How Big is the Problem?
Lead poisoning from drinking water is such a significant concern right here in Ontario that it has prompted every major city to require schools and day-care centers to test for lead annually. Many day-care centers use water filters. There are many reports from both government departments and public health organizations which advise pregnant women and young children not to drink unfiltered water. There is no safe level for lead - any amount of lead is poisonous. In Canada and the USA, all buildings that were built before 1990, even those that have copper piping, contain water piping that is joined with lead-based solder. Therefore, anyone drinking tap water or cooking with tap water is at risk of lead poisoning.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released statistics showing that nearly 1 million children aged one through five continue to have elevated blood lead levels. If you currently do not have a water filter, the very minimum that you should do is to flush your tap for a few minutes before anyone consumes it. You should never make baby formula with unfiltered tap water.
Canada's CBC news sampled water from homes across the country and found 15 out of 50 homes – nearly one-third - had lead levels above the national guideline. Whereas, the other 35 homes with level less than federal guidelines are also not safe to drink because any amount of lead is poisonous. One even had levels at 250 times the allowable limit. Look at the results on the right side of this page. If you live in the city, then you are at risk. If you live in a home built prior to 1970, then you are probably consuming water containing high lead levels because your home likely contains lead-soldered pipes.
Symptoms of lead poisoning
- - headaches
- - abdominal pain
- - vomiting
- - irritability
- - weight loss
- - attention deficit disorders
- - slow speech development
- - hyperactivity
- - anti-social behaviors
Effects of lead poisoning
- - Lowered I.Q.
- - Reading and Learning Disabilities
- - Speech and Language Handicaps
- - Mental Retardation
- - Neurological Deficits
- - Behavior Problems
- - Kidney Disease
- - Heart Disease
- - Stroke
- - Death
How does lead leach into water?
In several buildings that were built before 1996, the plumbing pipes, fittings, and fixtures can leach lead into the drinking water above the current standard. For example, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc to which lead is added to improve its performance for die casting, the process in which plumbing valves, faucets, and couplings are made. When in contact with water, the brass can leach lead into the water by the process of corrosion.
Do a Flush Before Consumption
The leaching rates alter with the quality of the water and the age of the plumbing. Also, the lead concentration in water develops as it sits in the pipe. Therefore, lead concentration is the highest in the morning because water sits overnight.
It is recommended that you flush the water for 3 minutes in the morning before drinking from the tap. The lead concentration can be 10 times higher compared to after flush. It is found that the lead concentration can build back up to 80% within 2 hours after you flush the water. Therefore, the first recommendation is to get a filter that removes lead. The other option is to flush your water before you use the water for consumption or for cooking.
Top Reverse Osmosis Technology
This method uses the Reverse Osmosis process where water is driven through a semi-permeable membrane, leaving undesired pollutants and contaminants behind. A Reverse Osmosis unit will give you clear, clean, fresh drinking water. The process uses no chemicals or electricity. It's the most efficient technology recognized for the improvement of drinking water.
Shower Filter & Health
Chlorinated Water: The good and the bad …
Chlorinated water is one of the most significant findings of mankind. It sanitized our drinking water and nearly eliminating many diseases that occur from contaminated water. Yet, some health specialists claim that chlorinated water is also a time bomb for our health. Externally, it dries our skin and hair. Internally, it hits our lungs, organs, and it is a cancer-causing agent. There are reams of published materials from both the private division and the government connecting chlorine and cancer.
Cancer: Showering is equivalent to drinking 3 glass of chlorinated tap water
Each time we take a shower, we inhale in the chlorine gas that diffuses into the air. The amount of chlorine is similar to us drinking 3 glasses of chlorinated water, which is damaging to our bodies because it is continuous every day. A shower filter will give you a chemical-free shower experience.
Cosmetic Benefits of Shower Filters
Shower filters offer great cosmetic benefits in addition to their cost savings. People pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to look appealing by applying luxurious lotions and creams to their skin and hair, and by going for skin and hair therapies. While they are performing that, they are washing in chlorinated water, which is causing just the opposite - damaging skin and hair. Using a shower filter to eliminate the chlorine means that the costly lotions and creams become more efficient. The result of hair coloring treatment last longer without chlorine bleach. With a shower filter, you can save money by lesser visits to fancy spas, and salons.
Showering in a "Natural Water"
Using a shower filter is like showering in natural spring water a chemical-free experience. High-end spas and salons use them, and now you can enjoy a healthy shower filter right in your own home. The privileges of a shower filter are instantly noticeable and long-lasting.
Shower Filter Medias
Shower filter media may be formed of various materials. Few shower filter brands use one or a combination of multiple elements.
Activated Carbon (AC): is a carbon substance and is highly efficient in decreasing organic chemicals and chlorine in cold water. But, its performance is lessened as the temperature of the water moves up. The life-span of AC carbon in shower filters is really precise.
KDF: the most regularly used de-chlorination media and made of a copper/zinc alloy. The life of KDF shower filters is excellent in district water.
Vitamin C is a new element in household shower filter uses. More ordinarily used in commercial and industrial applications. It is alleged to be efficient in de-chlorination.
Flushing Your Shower Filter Before Using
Once you switch on the taps, the water that gets out of your shower filter will be black color. This is natural. A brand new shower filter contains a lot of filter dust made of KDF and black carbon, and it is advised that you flush the shower filter unit before use. See the package for prescribed flush time. Typically, flush time is about 2 minutes.
A water softener can give water that is gentle, beautifying, and enriching. Soft water means soft, clean skin, softly silky, more manageable hair. Hard water stops soap from lathering easily and gives difficulty to rinse off. It frequently leaves an undetectable film that blocks pores, attracting and holding dirt and bacteria, producing chapping, itching, and dryness. Hair washed in hard water turns limp and lifeless; hair coloring often does not penetrate equally. Water that has been softened helps reduce or lessen these problems. It allows you to use minor amounts of soap, shampoo, and skincare products. It enhances the efficiency with which they work. Now with a water softener, you can experience the luxury of a softer world. Youth and beauty are priceless when you have the money.
Water Softener + Chlorine Filter
There are whole-house systems that combine a water softener and chlorine filter to give the benefit of soft water and chlorine-free water. Chlorinated water cause damage to our skin. Chlorine is considered a strong oxidant and is used in bleaching and disinfectants of city water. We are primarily bleaching our bodies day in and day out. Without Chlorine filter, the chlorine removes the natural oil that preserves your hair and skin, leaving the hair dry, brittle, prone to dandruff, and challenging to maintain. Leaving the skin feeling dry and seldom itchy. It is like getting out of a swimming pool where the chlorine absorbs all the body moisture. It can produce or further aggravate rashes and other skin irritations. With a water softener and chlorine filter, you can now experience the feeling of showing in natural rainwater, giving you smoother skin and softer hair.
Water Softener + Chlorine Filter Combo Benefits:
- Smoother skin and silkier hair
- Removes chlorine and chemicals
- Removes scale build-up on pipes, water appliances, and water spots.
- Clothes are softer, cleaner, brighter
- Dishes are cleaner with less soap.
- Appliances using water such as dishwasher, clothes washer, water heaters, boilers, ice makers, etc. last longer and are more efficient.
- No maintenance required and just replace the salts in the water softener tank.
Chlorine Gas During Showering
Taking a shower after a hard working day is relaxing and rewarding. Sometimes, the smell of chlorine makes it less pleasant. The chlorine in the water actually turns into a gas as we take a warm shower. It is found that we breathe in a large quantity of chlorine gas in one setting, and the amount is equivalent to us drinking 3 glasses of chlorinated water. The chlorinate in its gas state will go directly into our bloodstream, making it more lethal. This is why one must use a small shower filter or a large whole house chlorine filter.
Half Million Chemicals
There have been a half-million new chemicals developed since 1965 alone. Most of these organic pollutants are modern hydrocarbon chemicals such as plastic and pesticides. Some are not biodegradable. Most are soluble in water, and thousands are known to be toxic.
In 1991, the U.S. Congressional Research Service revealed that 10% of the 1.4 million underground gasoline storage tanks in the U.S. are currently leaking. There are also an estimated 16,000 municipal landfills and 181,000 industrial waste sites in the United States that leech contaminants into our water supplies. Agricultural pesticides and highway de-icing chemicals are other contaminants.
Contamination in the distribution system
Water can be contaminated during its travel from the treatment plant to home. Lead, asbestos, and cement pipes used in municipal water distribution systems can allow harmful substances to leech into drinking water.
MUNICIPAL WATER: Warning
Chlorine, used by municipalities to disinfect water supplies, can react with naturally occurring organic materials in water. For example, decayed leaves can create trichloroethane, a suspected cancer-causing chemical. Dr, Joseph M. Price, MD, in his book "Coronaries /Cholesterol /Chlorine," wrote that the cause of arteriosclerosis, resulting in a heart attack. Strokes are none other than the chlorine in our drinking water. A recent study by the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality has established a definite link in the chlorination of water and cancer. One of the studies showed that the cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those who live where the water is not chlorinated.
COMMON WATER QUALITY CONCERNS
- Asbestos - It occurs naturally in rock, and is linked to several types of cancer.
- Bad tastes and odors - caused by chlorine, usually used by municipalities to disinfect the water supply. They are also produced by tea-like extracts of dead leaves, and by metals such as iron and copper.
- Bacteria and viruses - causing infectious illnesses such as typhoid fever and hepatitis. A chemist in a Texas university tested glass of water under a high powered microscope. He discovered tiny bits of paper, which turned out to be toilet paper, and 85% of the water contained blood-worms and hair shavings.
- Arsenic - cause harm to the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. It can also cause cancer.
- Lead - estimated that 40 million Americans currently drink water containing more than the limit set by the EPA. Lead poisoning can cause mental retardation and birth defects.
- Heavy metals - High levels of cadmium, mercury, and lead in drinking water can cause nerve damage, mental retardation, birth defects, and cancer.
- Synthetic organic chemicals - one example is pesticides, which are carried into groundwater by rain. They can cause respiratory and nerve disorders.
- Trichloroethane (THM's) - formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter in water, such as from decaying leaves. They can cause cancer.
- Volatile organic chemicals - these are gasoline, solvents, and industrial cleaners. They can cause many illnesses, including liver cancer and leukemia.
The Environment Protection Agency composes a list of contaminants in drinking water that are health hazardous. When it comes to water pollution, tap water in Canada is not that much better than that in the US.
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs or primary standards) are legally enforceable standards that apply to public water systems. Primary measures protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water.
List of Contaminants & their MCLs
- Disinfection Byproducts
- Inorganic Chemicals
- Organic Chemicals