbing, year after year, is one big stand-alone reason why it's bad to drink tap water, irrespective of the quality of the water itself. At least copper was an essential trace mineral nutrient for humans.

For extra fun, organochlorines mimic estrogen, and are therefore included in the xenoestrogens we saw in the HRT chapter (www.thedoctorwithin.com). Refer to it for a discussion of reproductive and hormonal chaos caused by chemical pollution. Bleaching paper is another big market for chlorine. America uses a lot of paper, most of it white. Chlorine is the most popular method of bleaching. Problem is, 300 different organochlorines are the result. Guess how much of them gets dumped into lakes, rivers, and oceans of the world each year. Go ahead, guess. 4 million tons!
(Pulp and Paper)

Not to mislead, you know those 300 organochlorines being released into the water? Those are only the ones we have identified! There are literally thousands of others whose actions are totally unknown to us. Once in the body, organochlorines are protectively encapsulated in fat cells - the site most conducive to long-term storage and accumulation.

ORGANOCHLORINE PESTICIDES!

Chlorine bound to carbon is really a good combination for killing pests. Consider the tons of chlordane, DDT, dioxin, and atrazine that have been produced over the past 50 years and dumped into our soil and water, both intentionally and accidentally. No doubt about it: the stuff kills bugs. Two Israeli researchers documented a 50% drop in breast cancer incidence after a ban on chlorine-based pesticides went into effect. (Richter) They traced it to feed for cows, which then was carried into the milk. The authors explained the dramatic effect in cancer incidence by the idea of an organochlorine as a complete carcinogen. That means a toxin that is capable of both initiating a tumor and accelerating an established tumor. That was in Israel. We never had such a ban.

OTHER ORGANOCHLORINES!

Also pesticides, epoxy, neoprene, and many other plastics have a chlorine base. Same reason: slow breakdown. Turns out that only about 1% of the chlorine produced is used in drinking water treatment.(Chlorine Crisis) Remember the defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam? Dioxin was the killer in Agent Orange. (What Is Dioxin?) Dioxin is a chlorine by-product that is so indestructible and pervasive that it is even found in the bodies of whales and polar bears at the North Pole. Always remember that "economic necessity' often means a situation favorable to big money. With a production of some 40 million tons per year, since 1990 chlorine is big business. Players like Dow, Bayer, Olin, and Alezo may not be that concerned with the health effects resulting from mass chlorination. (Chlorine Crisis)

CHLORINE AND HEART DISEASE!

In 1990, a medical doctor named J.M. Price came out with a book called Cholesterol, Coronaries, and Chlorine. The book is hard to find today, but was promoted and disseminated by Greenpeace. This doctor paints a noteworthy picture of the physiology and the politics of chlorine. Heart disease has been the number one killer of Americans for decades, and it certainly doesn't look like that's gonna change any time soon. Many patients have had heart problems during a great portion of their lives, with medication and years of diminished physical capacity. But it seems that there are more culprits besides just a high fat diet. Heart attacks kill hundreds of thousands per year.

For about 40%, their very first symptom is death. Such a weakening of the heart didn't happen overnight. It may have taken 20 years to evolve. As the arteries that feed the heart get clogged with cholesterol cement, the same thing is going on everywhere else in the body, including the brain. If a small blood vessel in the brain breaks because it is stuffed with deposits, the person suffers a stroke. Some are mild and hardly noticeable; others are instantly fatal. The point here is, heart attacks and strokes are two versions of the same thing: arterial cholesterol build-up. What's that got to do with chlorine? Hang in there - it's coming. A hundred years ago the term heart attack didn't even exist.

The first clinical description of a heart attack was not made until 1912. (Joseph, p37) In the 1930s and 1940s, the incidence of heart disease increased dramatically, until by the 1980s, it was the #1 killer of Americans. Dr. Joseph makes the point that there is no evidence of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) prior to the 20th century, even though many cultures favored high fat diets. Not until chlorination of municipal drinking water became common did heart disease begin to skyrocket. (p51). Actually there is a lag of 10-20 years for the progression of clogging arteries that coincides well enough with increasing chlorination across the U.S. during that same time period.

In both the Korean and the Vietnam Wars, many 20 year-olds undergoing surgery on the battlefields were found to have advanced atherosclerosis (cholesterol-clogged arteries) near the heart. (Joseph, p54) The cause was unmistakable: the drinking water we transshipped contained 10 times the amount of chlorine that is determined a safe level by the FDA. The reasoning behind it was characteristically military: our boys needed protection from all those foreign germs, Vern. They deserve 10x the protection. The mechanism for artery breakdown from chlorine is no theory. It has been very solidly established that chlorine nicks the inner lining in the arteries and thereby provides a place for excess cholesterol matrix to begin its process of stuccoing up the arteries.

Joseph ends up by positing that progressive clogging of the arteries cannot exist unless chlorine is consumed in some excess. He describes in detail his controlled experiment inducing atherosclerosis in birds, with the only variable being the presence of chlorinated drinking water - plain tap water. (p.65) The aortas of 95% of the chlorine group were all plaqued up with cholesterol in just a few weeks! The birds were withering and sickly. The popular press goes round and round about cholesterol. One week it's high fat is not so bad, the next week eggs are definitely out, the next week butter's in.. That technique is straight out of Edward L. Bernays. Why is everybody guessing about the #1 cause of death in the U.S.?

CHLORINE AND DIGESTION!

One thing's for sure - chlorine kills bacteria. Only problem with that is the three pounds of friendly bacteria that are supposed to be populating our colon. Their job: the final stages of digestion, as well as vitamin synthesis. Chlorine is in the same category with antibiotics - knocks out all bacteria, the good and the bad. The same killing power that makes chlorine a good disinfectant for drinking water also makes it a harmful additive. We need our good bacteria, called probiotics. Many researchers refer to them as our Second Immune System. Although we can live without probiotics, the digestive system is forced to operate in a diminished fashion. Over time, our health suffers as a result of chlorine's attack on probiotics.

Today about three-fourths of American cities chlorinate the drinking water. That's big money. Very hard to rock that boat. Some cities, such as parts of Los Angeles, have found that ozone purification is cheaper and non-toxic. Other cities are experimenting with a combination of titanium cylinders and UV light. (Popular Science) But decades of payouts, and legislated chlorination - that's an entrenched set-up. Greenpeace and the chlorine activists certainly are not widely read. Even the introductory information in this chapter is not commonly apprehended, though it can be discovered with a little research.

OTHER CONTAMINANTS!

Chlorine and fluoride are added on purpose to the water. We haven't even mentioned the millions of tons of industrial pollutants that sneak into the earth's water supply every year. To give just one small example, Congress did a study in 1979 of the extent of industrial pollution between 1950 and 1970. They verified just a part of what was actually dumped into America's water supply: the top 14% of industrial polluters discharged 1.5 trillion pounds of industrial wastes into the water supply in that 20 year period. What about the other 86%? Think it's improved since 1970? Consider this:

The only federal agency for ensuring clean drinking water is the EPA. In 1997, after the cryptosporidium deaths in Milwaukee and Las Vegas, Clinton tried to upgrade the provisions of the 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act. But the EPA only regulates some 60 chemicals-there are thousands of chemical pollutants in the water! And the states are individually claiming that complying with the restrictions on just those 60 are "too expensive" because they just don't have the money. Most water systems are operating on very old designs with inadequate capacity. (Kupua A'o, p16) As a result, in 1991-1992 alone, the EPA reported over 250,000 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, affecting more than 100 million Americans. (Natural Resources Defense Council) For those 250,000 violations, guess on how many the EPA took enforcement action. Just guess. About 600. Looks like we're on our own out here.

HOW CAN WE GET PURE, CLEAN WATER?

The tap water in this country seems to have a few problems:

  • organochlorines
  • fluoride
  • PCBs
  • THMs
  • heavy metals
  • resistant biologicals

You'd think that since we created the problem, we could fix it. But even if Greenpeace or someone took over the government of the world tomorrow and stopped all further pollution tonnage, it would be years, decades before the water would be like it was before the Industrial Revolution. These contaminants will be around for centuries. By now everyone knows what the concept of half-life means. Different data sources, different time frames, but one thing is certain: the water cannot be cleaned up in our lifetime, no matter what is done. Writing a sentence like that is a shocker. Where is my ninja team? So what can we do?Don't drink the tap water for starters. But does that also mean don't wash vegetables, make ice cubes, or cook with tap water? Yes, it does, because heat doesn't destroy fluoride, heavy metals, or other contaminants. Remember the word bioaccumulative.

So the first step is:

BOTTLED WATER

That's right - drag it home from the market every week. Or the 5-gallon bottle from the water store. Is that safe enough? Maybe. Who knows? You have to trust two groups of people in order to be sure:

- the regulating agencies
- the sellers

Water stores sell reverse osmosis water - no minerals. Bottled water is only as good as the monitoring system in place. Step right up.

FILTERS

"Buy a filter or be a filter." That's one company's slogan.

Today there is enough grassroots consciousness about the dangers of tap water that cheap carbon filters are now available in any hardware store which attach easily to the kitchen faucet. It is likely that such filters get rid of most of the chlorine - for awhile. But to really get the resistant biologicals, the fluoride, heavy metals, and other contaminants, the customer may consider one of the high-end drinking water filters. These cost between two and four hundred dollars and come in models for both over and under the sink.

Names like Alpine, MultiPure, and Spectrapure are among the dozens of brand names that have come along during the past 20 years. Multipure seems to be far out front at this time. Everyone claims to be the best, of course, but we can find some important similarities in their advertising. When you begin to compare the better water filters, you notice common concerns:

  • chlorine
  • THMs
  • chloriform
  • chloramines
  • cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia cysts
  • fluoride
  • pesticides and toxic chemicals
  • heavy metals
  • minerals
  • MTBEs
  • nitrates

Killing microbials is not a big deal since most of that's been done by chlorine. Most contaminants are removed by the better filters. The problem when choosing a filter seems to come down to four main concerns: fluoride, minerals, THMs, and nitrates. Difficult to find one filter that does everything: many reverse osmosis filters take out most contaminants, but also the healthy minerals. Many of the high-end carbon filters will not remove fluoride or nitrates, but leave the healthy minerals.

Fluoride is obviously a biggie. Find out if the filter you are about to buy removes fluoride, and what percentage. After what we've learned about fluoride, we should expect a filter to remove it, wouldn't you say? Problem is: the demand. Due to fluoridiot propaganda, most Americans don't even realize fluoride is bad, and therefore don't think about it when considering a water filter. NSF is a third-party non-profit testing agency that has been rating water filters for the past 50 years. Always ask - is it NSF-certified? For what? Don't be fooled if they say "NSF-tested. 'Big difference.

Minerals is an area of some controversy. You've got the hard water / soft water debate. Hard water has more minerals in it, which obviously is better for the bones and teeth, and probably for the heart as well. That makes sense, although as we saw in the Minerals chapter, elemental minerals are the least absorbed of all types. Elemental means from rocks, and that's the kind that would be in spring water, and therefore in filtered water, except for reverse osmosis. In my opinion, hard water is better than distilled.

Most naturopaths and holistic nutritionists don't like distilled water because they say it leaches minerals from the bones and teeth. In general, that seems logical, although Dr. Y says it doesn't make any difference unless the person is extremely malnourished. The truth is, no formal studies comparing distilled with mineral water have been done, so it's all pretty theoretical. But thinking about the Hunzas and their 120-year lifespan that was attributed to the glacial mineral waters they drank, one can see the value of minerals in drinking water. A high-end water filter should take this discussion into consideration and give reasons about the importance or unimportance of filtering out certain minerals.

Comes down to a choice: reverse osmosis or carbon block. With reverse osmosis you've got no fluoride filtration, no minerals, and wasting about 4-9 gallons to get one gallon of pure water. (A'o, p72) With most high-end carbon mesh filters, you can get rid of everything but fluoride, and you'll still have minerals. These are questions for the filter sales force. Make "em dance for you. Caveat emptor - only 5 states have any regulations about what water filter manufacturers can say. On the Internet - it's a total jungle!

There is one excellent little book which can save a lot of research time: Don't Drink the Water. The author goes into great detail in comparing the attributes and quality of the basic filter units. He points out the advantages of placing a KDF filter before the carbon filter in order to insure that bacteria won't begin to grow within the carbon. Bottom line in my opinion, if you want to solve the whole filtration question, just buy a Multipure and put in under the sink. (1 831 763 1967) Next problem.

THE REST OF THE ICEBERG

Sorry if this chapter has been Information Overload. The materials cited really only scratch the surface of the research that has been done in these areas. The purpose of the chapter has been to acquaint the reader with some of the basic issues in regard to drinking water, issues which are systematically hidden from the media, for obvious reasons. Prove them wrong, if you can; just don't pretend like these problems don't exist. When you read something that proclaims the purity of tap water or the importance of fluoride, maybe now you will notice how studies are claimed but never cited.

Look behind what you read and try to see the persuasive tactics of Freud's nephew. Appreciate the mastery of an art. The physiological importance of hydration has really been glossed over by doctors and nutritionists, not on purpose, but simply because it's not taught. The ideas of Dr. Batmanghelidj must be confronted - either he's right or else there's a major gap in our health information. It's unfortunate that the sludge of politics has to be hauled into a discussion of water purity. But once you discover how and why our water got this way, the political influences are like an elephant in the living room - pretty hard to ignore.

Not exactly hot news; politics has been controlling science ever since they locked Galileo in that high-rise jail for discovering the earth went around the sun. Which is why you shouldn't expect much support if you try to discuss or substantiate what you've just learned in this chapter. Lemmings know what lemmings are told. The rest of the iceberg is left to you. This chapter is just the briefest glimpse of the top part. With a little follow-up, perhaps you won't make the same mistake the captain of the Titanic made: thinking that there's nothing in the water that can hurt you.

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REFERENCES!

  • Batmandjeld, F MD The Body's Many Cries for Water 1994 Global Health Solutions
  • Robbins, T Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Bantam 1990
  • Guyton, A, MD Textbook of Medical Physiology Saunders 1996
  • Spangler L Xenoestrogens and Cancer: Nowhere To Run WomenWise Magazine Winter 1996
  • Whang, S Reverse Aging 1990
  • Greenpeace Chlorine Crisis: Time for a Global Phase-out 1990
  • Fackelman, K Hints of a chlorine-cancer connection Science News, Jul11, 1992, p142
  • Price, Joseph M MD Coronaries, Cholesterol, Chlorine 1990
  • Water Review 7,2, 1992 Findings Link Chlorination with Bladder and Rectal Cancer
  • Rathburn R Potentially Deleterious Effects of Chlorinating Mississippi River Water for Drinking, U.S. Geological Survey - Circ.#1133
  • Simmon & Tardiff The mutagenic activity of halogenated compounds found in chlorinated drinking water
  • Water Chlorination, Environmental Impact and Health Effects p 417 Ann Arbor Science
  • Popular Science June 1996 Water Purity: Chlorine Alternatives
  • Greenpeace International, website http://www.greenpeace.org
  • How Chlorine Chemicals Are Made
  • What Is Dioxin?
  • PVC Plastic
  • Pulp and Paper Briefing 1992
  • Chlorine in the World
  • Chlorophiles website: www.ping.be/chlorophiles
  • Howell, E MD Enzyme Nutrition 1985 Avery
  • Dustrude, R Letter Health Freedom News Jan 1993, p 36
  • Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products 1984 Williams & Wilkins
  • A'o, L Don't Drink the Water 1998 Kali
  • Banik, Allen DDS Hunza Land Whitehorn Publ., Long Beach 1960
  • Taylor, Renee Hunza Health Secrets Universal Publishing, NY, 1964

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