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Archive for the ‘water quality’ Category

Water and sanitation a basic human right

SOURCE - AP File Photo
image – AP File Photo

The United Nations General Assembly has declared that each person on the planet has a right to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. World leaders in 2000 called for the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to be cut in half by 2015 (see the Millennium Development Goals)

This relates to the almost one billion people without access to safe and clean drinking water while more than 2 billion have no sanitary means of disposing human waste. The consequence of this lack of access shows up in the high numbers of children, more than one million, who die each from water and sanitation-related diseases.

Bolivia was the country sponsoring the resolution with 122 countries voting “aye” and 41 countries deciding not to vote, to abstain, such as the United States and many Western nations though Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Norway supported it. The United States remains, however, “deeply committed to finding solutions to our water challenges,” but the resolution “describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law.” READ MORE HERE

The resolution states that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

READ MORE

QUESTION TO BE PONDERED – COULD THIS ENGENDER THE NEXT WAR? OR WILL THIS LEAD US TO WORLD PEACE?

Water

To our readers

Ensuring environmental sustainability is a goal – Goal 7 – of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Muriella’s Corner is committed to support its implementation, in partnership with all who intend to help more than one billion people release their creative energies, to help free them from the shackles of a life of continuing and overwhelming poverty.

Some of you might have noticed that water has been a recurring topic* on Muriella’s Corner and blogs. This seeming bias is due to almost three decades of work in the United Nations in the area of environment, water and sanitation.

REMEMBER TO STAND UP FOR THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY ON

17 OCTOBER 2007

Muriella’s Corner

*These are earlier issues on water
To filter or not…
End of an era…error?
Environment and you
Water, water, ice
Tips for Travelers to the Tropics

Most of my work took me to developing countries over short and long periods, working with communities, governments and not-for-profit agencies in the drilling of wells, installation of handpumps, building of latrines.

The theme of water vibrates around the globe. In most developing countries, water quantity and water quality are main hurdles for the people. In others, water quality is the main challenge.

I have seen, first hand, the pain and suffering diseases cause to families who ingest and bathe in water populated by parasites – diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm), schisostomiasis,bilharziasis, and all the -isises- you can think of.

People’s lives are very affected, too ill to work, not enough time to go to school as fetching water is one of the main duties, especially of girls, and so on.

But they are forced to drink what is available, even though the source is questionable.

They have no CHOICE.

On the other hand, in the developed countries, there is no lack of water. In the quest to make the water potable, many chemicals are added. One of the most insidious is chlorine.

But, since exotic diseases are not present in the water supply, people are hardly concerned about the chemicals and as such continue to drink,shower and bathe in chlorinated water (swimming pools reek of chlorine).

Some are buying bottled water, but here again, hardly any attention is given to health issues – e.g. the water source from which the water is bottled is questionable; the plastic containers are questionable, pollution issues, the financial costs of buying a bottle of water – not enough to drink per day; no attention given to the water used for showering, bathing, cooking, etc., etc.

What is to be done?

The most important thing, we believe, is for people to know that they have a choice. Information propelled them to be users of bottled water, to choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water. But if their grasp of what propelled them is understood overall, they would also be concerned about the water used for showering, bathing, cooking.

We have prepared a comprehensive newsletter on Water with the following headings:

The Water Cure
Different types of water
Bottled Water – clear choices
Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems
Chlorine and cancer?
Chlorine and Asthma?
Testimony on drinking water
Discussion H2O

Given the amount of information this entails, we have decided to send it to you in short sips, so that you can click through and read the article you prefer. We recommend however that you read all of them as they will be of use to you as you make your choices.

We have also developed podcasts on water and can make them available upon request.

We will continue the focus on drinking water (quality and quantity), given the focus on this issues as Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals

-Reducing poverty and achieving sustained development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet. The Millennium Goals recognize that environmental sustainability is part of global economic and social well-being. Unfortunately exploitation of natural resources such as forests, land, water, and fisheries-often by the powerful few-have caused alarming changes in our natural world in recent decades, often harming the most vulnerable people in the world who depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020. (Source: millenniumcampaign.org)

For full articles and links go to this webpage

Thank you

Muriella’s Corner

bottled water vs tap water invasion of the plastics

Make your own bottled water – get a filter and save the planet from the invasion of the plastics!

We have been following this trend – read make your own bottled water and save the planet  and bottled vs tap water

Why are people continuing to spend billions of dollars on bottled water? Why are people mindlessly engaging in pollution of the planet, billions of plastic bottles each year?

Again the headlines scream –

Bottled water: A river of money

Clean water comes out of the tap for next to nothing, yet Americans spend more on bottled water than on movie tickets or iPods — a stunning $15 billion last year. Here’s a look at a booming industry’s economics and psychology.

We Americans pitch 38 billion water bottles a year into landfills — in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic. And 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Read more here

For documentary on breast cancer click here

Tap water, fluoride, cavities – brush with bar soap

Updated 29 June 2007

The article below reminds us of effects over time of actions taken to improve public health, effects which can cause more harm than good in the long run, with the consumer bearing the brunt of the consequences.

The practice of adding fluoride to water started some 60 years ago, and is widely held by dentists and public health experts to have been a major factor in the improvement in dental health seen in individuals living in areas where water fluoridation is practiced… the science shows that water fluoridation is of relatively limited benefit, and has the capacity to do considerable harm – including to our teeth!

Up until recently, the the most comprehensive study to assess the effectiveness of water fluoridation (often referred to as the ‘York study’) found that just one in six people drinking fluoridated water benefits from this practice [1]. However, drinking fluoridated water was also found to cause serious ‘dental fluorosis’, a condition in which the teeth become mottled, discoloured or even pitted due to excess fluoride.

Update 24 May 2007

Diethylene glycol ( an industrial solvent used in engine coolants and anti-freeze) was found in toothpaste sold in the Dominican Republic and Panama .

In the 36,000 tubes of possibly contaminated toothpaste were tubes of toothpaste marketed for children with bubble gum and strawberry flavors sold under the name of “Mr. Cool Junior.”

FDA checking toothpaste imports from other countries, including China. In Australia there is some evidence of contaminated toothpaste.

Wash your mouth with soap

Know about the link between fluoride in toothpaste, fluoride in tap water, and your dental health.

This blog is dedicated to our pearly whites.

I have been researching issues of gingivitis and periodontal disease for over a year now, as I was told that my gums are infected and that I am in danger of losing bone, and of course, teeth, as time progresses, i.e. as we age.

I have since found what I believe is the primer on caring for teeth and gums – Good Teeth from Birth to Death by Dr Judd.

What endeared me to the information in the book was an interesting meet up with two dentists on the same day – the periodontist saying that my gums were very inflamed and that I would have to have surgery; my regular dentist saying, just 20 minutes later, that my gums seemed in good condition, not inflamed in response to my query. Click here for issue of Muriella’s Corner on gum disease and inflammation.

After obtaining the Judd information, I came across Tooth Soap, and have been using it for a while now, combining oil pulling with brushing with soap, and have seen some improvements.

For those, like me, who would like to save their teeth and heal their gums, try Tooth Soap

http://snipurl.com/1io7v

Dr Judd has placed in everyone’s hand the complete answer to tooth cavities.

Following this procedure there will not be one more cavity, one more gingivitis case, or one more fluorosed, brittle, cracked tooth in the world. Bad teeth in Ireland, Canada, the USA, Britain, Australia and New Zealand will now be curbed.

Dr Judd’s 55-year fight with fluoride promoters (dentists) in these countries is over since research now establishes for certain that fluoride makes the teeth WORSE and not better. My book, Good Teeth, Birth to Death lays out in no uncertain terms all the detail to achieve my claims. Click here to purchase Good Teeth, Birth to Death
Dr Judd has talked to thousands of people about their teeth, many of whom have perfect teeth. In all those cases of perfect teeth, the practice of rinsing while eating has been the reason, and not fluoride. He found out that perfect teeth have little or nothing to do with genetics. The best way to have perfect teeth besides staying away from greedy or incompetent dentists is to pursue the following behavior:

Rinse acids off the teeth during eating
Brush the teeth with bar soap

Take calcium pills with vitamin D daily

Take monosodium phosphate daily

Take freshly made sodium ascorbate daily for gum connections to the teeth

Dispense with the worry that bacteria harm teeth: THEY CANNOT

Dispense with the worry that sugar destroys teeth. Dr Judd found that sugar has little or nothing to do with cavities

Avoid all fluoride products. They destroy teeth, unravel enzymes and cause 113 ailments

His 117-page book, Good Teeth, Birth to Death covers the perfect teeth subject thoroughly including the fluoride controversy. It is a product of thousands of hours of research. The index alone is 41 pages.
The Journal of Pub Health Dentistry, Nov 1993, published an article about a tooth decay epidemic in the US since 42% of people over 65 years of age have no natural teeth, 44-year-olds have an average of 30 decays, 17-year-olds have an average of 11 decays, the blacks and the poor are twice as bad as this and the American Indians have four times the tooth trouble.

American Indians have free dental care, and have had since almost the beginning of fluoridation. If fluoride helped prevent cavities at a rate of 80% per 15 years as the proponents of fluoride claimed in the beginning of the early studies of the forties, US residents would now have less than 2 cavities per person.

In MediZine, V6 #2, April of 2000, the American Dental Association again stated that a dental epidemic exists and 42% of those over 65 years of age and 25% of those over 44 years of age have no natural teeth. They admit their ignorance as to why.

4 curves representing a total of 480,000 students and covering over 30 years of study indicate that the increasing concentration of fluoride in drinking water from 0 to 1 ppm increases the cavities 7, 43, 22 and 10% in Japan, Tucson, India and the US. In other words, fluoridation about doubles cavitation from the normal (Dr Judd’s calculation). Numerous studies verify the fact that fluoridation of water increases cavities.

Tooth enamel (essentially calcium phosphate) reacts with all acids to form cavities (see any chemistry text dealing with solubilities). The proton of the acid pulls the phosphate right out of the enamel, and fast. By drinking a sip of water along with the acid during eating, the acid reacts chemically with water immediately to form hydronium ion and thus the enamel is saved. One can use milk or coffee for the same purpose, since they are both non-acidic. Dr. Albert Schatz, Nobelist who discovered streptomycin, found several decades ago that sharks’ teeth with their excessive fluoride would dissolve just as readily in citric acid as ordinary non-fluoridated teeth, laying to rest the hypothesis that fluoride would stop cavities.

The American Dental Association pushed aside this discovery and Dr. Schatz’ discoveries regarding excessive baby mortalities caused by fluoridation in Chili, South America as insignificant. They returned his mail 3x unopened and would not deal with him.
Some harmful acids (with pH <4) which are tart to the taste and attack the enamel include lemons, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, vinegar, cider, vitamin C (especially chewable) and stomach acid. The lower the pH, the more rapidly the acids attack. Body acid (extremely weak) is insignificant in this process. Non-acid foods such as beans, bread and potatoes have no action on teeth. Worry about such foods is over.

The only worry about non-acid foods is if they will crack the teeth due to their hardness. Chewing ice, unpopped corn kernels, extremely hard nuts, bones or other hard objects is not smart, since teeth do have a breaking strength.

Reenamelization of the teeth occurs when they are clean. All toothpastes make a barrier of glycerine on the teeth which would require 20 rinses to get it off. A good solution for clean teeth, which Dr Judd has used for 5 years, is bar soap. Wet the brush, swipe the bar two or three times with it, then brush the teeth thoroughly and the gums gently. Rinse with water three or four times. All oils are washed off the teeth and the gums are disinfected. The bacteria are killed by the soap. The teeth are then ready for reenamelization with calcium and phosphate in the diet. The enzyme adenosine diphosphatase delivers phosphate to the enamel surface. Do not use liquid soaps. Their different composition is harmful to the protoplasm.

Reenamelization is necessary on a daily basis because the enamel leaches slightly with water as well as the bones over decades leading to holey bones and holey teeth even in the absence of acid attack. Without reenamelization, we could never have good teeth.

Calcium (1.2 g if it is the only source) with vitamin D can be obtained from Walgreens at a very reasonable price of about 5 cents per pill. Other required vitamin and mineral requirements of the body can be found on page 56 of the book. Vitamin D helps to deliver calcium to its needed site. All acid-soluble calcium compounds such as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate are suitable with D. It goes without saying that calcium is necessary in building calcium phosphate teeth.

Monosodium phosphate is the best supplement for phosphate since it is very pure and highly soluble in water. Simply take about 1/5 teaspoon (1 gram), dissolve it in 1 inch of water in less than a minute, then fill up the glass and drink it daily. This takes care of all the bones, teeth, DNA, RNA and at least 30 phosphate-containing enzymes which are listed on page 53 of the book. Our bodies run on enzymes and we are hard put to lose any of them. Even the brain requires them. Phosphate also regulates body pH.
Vitamin C powder – Put 1 level tsp (4 g) in a glass, add 1/2 tsp Arm and Hammer baking soda, add 1 inch of water, let fizz, dilute to 8 oz and drink. The compound made here is fresh sodium ascorbate. This is about 1000 x as soluble as C, and is more reactive towards antibody and connective tissue construction and viral destruction. Thus the gums knit back to the teeth, avoiding any kind of oral surgery for “receding gums.” Receding gums are nothing but gum pockets caused by toothpaste and especially fluoride, which severs all proteins because of its highly negative character. Fluoride is the smallest negative ion on earth, and consequently is the most intensely negative particle on earth. As such, fluoride breaks the positive hydrogen bonds, which hold the coils together, in proteins and enzymes.
We know that bacteria have nothing to do with loss of enamel. Witness the billions of animal and human remains in the earth which have lost all the flesh and are reduced to tooth enamel and bones. It is quite evident that the teeth have been through bacterial contact but are unaffected. The same with human teeth. They cannot be affected by bacteria, because there is no carbon or hydrogen in enamel, which bacteria subsist on. Study of streptococcic mutans as a source of so-called “decay” is a waste of government funding donated to dental organizations.Sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose) were found in Dr Judd’s laboratory studies to be unable to dissolve calcium phosphate to any extent, even in hot water solution. The reason for this is that the chelation process of the sugar towards teeth is slow because of the large size of the molecule and perhaps for the particular shape of the chelate formed.

Sugars are not the cause of tooth cavities to any great extent, but still it will do no harm to rinse them off the teeth after consuming candy, especially the sticky variety. The adhering barrier will prevent reenamelization.
Fluoride at very low levels destroys at least 66 out of 83 enzymes by uncoupling the hydrogen bond linkage between the enzyme coils. Fluoride causes 113 known ailments ten of these were established through double blind studies, which although noteworthy, may be of no more significance than the individual diagnoses.

Fluoride in the gels used (inappropriately) to harden the enamel is extremely toxic at a concentration of 13,000 ppm (1.3%). Keith Kantor of McMinneville Oregon was killed in the dentist’s chair 3 years ago by swallowing half a teaspoon of the gel. His brother nearly died from the same treatment, but was saved by having calcium gluconate administered to him.

Three kidney dialysis patients at the University of Chicago Medical School were killed 3 years ago when nurses used unpurified Chicago tap water for dialysis. Chicago water has 2 ppm fluoride in it during the winter.Fluoridated water is lethal to dialysis patients. Fluoride is also very harmful to the kidneys of ordinary people.One can look up the lethal dose of a large number of chemicals all the way from botulinum and snake poison toxins to sugar, a non-toxin, on pages 57and 58 of the book Good Teeth Birth to Death. It is interesting that the lethal dosage of fluoride compound for a 50 kg man is 2.5 mg (fluoroacetic acid), and 400 mg for arsenic oxide. Numerous people, animals and fish on earth, especially in the U.S., have been killed by fluoride, but very few, if any, by arsenic.Toothpaste companies now are required to put warning signs on tubes so children will not consume enough of the 1000 ppm (.1%) material to make them sick or cause death. This requirement arises out of lawsuits in which children were poisoned by fluoride-containing toothpaste.
The best available data indicates about 120,000 cancer patients are killed annually because of fluoride in their drinking water. These include patients with every type of cancer.The dramatic increase of cancer cases in the US in recent times can probably be laid directly on the shoulders of the dentists due to their tireless energies in converting city councils to put fluoride in the water for “the children’s teeth.” They are able to do this because of large government grants. It is irrational to believe just “anything” in the environment causes cancer. The unique character of fluoride ion in destroying enzymes deserves attention.

Source : Dr Gerard F. Judd, Speech, May 2001

Be a filter or get a filter – Click here to purchase
Click here for more information on contaminated toothpaste.

Drinking Water Sampling Stations

Local communities/school children  can get involved in sampling drinking water too

How many of us have seen a Drinking Water Sampling Station on the sidewalks in Manhattan?  How many stopped to figure out what it was all about?

Over 800 Drinking Water Sampling Stations, at a cost of $11 million,  have been installed  citywide over 10 years ago, with the aim of providing a uniform and sanitary sampling environment that will improve the efficiency of water sampling efforts, and thereby help protect public health.

DEP collects more than 1,300 water samples per month from 488 locations. Water samples are analyzed for bacteria, chlorine levels, pH, inorganic and organic pollutants, turbidity, odor, and many other water quality indicators.

Locations for the stations were chosen based on the need to gather representative samples of the water quality in all distribution areas. Consequently, factors such as population density, water pressure zones, proximity to water mains, and accessibility were considered.

The stations rise about 4 1/2 feet above the ground and are made of heavy cast iron. Inside, a 3/4 inch copper tube feeds water from a nearby water main into the station. Each station is equipped with a spigot from which water samples are taken.

THEY ARE VERY NOTICEABLE, YET GO LARGELY UNNOTICED.

Given that citizens hardly participate in efforts to improve drinking water quality, I wonder if this would be a good participatory project for citizens and EPA/DEP to work on.

Unfortunately, it is not clear whether communities participated in the decision to locate the sampling stations, and as such, I do not know how many sampling stations are installed near public schools. 

A project with potential for communities and providers collaborating would be highly beneficial for the municipality.  If school children could have been included to work together as a practicum with  EPA/DEP technicians in understanding more about water quality and health, their efforts might have led to greater participation of communities in  caring about their drinking water, knowing what is in the water, and working together with EPA/DEP to find ways to improve water quality in our taps.

Communities would thus have  had first-hand information about the quality of the water in their taps, information with which to make informed decisions on filtering or not filtering out the contaminants in the water, some of which seem to be imbedded.  They would know firsthand the type and significance of these contaminants and their potential for harm to the public. They would know why the contaminants are in the water, and why they should be in drinking water.

Their interest in water quality would also lead them to the source of our water supply – the watersheds – and increase their involvement in their protection.  So far, it is not clear whether  communities other than New York have water sampling stations.  But, the watershed partners would also include those actually sampling the water downstream and provide a wonderful understanding of the relationship between source and point of supply.

The study of the Natural Resources Defence Council (NDRC) “What’s on Tap” (see http://snipurl.com/1iuhs)  the Government — whether city, state or federal — should be doing all it can to ensure that citizens get clean, safe drinking water every time they turn on a faucet or stop at a public water fountain. And an informed, involved citizenry is the key to the process; it’s our hope that What’s on Tap? will encourage all Americans to look into the quality of their city’s water supply, and to demand that our elected officials do what’s necessary to provide safe tap water.

School children would begin to understand the unnecessary expenditure of their parents on bottled water, as. through their intimate involvement with drinking water quality issues, it would become clear to them  that what is in the bottle might be just as, or even more harmful than the tap water, as they could also take samples of the bottled water they have with them in schools and compare with the tap water in their location.

The information would help them decide whether to filter their own water instead of drinking tap or bottled water, and the benefits and disadvantages of doing so.

And so on.

In other words, the Drinking Water Sampling Stations could provide a good basis for citizen participation in monitoring water quality and understanding issues surrounding water quality and water filtration  (see http://snipurl.com/1hho4)

 

Source:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/sampling.html

Note:

The Information Collection Rule (ICR) was an 18-month program instituted by the EPA to collect information and assess health problems related to waterborne disease-causing organisms and disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Water samples were collected from municipalities with populations of greater than 100,000 that employ surface water, e.g., rivers, for their drinking water source. These samples were analyzed for select chemicals, parasites, and viruses. The program started in July 1997 and ran through December 1998. EPA plans to use the data generated from these samples to determine whether to revise or promulgate new regulations for controlling DBPs or pathogenic organisms in drinking water. Read more

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Make your own bottled water and save the planet

update:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chlorine and human health

The Medical College Of Wisconsin research team asserts that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water, based on one of their studies.

After more than 100 years of chlorine being added to drinking water as a standard and cheap way of making water drinkable, the jury are now saying that the long term effects of drinking chlorinated water pose a higher cancer risk than for those drinking non-chlorinated water. – i.e. we drink bleach!(U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality).

Get a filter or be a filter!

Note from The Editor, Muriella’s Corner

A recent visit to a friend prompted me to revisit this article on water. She is suffering from an inflammatory disease and was told to drink lots of water. She buys bottled water at $10.00 a case of 35, and at times drinks 3-4 bottles a day, which means that in 9 days she has to repurchase. In a month, she has already spent about $40.00 on bottled water for drinking. In a year she will have spent $480.00, and could, if the bottles are not recycled, produce 140 plastic bottles a month as garbage, or 1,680 plastic bottles a year.

For families who buy bottled water, consideration should be given to buying a water filter and a shower filter. In addition to the health effects(drink, cook, shower with filtered water) and the economic gain over time, we would not contribute as much to polluting the environment with plastic.

If we stop and think for a moment, we would realise that our being on automatic could affect our health, finances and our environment.

See below for information on water filtration. With regard to the pollution of the environment, our first effort is to become aware ourselves of the amount of plastics we use that contribute to the pollution of the planet (e.g. plastic bags and grocery shopping, bottled water in plastic bottles, plastic hangers … When we become aware, we can decide what, if anything to do about it, and do something.

Given the inconsistences among the bottled water sources, why not control your source and, instead of being a filter, get a filter.

Water quality is, in general, getting worse. You usually cannot rely on clean water directly from the faucets in your home, nor from the bottled sources. To treat often-polluted water, cities and government agencies must use more and more chemicals, which affect the taste, color and odor of the water. There are various home filtration models available on the market.

Here are some suggestions below on those I use and promote. To guard the integrity and purity of the water, filters need to be replaced; frequency depends on the quality of water in your area.

Countertop system (dual system filter cartridge sold separately. (http://snipurl.com/1hho4) The countertop filtration system can also be installed under the counter with purchase of filtration kit.
Shower head (with shower wand purchased separately http://snipurl.com/1hhnt), the skin being the largest organ, absorbs the most water daily.  Read more on filters and KDF Filtration systems

See Muriella’s Corner on Chlorine and Asthma and Chlorine and Cancer and Fluoride and Boy’s health http://onlineitools.com/nl/nl-output.php?nl_id=20007&bus_id=2213&plain=0

as well as Muriella’s Corner on fluoride in drinking water

http://snipurl.com/h2ofluor

And water quality issues/water treatment

Editor, Muriella’s Corner

xxxxx

Buying bottled water is wrong, says Suzuki
Environmentalist launches national tour on green issues
Last Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 12:46 PM ET
CBC News
Canadians wanting to do something about the environment can start by
drinking tap water, environmentalist David Suzuki says.

“Everywhere I go across Canada, I insist I be given tap water when I get up
to speak,” Suzuki told CBC News on Thursday.

David Suzuki says plastic water bottles generate waste and potential
health hazards because of their chemical composition.
(CBC) “I think in Canada it’s absolutely disgusting that people are so
uncertain about their water that we buy it, paying more for bottled water
than we do for gasoline.”

Suzuki – who was in St. John’s on Thursday to launch a cross-country
speaking tour aimed at engaging people in politics, particularly
environmental issues – said there is no good reason for Canadians to buy
bottled water.

Moreover, he said it’s destructive to import bottled water from producers in
countries such as France.

“It’s nuts to be shipping water all the way across the planet, and us –
because we’re so bloody wealthy – we’re willing to pay for that water
because it comes from France,” he said in an interview.

“I don’t believe for a minute that French water is better than Canadian
water. I think that we’ve got to drink the water that comes out of our taps,
and if we don’t trust it, we ought to be raising hell about that.”

Key environmental issues with bottled water, Suzuki said, are waste and
uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic.

“Not only does bottled water lead to unbelievable pollution – with old
bottles lying all over the place – but plastic has chemicals in it,” he
said.

“Plastics are ubiquitous. I don’t believe that plastics are not involved in
a great deal of the health problems that we face today.”

Last August, delegates to the United Church of Canada’s general council
voted to discourage the purchase of bottled water within its churches. The
motion called on church members to advocate against the “privatization of
water” and to support healthy local supplies of water.
xxxxxxxxx
Bottled water from different sources

When shopping for bottled water, you first need to know the different types. The following are the types of water that conform to the Standards of Identity as set forth by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water — Bottled water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Drinking Water: Drinking water is another name for bottled water. Accordingly, drinking water is water that is sold for human consumption in sanitary containers and contains no added sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences). It must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts or essences may be added to drinking water, but they must comprise less than one-percent-by-weight of the final product or the product will be considered a soft drink. Drinking water may be sodium-free or contain very low amounts of sodium.

Mineral Water — Bottled water containing not less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids may be labeled as mineral water. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of bottled water by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. No minerals can be added to this product.

Purified Water — Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes while meeting the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia may be labeled as purified bottled water. [This can mean plain tap water has been purified by one of the above three processes.]

Other suitable product names for bottled water treated by one of the above processes may include “distilled water” if it is produced by distillation, “deionized water” if it is produced by deionization or “reverse osmosis water” if the process used is reverse osmosis. Alternatively, “___ drinking water” can be used with the blank being filled in with one of the terms defined in this paragraph (e.g., “purified drinking water” or “distilled drinking water”).

Sparkling Bottled Water — Water that after treatment, and possible replacement with carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had as it emerged from the source. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as “sparkling drinking water,” “sparkling mineral water,” “sparkling spring water,” etc.

Spring Water — Bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring. Spring water collected with the use of an external force must be from the same underground stratum as the spring and must have all the physical properties before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

Well Water — Bottled water from a hole bored, drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground, which taps the water aquifer.

Without taking taste into consideration, the best deals on buying bottled water are found at shopping clubs such as Costco Wholesale. Grocery stores have the next-best deals, while convenience stores are pricey. A bottle at a convenience store commonly costs three to four times more than one purchased in bulk at a shopping club.
The bottled water business has grown phenomenally in recent years.

According to data from Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water sales in the United States has increased by almost 50 percent from 1999 to 2004, from 17.3 billion liters to 25.8.

While choosing bottled water over tap water due to safety concerns is a major reason for consumers spending more than a dollar a gallon on the liquid (in some cases it costs more per gallon than gasoline!), other people buy it because they prefer the taste over tap water or they like the convenience of the bottles when traveling.

The health concern is real. In the United States the vast majority of tap water is safe to drink due to testing and regulations, but in some other countries contaminated public water is a constant threat. One thing to keep in mind is most bottled water does not contain fluoride, and most American tap water is enhanced with the cavity-fighting substance. People who choose to exclusively drink bottled water may want to consider fluoride supplements, especially for their children.

To some people, the thought of one brand of bottled water tasting better than a comparable product is ridiculous. To illustrate that belief, in 2003 comedians Penn and Teller conducted a taste test in an upscale restaurant. Diners lavished praise on what they thought was expensive bottled water and picked their favorites, but all containers were filled from the same garden hose.

Nonetheless, many shoppers insist they can tell a difference between brands and buy accordingly.

The price between tap and bottled water is significant for several reasons, including the cost of the land where the water originates, plus the bottles, putting water in bottles and then transporting bottles to points of sale.

Some water bottles are made of petroleum resin, and as the price of oil increases so does the water. Such bottles don’t decompose, which adds an environmental cost to the equation.

Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems

Here’s how some brands compare, listed from least to most expensive:

Deer Park Spring Water, price per 1/2-liter bottle.

Costco: 13.4 cents (35-bottle pack)
Wal-Mart: 20.8 cents (24 bottles)
Bi-Lo: 20.8 cents (24 bottles, with frequent shopper card) or 29.1 cents (without frequent shopper card)
Food Lion: 25 cents (24 bottles)
Convenience store: 79 cents.

Dasani, price per 1/2-liter bottle

Food Lion: 29.1 cents (24 bottles)
Bi-Lo: 33.3 cents (24 bottles)
Convenience store: $1.29 for a slightly larger 591mL bottle.

Aquafina, price per 1/2-liter bottle.

Bi-Lo: 25 cents (24 pack, with frequent shopper card) or 47.9 cents (without card)
Food Lion: 48.3 cents (12 pack)
Wal-Mart: 50 cents (6 pack)
Convenience store: $1.49 for a slightly larger 591mL bottle.

Dasani flavored

Convenience store: $1.29 for 591mL
Wal-Mart: 37.3 cents for 355mL
Bi-Lo: 43.6 cents for 355mL

AqualCal flavored water, price per 1/2 liter

Wal-Mart: 47 cents
Bi-Lo: 59.8 cents
Convenience store: 99 cents.

Evian

Wal-Mart: $1.58 per liter or $1.98 for 1.5 liters
Bi-Lo: $1.59 per liter, 90 cents per half-liter or 74.8 cents for 330mL

Perrier

Costco: 53.7 cents for 330mL
Bi-Lo: 82.3 cents for 1/2 liter or $1.50 for 1 liter
Food Lion: 82.3 cents for 330mL or $1.49 for 750mL

Store brands

Costco: 13 cents for 1/2 liter
Food Lion: 16.6 cents for 1/2 liter
Wal-Mart: 17.8 cents for 591mL
Bi-Lo: 19.5 cents for 1/2 liter with frequent shopper card; 20.8 cents without.

Sources: David Suzuki, Environmentalist; Becky Billingsley, The Food Syndicate.

For documentary on breast cancer, click here

drinking water issues – tap water

What’s on tap?

Thursday 22 March is World Water Day. This is Muriella’s Corner blog on tap water. We shared with you in our last blog information on bottled water.

We often take the purity of our tap water for granted — and we shouldn’t.

The National Resources Defense Council – NRDC – produced a document 6 years ago, called What’s on Tap?, a carefully researched, documented and peer-reviewed study of the drinking water systems of 19 U.S. cities. Among other things it found that pollution and deteriorating, out-of-date plumbing are sometimes delivering drinking water that might pose health risks to some residents.

It also found that tap water in many cities might pose a health risk to some residents; that sometimes cities aren’t truthful about what’s in the water; that
the sources of tap water often aren’t adequately protected

Many cities around the country rely on pre-World War I-era water delivery systems and treatment technology. Aging pipes can break, leach contaminants into the water they carry and breed bacteria — all potential prescriptions for illness. And old-fashioned water treatment — built to filter out particles in the water and kill some parasites and bacteria — generally fails to remove 21st-century contaminants like pesticides, industrial chemicals and arsenic.

What’s on Tap?
found one overarching truth: If steps are not taken, our drinking water will get worse.

Is the situation better today than 6 years ago? Actions taken seem to be more in lline with protecting corporate polluters than protecting public health,

Government — whether city, state or federal — should be doing all it can to ensure that citizens get clean, safe drinking water every time they turn on a faucet or stop at a public water fountain. Public participation is the key to the process.

Everyone should be encouraged to look into the quality of their city’s water supply, and to demand that elected officials do whatever is necessary to provide safe tap water.

Citizens have a right to know about : water quality, right-to-know reports, and about protection of water sources, at least

Good drinking water depends on cities getting three things right:

• Lakes, streams, reservoirs and wells must be protected from pollution

• Pipes must be sound and well-maintained

• Modern treatment facilities are a must

If just one of those three factors goes awry, water quality will suffer. For example, according to the NRDC, four cities 1n 2001 were found to have fair-to-substandard drinking water:

• Atlanta, which maintains its distribution system poorly

• Albuquerque and San Francisco, which have poor treatment systems

• Fresno, which has no real source water protection

What do we drink in our glass?

Tap water may at times carry a worrisome collection of contaminants,
some of which showed up repeatedly in the water of the cities studied:

• Lead, which enters drinking water supplies from the corrosion of pipes and plumbing fixtures and can cause brain damage in infants and children

• Pathogens (germs) that can make people sick, especially those with weakened immune systems, the frail elderly and the very young

• By-products of chlorine treatment such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, which may cause cancer and reproductive problems

• Arsenic, radon, the rocket fuel perchlorate and other carcinogens or otherwise toxic chemicals

Contaminants like these get into our water from many different sources. A few examples: runoff from sewage systems that overflow after a heavy storm; runoff from contaminant-laden sites like roads, pesticide and fertilizer-rich farms and lawns, and mining sites; wastes from huge animal feedlots; and industrial pollution that leaches into groundwater or is released into surface water.

NRDC’s study found that relatively few cities are in outright violation of national standards for contamination of drinking water, but this is more a result of weak standards than it is of low contaminant levels.

For example, cancer-causing arsenic is currently present in the drinking
water of 22 million Americans at average levels of 5 ppb, well below a new EPA standard for arsenic of 10 ppb that will go into effect in 2006. Yet scientists now know that there is no safe level of arsenic in drinking water. (The EPA found that a standard of 3 ppb would have been feasible, but industry lobbying and concerns over treatment costs prevailed over public safety.)

Thus, the tap water in some cities might pose health risks to vulnerable consumers –
those with immune system problems, pregnant women, parents of infants, those
with chronic illnesses and the elderly should consult with their health care providers about the safety of tap water. Imagine that!

Each citizen has a right to know what is in their tap water.

The first question on reading the above is, “How do I find out what’s in my glass of water?” And according to U.S. law, every citizen is entitled to a straight answer. Every city is required to publish reports about the safety and quality of its drinking water system.

The problem, as NRDC found, is that while some cities do a good job with their right-to-know reports, others publish information that is incomplete or misleading, or omitted it entirely, or failed to report on the health effects
These right-to-know reports hold enormous promise. In addition to informing citizens about the state of their city’s water system, they can also build support for investment and encourage citizens to participate in fixing local problems.

The NRDC has included a set of recommendations that cities might adopt in setting goals for their right-to-know publications.

The first line of defense in ensuring the safety and quality of drinking water is to ensure that water sources — lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers (porous underground formations that hold water) — are protected from pollution.

There are many ways that contaminants get into source water, among them:
• Municipal sewage
• Polluted runoff from stormwater or snowmelt in urban and suburban areas
• Pesticides and fertilizers from agricultural fields
• Animal waste from feedlots and farms
• Industrial pollution from factories
• Mining waste
• Hazardous waste sites
• Spills and leaks of petroleum products and industrial chemicals
• “Natural” contamination such as arsenic or radon that occurs in water as a result of leaching.

Some cities are doing a fine job of protecting their drinking water supply. Seattle is doing an excellent job of protecting source water; Boston, San Francisco and Denver also get high marks. But many other cities have a long way to go:

• Albuquerque’s groundwater is becoming seriously depleted; Fresno’s groundwater is highly susceptible to contamination;

• In Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles,
Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C., source water is threatened by runoff and industrial or sewage contamination;

• Water supplies in Baltimore, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego and several other cities are vulnerable to agricultural pollution containing nitrogen, pesticides or sediment;

• Denver’s source water faces an additional challenge from debris from wildfires and sediments from floods;

• Manchester’s problems apparently come from recreational boating activity in its reservoir.

Email us at customerservice@clik-n-shoppe.com for more information on the NRDC study.

Next time we talk about ice…yes, ice in your drinks… for ice is also water.

Until we meet again, this is Muriella’s Corner – send us an email at customerservice@clik-n-shoppe.com for the newsletter dealing with the issue of bottled versus tap water.

Source: Related NRDC Pages
What’s On Tap? Grading Drinking Water in U.S. Cities (report table of contents)
Tap Water Quality and Safety (FAQ)

Environmental Working Group

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