Posts Tagged ‘water’

Would you feed your baby rocket fuel?

You may be feeding your baby rocket fuel and not know it. baby-bottle
 
The CDC has tested several samples of infant formula and found traces of perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel.  If the powdered formula was also mixed with water also contaminated with perchlorate, it could exceed levels considered safe for adults.
 
“No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems, but scientists have said significant amounts of perchlorate can affect thyroid function. The thyroid helps set the body’s metabolism. Thyroid problems can impact fetal and infant brain development.”
 
The brands of formula tested were not released.
 
Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering setting new limits on the amount of perchlorate that would be acceptable in drinking water. A few states have already set their own limits.

The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more. About 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, and 31 had levels high enough to exceed a new safety level the EPA is considering.

This is just really sad. I breastfeed, so I don’t have to worry about the formula contamination, but I have friends who formula feed, and this is a stress they don’t need on their plate. I do worry about the water contamination. I don’t really want to be drinking rocket fuel, even if at a “safe” level. Just like I
 
What can you do?
– Don’t freak out and don’t stop giving your baby formula
– Breastfeed if you can
– Since the brands tested were not disclosed, choosing a different formula is not helpful (and you should consult your pediatrician before doing so in any case).
– Install a water filtration system capable of removing perchlorate for use of mixing with formula (and drinking of course!)
– If you do a little homework, you can probably find bottled water that has used one of the above methods. But note: Not all bottled water is the same! Several manufacturers simply bottle filtered tap water. Know what you are buying.
– Since the food we eat could be irrigated with water contaminated with perchlorate, buy produce from areas that do not use contaminated water to irrigate.
Check this table for areas contaminated with perchlorate 
And a map from the EPA
And sites known to manufacturer or use perchlorate
– And write letters – write letters to your congressmen, formula manufacturers, the FDA, the president – anyone who could have influence. Let them know rocket fuel in formula and in drinking water is not acceptable.

Source: FoxNews

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Quality of bottled water questioned

Most people believe bottled water is better for you and contains less contaminants than tap water. After all, their advertising leads us to believe the water in the bottle comes from a beautiful and pure mountain stream and prices are often 1900 times that of tap water. According to a new study, this is simply not true. The Environmental Working Group recently tested 10 brands of bottled water and found alarming levels of contaminants known to cause cancer and other health issues. Contaminants include pesticide and fertilizer reside, pharmaceuticals, disinfection byproducts, caffeine, arsenic, industry chemicals and other contaminants.

It is important to note, that these levels exceed standard levels considered safe and several far exceed what California considers safe and allowable levels of certain by products, residues, etc.

EWG’s testing revealed chemical levels no different than tap water for Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Choice brand and Giant Supermarket’s Acadia brand.

“Several Sam’s Choice samples purchased in California exceeded legal limits for bottled water contaminants in that state. Cancer-causing contaminants in bottled water purchased in 5 states (North Carolina, California, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland) and the District of Columbia substantially exceeded the voluntary standards established by the bottled water industry.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standards as tap water.”

Additionally, their testing showed:
“…10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. More than one-third of the chemicals found are not regulated in bottled water.”

In 2007, the EPA issued this statement about bottled water:

“Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis… Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, or a certain method of treatment (EPA 2007b).”

The EWG also surveyed 228 brands of water (websites, labels, marketing materials) finding less than half named the water source or a description of how the water was treated, if treated at all.

Environmental Impacts
Of course, many people avoid bottled water because of the environmental impact. We have certainly limited the amount of bottled water we use at our house.

“Of the 36 billion bottles [of water] sold in 2006, only a fifth were recycled (Doss 2008). The rest ended up in landfills, incinerators, and as trash on land and in streams, rivers, and oceans. Water bottle production in the U.S. uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per every year, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ resolution passed in 2007, enough energy to power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year (US Mayors 2007). As oil prices are continuing to skyrocket, the direct and indirect costs of making and shipping and landfilling the water bottles continue to rise as well (Gashler 2008, Hauter 2008).

Extracting water for bottling places a strain on rivers, streams, and community drinking water supplies as well. When the water is not bottled from a municipal supply, companies instead draw it from groundwater supplies, rivers, springs or streams. This “water mining,” as it is called, can remove substantial amounts of water that otherwise would have contributed to community water supplies or to the natural flow of streams and rivers (Boldt-Van Rooy 2003, Hyndman 2007, ECONorthwest, 2007).”

The EWG in their study of course recommended disclosure of contaminants in the bottled water, the water source and purification techniques, so we may become better consumers. I totally agree. I had heard a few years ago that many bottled water companies purely bottle tap water. I thought, what a scam!! Now I have proof it is.

It is important to note, not ALL bottled water is the same as or worse than tap water (except for the environmental impact), so we have not all been duped.

How do you avoid bottled water that contains contaminants?

If you want to still drink bottled water (which I am not saying to avoid it, though at least cutting back would help our planet!), it may require a little work if you really want to find the “best” and are willing to do a little work.

1. Only buy bottled water that names the water source. (extra credit: You can check that source to see if any contaminants are plentiful there.)
2. Only buy bottled water that along with the water source, lists the treatment techniques as well. Then determine what the process removes and how successful it is at removing contaminants. Note, not all treatments are created equal.
3. You could even call your favorite bottler and ask if the water has been tested for contaminants and ask for a copy of the findings.
4. Bring your own water that you filtered at home using a carbon filter. I bring my own cup to work, and have a stainless steel water bottle, like the Sigg or Klean Kanteen, that I can use on the go.
5. Get a LivePur filtered water bottle by Fit & Fresh. It removes many contaminates from tap water and you can refill the bottle anywhere you are and the water is filtered as you drink. 
 
Read the full report.

EPA ignores the toxic threat in our drinking water

Well, isn’t this great… there is rocket fuel contaminating our drinking water, or at least in the ground water, drinking water and/or soil in 43 states.

The article states:
“Independent testing of milk nationwide has shown near universal perchlorate contamination, often at concentrations well above safe limits. In 2004 and 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published studies revealing contamination of most of the nation’s food supply….

Small children and the unborn are the most vulnerable to perchlorate, which impairs endocrine function by interfering with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Perchlorate crosses the placenta and shows up in breast milk, leaving infants and fetuses with even higher blood concentrations than their mothers. In even the most minute concentrations perchlorate can cause enough thyroid inhibition to impair proper neurologic and brain development in children.

Fantastic, right? There’s more. The CDC found significant effects on health at doses 5 times BELOW what the EPA considers “safe.” A 1 year old can consume more than the safe level, just from consuming food, not counting any water or milk he may drink that is also contaminated.

Another excerpt:
“One out of every six children nationwide has a learning disability or behavioral disorder severe enough to require therapy. Numerous environmental contaminants could be contributing to this alarming trend: mercury, radioactivity, generic air pollution and chemicals like bisphenol A, dioxins, PCBs and certainly perchlorate.”

Of course, like the BPA issue, it appears nothing is being done on this issue because of money and industry pressure. I love that economics is more important than human health and well-being, especially when children are most at risk; all the while learning disabilities and behavior disorders are at staggering numbers (as in affecting 1 in 6 children). Something is clearly wrong here.

And sadly, there is not much we can do. Even if we grow our own food or purchase organic, the rocket fuel may still exisit in the water these plants and animals received and the water and milk we drink.

This is one of those cases where we just need to write letters — to the EPA, to our senators, congressmen, etc. until someone will listen.

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Fit & Fresh introduces LivPure filtered water bottle, BPA Free

What a cool idea. This little portable water filter allows you to fill up a reusable water bottle with tap water anywhere and the water is filtered as you drink. The filter removes up to 50% of chlorine and inhibits bacteria, mold and mildew growth. Also, by using this reusable bottle, you are reducing the amount of plastic water bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill, plus you’ll save money from not buying bottled water.

The LivPure Filtered Water Bottle is made of low density polyethylene so is safe and is BPA-free. It holds 20 oz of water and the filter lasts to 75 gallons. The bottle is easy to clean, just remove the filter and pop in the dishwasher. Rinse the filter in water. Pretty easy.

This water bottle would be ideal for traveling, the gym, office, construction or other outdoor work, running errands, or anywhere you may be thirsty!

The filter is not intended for salt water, rivers, lakes or flavored drinks.

This neat little water bottle is $12.99 and can be purchased here.  Filter replacements are $7.99 and can be purchased here.

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Are Brita water pitchers BPA-free?

A lot of people are concerned about Brita’s water pictures in light of the BPA issue. After all, the containers are all hard, clear plastic, so it fits the description of typical polycarbonate containers. But, never fear, the folks at The Green Guide have done the research for us and found the containers are made of styrene methylmethacrylate copolymer, a safe material that does not contain BPA. 

Now, I can’t even pronounce all that, but Brita told The Green Guide they chose this material because it does not leach. The Green Guide also confirmed this claim with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which performs extensive material safety tests. “The NSF states that Brita pitchers have been tested for material safety while in contact with “very aggressive water” (i.e. exposure to water with low total of dissolved solids and .5 ppm of available chlorine for three successive 24-hour periods) and have found no evidence of leaching.

Rick Andrews, the technical manager of the Drinking Water Treatment Unit Certification Program at the NSF, explains that when a company is seeking NSF certification for new container/filter system, NSF requires information about the constituents of the plastic and then tests for leachates they know are associated with those ingredients. Using acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) as an example, they would look for styrene and acrylonitrile leaching into the water. We asked about styrene leaching from the methylmethacrylate copolymer, and he assured us that any polymer that includes a styrene component would be tested for styrene leaching.“

They also got a second opinion from the FDA and got the same response.

You can read the entire article here.

Brita water pitchers can be found at many retail stores and online (my favorite way to shop).

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What a trip: Drugs in US drinking water

A five month investigation by the Associated Press has discovered that small quantities of drugs, including antibiotics, sex hormones, and anti-seizure compounds, have been found in public drinking water supplied to over 40 million Americans across the US.

While the concentrations are so small they have to be measured in parts per billion or even parts per trillion, and water companies insist these levels are within safety limits, the AP said the long term effects on people’s health of so many prescription drugs and over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen, even in tiny amounts, are starting to worry scientists.

Drugs and their derivatives get into the drinking water supply because when people on medication go to the toilet they excrete whatever the body does not absorb and any matabolized byproducts. Water companies treat the waste before discharging it into rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and then treat it again before it enters the drinking water system. However, the various treatments don’t remove all traces of drugs.

For five months, the AP National Investigative Team visited treatment plants, interviewed over 200 scientists, officials and academics, analyzed federal databases and reviewed hundreds of scientific reports. Read the entire article at Medical News Today.

CNN also reported on this topic.

It’s distrurbing, but not at all surprising. It does stress the importance of safely discarding medicines. The best way is to put the old medicine in a plastic bag with some old coffee grounds (or other item that is displeasing to animals and humans) and putting it in the trash. Of course, once the bag is opened or punctured, the drugs can still be washed away into steams, lakes and eventually back into drinking water. Some states have come up with a drug recycling program, but those are rare and are limited in what they can take back.

As we see male fish developing female traits it’s obvious this is a situation to take seriously. And it’s not just drugs for humans that are causing these issues, it’s also drugs given to domestic pets and antibiotics given to stockyard animals raised for food.

Americans and our animals are way over-medicated.

Flouride Controversy: Is flouride doing more harm than good?

I have been doing a little research on the safety of flouride and came across the article that I will paste a link to below. Certainly there are benefits — strong teeth and cavity protection — but studies show that too much flouride can be very damaging causing issues from teeth discoloration to endocrine disruption to weakened bones. Children are at the greatest risk since their bodies are much smaller and they need less.

Though there does not seem to be an agreed upon standard, it seems that 1 part per million is about the recommeded daily level (and this varies around the world). This is the amount used by the local water works system in my city. But research shows there may be no benefit in drinking flourinated water. And flouride is found in food, beverages and of course toothpaste, so is there really a need to add it to our public water systems? I personally am thinking no. I am a huge water consumer, I rarely drink anything else, so I am not of fan of having it added to the water. Now, I do think flouride has a place, but after reading a few studies, it certainly appears we are consuming too much and that is leading to potentionally serious issues.

Here is the news release: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS108377+02-Jan-2008+PRN20080102

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