By Richard S. Gubbe
As news continues to pour in regarding the depth and scope of the pollution on Rockford’s west side, all citizens in the Rock River Valley need to take note of their own drinking supply and consumption.
Water is our common thread, our key to staying alive and staying healthy. Yet, not much thought is put into where we get it and what its contents include.
Before you think you need to learn more about chemistry, know this: water contains elements we may want and some we know our bodies will suffer from ingesting.
Water tests aren’t cheap — around $300 for a full panel — for tap or well water. Instead of testing, there are safeguards that can be implemented to make sure you and your children aren’t slowly being poisoned. Whether it’s city water, well water or bottled water, there are safety concern about each of them.
The news about well water has been distressing. What well water is safe to drink?
Well water can contain radon and radium, along with other highly volatile chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These can come from a variety of sources. The nasty ones often come from toxic waste pollution.
Aquifers are like storage tanks of water underground and can have unwanted seepage, depending on where you live. Uranium has seeped into the water supply in the western states from all the uranium mining done there. Nuclear deposits crept into the water supply in Nevada and New Mexico. The first lesson to learn when moving to Las Vegas is don’t drink tap water because of the nuclear test site located nearby.
In the Midwest, fabrication plants, car plants, coal operations, steel plants, tool-making plants and a host of other factories that sprung up during the industrial age have dotted the landscape.
City water is tainted. Even if that water is filtered in city water delivery systems, there is no such thing as pure water coming from the tap. Drinking mineral deposits, toxins and bleach will take its toll on the human structure and the pipes in your home.
Bottled water is the biggest scam ever conceived. First, it was called spring water. Yeah, right, like some guy sat around a spring with a bucket and then carried this pure water into a processing plant for bottling. Spring water is actually taken from such fine “springs” as the Brooklyn, N.Y., city water system and refined slightly.
Then, came purified water, a better product, but the delivery system is severely flawed. The bottles the water comes in can give you cancer. Bottled water left in a car contain carcinogens, which is what gave Cheryl Crow breast cancer, tests showed. She drank from bottled water left in her hot car in southern California. Dangerous BPAs are found in most plastics we use today, and are spawned from petroleum.
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an organic compound used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications. In 2008, several governments issued reports regarding its safety, prompting some retailers to remove products containing it. A 2010 report from the Food and Drug Administration raised further concerns about exposure of fetuses, infants and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA as a toxic substance.
There are alternatives, some expensive, some not.
A reverse osmosis system can be installed in a kitchen sink or bathroom for about the same cost as bottled water. Then, you can drink it and cook with it. Get an aluminum or BPA-free bottle to carry it in and don’t leave it in your car.
That doesn’t eliminate the problem for bathing, washing hands and food or for use in gardens. Two remedies exist for that: a home reverse osmosis system that filters all water coming into the home and a charcoal filter that can filter most of the water coming into the home, depending on where the installation takes place.
Reverse osmosis systems, which require backwashing, can cost upwards of $3,000 to $7,000. Charcoal filters, which also require backwashing and can be installed in a variety of locations, can lead to healthier bathing water and can cost $300 to $500 to install.
Water softeners can also eliminate many impurities in water, but not two lethal ones — chlorine and benzene. Only reverse osmosis and charcoal filters do that. Chlorine is used to eliminated bacteria in water. When they say water will make you sick when you go to Mexico, the illness is only temporary once you get used to drinking the types of bacteria in that water supply. That’s why people who live there get used to it. But the tradeoff to eliminating bacteria is bleach and ammonia, plain and simple.
Many gimmick products are available in stores that claim to filter water, namely Brita, but those filters do not eliminate chemicals such and chlorine and benzene, radon or radium. They’re a waste of time and money.
Another option that is now trendy is ionized water, such as the Kangen system developed in Japan. This water adds to our ability to fight free radicals, which can promote good health. For a local contact, call Mike Krejci at (815) 494-6207. He’s not only a Kangen rep, he’s also a plumber who can install charcoal and other water systems.
The time is now for better decisions about what we let our children drink.
More information about preventing disease and promoting good health in our world can be found during seminars at the Beth Ann Weis Salon and Spa in Rockford Sept. 7 and at Rock Valley College Oct. 22.
Knowledge is power. Drink it up.
Richard Gubbe is an award-winning journalist, public relations specialist and Reiki Master Teacher. He is a long-time Rockford resident who has taught preventive health, visualization and Reiki at Rock Valley College since 2003.
From the Aug. 24-30, 2011, issue