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Archive for February, 2011

Amoebas? In America?

Posted by Rayne Water

Most Americans like to feel like their drinking water is really pretty clean. That is why each municipality has its own water treatment system to help guarantee the cleanliness of the water. Each water treatment facility also has to do their own testing for certain levels of bacteria, metals, minerals, and other common contaminants. These tests are guarded by the Environmental Protection Agency and their required levels of certain harmful substances. These safeguards are the things we must depend on when it comes to our safety and our drinking water.

It is common knowledge that when traveling to other countries it is best not to drink their water, to buy bottled water instead. This is a common practice among travelers to maintain their health and well being while on vacation since no one wants to spend their entire vacation in some hotel or airport bathroom. These other countries often have small microorganisms found in their water. One of these common microorganisms is the amoeba.

The amoeba is studied across the nation in middle school science rooms under a microscope. What students don’t learn is that this little organism is infesting water across the world – even in America. This little living organism can be incredibly dangerous as well as hardly be noticed at all. It all depends on the host to the organism. This microorganism can bring on disease such as corneal infection causing blindness and even a rapid brain inflammation that can lead to death. In other hosts it can cause far simpler symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, and mucus bloody stools. The really scary thing about this little amoeba though is not in the symptoms it can produce but more in the way it can hide from us.

Amoebas have an evil alter ego: After they infest the body as a dormant cyst and trophozoite (a later form that is motile and active), they travel to the small intestine where they become a Trojan and can carry around harmful bacteria allowing them to not only multiply inside the amoeba cells but also evade disinfection agents at water treatment facilities. An amoebic cyst can resist iodine and chlorine if concentration of these chemicals is too low. The amoeba’s life cycle includes forming a cyst which can be very resilient as the outer shell protects the organism and allows it to live outside the body for long periods of time. The infection is spread in cyst form making it easier for it to infect water supplies. Animals are the most common carriers thus spreaders of the disease.

The best answer to cleaning up this little microorganism is not only by the water treatment plant testing for it, but also by homeowners providing their own filtration system. Because this little organism is in the cyst stage when it is spread, filtration is the most effective water treatment process available today. The amoeba can actually survive boiling water and can live in water treated with certain levels of chlorine. At the current time water treatment plants are not required to test for the amoeba and in most cases are not even fully aware of the threat they pose. In fact, out of 26 studies done in 18 nations all had identified amoebas in some part of the drinking water systems. That is 100% contamination at some point on the way to where people would consume the water. In another group of studies on tap water, in 45% of the cases the amoeba was also found.

The water we drink is supposed to be safe and clean. However, there is only one way to be certain that it is and that is to take action for ourselves. The most important things in life shouldn’t be left to someone else to do for us, it’s up to us. There are home water treatment systems available that can help us guarantee our own drinking water safety. It’s time to do our own homework and see which system would fit our needs the best. Filtering our water can remove so many nasty little bugs and organisms not to mention minerals and metals that our bodies are better off without. Bottled water isn’t guaranteed unless it has been pasteurized, so the best answer remains at our own tap. Filter it, drink it, and appreciate the safety of it.

To read more on this subject, click here.

Pregnant? Watch Out For Lead!

Posted by Rayne Water

Of course we all know that lead is not good for us, but that our bodies can tolerate a certain amount without observable negative effects. If you are pregnant, however, that amount is much, much smaller. A recent headline on Science Daily’s website announced, “Lead exposure may affect blood pressure during pregnancy”.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have set thresholds for supposedly safe levels of lead at 40 um/dL, but in a study lead by Goldman of George Washington University’s School of Public Health, pregnant women who were exposed to lead had a significant increase in blood pressure at as low of a level as 2 um/dL! Of course blood pressure is typically somewhat higher during pregnancy, labor, and delivery as the heart pumps higher, but sustained high blood pressure during pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension) can lead to preeclampsia and eclampsia, which can be fatal or predispose women to a heart attack in their future.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that action be taken by women to reduce exposures to lead. According to one medical professional, lead exposure must be considered not only during the pregnancy, but also before conception. “Because lead is stored in bones for many years, even childhood exposure could impact lead levels in pregnancy.” The hope is, this study will help determine a truly safe lead exposure level.

One common place of lead exposure is in drinking water. Even though municipalities test for and remove lead, much of the lead that people ingest comes into their water after water treatment, and more often than not, from the pipes, valves, and solder within our very homes. The solution? A point-of-use drinking water system that has been certified to remove lead. The most thorough of these systems are reverse osmosis or a drinking water system with LINX® Technology. These systems of usually offered as under-the-counter or in a convenient bottleless water cooler.

To read more on this subject, click here.

Arsenic Makes It Back Into the News.

Posted by Rayne Water

Arsenic isn’t new to drinking water. It is a naturally-occurring mineral toxin that pops up in various water sources throughout the United States, just like one Texas community was faced with in an online news article. The residents there were drinking, bathing in, and cooking with drinking water that was plagued by the toxin without even knowing it. They were not notified of the arsenic, although it was required to be regulated quarterly according to state mandates. The main reason for the concern? Arsenic, when consumed in large amounts for a long period of time, can cause cancer and circulatory problems that are similar to the effects of diabetes. According to the article, “Arsenic enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.” This small community is surrounded by acres of rural farmland like those found all across this country in virtually every state.

As stated in the article, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowered the allowed arsenic levels in 2001 from 50 micrograms per liter to 10 micrograms per liter after scientific findings showed drinking water at the higher level posed a greater health risk.” Texas isn’t the only area where arsenic causes these health concerns. Communities all over the United States are finding levels beyond regulations which are bringing arsenic back to the forefront of the discussion. But in this small community, they will most likely have to continue serving residents drinking water that is over the allowed levels until funding is available to reduce the levels of arsenic.

So what should you do if you find that your community is being provided drinking water with “unsafe” levels of arsenic beyond federal regulations? Or perhaps you don’t want to wait until the powers that be tell you there is a problem? Don’t wait for your water supply company to secure funding, especially with the state of the economy today. Look into a water treatment company which provides you with a number of water treatment options like water coolers, water conditioners, reverse osmosis or a drinking water system that uses electricity for ion exchange rather than chemicals. Find a water treatment company that has eco-friendly and affordable products which will provide your family with immediately safe drinking water, rather than waiting for funds which may take longer than ever to reach your water supply company.