Water is the most essential element of human life and it makes up about 60% of our bodies. While we can survive for weeks without food, we can only last few days without water. And so we are told to drink a minimum of 0.033L of water per every kilogram of body weight per day, which is minimum of 1.65L for a person my size. But did you know that just 1% of the world’s water is safe to drink? And that the average cost of the most popular bottled water in Australia is $2.75 per litre, which is nearly the double of fuel price?
Our water is not pure!
You might want to take a closer look at what’s coming out of your tap.
Tap water is treated with various chemicals in order to kill bacteria and other microorganisms and to supposedly improve our dental health. It can also contain other environmental pollutants such as toxic metal salts, hormones, and pesticides, or it may become contaminated by chemicals or microbes within pipes (e.g. lead, bacteria, protozoa). Even the NSW government website states that there is no such thing as naturally pure water!
Typical Tap Water Contaminants include
- Trihalomethanes (THMs)
- Arsenic, Radium, Aluminum, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Barium
- Hormones and Pharmaceuticals
- Pesticides (endocrine disruptors)
Although these contaminants often found in Australian water don’t occur in amounts large enough to kill you or make you feel violently ill just after one glass, you wouldn’t call it healthy to keep sipping on harmful chemicals all day every day. Not to mention the older or more sensitive you are, the more important it is to reduce your toxic load wherever possible.
In this day and age, we are exposed to harmful toxins in our environment on a daily basis and in many cases we can’t control it. What we can control, however, is what we put in our mouth, on our skin and what we use in our household. The toxins in our body accumulate in our tissues causing various health impairments. This is why I choose to avoid ingesting anything artificially enhanced or smearing my face and body with harmful chemicals. I’m lucky that my workplace has a water filter but I’m tired of carrying around large containers of water to use at home and so I’ve decided to get a reverse osmosis alkalizing water filter for my house.
The main reasons behind getting a water filter are to improve the taste and to get rid of fluoride, chlorine and heavy metals. Everything else is a bonus.
So what, you may ask, is the science behind my decision?
Chlorine – The Baby with the Bath Water
Chlorine is used to disinfect water and get rid of harmful bacteria. It actually eliminates most pathogens from the water we drink. But, according to scientists, daily intake of chlorine itself is harmful… plus it makes the water taste terrible.
Chlorine interacts with organic compounds and creates trihalomethanes (THMs), which produce free radicals in the body. Excessive free radicals can cause cell damage and even cancer in some cases. That’s why drinking chlorine-treated water is linked to tissue damage throughout the body, including the bladder and the rectum. Furthermore, chlorinated water is thought to be one of the causes of the rise in food allergies in the Western world and also appears to increase the risk of gastrointestinal cancer over a person’s lifetime by over 50%.
Scariest of all, however, is the impact chlorinated water has on our gut health. The gut is often called the second brain because most of our feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA are produced in the gut as well as 70% of our immune cells. A poorly functioning gut has a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing! Chlorine is added to water to kill pathogenic bacteria and other such living organisms – but your gut is part of a living organism too! Tissues aside, chlorine destroys our beneficial gut bacteria alongside destroying the bad.
Lead and other heavy metals
Copper pipes are used extensively in plumbing systems both in Australia and internationally. According to the NSW government website, tap water can contain elevated metals such as copper and sometimes lead when left standing in pipes for extended periods.
What’s the problem with this? Lead, for example, is a cumulative toxicant that affects various body systems and is very harmful to our central nervous system, especially in young children. It is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones and it accumulates in teeth and bones.
Fluoride is added to our water to prevent dental carries even though the research shows benefits from applying fluoride topically, not from ingesting it. On a contrary, drinking fluoride is toxic to the human body and can cause cognitive impairment, hypothyroidism, dental and skeletal fluorosis, enzyme and electrolyte derangement, and uterine cancer, especially in sensitive individuals. Once again, you won’t get all the damage from drinking one glass but what happens if you drink 2L of fluoridated water every day for the rest of your life? I know I don’t want to take my chances. When it comes to dental cavities, I opt for not consuming excessive amounts of sugar and especially not drinking sugary drinks. Problem solved!
These are only three out of the many health-based reasons I choose to filter my water.
But the reasons don’t stop with my health! Filtering my tap water is more cost effective and environmentally friendly than buying bottled water. A study comparing tap, bottled and filtered tap water found that treating water by domestic reverse osmosis equipment was the most environmentally friendly solution for the improvement of tap water taste and purity. In addition, an economic analysis indicated that this solution was between 8 and 19 times cheaper than bottled water.
Article by Veronika Larisova