Article 31: Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations created and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 30 articles defined THE inalienable rights for all people and all nations. Today, there is a call to add one more article to the declaration. “Recognizing that over a billion people across the planet lack access to clean and potable water and that millions die each year as a result, it is imperative to add one more article to this historic declaration, the Right to Water.”
If you’ve been reading my writings you know that I tend to focus on food issues. But for a moment I wanted to focus on water. Water is life. This is the first of at least two posts that will deal with water issues. This blog will look at the issue of clean water in America. Clean water in America? Really? Isn’t all the water that flows through our pipes and into our homes safe?
If you are like me, water is probably something you tend to take for granted. You take showers, you wash your clothes, you reach for the tap in your sink and you’re pretty confident that clean, potable water will be there for you. But for billions of people across the world water; finding it, transporting it, and making sure it’s clean, is the single most important part of their lives.
Even here in the United States, clean drinking water is a very important issue, and one that most people are not aware of. A recent study conducted at the Southern Nevada Water Authority (as reported New Scientist on January 11) surveyed drinking water for more than 28 million Americans. The survey screened water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds. The analysis revealed widespread low level presence of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals including beta blockers, herbicides banned in Europe, mood stabilizing drugs, estrogen hormones, painkillers, tranquilizers, antibiotics, anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-cholesterol drugs and many more.
No need to go to the doctor; just drink lots of water to get your daily does of FDA prescribed drugs! All jokes aside, the amounts of these contaminants in our water is a million times less than medical doses, but no one knows what the cumulative effect of drinking this contaminated water is.
After reading this survey I decided to contact my local water company to find out the real story of MY water. What I learned was that our water is very safe for what is tested for. But my water company just like every other one in the US does not test for antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals. It turns out that in the U.S., all water utilities follow only what is required by the Safe Water Drinking Act (remember that President Bush raised the limits on the amount of arsenic allowed in our drinking water, so I’d question the Federally approved levels of anything.)
I am not a doctor or scientist but you have to think that drinking water with any levels of pharmaceuticals has got to be bad for our health.
This is not new information to the EPA. There is an entire section on the EPA’s website covering Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as pollutants which they refers to as “any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons or used by agribusiness to enhance growth or health of livestock.”
According to the EPA: “More research is needed to determine the extent of ecological harm and any role it may have in potential human health effects. To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.” But rather then filtering it out, we will basically be human guinea pigs, drinking the contaminants until we (like the gender-switching fish) have genetic mutations.
So what can you do to make sure that water in your home is safe?
Well you could put in a water filtration system like a reverse osmosis system. If you are not comfortable with government set levels that this is may be the way to go. However, be forewarned, wastewater is a by-product of the reverse osmosis process. Better systems will make almost 4 gallons of water brine for every one-gallon purified, while lower grade systems can waste as much as 8 gallons of water per gallon purified.
Radiant Life Company sells a 14 stage Biocompatible Water system that filters everything, including pharmaceutical residues. The system will run you $1,595 plus shipping and then you need a plumber to install. It includes a reverse osmosis system as one of the stages so I would assume the wastewater by-product would increase with each additional stage.
Or you could just by a carbon filter like Brita to be on the safe side and drink the water from the tap. If you would like something more substantial while keeping the Brita filter feel, why not look at Quench water coolers, which filters like a Brita without the constant trips to the sink to fill up.
It is all up to personal choice and preference weighing the health and environmental effects — wasting water or not contaminating your body. I wish it was not one or the other.
But what we really should do is force the EPA to make sure our water is free and clear of all contaminants. We need to create petition to amend the Safe Water Drinking Act to require all water utilities to test and filter our drinking for pharmaceuticals.
Anyone want to help me?
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