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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to know the water we are using is safe and healthy for us?

In our daily lives we not only use water for drinking purposes but we bathe, brush our teeth, wash our clothes with it. Farming, ranching, food processing and a multitude of manufacturing processes use a great deal water, as well. The water we use for regular daily needs is treated on a huge level to make it safe for us. This post helps you learn how the water is purified to make it safer for humans.

We all know that water is an essential part of our life. Just a few lines to remember that

Importance of Water:

- Regulates body temperature

- Serves as a solvent for minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose and other small

molecules, aiding their assimilation into the body carries oxygen to all parts of

the body

- Lubricates the areas around our joints (especially important for athletes, people

with arthritis and those with chronic challenges, like back pain.

- Is necessary for chemical reactions in the body

- Acts as a shock absorber inside the eyes and spinal cord removes the waste products of our metabolic processes

Do you know the water we are consuming for drinking or cooking is safe and healthy for us?

The only way to know what is in your water is to have it tested. Water water treatment professionals can perform on-site tests for; hardness, iron (rust), pH, total dissolved solids, nitrates, chlorine and temperature.

If a city, water utility or other regulated system supplies your water they can provide you with the results from government mandated tests they’ve completed for a variety of contaminants. Keep in mind that they are not required to test for all contaminants.

While bad odors, unusual colors or metallic tastes usually indicate a drinking water contaminant, some contaminants are not so easily undetected. Lead is tasteless, odorless, and colorless and can find its way into your water via soldered pipe connections. Lead-based solder was used in homes built as recently as the late 1980s. How old is your home? What type of plumbing pipes do you have?

Even though cities generally use chlorine to disinfect water to prevent illness and disease, chlorinating is not a “foolproof” method. Unexpected outbreaks of microorganisms can still occur. And although it has been treated, city water may pick up contaminants as it travels through miles of distribution lines before it reaches your home.

The ways to make water safe for humans are:

Carbon Filters: Activated carbon can reduce chlorine, VOCs, tastes, odors, and in some cases, lead. Carbon filters are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, from mini-filters that can be attached to the end of a faucet to in-line systems connected to a home's plumbing. Filter cartridges must be changed regularly to ensure optimum contaminant reduction. Note: Faucet mounted mini-filters may be less than effective. Mini-filters are one area where price may well indicate quality and level of protection.

Distillation Systems: Distillation systems boil water to reduce contaminants, then condense the steam that results and collect the water in a storage tank or pot. Since certain substances (including many contaminants but not all) don't vaporize they don't rise with the steam and are left behind in the boiling chamber. Note: While most distillers do not remove volatile organics, adding a carbon filter can provide a more effective system. Distillers use a great deal of energy, radiate a great deal of heat and must be cleaned regularly.

Note: When water is “soft” or “softened” prior to distillation the need to clean the distiller is greatly reduced.

Important: Distilled water most often has a low pH value (acid). My doctor does not recommend drinking low pH (acid) water. She tells me that most disease processes can not live in an alkaline body environment. She recommends drinking water with an alkaline pH, except. . . she does recommend drinking distilled water for people who are “stone” formers.

Ultraviolet Systems (UV): UV systems destroy microorganism’s ability to reproduce by exposing them to intense ultraviolet light… as a result, they die. Since they “disinfect” water rather than remove contaminants, UV systems should be installed with other filters; a sediment pre-filters and carbon post filter are common. UV bulbs must be changed regularly (generally once each year, depending on conditions) for the system to function properly.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems:

RO systems are recommended by the US Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the most effective ways of protecting residential drinking water. The best systems utilize a combination of carbon filtration and a semi-permeable membrane to reduce contaminants. Water is first filtered, then forced against a dense membrane, a portion of it passes through, while contaminants are left behind to be carried away by the effluent. These membranes are very similar to those used in kidney dialysis. Think “fresh squeezed” water when you think of reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis effectively removes dissolved salts (naturally occurring, as well as, from water softeners), suspended solids, dissolved chemicals and a wide variety of other contaminants that cannot be seen by the naked eye. When choosing an RO system, look for a unit with a high recovery rate (recovery rate = amount of water produced divided by amount of water used). Generally, a rate of 25% is considered efficient. R O filters should be changed, generally, every six (6) months and the membrane every two years, depending on what is in your water and the amount of water used.

Source of information: 'Natural Health Techniques'

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