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Allergy Be Gone Newsletter - August, 2005


Clean Water in Your Home

  • Water Pollution
  • Water Treatment Methods
  • Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions in a human body depend on water for their functioning. For example, the human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%.

    Considering that water plays such a major role in the function of our body‚ it is not surprising that its purity is the most basic and essential key to our health. But, with global pollution on the rise, are you sure that the water that you and your family drink is absolutely clean?

    Water Pollution

    There are many causes for water pollution, including outfalls from factories, refineries, waste treatment plants, etc. that emit fluids of varying quality directly into urban water supplies. Soils and groundwaters may contain the residue of human agricultural practices (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and improperly disposed of industrial wastes. Atmospheric contaminants (such as gaseous emissions from automobiles, factories and even bakeries) also eventually make their way into the water supplies. In the United States and other countries, these practices are regulated, although this doesn't mean that pollutants can't be found in the water.

    Water pollutants can be broadly classified into three categories:

    Infectious agents, including disease-causing viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. One of the most well-known of these parasites is Cryptosporidium, which can be found in waters contaminated by sewerage or runoff containing animal waste, may cause severe gastrointestinal illness. Cryptosporidium is highly resistant to chlorine, which is used to disinfect water in most treatment plants, and can only be retained by filters with very small pore size.
    Heavy metals like lead and mercury or iron oxide from rusty pipes. Severe effects from exposure to heavy metals include reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage or nervous system damage. The young are more prone to the toxic effects of heavy metals, as the rapidly developing body systems are far more sensitive. Childhood exposure to some metals can result in learning difficulties, memory impairment, damage to the nervous system and behavioural problems, or even irreversible brain damage at higher doses.
    Toxic chemicals - chlorine, pesticides, acids and salts, etc. Chlorine, the one most commonly incountered in drinking water, is used during the water treatment process to kill microorganisms. While exposure to chlorine may result in a range of problems from skin and eyes irritation to lung diseases in case of prolonged exposure, the so-called "chlorination by-products", toxic compounds which form when chlorine interacts with organic materials in the water, are more dangerous. Some of them are known to be carcenogenic - studies have shown that drinking chlorinated water contributes to around 10,000 cases of rectal and bladder cancers every year.

    Water Treatment Methods

    While it is your water company's responsibility to provide biologically and chemically safe water, this is unfortunately not always the case. If you are using public water, you might experience unacceptable levels of some of the contaminants listed above. To make sure that the water you drink is absolutely safe, you may choose to use one of the following treatment methods:

    Bottled water: While drinking bottled water may sound as the best choice if your tap water is contaminated, this is usually not the case. Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water. Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Also, bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis.
    Distillation: To remove impurities from water by distillation, the water is usually boiled causing it to vaporize, and the pure steam leaves the non-volatile contaminants behind. The steam moves to a different part of the unit and is cooled until it condenses back into liquid water. While this process is able to remove most of the contaminants, it is extremely lengthy and uses electricity, thus increasing the cost of every gallon of water you produce.
    Filtration: There are two main types of filters - sediment and activated carbon. Sediment filters remove hard particles from the water by rushing it through fine fiber mesh or the ceramic media. Unfortunately, these filters are unable to remove contaminants that are dissolved in the water, like chlorine, lead, mercury, or different organic compounds.
    Activated carbon filters work similarly to the sediment filters, but they are also capable to remove a vast variety of dissolved contaminants by attracting and holding contaminants on the surface of the carbon particles.
    Reverse Osmosis (RO): Water pressure is used to force water molecules through a membrane that has extremely tiny pores, leaving the larger contaminants behind. Purified water is collected from the "clean" side of the membrane, and water containing the concentrated contaminants is flushed down the drain. This process removes a vast majority of contaminants, and, though a bit slower than carbon or sediment filters, can purify more water per day than a distiller and is less expensive to operate and maintain. One of the RO systems' main drawbacks is that they waste up to 4 gallons of water for each gallon of clean water produced.
    Ultra Violet Light (UV): Water passes through a clear chamber where it is exposed to ultra violet light, which effectively destroys bacteria and viruses. However, UV light is not effective against any non-living contaminant, such as lead, asbestos, chlorine, and many organic chemicals.

    A good water treatment system would consist of a sediment prefilter that would remove larger particles and clorine, an RO membrane and an activated carbon postfilter that would remove the last of the impurities and odors. Some models also include an UV treatment chamber to further improve the purification quality.

    If you notice an unusual odor or taste in your water or experience any intestinal symptoms, this may indicate that your water is contaminated. To get more information on the condition of your water system, you can call your water supplier and ask for the yearly test results on their drinking water supply, visit the EPA website, or purchase a test kit which would help you find out if there are any contaminants in your water.

    If you would like more information on the ways you can make the water in your home absolutely safe, you can call one of our Water Quality Experts toll-free at 1-866-234-6630, 10 am - 6 pm ECT. We would be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have.


    Best Water Treatment Products:

    Undercounter 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

    Undercounter 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
    5-stage filtration removes any impurities!

    Undercounter 4 Stage Zero Waste RO Water Filter

    Undercounter 4 Stage Zero Waste RO Water Filter
    Unlike regular RO systems, this one wastes no water!

    Hydro-Safe Undercounter 3 Stage UV Water Filter

    Hydro-Safe Undercounter 3 Stage UV Water Filter
    Combines sediment and carbon block filtration with UV system for the best of microorganism reduction

    BRITA Aquaview On Tap Water Filter

    BRITA Aquaview On Tap Water Filter
    Purifies your tap water right before your eyes.

    BRITA Optimax Pitcher

    BRITA Optimax Pitcher
    BRITA´s largest capacity pitcher (5 qt.) effectively reduces impurities.

    WaterSafe All-In-One Test Kit

    WaterSafe All-In-One Test Kit
    Laboratory level test kit identifies eight types of common contaminants so you can have the complete piece of mind about your drinking water quality.

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