Seven Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Seven Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Sometimes, you worry about what’s in your drinking water. Some of the stories you read strongly suggest that you should filter your water, but you feel like these stories may be exaggerated.

It’s troubling to think that your tap and bottled water may not be safe. Aren’t regulations in place to ensure the cleanest drinking water?

The answer may surprise you. You may want to start drinking filtered water.

Here are seven good reasons why.

1. Tap water has hundreds of contaminants from a growing list; a lot for a regulatory body to keep up with

Tap water has contaminants from agriculture (pesticides, fertilizers), industrial pollutants, urban runoff chemicals (car emissions, road surfaces, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, flame retardants), and water treatment chemicals (disinfectant byproducts like trihalomethanes & haloacetic acids).

It’s an overwhelming list, isn’t it? Especially since many of these contaminants have been linked to cancer and liver, kidney and nervous system problems.

So what’s the problem? New chemicals are being constantly developed, so the list of contaminants for the EPA to regulate continues to grow.

To see what type of problem this creates, think of what happens in an overcrowded classroom. Say you’ve got an outstanding third grade teacher who starts the year with a class of 20 students. During the year, the principal sends a new student to his class every week. How well do you think that teacher is doing by midterm when the class goes over 35? How about spring break when the class is over 45? Probably not very well. In fact, you can imagine that this outstanding teacher is struggling terribly with a class that is too large and bursting at the seams.

The same situation applies to the EPA and water contaminants. Lots of contaminants, new contaminants piling up on the list and not enough time or resources for studies and regulations.

2. EPA enforceable standards may not be stringent enough

You’re probably not sure what this means. Did you know that the EPA sets two levels for water departments?

You may be wondering how this works.

The EPA sets two contaminant measures—one standard is enforceable while the other is not.

  • The unenforceable standard is called the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG). The MCLG is set at a level where no adverse health effects are expected.
  • The enforceable standard is simply called the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).

The MCL is set close to the MCLG, but also takes into consideration other factors such as cost and technology to remove the contaminants.

Think of the MCLG as considering your health and the MCL as considering your health and the costs of removing contaminants. As a result, your tap water may have unhealthy levels of contaminants (exceeding MCLG) but still be meeting the enforceable standards (meeting MCL).

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it? Your water is not as clean as the EPA experts think it should be for good health because the EPA also factored in the cost of meeting those safety levels.

To get an understanding of how this works, consider arsenic standards.

The EPA classifies arsenic as a known human carcinogen. Its MCLG is 0.00 meaning that to avoid the possibility of adverse health effects, water should not contain any arsenic. However, arsenic’s MCL or enforceable level is 0.01 which allows water supplies to contain arsenic and meet standards.

You’re probably not on board with drinking arsenic–didn’t think so.

3. The EPA does not regulate all pollutants

The EPA does not regulate all pollutants. In fact, in a 2009 study a total of 316 contaminants were detected and 202 of those contaminants had no safety standards. And, the study showed approximately 132 million people in the US had unregulated pollutants in their tap water.

Admit it. You’d much rather have safety standards for more contaminants. In the 2009 study, only 1/3 had safety levels. Does that seem like enough to you?

4. Your water department isn’t perfect

Your water department may be failing on certain regulatory standards.

People make mistakes. Processes fail. Equipment malfunctions. When these mistakes happen, they can affect a large number of people.

For example, during 2004-2009, EWG reports that water departments serving 53 million people failed to meet the MCL for TTHMS or Trihalomethanes a “likely carcinogen” according to the EPA.

5. Your house plumbing can add contaminants

Your house plumbing may be contributing to contaminants because water pipes can add significant pollutants to your water. So, as your tap water travels from your water treatment plant into your house, it could be picking up contaminants along with way.

6.  Fluoride levels may be too high

Tap water contains fluoride which can cause adverse health effects. A 2006 study of Fluoride in Drinking Water sponsored by the EPA recommended lowering the MCLG due to concerns about increased bone fracture rates and enamel fluorosis in children 0-8 years old. The committee also recommended further study about fluoride’s impact on endocrine (thyroid) and brain functioning.

The MCL and MCLG currently remain at 4 mg/L, an unsafe level according to the committee. For a full copy of the report, click here.

Seems hard to believe, right? A huge study conducted by many experts from around the country says that the fluoride goal is too high nine years ago, and the goal hasn’t been reset.

7. Bottled water is unregulated.

You may think that bottled water is a great solution since you believe it’s clean and pure. Bottled water is marketed as being pure, but how do you know?

The answer is…you don’t know.

Why? Because the bottled water industry is unregulated. No one is regulating or testing what goes into your bottled water.

And then there’s the problem with plastic waste as well as plastics leaching into your bottled water which makes bottled water even less attractive.

How to get the cleanest water

To get the cleanest water, use a water filter. You can easily install some solutions without a plumber.

Do you need help finding the best water filters? Learn more about water filters and solutions and which water filter solution is right for you.

Want to fast track this? You can find the right water filter type and brand using The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters for unbiased, performance-based recommendations.

Now, you’re armed with the facts about your drinking water, and you know that finding the right solution is pretty easy. So, what’s stopping you?

Sources:

  • 2012 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories; US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPAs Standards 2006. For full report http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571.html
  • EPA.GOV: Fluoride at a Glance
  • Environmental Working Group: Study Finds Hundreds of Pollutants in Nation’s Tap Water, Dec 2009

What’s In Your Air Freshener?

Air Freshener Chemicals

You like your home to smell fresh and clean so you use spray air fresheners, scented candles and plug-ins. The scents smell great, and you don’t have to worry about your house smelling funny when entertaining. You’ve smelled bad odors in other people’s homes, and you don’t want that happening to you.

Unfortunately, while you may love the way your air freshener makes your home smell, you may unknowingly be subjecting yourself to dangerous air freshener chemicals.

The facts about what’s in your air freshener may surprise you.

Research Shows Air Freshener Chemicals Are Harmful


The National Resources Defense Council tested 14 air fresheners and found that 12 of the fresheners contained phthalates.

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are known to cause birth defects and reproductive harm.

Are you pregnant or do you have young children at home? Avoiding air fresheners is especially important for you.


89 Airborne Contaminants Found in Popular Air Freshener Including a Likely Carcinogen


The Environmental Working Group tested Febreze Air Effects and found 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde which the EPA considers a likely human carcinogen.

In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals into the air. On average, one in five of these chemicals were hazardous substances.

Half the air fresheners tested released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.

Kinda frightening, isn’t it?

By using air freshener chemicals, you are releasing carcinogens and hormone-disruptors into your home.


Reading Labels Doesn’t Help


Even if you read the labels, it won’t help because it’s impossible to get a full list of ingredients for most air fresheners sold in the US.

Why?

Because there is no requirement to show all ingredients. You may have noticed the word Fragrance listed as an ingredient. The word Fragrance includes more than 3000 ingredients including many chemicals that have not been assessed for safety. The Consumer Products Safety Commission does not require product manufacturers to list all product ingredients.

You may think that purchasing products labeled as All Natural or unscented is a good solution.

Sadly, the term “All Natural” is a meaningless, unregulated term. All Natural is simply a marketing term to convey product safety where none exists.

It gets even worse.

In the study, products labeled “unscented” also contained hazardous chemicals. In some cases, manufacturers add fragrance to unscented products to make the product smell unscented. So, buying unscented products is not the solution. And, the label won’t help you.


Aerosol, Spray, Solid, Candle or Plug-in Air Fresheners Contain Dangerous Chemicals


So, what types of air fresheners should you be worried about? Sadly, all types of air fresheners contain dangerous chemicals. So, whether you are using an aerosol, spray, solid, candle or plug-in air freshener, chances are you are breathing in unwanted chemicals.

Yes, even scented candles release harmful substances.


Options for Freshening Without Air Fresheners


So, what are your options for a clean smelling home?

1. Improve ventilation by opening a window or using a fan.

2. Use baking soda to remove odors.

3. Use a room spray scented with essential oils and uses water as a base.

4. Purchase Air Purifiers/Cleaners to remove odors. The Austin Healthmate Plus™ and Healthmate Plus Jr™ are designed to remove odors. Learn more about Austin Air HealthMate™.

The air cleaners are capable of trapping 99.97% of all polluting particulates, so your home will smell clean and be free of dust, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, chemical vapors, gases, viruses and bacteria. The Healthmate Plus™ cleans 1500 sq ft and the Healthmate Plus Jr™ cleans 700 sq ft. The Junior versions are perfect for bedrooms or nurseries.

With air purifiers, you and your family can sleep in a clean, fresh environment without chemicals.


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Sources:

Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development; Natural Resources Defense Council Sept 2007

Your Best Air Freshener Isn’t An Air Freshener; Environmental Working Group Sept 2011

Why You Should Ditch Your Vinyl Shower Curtain

 

Why You Should Ditch Your Vinyl Shower Curtain

Plastic shower curtains made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) are toxic to your health. You may have noticed a strong smell when you opened a new vinyl shower curtain or had a vinyl shower curtain in your hotel room.


 Vinyl Shower Curtains Release 108 VOCs


A study showed these PVC shower curtains release as many as 108 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) some of which cause developmental damage as well as damage to the liver and central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems.

In addition to VOCs, the shower curtains were also found to contain phthalates and metals. The study found some of these chemicals lingered in the air 28 days after a curtain was hung. Clearly, this is a significant contributor to indoor air pollution that can be easily avoided.

Your best bet is to look for shower curtains that are labeled vinyl-free or PVC-free or ones made of organic cotton.

So what about other products made with PVC? You should try to avoid those as well. These include toys, kitchen items and more.

Why You Should Ditch Your Vinyl Shower Curtain

Suggested Reading:
Why You May Want to Rethink Dry Cleaning
Are Your Personal Care Products Safe?

Sources:
Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain’s Chemical Smell. Sponsored by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice’s (CHEJ) PVC Campaign and the Work Group for Safe Markets.

How to Use 21st Century Medicine to Heal From Chronic Illness

How to Use 21st Century Medicine to Heal Your Chronic Illness

Maybe it’s happened to you too. You’ve left another doctor’s office without resolution to your problem. The prescription in your pocket is destined for the trash.

You feel abandoned. You try not to picture your future. How many more times will you go to the well and come back with an empty glass?

So, what do you do?

20th century medicine has failed you, repeatedly.

Try 21st century medicine. Find a physician who has been trained in functional medicine on top of their traditional medical school training.

What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is state of the art medicine for chronic disease. It focuses on you and not the disease.

Here’s the key point to functional medicine:

A functional medicine practitioner will strive to find the root cause of dysfunction and not just treat your symptoms.

Be honest.

You can’t remember the last time a physician spoke to you about finding the root cause, can you?

To find the root cause, functional medicine addresses you as a whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Here’s a good example.

Say you have gastrointestinal problems, migraines and fatigue. A traditionally trained practitioner might send you to a gastroenterologist (because they don’t know how the gut operates), prescribe a pharmaceutical drug for your migraines and some other band-aid treatment for your fatigue.

A functional medicine-trained practitioner will take a different approach.

Since they are equipped to treat you as a whole person, they will address the root causes of these symptoms, frequently without referrals or their prescription pad. Your practitioner will strive to understand what’s driving your migraines, gut dysfunction and fatigue.

They will see you as a whole system with related parts and not pieces to be farmed out to other doctors.

Makes a lot of sense, right?

What Makes Functional Medicine Practitioners So Special & Effective

Functional medicine practitioners actually listen to you!

Admit it.

You’ve probably been in doctors’ offices where they have one hand on the door knob as you’re trying to ask a question at the end of your ten minute appointment.

Unlike traditionally-trained doctors, these practitioners listen to your history and look at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence your long-term health and complex, chronic disease.

This is medicine that listens to you, and treats you as an individual.

Functional Medicine Uses Extensive Testing

Functional medicine is science-based and uses extensive laboratory testing. Instead of a one page blood work up report, your report will likely be 10+ pages and be filled with results you’ve never seen before.

Depending on your issues, you may have nutritional evaluation reports that show you where you are deficient in vitamins and minerals as well as adrenal function reports and so on.

You’ll wonder how your former practitioner treated you without these detailed “body system performance” reports.

Functional Medicine Requires Serious Work On Your Part

Practitioners use these laboratory tests and their interviews with you to develop your program which can include drugs and botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs or stress management techniques.

You probably realize what this means — lots of changes for you.

Once your practitioner has figured out the root causes of your issues, you’ll have to stop doing some things and start doing others like changing your diet, taking supplements and more.

You won’t have any problem being motivated because you’re strong.

After all, you’ve been living through hell and surviving, right?

The Benefits of Functional Medicine

What you’ll love about functional medicine:

  • Focus is on prevention
  • Treats underlying causes and not just symptoms which is critical because almost every complex, chronic disease is preceded by long-term disturbances in functionality (you probably didn’t get sick overnight)
  • Relies heavily on your story and participation; you and the practitioner are partners
  • Integrates Western medicine with the best alternative medicine providing many treatment options

A variety of practitioners including MDs and DOs can be certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine. You can find these practitioners on the functionalmedicine.org site under Find a Practitioner by zip code.

Admit it.  You’d like to get back to taking your health for granted again, right?

I’d Love To Hear From You

Have you seen a practitioner trained in functional medicine? What was your experience? Do you think that current approaches to chronic illnesses work?

Will You Stay in Touch?

When you’re not well for a long period of time, you can easily become isolated. Below are a couple of ways to help with that.

wellness quote

Stay in touch by following the Pinterest board – Vibrant Health – Chronic Illness. You’ll find lots of useful information especially about chronic fatigue.

And, sign up for The Zen of Pure Living 12 week email series.

Because let’s be honest.

You’ve got better things to do than to figure out how to keep your home healthy while you’re focusing on your health. You’d like to have it neatly presented to you without feeling overwhelmed.

You’ll learn how to clean up your water and indoor air, and why. How to redecorate without health consequences. How to clean with the safest products. Why you should dust more, what cooking oils to roast with, the safest and most effective personal care products and more.

So, sign up today because you’ll get just enough information to make you wise while maintaining your peace.

Sources:

Functionalmedicine.org, Institute of Functional Medicine