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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere, but Which Drop Do We Drink?

(I forgot to finish this post, many months ago.  I think it's because I wanted to study up on the flouride more before posting it.  It's almost been a year since I started this though, so better late than never....LOL.)

I've been on a push to stop drinking so much garbage, and try to start drinking more water. To accomplish this goal, I started buying flavored water beverages like Vitamin Water. Hey, it sure beats drinking a soda every day like I used to. I decided I could still do better -- though I could really stand to drink MORE water, I knew I could drink *better* water.

Now some of you might think this sounds crazy, since I am not having weight issues, but I wanted to cut out some more of the sugar. Hey, being healthy isn't just about losing weight, people! Did you know that any average adult can develop adult-onset insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes!? Stop eating so much sugar! No wonder the US is so overweight. Many people have the visual indicator of excess weight to let them know when they're out of balance. I think it's actually harder to identify when you don't, but it can still happen to anyone! "Long-term complications from high blood sugar can include increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, amputation, and kidney failure." Okay, I know one day we will all die from something, but I don't want to go out like THAT, do you? Not when it's so easy to prevent. Dead honest - I actually LIKE the way things taste now without as much sugar. Drinking overly-sugary things taste ... well, overly-sugary. It's amazing what differences you notice after being made aware of something and trying it.

Anyway, in my quest to find a healthier water beverage, try as I might, I just can't avoid the truth that just plain water is really the healthiest and most beneficial beverage. However, not all water is created alike. "What!?!? It's all water." No really, it's true! Did you know that tap water is not regulated in the same manner as bottled water? The FDA regulates bottled water, while the EPA governs tap water. There are differences, and it's up to you to decide what's best for you and your family.  When looked at it as a whole it appears the EPA (tap water) operates on a stricter scale than the FDA (bottled water).

The FDA just isn't up to speed as compared to the EPA so bottled water is highly more likely to fall short of the mark of being better. Want a real eye-opener?  Watch the movie "Tapped."

The bottom line?  Drink from the tap.  But, "Buy a filter or be a filter."

If I could afford it, I'd buy VitaCoco water drinks! "As per FDA guidelines, flash pasteurization is mandatory for bottled beverages."  They package in a special "Tetra Pak" which stabilizes the coconut water and gives the product a shelf life of 12 months. No preservatives or additives are included. It is water, only healthier (electrolytes; potassium). There is no danger of BPA as there is with bottled water thanks to the packaging.

Know your water source. Check the reports on your local water. They are required to send you a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) annually.  You could obtain one from your local water supply's office at any time.  What do you look for on this report? Levels of:

1) Chlorine. While it kills off a host of hazards, it is probably not so great for us to ingest long-term. Slow poison? Could be.
Or, Chloramine. Your tap water may be treated with this.
(Either way, those with pets are in the and treat their water appropriately. Neutralized chloramine will still contain the released now-free ammonia molecule, which is dangerous and toxic to fish, so it also must be neutralized. AquaSafe or Amquel work for this.)
Now that being said, if it's so critical to safeguard our pets against our tap water's issues, don't you think that left untreatd, it yields some problems for US, too?
Our tap water must, and should, be treated with one or the other, chlorine or chloramine. It kills dangerous bacteria and microbials.  Without enough of it your water could even get contaminated on its way to your faucet! (Well water should especially be checked for bacteria! And testing can be tricky!)
Another issue we treat fish/pet tap water for is heavy metals.  Again, if we treat our water for our pets for this, shouldn't we do it for ourselves, too?

Chlorine by itself will outgas out of water left sitting. which will improve the taste of otherwise-unfiltered tap water (chloramine won't).  But you'd probably want to do that in the refrigerator to prevent microbes and bacteria and icky things from growing in the water while it's sitting around.  Hopefully you won't get refrigerator-flavored water.:)

2) Tap water may contain more lead than bottled. Again, know your source. Check your local report. If you trust the EPA, standard they is .015 milligrams per liter. So anything over this is toxic. It won't have over this level at the source where they test it, but "Because much lead pollution actually comes from home plumbing and from the water delivery system, the only way to really know the actual level of lead in your tap water is to test it yourself or have it tested by a laboratory for you."
"There are three kinds of filters that can remove lead in water from your tap water: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, and Filtration (granular or carbon block). For further information on the best filters in the categories of Distillation, Reverse Osmosis and Filtration go to "Best Water Filters". Or for a broader discussion of the multiple considerations you need to keep in mind in selecting a filter, go to "How to Choose a Water Filter"."

3) Tap water contains fluoride but it's filtered out of bottled water. It's important for children to get this, but there is much debate over whether ingesting it in our water is really the best plan. This is because children need more fluoride than adults. So, it's up to us to self-regulate our ingestion of the potentially toxic substance.  Why do they even put it in our water, then?  Well, this is the most cost-effective method.

Okay, that is fine - so our kids do need it. But how much do they need? Scientific research recommended levels of 0.7 to 1.2 ppm. Know your source - know how much you're giving them from their water, first.
*The AAP recommends that fluoride supplements be given daily to kids between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage and the method depends on how much fluoride naturally occurs in the water and the child's age.
*The CDC recommends that in communities where fluoride levels are greater than 2 ppm, parents should provide kids with water from an alternate source. This prevents them from receiving too much fluoride.
*Kids under 8 getting enough fluoride from their water do NOT need additional supplements because they can actually get TOO MUCH, a condition called fluorosis, or overexposure to fluoride, where their teeth become discolored.

*Fluoridated bottled water is actually available, if you'd prefer to give this to your kids instead of tap. But again - please note - kids under the age of 6 months do not need fluoride supplementation.
*Infants need less fluoride than older kids and adults. Some infants may be getting too much fluoride in the water used to reconstitute infant formula!

4) Okay, what other dangers could be lurking behind that tap?

- http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/112111/bottled_water_vs_tap_water_the_facts.html
- http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/fluoride_water.html
- http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/water-filtration-systems.htm
- http://www.all-about-water-filters.com/lead-in-drinking-water.html
- http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/