What's In Your Water?
By Jordan Rubin
recent New York Times article unveiled nine unexpected and unwanted
substances in our drinking water. According to the article, more than
one-fifth of the nation’s water treatment systems have broken the Safe
Drinking Water Act, leading to about nine million Americans being
sickened. How’s your water?
Hopefully, your water is clean or you are at least
drinking purified water. That’s not the case for many people, however,
according to the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency
Many of our nation’s water treatment systems have
been found lacking when it comes to adhering to standards of the Safe
Drinking Water Act, which are enforced by the EPA. Here are some of
the substances the EPA has found in our drinking water:
Arsenic: A pesticide and wood sealant,
arsenic is found in soil and minerals, but can be deadly if ingested
at high levels. Intakes of lower levels can put a person at risk for
skin, liver, bladder and lung un-health. The EPA says more than 3
million Americans have been exposed to illegal concentrations of
arsenic in their water since 2005.
Uranium: Large amounts of uranium can lead to
unhealthy kidneys. While the EPA says levels of uranium in drinking
water are typically low, 3 million Americans were also exposed to
illegal amounts of this radioactive substance.
Radium: At low levels, radium can cause
anemia and cataracts. At high levels, radium is carcinogenic and can
cause bone, liver and breast un-health. The EPA reports that radium
levels in water were 2,000 times the legal limit in some areas.
Tetrachloroethylene: You can find this
chemical in dry cleaning and metal degreasing, but high exposure can
lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea and unconsciousness.
Exposure to high levels of tetracholoroethylene can also lead to
menstrual problems for women. The New York Times article stated that
the drinking water in Ramsey, N.J. has allegedly had illegal
concentrations of this substance since 2004.
Lead: Lead-tainted water can lead to physical
and mental developmental problems for kids and high blood pressure and
kidney problems for adults. If your house was built before 1986, you
may want to check if it has lead pipes, and also have your water
tested for lead content. The EPA’s threshold for lead is 0.015 parts
Prescriptions and Personal Care Items: Here
are the last four of the nine found. The EPA found that Prozac, birth
control, makeup and shampoo all make their way to our water supply,
too. These substances can cause ecological harm, but the jury’s still
out on whether these pose a health threat to humans. But still…who
wants to drink these? Not me.
If you’re curious about how your drinking water
measures up, you can go to the EPA web site at
http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo/index.html and check it
For more information on the quality of our
drinking water and bottled water,
see the article called
“The Quality of Our Drinking Water”
by Christine Dreher, Nutritionist & Herbalist.
Note: The content provided in this article is intended for
informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take
the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult
with your medical health care provider regarding any health concern or
health-related condition you may have.