Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hidden Trouble – Drinking Water Contaminants

With an ever-growing emphasis placed on the eating of whole, organic foods, society continues to turn a discerning eye to the food and beverages we put in our bodies. Savvy shoppers attempt to keep toxins at bay by avoiding packaged and processed foods that contain a bevy of chemical additives; and it couldn't be soon enough – experts agree that toxins that we ingest – in addition to the toxins present in our environment – are responsible for a variety of disease including cancer. So as we strive to minimize the risks, we have to take a hard look at the things we take for granted; and one such thing is our drinking water supply. The truth is that there are drinking water contaminants that greatly compromise the quality of our water supplies and do more to damage our health than increase it.

There is an inherent level of toxins found in both public water supplies and even in bottled water. Most often – and especially in the United States – these levels are well within safe standards and the health risks are negligible. But in those areas where the drinking water contaminants are above these levels, the quality of the water is severely compromised and health issues can result. In the United States, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set forth legally enforced guidelines for water safety known as the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations – or Primary Standards. These Primary Standards allow for a maximum level of drinking water contaminants; if these drinking water contaminants exceed this maximum level they could result in serious health complications including gastrointestinal illness, bacterial illness, and even cancer. These drinking water contaminants enter our water supply through chemical plants, soil runoff, and as naturally occurring environmental contamination.

The National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations - or Secondary Standards - are not federally enforced – but rather recommended – guidelines set forth by the EPA that sets a maximum level of drinking water contaminants that produce more surface effects – such as water that has a bad taste, smell, or discolors clothing or skin. It is up to each individual state to decide if they wish to make the Secondary Standards enforceable.

It is up to each of us in our towns and cities across the nation to ensure that drinking water contaminants are minimally present in our water supply. If you are still concerned about toxins that may be ingested through your water you may want to look into the purchase of a drinking water filter system that can be permanently installed in your home or the ongoing delivery of a water cooler system.



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