Water is our most essential nutrient, responsible for the transport of oxygen & nutrients into and out of our cells. Water is also essential for the transport of waste (including many toxins) out of the body.
We are actually made up of 60% water, and we need to drink lots of it to keep us humming and thriving all day long.
Have you thought much about the quality of the water you drink?
Especially in light of what happened in Flint, MI, where over 100,000 people were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, this is worth thinking about.
Many of you have travelled abroad to countries where you can’t drink the tap water. In the U.S., we assume that because we're not getting acutely sick, our water is clean and safe and we don't have to worry about it.
What about the low levels of things like pharmaceuticals, narcotics, antibiotics, agricultural pesticides and herbicides, estrogens, heavy metals like arsenic and lead, DEET, and cancer-causing chemicals that we consume daily through our "clean" water?
There are contaminants that are unintended, like those listed above, and those that are intentionally added in, like chlorine and fluoride, that can also be harmful to health.
I personally am alarmed with the high rates of thyroid disease in so many women, myself included, and was sad to learn that communities with fluoride added to drinking water have higher rates of hypothyroidism. Most of the water in the U.S. has fluoride added. I knew I had to get that out.
Pesticides are capable of interfering with your hormones. Of particular concern is Atrazine, found in 94% of US drinking water tested by the USDA. Exposure to atrazine, at levels found in drinking water, can lead to insulin resistance, and an increase in abdominal fat and overall weight.
And the list goes on.
Do what I did and google your local water quality report which should be public information. You'll find out about the source of your water and what levels of regulated contaminants are present.
So if you want clean water, what are the options?
Happily, there are two good options:
1. Be lucky enough to live near a natural spring.
Get your water from a clean mountain source like I did here while hiking in the mountains outside Asheville, NC. (That was some good tasting water!)
2. Or, filter your water.
The standard Brita filter that most households use reduces only chlorine, mercury, copper, cadmium and zinc according to their website. (Not even lead.) How much of a reduction? Doesn’t say.
Plus, I remember using Brita in my 20s when I first moved to DC and hardly ever changed the filter. My husband says he used to leave his Brita filter in for two years.
Used that way, it's basically a pretty water pitcher.
After doing extensive research on different water filters, and having my scientist husband research it as well, we chose a Berkey carbon filter which takes out all the nasty stuff.
From their website:
The Black Berkey filters have been tested by several EPA-accredited laboratories including the Department of Toxicology and Environmental Science at Louisiana University, Spectrum Labs, and the University of Phoenix. This extensive testing confirmed that the Black Berkey Purification Elements far exceed EPA and ANSI/NSF (Std. 53) protocol.
That’s right – it’s proven to reduce the toxicity of your water beyond EPA standards and even purifies 99.99% of viruses and bacteria. Which means in case of emergency, you could run rain water through a Berkey and have plenty of safe drinking water.
I like that they also have a lot of transparency on their website about the water filtering performance, including filtration specifications showing exactly what is filtered, a comparison of different brands and what contaminants are filtered, and the cost per gallon.
Problem solved. (Though I wouldn't mind living in the mountains near a spring someday!)
How about the cost? Water from the Berkey breaks down to 1.6 to 4 cents per gallon. That’s a lot less than Brita which doesn’t filter out nearly as much.
It’s easy to use – you just dump water in the top and in a few minutes, it’s purified and ready.
What I love most is that I don’t have to remember to constantly buy new filters since they last for 6000 gallons.
Extra Tip: you don’t want to shower in chlorine either. Make sure you remove chlorine from your shower water, as it can easily be absorbed into your skin. If you have a thyroid condition, this is especially important. For showering, get a shower filter.
What about bottled water?
For starters, plastics used to make water bottles can contain dozens of chemical additives, manufacturing impurities, and breakdown byproducts. That means there are more than 80 additional contaminants that could be leaching into your water. And if your plastic bottles are out in the sun, that causes more chemicals to leach into the water. Not good.
The other main concern about bottled water is that most of them end up in landfills each year, rather than being recycled. These bottles can release toxic chemicals as they decompose, chemicals that can make their way into the soil and waterways. Millions of tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year and impact marine life.
The cost to the environment is high enough. But in addition, buying bottled water is also more expensive than filtering your water at home.
Unless you live near a natural spring, get a good quality filter and drink up!