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Water filters - FAQ

About water filtration: What you really need to know!

We invite and encourage you to read the articles, the questions and answers found on this page as they could help answer any questions you may have about water filtration. Although we carry a few brand names in water purification, we at BelKraft believe the decision on which product to purchase should be yours alone. For any other technical questions, feel free to contact Ron Geyer at 613-523-7800 / 1-877-523-7800 (toll free if not in Ottawa) ron@belkraft.com

City of Ottawa Water Purification and Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions #1

Frequently Asked Questions #2

Frequently Asked Questions #3




The NUTRI-TECH WATER FILTER ..... (En français)

Brita or tapwater?

The Soft'n Clean Shower Filter



The doctor who discovered the E coli bacteria in the town's water supply in Walkerton, upgraded his home water purifier from a reverse osmosis to our Nutri-Tech purifier.

The college for Naturopathic Doctors in Toronto have our water purifier on every floor and in every kitchen.

If you would like to know why many people in the medical profession choose our water purification system over the others, then read on or call me to talk about water. (1-877-523-7800).

Did you know?

One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University study.

Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

We are 70% to 90% water.

Bottled water leaches Vinyl Chloride into the water.

Aluminum Fluoride is put into our drinking water as part of the treatment.

The city test water once a week and it takes 2 days for the results. (too late)

Hepatitis B is in the city water now.

Most older homes have lead pipes leading to the house.

Drinking a litre of water a day is the best and healthiest way to loose weight.

In some areas of lake Erie there is a foot and a half of Mercury on the bottom.

Crypto, a parasite that killed over 100 people in Milwaukee a few years back, is in our water 27% of the time.

Dioxins is one of the most toxic chemicals known to man and it is in our water.

Drinks containing concentrated nutrients, such as milk, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and salty tomato-based juices, count more as food than drink since they themselves increase your body's water needs. A drink that contains excessive amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), fats, salt or alcohol actually retards absorption of the water your body needs.

Because most food contains a large amount of water, you obtain approximately 3 ½ cups of water from what is eaten over the course of a day. Interestingly, the body's metabolism itself is another source, since-as it makes and uses energy -one of its daily byproducts is about 1-½ cups of water. So if you add up your losses (two cups for the lungs, two for sweating, and six for the intestines and kidneys), you come up with a total loss of 10 cups... not counting any excess loss through perspiration during exercise. Therefore, taking into account the approximately four cups provided by food and metabolism, the average person needs to drink six to eight cups of water daily just to keep functioning well. An athlete commonly loses four litres (of water) in a practice session.

The bottom line is that the single most important thing you can do to change your health is to change your water. Either you are using a filter or you are a filter. Why would you want your liver, kidney, stomach and spleen to be your filter?

Issue # 1. Water, why is there a concern?

National newspapers and magazines are flooded with articles concerning the quality of our drinking water. They warn us about leaching from land fills, untreated runoff entering our rivers, acid rain, rotting storage tanks, lead, aluminum, excessive chlorination, bacteria outbreaks, deadly cysts in rural supplies and even fluoride concerns. Many articles call out to our local governments to do something. But do what and why?

Issue # 2. Should government fix it?

Did you know that 98% of the water that enters a home is used for something other than drinking or cooking? Toilets, baths, dishwashers, laundry, and watering are the big ticket users. Government control of contaminant levels has become a fine balance between the taxes we are willing to pay and the cost of the technology required to achieve a higher standard. But then, does the toilet need a higher standard?

Issue # 3. Is there a quick fix in a bottle?

Bottled water is now the rage! Gallon jugs on our shopping lists, refill your own bottles and save! Better still, get home delivery of heavy, clumsy, five gallon jugs that require a dedicated dispenser. Where do we fit it all in our ever shrinking kitchens? We have even accepted paying more for a small bottle of water than a can of pop. Interestingly, the water used for that can of pop was purified to standards that may in many countries exceeds the standards for bottled water! Everything considered, bottled water is a very limited supply at a very high cost.

Q. Why all the fuss about drinking tap water?

A. In case after case around the world, more and more is being discovered about the insidious, invisible presence of contaminants in our drinking water supplies. "Is my tap water really safe to drink?" This question has become the riddle of the 90's and will become the curse of the next century. Fear of global pollution far outweighs the fear of NUCLEAR WAR!

Q. Where are these contaminants coming from?

A. Since World War II and the chemical boom, scientists have unleashed approximately 65,000 new chemicals into the market place. Many of these chemicals have now been found in sufficient concentrations in North American water supplies to be considered health threatening.

Q. How do these toxic chemicals get into our drinking water?

A. For years, chemicals have entered our water system as waste from manufacturing industries, leaching from thousands of landfill dump sites and directly from untreated sewage disposal. Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides used in agriculture enter through seepage and normal drainage. Acid rain, which now affects us globally, continually contaminates our polar caps and surface water supplies. Contaminants are now in an ever repeating cycle being helped along by the natural cycles of Mother Nature.

Q. But isn't that why we have municpal water treatment plants?

A. Unfortunately, the water treatment methods developed more than forty years ago to combat water-borne problems such as bacteria, are virtually useless in screening out the chemical threat. The cost of dealing with the chemical threat on a large scale basis is staggering.

Q. Aren't these small amounts of toxic chemicals insignificant?

A. Unfortunately, the long term effects of many of these chemicals are not known and the decisions taken on "safe" limits have been made with the cost factors of municipalities and major cities having to deal with the limits set. Perhaps the most troubling of all, is that many substances such as arsenic, mercury and lead are known to accumulate in the fat cells of the body, starting out in minute amounts hardly detectable but over time the accumulation causes serious health problems. Lead has become one of the demons of the 90's, but that is only because we have finally nailed down a link between it and health problems. How many of the other "safe" limits will be proven false in the future?

Q. Why isn't government doing more to make our drinking water safer?

A. In America, the E.P.A. has enacted stricter legislation to improve the quality and standards of drinking water. The high cost of research; coupled with the fact that scientists are still unsure of what chemicals and at what levels are life threatening, undermines the regulations. Canada to date, has no laws on water quality, only guidelines.

Q. If the government can't solve the problem, how can I?

A. You have little personal control over the quality of water as it enters your home, but you do have a choice once it is at your tap. You can't stop drinking water, nor should you. To ask the government to provide high quality drinking water to your home when 98% of your water usage ends up in the sewer, would be a tax burden none of us would like to face. The answer is an in-home treatment system.

Q. What is the difference between a purifier and a filter?

A. Simply put, a filter is designed to be effective on selected impurities while a purifier treats water for a spectrum of contaminants. Purifiers will normally be tested in accordance with government lab standards and have documented test results available. Very simple filters may appear cheaper at time of purchase, but in addition to the increased efficiency of a purifier, the long term operating costs are generally less and you will be buying a lifetime item versus a cheap disposable.

Q. How will a Nutri-Tech water treatment system make my water "safer"?

A. Nutri-Tech treats your tap water for the removal of incoming bacteria and sediment first, then it treats the water for other contaminants. The first element is a sub-micron ceramic filter, which eliminates 99.999% of the harmful pathogenic bacteria and common particulate matter, effectively reducing chemical contaminants while improving the taste, odour and color of your drinking water.

Q. Why buy Nutri-Tech and not some other system?

A. First and foremost, BelKraft products are the world leaders in filtration technology. Their systems supply unlimited quantities of water through a dedicated faucet. They do not have to "cook" the water or "make" the water (as in distillation or reverse osmosis systems), thereby eliminating any energy, storage or refrigeration requirements. Their units are designed to be a one time purchase, something that you will own for the rest of your life. Their ceramic elements are cleanable, fool proof, and cost effective. These features make Nutri-Tech the most economical water treatment systems on the market today.

Nutri-Tech holds Certification, Accreditation, or Membership with the following Agencies:

ISO 9002 Quality Standard
National Sanitation Foundation standards 42 and 53
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Water Quality Association
Department of Health (Toronto, Canada)
Spectrum Labs (Minneapolis, USA)
Water Research Council (UK)
British 5750 Quality Standard
England's Water Research council (WRC) Performance Standards
California Department of Health
Over 50 Independent Laboratories Worldwide

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Q. What causes cloudiness in water?

A. Cloudiness, also called "turbidity" is caused by small particles, colloidal matter, algae, dissolved organic material and industrial contaminants. Turbidity levels can increase dramatically after heavy rainfalls or during work or repairs on water lines, causing dirt, rust and other substances to enter the water flow.

Note: Many municipal water treatment plants cannot adjust quickly enough to handle increased turbidity levels during heavy spring run-off or other periods of heavy rainfall.

Q. What causes colored water?

A. Water may have a reddish-brown color caused by high iron levels. Other off-colored water can be caused by dissolved organic matter or other industrial contaminants.

Q. What causes unpleasant taste or odour in water?

A. Many compounds can cause unpleasant taste and odours in drinking water. The most common causes are: chlorine (in municipal water supplies), iron, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odour), decayed organic material (fishy-musty tastes and odours).

Q. What are organic contaminants sometimes found in water supplies?

A. Many synthetic organic compounds have been developed with the growth of the chemical industry since World War ll. The EPA has identified more than 1,400 organic chemical contaminants that have been found in our drinking water. Most are petroleum-based and are found in gasoline, septic tank cleaners, household cleaners, paint removers and degreasing agents. The Nutr-Tech water system contains 3 stages capable of removing these contaminants. Contaminant reduction specifications can be found listed on the performance data sheet.

Q. What are TTHMs and where do they come from?

A. TTHMs are a family of organic compounds called Trihalomethanes of which chloroform is the most commonly known. TTHMs can come from two sources: industrial contaminants or chlorine-treated water that comes in contact with decayed organic material. TTHMs are suspected carcinogens commonly found in surface waters.

Q. What are giardia lamblia cysts?

A. Giardia lamblia cysts are a type of cyst found in the intestines of mammals and in water contaminated by mammal droppings. The Giardia lamblia cyst, is capable of causing a contagious waterborne disease characterized by acute diarrhea. This disease is sometimes called "beaver fever" because beaver droppings containing Giardia lamblia are often suspected of contaminating the streams and causing the disease in humans that drink the contaminated stream water.

Q. What causes waterborne diseases?

A. Waterborne diseases are caused by a variety of micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. The bacterium or organisms are able to live in water and therefore can be transferred by way of water.


Q. How does the Nutri-Tech reduce the organic chemicals in the water, but not the natural minerals?

A. The materials used in making the Nutri-Tech filter are selected for their ability to absorb organic chemicals in the water, but not with natural minerals. The natural minerals are totally dissolved in solution and pass through the filter.

Q. Does de-ionized or soft water have any effect on the Nutri-Tech?

A. No.

Q. Will the Nutri-Tech reduce VOCs?

A. Yes. The Nutri-Tech was designed for efficient reduction of VOCs. NSF International test results showed removal of VOCs was greater than 95% at 100% of filter cartridge capacity.

Q. Will the Nutri-Tech reduce turbidity?

A. Yes. Particulate matter down to 0.3 microns is effectively removed in the ceramic prefilter layer, smaller particles are entrapped in the carbon block and other selective absorbents. NSF International results showed the Nutri-Tech 99% efficient in removing sub-micron particulate. The Nutri-Tech was given a Class 1 particulate rating.

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Here are some pages taken from the "City of Ottawa" water treatment plant website.

Water purification and treatment

On an ordinary day, the human body loses about two litres of water through breathing, perspiration and excretion. It's important that we replace that lost fluid with clean, safe water. While the waterborne transmission of typhoid fever, diphtheria, cholera and several other intestinal diseases has decreased by over 98 percent in Canada during the last 50 years, our water still needs to be purified and treated before we drink it.

Constructed in 1874, Ottawa's original water supply system was located in the Fleet Street pumping station. This station used the hydraulic energy of the Ottawa River's Chaudiere Falls to pump untreated river water into the distribution system. In 1915, an electric motor-driven pumping station was constructed on Lemieux Island followed by a complete water purification plant in 1932. The Britannia water purification plant began operations in 1961. Today, these plants are part of a system that produces and distributes an average of 341 million litres of water a day.

The system draws water from the Ottawa River then, using the most effective processes and equipment available, treats it to remove colour, suspended particles, algae, vegetation, bacteria and viruses. Our water-purification processes are continuously monitored, ensuring that high-quality water is pumped out of the plants and maintained as it travels through the distribution system.

Central water supply system

Every day, the City of Ottawa's central water supply provides drinking water to approximately 750,000 customers. This quarterly report is published to give water quality information to the public and to meet the requirements of the province's new Drinking Water Protection Regulation. It summarizes water quality results and other information collected during the period October through December 2002.

Water supply in Ottawa

The source of our city water is the Ottawa River, an abundant supply of clean, soft water that is high in natural colour. Extensive testing confirms that the Ottawa River as a source of raw water is essentially free from contamination. Where urban or industrial discharges exist, there is the potential for pollutants to enter the watershed and impact drinking water quality. For the Ottawa River watershed, these are limited to the Chalk River Laboratories and a pulp and paper plant at Portage-du-Fort. Intensive monitoring for radioactive and trace organic substances are carried out to ensure the safety of our raw water supply.

The river water (raw water) is treated at two purification plants: Lemieux Island (constructed in 1931) and Britannia plant (1961). Both plants use an identical water treatment process and have undergone significant expansion and modernization over the years. Raw water enters the treatment plants through large intake pipes that extend into the main flow of the river.

The treatment process makes use of the "multiple barrier" principle. A series of treatment steps successively remove undesirable substances such as colour, suspended particles, algae, bacteria, and viruses from the water. The purification process in Ottawa consists of the following steps:
· primary disinfection (chlorine)
· coagulation (alum)
· flocculation (silicate)
· sedimentation
· filtration (sand/anthracite)
· pH correction (lime)
· secondary disinfection (chloramine)

During the final treatment step, fluoride is added for prevention of dental cavities, and chloramine is added to preserve water quality as it travels through the vast water distribution system.
After the treatment process, water is pumped through the distribution network of watermains (over 2400 km of watermain piping) to reach water customers over an area roughly 25 km by 50 km. Treated water from both the Britannia and Lemieux Island water plants is blended as it travels through the distribution system.
Pressure and storage requirements are met through the operation of 20 pumping stations and reservoirs located throughout the system. The total volume of water stored in reservoirs is 270 Million Litres, about 2/3 of daily water production

Drinking Water Standards

Health Canada has established the "Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality" which lists 80 maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) values for various substances that are of health concern, as well as aesthetic guidelines for substances that affect consumer acceptance such as taste, odour, colour, and hardness. The Ontario Ministry of Environment has established "Ontario Drinking Water Standards" (ODWS) with MAC levels adopted from the Health Canada guidelines, as well as standards for several additional parameters.

Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment maintain that adherence to these standards will result in drinking water that is safe and protective of public health.

Surface water

Some of our cities still discharge raw or partially treated sewage with metals, grease and toxins into rivers, lakes and oceans. In the United States, most cities, even small ones, are required to perform at least secondary sewage treatment (see "Waste matters,"). In addition to treatment?plant discharges, overflows from combined sewers and dirty storm water are huge sources of water pollution in most Canadian cities. Although the technologies exist to solve these problems sewer separations and chemical recycling and other source controls to keep toxics out of the sewer system to begin with no consistent regulations require cities to clean up.

An Environment Canada working group is considering a national strategy for dealing with municipal wastewater effluent. Its report is expected this fall. But don't hold your breath waiting for real regulations. Says group member Michael Guilcher, Environment Canada's manager of pollution reduction in Halifax, "It takes about two years to get a new regulation through the system."

Drinking water

Revisions to the THM [trihalomethane, a by?product of chlorination] guideline were debated for seven years," echoes Health Canada engineer David Green, recorder for the federal?provincial subcommittee on drinking water (see " Can we drink the water?"). While there is a federal guideline for THMs, there are none for PCBs or dioxins in drinking water, to name just a couple of surprising omissions.

Page taken from the "City of Ottawa" water treatment plant website discussing the different filters.

City of Ottawa

Granular activated carbon filters

Granular activated carbon filters can be effective in removing colour, taste, odours and some chemicals (certain types of organic chemicals and pesticides) if they are present in the water. These units can also remove some types of chlorine. Its effectiveness of this type of filter depends on its size and the length of time the water is in contact with the carbon. The larger the filter and the longer the contact time, the more effective it will be at removing these substances. The American Water Works Association has described small cartridge units in a pitcher or that attach to the tap as "totally useless", because of their size and the brief exposure time. Granular activated carbon filters by themselves will not remove lead and other heavy metals and will not soften the water. WARNING: A granular activated carbon filter must be properly maintained. Once the filter becomes clogged, it will not operate properly. It may even release some previously filtered material back into the water, possibly in higher concentrations than was present in the source water. In addition, the presence of organic nutrients in carbon filters can promote bacterial growth, as quickly as overnight.

Reverse osmosis units

A reverse osmosis unit usually consists of a sediment pre-filter, a carbon pre-filter and a filter membrane. All three can clog and must be properly maintained. Reverse osmosis units primarily remove dissolved salts, minerals and metals from the water. However, they waste large amounts of water. Typically, only 10 to 25% of the incoming water makes it past the membrane; the rest of the water goes to waste.

Distillation systems

Water distillation systems remove salt, minerals and heavy metals. They are typically not effective at removing organic compounds such as pesticides and trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs, which is a known carcinogen, are formed when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic material in water. The City has prepared a fact sheet on THMs. To receive a copy, please contact the Water Information Line at (613) 560-6089 and access our publications request line.

Some distillation units also include a carbon filter which may remove organic compounds if they are present. As with all in-home treatment devices, distillation systems require regular maintenance. Because water distillation systems boil water, they are relatively costly to operate. Typical units consume 6¢ worth of electricity for each litre of water produced plus the cost of regular maintenance and filter replacement.

Water softeners

Dissolved calcium and magnesium make water "hard" when these substances are present in high concentrations. Ottawa's central drinking water system is naturally soft with an average hardness of 55 milligrams per litre (mg/L). Because water softeners are not required until hardness exceeds 125 mg/L, softening devices are not required if you receive water from the City's central supply system.
By contrast, in Eastern Ontario groundwater is typically hard (300-500 mg/L). Water softening units, also called ion exchangers, remove calcium and magnesium ions from water and replace them with sodium ions. A water softener requires the regular addition of salt to regenerate itself and work properly. This maintenance process can waste up to 1,300 litres (300 gallons) of water per month.
While softened water is desirable for washing and helps prevent mineral deposits in appliances and hot water pipes, it is generally not recommended for drinking and cooking. This is due to its higher sodium content, decreased essential mineral content and potential for bacterial growth. If you are on a sodium-reduced diet, consult your Physician about the advisability of drinking water softened by ion exchange.

"So what would be the best system to buy? One that didn't remove all the healthy natural minerals, cost too much, need costly service, increase your hydro bill, breed nests of bacteria, clog up or have complicated installation or maintenance. According to an article from the Alive magazine, after a similar description of the different ways to filter, they quote: "The best kind of filter to buy would be an activated carbon block filter with a sediment pre-filter to remove bacteria and parasites, and an automatic shut off point when the filter has outlived its usefulness."

The description outlined above best describes our purifier.

(See " Water purification " in our " Catalogue " )

Can we drink the water?
No, say the growing number of people who choose bottled or filtered water over the tap stuff.
By Pat Moffat
First published in Chatelaine's October 1996 issue.
© Pat Moffat

According to a recent federal survey, 35 percent of Canadians use home water filters. Only 41 percent take tap water by choice. Is municipal water really so bad? The chemical causing jitters today is the very one that prevents serious waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid: chlorine. All of our 25 cities use it at some point in their treatment processes. Recent studies have focused on one group of by-products formed when chlorine reacts with organic material, like decaying leaves and bacteria. Trihalomethanes (THMs) the best-known being chloroform gas, have been linked to certain cancers. Last winter, a Health Canada study of Great Lakes drinking water found that 10 to 13 percent of bladder and colon cancers in Ontario (about 520 cases) could be attributed to drinking and showering in chlorinated water over a period of at least 35 years.

"To put this in perspective, at least 50 percent of those cancers are due to smoking in bladder cancer and diet in colon cancer," cautions epidemiologist Will King of Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., an author of the study. "But we are recommending that treatment plants continue to monitor the levels of these byproducts and reduce the levels of chlorine where possible."

Fiddling with water chemistry is tricky. The most common way to reduce organic matter in lake or river water is by coagulating and filtering the particles using alum, but that leaves traces of aluminum in the water. Scientific research leads to the belief that aluminum in the brain is a cause or a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Another way to reduce THMs is to use a combination of chlorine and ammonia for disinfection. But as Ottawa and Vancouver have discovered, an unfortunate side effect is that the chemicals kill fish, whether spawning salmon or pet guppies. Montreal and other Quebec cities, by comparison, bubble ozone gas through the water, zapping bacteria and oxidizing organic material on its way. (The water usually gets a squirt of chlorine at the end.) Ozonated water contains virtually no THMs and doesn't taste like a swimming pool. But the health effects of its byproducts, such as bromate and formaldehyde, require more study.
As if all this weren't enough, there's fluoride, which some cities put in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Critics say fluoride can make teeth and bones brittle, and they're not swayed by studies showing it takes huge amounts of the compound to cause adverse effects. Then, there are the pesticides, industrial chemicals and metals that can stray into water supplies. Although they're monitored, some worry that they're affecting health over the long term.

Canadians using tap water: 41%
Canadians using bottled water: 32%
Canadians using water filters to remove impurities in tap water: 35%

But before we all reach for bottled water (which has also had problems) recall that early in this century, before chlorine was introduced, thousands of North Americans died of waterborne diseases. "The main concern in setting drinking-water guidelines has always been the microbiological quality of the water," emphasizes Health Canada engineer David Green, recorder for the federal-provincial subcommittee that sets the guidelines. Almost every spring a "boil water" story hits the news. This year, it was Cryptosporidium in Collingwood, Ont., and Cranbrook, B.C. And, in 1995, one of Victoria's reservoirs became contaminated with toxoplasma. Both bugs, as well as Giardia, come from animal faeces and cause flu-like symptoms, which can be lethal for people with weakened immune systems. Although the best defence is coagulation and fine filtration, some experts believe that without chlorine, such outbreaks not to mention cholera and typhoid might become commonplace.

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Press contact: Erik Olson, 202-289-2360, or Elliott Negin, 202-289-2405
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page.

EPA Inspector General Finds Bush Administration and EPA Misled Public About Improvements in National Drinking Water Quality.

EPA Buries Report, Hoping No One Would Notice.

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2004) - The Environmental Protection Agency inspector general's office issued a report early this week concluding that senior Bush administration EPA officials have repeatedly made misleading statements about purported improvements in U.S. drinking water quality (for a copy of the report, click here). EPA buried the IG report in an obscure area on its Web site, and it was not made public until NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) alerted a reporter yesterday (Click here to see "EPA Data on Water Purity Faulted" in today's Washington Post ).

"This is yet another example of the Bush administration's efforts to mislead the public about EPA's sorry public health and environmental record," said Erik Olson, an NRDC senior attorney. "Instead of leveling with the public and admitting there are serious problems with our drinking water quality, EPA officials have been making rosy claims that they know are misleading."

The report, released by Kwai Chan, EPA's assistant inspector general, cited numerous claims by senior Bush administration officials in 2003 and 2004 that incorrectly "portrayed [EPA's] success at improving drinking water quality." For example, several of the documents falsely stated that 94 percent of the U.S. population served by community water systems drink water that meets EPA health standards (IG report, p. 3). The inspector general noted that these false claims were repeated in the media, including by a June 23, 2003, New York Times editorial that cited the purported improvement in tap water safety (IG report, p. 3). The IG report also found that internal EPA Government Performance and Results Act tracking reports have made similar false claims over the past four years.

Data from both EPA audits and the inspector general show that the claimed 94 percent compliance rate is a gross overstatement of the actual rate. Although no one has calculated the precise compliance rate, the inspector general found that the EPA is fully aware that these public claims substantially overstate actual drinking water compliance. Yet the false public statements were rarely accompanied by prominent or adequate caveats, the inspector general's report noted. In fact, EPA data audits show that about 77 percent of known monitoring and reporting violations, and 35 percent of known health standard violations, are not included in EPA's compliance database (IG report, p. 5). In addition, the inspector general's report pointed out -- and EPA documents acknowledge -- that many of these monitoring and reporting violations likely are "masking" health standard violations (IG report, p. 4). Like EPA's own audits, the inspector general's review of data for 761 water systems confirmed substantial underreporting of all types of violations (IG report, p.7).

"The EPA's regulatory system is broken," said Olson. "The lead crisis in Washington, D.C., is only a small part of the problem we have nationwide, and the EPA is asleep at the wheel."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and e-activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Santa Monica and San Francisco.

Kids are not little adults

By Charles Strand

Other than just being smaller, children's bodies are really quite different than that of an adult. Because many of the crucial defense systems that help protect adults from disease and environmental pollutants are not fully developed in children, they are much more sensitive to environmental pollutants. Just as medications and other chemical compounds effect children differently than they do adults, so do contaminants in our air, drinking water and foods. Unfortunately there is little we can do about toxins in the air and chemicals in foods, which makes the purity of our water even more critical. Water is the body's only way to flush out these toxins, and the purer the water is to start with… the higher it's capacity is to collect and cleanse these harmful compounds from the body. Pure water helps a child's defenses grow stronger and perform better, giving them the protection they need during those fragile developing years.

A child's immune and detoxification systems are still developing into and throughout their early teens. Exposure to even very low levels of toxic chemicals in childhood years has been linked to increased risks of degenerative disease in later years. A mixture of chemicals such as chlorine, lead, herbicides, pesticides and a host of other contaminants are commonly found in our water supplies, and in many bottled waters. These trace levels of water borne chemicals have been documented to have adverse health effects on humans, and especially small children. Unfortunately the health standards that determine how much and what levels of these toxins we are permitted to consume in our drinking water are all based on the potential effects on adults. These “Maximum Contaminant Levels” (MCLs) are also based on the false assumption that we are only exposed to one chemical at a time. We find every thing from gasoline additives to traces of prescription drugs from recycled waste water in our public water systems. Often there are out breaks of chlorine resistant parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia in city water supplies, just as was the case recently in Milwaukee WI, when over 100 people died and 400,000 became sick, mostly children, when the water system became contaminated with Cryptosporidium, an intestinal parasite that causes flu like symptoms, but can be fatal to children and the elderly.

Childhood Asthma, Cancer, Leukemia and immune disorders have all risen in the last decade. Many experts and studies suggest that this is due to children's increased exposure to environmental toxins and their decreased ability to detox. Water plays a major role in a child's exposure to pollutants and in their body's ability to get rid of them.

A child consumes 3 times as much water per pound of body weight than an adult does, so they get a bigger dose of the chemicals in our water, and they're developing bodies are simply much more sensitive.

An increased intake of pure healthy water is one of the easiest and best ways to help promote good health for our children.

Choosing to safeguard the quality of the water we use, as adults, is a choice we are all free to make for ourselves. Choosing to protect our children's health is an instinctive responsibility, and water plays a major role in that protection.

“The human body is over 70% water, it's a common sense equation that the quality of the water we drink will have a major impact on our health.”

WATER, The foundation to a healthy body

Until recently most medical theory was based on the assumption that the 20% of our body that is solid tissue is what determined our health, since that is where most outward signs of disease and illness are found. It was thought that the 80% of our body that is liquid merely supported the structure of bone and organ tissue. We now know the opposite to be true, the fluids that flow through our body are what create our level of well being. The human body is a water machine, designed to run primarily on water and minerals. By weight our body is about 72% water, another 8% is a combination of chemical compounds and the remaining 20% is bone and solid tissue. From the most basic standpoint, it is a common sense equation, if we are made up of 72% plain water, then naturally the quality of the water we consume will have a very dramatic impact on our overall state of health. Every healing and life giving process that happens in our body happens through water!

In just the last decade, medical science has begun to focus on the tremendous healing ability our body has and how much that ability depends on water. Our body instinctively strives to be young and healthy. Each component working in amazing synchronicity to bond broken bones, regenerate and replace damaged tissue and attack and destroy hostile organisms. In each of these miraculous processes there is one common factor...WATER!

Our blood, the very substance of our existence is more than 83% water and flows throughout our body distributing nutrients, oxygen and antibodies on demand where ever needed. In order for our blood to properly carry out it's many critical tasks our body must be sufficiently hydrated with “healthy water”. An inadequate intake of water, or consumption of water laced with contaminants, causes the properties of our blood to change and negatively effects virtually every aspect of our health.

Our brain is over 80% water and controls each and every process that happens inside of our body. This control is maintained by constantly sending and receiving electrical signals through our nervous system, which in reality is nothing more than an elaborate system of tiny water ways. The fluid inside our nerves is made up almost completely of water and minerals. Tiny messengers called transporter proteins travel at the speed of light carrying these life giving messages to every cell and organ in our body. Like any communication network, the purity of the carrier our nervous system, affects the speed and clarity of the signal. If the fluid inside of our nerves is laced with traces of chemicals or heavy metals like lead, then the result is a delayed and distorted signal. Many experts now believe that the distortion of these signals may be the root cause of many nervous system disorders like Attention Deficit Disorder, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Alzheimer's Disease, Axiety and Depression. It has been well documented that the clarity of these signals has a major effect on our ability to deal with stress and our degree of coordination. Considering the vital role that water plays in our brain and nervous system, its quality is possibly the most basic and essential key to healthful longevity.

Our energy level is impacted largely by our consumption of water. It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25 to 30% loss of energy in most people, a 15% drop causes death! It is also estimated that more than 2/3 of all people do not drink enough water and suffer some degree of dehydration. The result being a large part of our population operating at only 70 to 75% of their capacity, or less. Unfortunately most people turn to stimulants like caffeine and sugar to boost their energy level rather than drinking more water, which is what our body needs to produce natural energy. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar are all strong diuretics and actually cause your body to lose water, resulting in a further loss of natural energy production and eventually can lead to a dependency on artificial energy.

A large part of our body's energy comes from a compound called ATP, Adenosine-Tri-Phosphate, which is produced during the osmotic flow of water through the cell membrane to generate hydroelectric energy. ATP is then stored in energy pools and used as chemical energy in our body. The mineral content of our body fluids and the absence of contaminants create the proper environment for this natural energy production.

Our body in reality is a complex Hydro Generator, using the elements of nature to become the miracle machine we were intended to be. The purity of the water we drink greatly impacts our strength and energy level. Any time a toxic chemical (chlorine included) gets inside our body we must then use up some of our strength and energy to reduce and repair the damage done by that contaminant. Water is also what our liver uses to metabolize fat into usable energy. Drinking an abundance of clean chemical free water speeds up our metabolism and allows our body to assimilate nutrients better, resulting in increased strength and energy.

Our body's detoxification system is probably the single most important component to optimum health, and the one process that relies most heavily on an excess intake of clean water. We've all heard it said that we should drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water each day. Drinking the minimum will only help maintain a minimum level of health. Our body will use at least 8 glasses of water each day under normal relatively passive activity to maintain the basic bodily functions such as digestion, temperature control, joint lubrication and skin hydration. Each time we exhale, blink our eyes or make any kind of movement at all we use up some of the available water in our system. Even the constant beating of our heart is a water consuming process. We're continuously depleting the available water level in side our body. In order for our body to properly perform the essential task of filtering and flushing out toxins we must consume a level of water above the minimum. The more of an excess that exists, the more our body is able to rid itself of the elements that promote disease and aging. It's a beautifully simple process that can make a tremendous difference in the degree of health we achieve and maintain, but we have to let it happen by consuming an abundance of clean, healthy water!

A healthy recommendation for water consumption would be at least 10-12 glasses each day, with optimum benefits reached at 14 to 16 glasses a day. (Caffienated or sweetened beverages should not be counted towards your daily water intake as they actually cause the body to excrete water.) It's possibly the best health enhancement habit you can develop and it's so simple… a glass of water every one to two hours. Try it… drink at least 10 glasses of water every day for just one week and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel!

Equally important to proper detoxification as quantity is quality. If we consume water that already contains traces of harsh chemicals, like chlorine or any of the other 2,100 different synthetic chemicals that have already been detected in our water supplies, then that water doesn't have the same ability to pick up and carry out chemical contaminants from our body. Water that is free from contaminants can take on and transport out of our body toxins that find their way into our system through other means.

We are constantly exposed to and ingest a wide variety of harmful chemicals. Every thing from the foods we eat which contain artificial preservatives, colors and pesticide residue to the clothes we wear which harbor traces of laundry and dry cleaning chemicals that are absorbed through our skin, all expose us to toxins. The air we breathe and virtually everything we touch contains potentially harmful chemicals that are taken in by our body. It is difficult if not impossible to maintain the purity of the air we breathe, the things we touch and the foods we eat, which only makes the purity of our water even more important.

Our water quality is the only part of our personal environment that we can easily obtain total control over. With an abundant intake of clean healthy water we allow our body to perform all the healing processes it is naturally capable of.

In this age of fast food, synthetic medicines and complex lifestyles we tend to over look the obvious. Our body is a water machine, performing millions of life giving tasks with each passing second, and in each of these synchronized miracles there is one primary ingredient...WATER!

A study of the human body can only lead to an overwhelming appreciation and respect for it's creator. Keeping our body clean on the inside is not only essential to good health, but an action of appreciation for such a wondrous gift, LIFE!

Prevention and healing with water…

" The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them”
Albert Einstein

So many common ailments and illnesses can be prevented and possibly even cured with an increased intake of healthy water. Headaches, hypertension, back pain, arthritis, ulcers, asthma, morning sickness and fatigue can all benefit and in many cases be prevented by regulating the body's natural fluid levels. Recently there has been a dramatic swing in medical theory and a long overdue realization about “healing”. The best way to prevent, treat and in many cases cure illness is to give our body the right tools and let it go to work. With the proper intake of healthy water, the right minerals and nutrients our body can over come almost anything.

Recent studies have confirmed that many of the medications our society has become dependant on, primarily antibiotics and pain relievers , often do more harm than good. Antibiotics can be extremely damaging to the liver and have an adverse effect on our natural immune system. The more often we turn to synthetic medicines to over come infections, the weaker our natural defenses become and the more likely we are to have repeated incidences of infection. An increased intake of water and the proper immune enhancing nutrients combined with a little patience and common sense are by far the best defense against most infections. Allowing our body to over come minor infections with fever, fluids and rest increases our natural resistance and makes us less susceptible to these intruders in the future. Truly the best offence is a good “defense”.

Pain medications and analgesic medicines also work in contrast to the way our body heals itself. In a very informative book called “Your Body's Many Cries For Water” (very highly recommend) studies by medical experts explain how most of the pain sensations we experience are the result of moderate or acute dehydration.

Our brain is over 75% water and when it detects a shortage of available fluids it implements a water rationing process by producing histamines, causing pain and fatigue. This natural process is meant to slow us down and conserve water. Histamines are released as a warning signal that something is wrong. When we take antihistamines or analgesic medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen we simply turn off the signal and often allow the problem to progress. Two cups of water and a 20 minute break will overcome most common headache pain.

Back pain is also most often the result of a deficiency in body fluid levels. The disks in our back are in reality little hydraulic shock absorbers. These disks are made up of an outer shell filled with fluid, primarily water. A properly hydrated disk creates a cushion that absorbs the shock of physical activity and supports the weight of the upper body. These discs are self hydrating as long as there is adequate fluid levels and regular movement. Movement that compresses and releases pressure on the disc creates a suction that allows water to be pulled inside the disc keeping it fully hydrated. When a disc is fully hydrated the shell of the disc supports 25% of the weight load and the fluid supports 75%. When theses discs become dehydrated then the shell has to support a larger portion of the load causing pain, swelling and soreness. Passive activities like standing, or sitting at a desk without regular movement, allow constant pressure on the disks which slowly forces water out. Without sufficient fluid levels, the pressure on the disc increases and results in pain and stiffness. Simply by maintaining a constant and adequate intake of water combined with regular movement such as bending forward and backwards with your head and upper body allowing the disks to hydrate, you can prevent and stop most minor back and neck pain. Try it, you'll be amazed how easy and effective these natural solutions are.

Hypertension is very often a result of the body adjusting to blood volume loss, according to Dr. Batmanghelidj, MD., a recognized expert on natural and preventive treatments. The most common cause of lower blood volume is dehydration. Since our blood is more than 83% water it's total volume is heavily effected by the level of available water in our body. When the body detects a loss of blood volume it closes off less active capillary beds in order to maintain proper blood flow to the more active areas. These vessel closings cause a rise in tension inside the muscle mass which we've come to know as “hypertension”. More water allows proper blood volumes and less tension.

Arthritis pain and stiffness is now understood to be initially a result of increased friction and swelling in the bone joints. Water is what our body uses to lubricate these joints. When our water levels are reduced there is increased friction between the cartilage surfaces resulting in swelling, stiffness and pain. The movement of the joints cause a suction that pulls water from the bone marrow to the joint cavity if there is available water. An increased intake of water and gentle rhythmic movements of the joints can ease and in many cases overcome minor arthritic pain. A more detailed explanation of this natural treatment can be studied in “The Body's Many Cries For Water” or a recent publication by three very highly respected medical doctors called “The Water We Drink”.

Asthma, which effects over 12 million children in North America alone and causes the deaths of several thousand each year, is a direct result of increased histamine production. Dehydration initiates exaggerated histamine production as a water regulating control. It is well known that asthmatics have excessive levels of histamines in their lung tissue causing constriction of the bronchial passages and increased mucus build up. Water is used in the lungs to keep the tissue moist, but each time we exhale we expel moisture from our lungs. Under normal hydrated conditions the moisture is rapidly replaced. If we are in a dehydrated state then the tissue inside the lungs begins to coat with mucus to prevent drying. It has been demonstrated in many animal studies that an increase in water intake will reduce histamine levels and over a 2 to 3 week period restore normal hydration to lung tissue and reduce mucus build up. Once this occurs the bronchial passages begin to open and normal breathing is restored. The same histamine related effects apply to allergies, and again, significant benefits can result from an increased intake of water.

Even something thought of as normal, like morning sickness is a direct result of dehydration. The fetus lives in a world of water which the body prioritizes above all other needs. Throughout the night, which is the longest period without water intake, the uterus draws water from the mothers system to maintain it's internal fluid levels and those of the fetus. In the morning the mother awakens in a state of dehydration, nausea and fatigue, hence the term “morning sickness”. A common hang over produces the same symptoms and has essentially the same cause, dehydration… only with a much less noble purpose. Alcohol is a very strong diuretic and causes the body to excrete water often leading to advanced dehydration. Both of these common ailments can be prevented by drinking plenty of water before and throughout the night.

While water is not an absolute cure-all, it must be recognized as the base and primary ingredient to every preventive and healing process within our body. We are truly a magnificent creation capable of preventing and curing even the worst of disease and illness.

Understanding how our body works is the first step towards achieving a higher level of health. Once we have this understanding then our actions begin to work in harmony with our body's natural instincts, creating the perfect internal environment.

It is important to remember that we are a “water machine” and that simply by providing our body with the proper ingredients we can and will achieve an elevated level of health, and what a wonderful and rewarding feeling it can be !

Recommended Reading

“Your Body's Many Cries For Water”
F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

“The Water We Drink”
J. Barzilay, M.D., W. Weinberg, M.D., J. Eley, M.D.

“We Are All Water Babies”
Jesica Johnson, Michel Odent

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Water contamination and its effect on our health

“Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall.
He will end by destroying the earth.”
Albert Schweitzer

T he causes of water contamination are numerous and range from agricultural runoff to improper use of household chemicals and everything in between. While the standard use in our society of over 75,000 different chemical compounds has offered added convenience and productivity in our lives, it has also come at a tremendous price… drastic increase in degenerative diseases. In the early 1900s, before chlorine, pesticides, herbicides and the tens of thousands of other chemicals that we are exposed to, the average person had a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer, today 1 in 3 can expect to get cancer in their lifetime, one out of every 2 men.

Our use of man made chemicals has become so extreme that we can now find traces of these low level toxins in virtually every public water supply in the world. A recent report by the Ralph Nader Study Group, after reviewing over 10,000 documents acquired through the Freedom Of Information Act, stated that “U.S. drinking water contains more than 2,100 toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.” The Federal Council On Environmental Quality reports that “Up to two thirds of all cancers may be attributed to these low level toxins.” and that “once contaminated our ground water will remain so for tens of thousands of years… if not geologic time!”

Our tendency is to blame it on the big factory up stream. And while industry has certainly played its part in our water contamination problems, it is “us” individuals that are the most to blame. The majority of the contaminants found in our drinking water can be traced back to improper or excessive use of ordinary compounds like lawn chemicals, gasoline, cleaning products and even prescription drugs.

Once we realize that everything that goes down the drain, on our lawns, on our agricultural fields or into the environment by any means… eventually winds up in the water we drink, we begin to see just how fragile our water supplies really are.

Our municipal water treatment facilities are not designed or effective for removing these synthetic chemicals and typically only consist of sand bed filtration and disinfection, much like a standard swimming pool filter. For the most part today's water treatment facilities are much the same as they were at the turn of the century. “Drinking water plants are old and out of date, and water supplies are increasingly threatened by and contaminated by chemicals and microorganisms.” Natural Resources Defense Council. “The way we guarantee safe drinking water is broken and needs to be fixed.” Carol Browner, U.S. EPA.

One of America's leading authorities on water contamination, Dr. David Ozonoff of the Boston University Of Public Health warns that, “the risk of disease associated with public drinking water has passed from the theoretical to the real.” Many illnesses that in the past could not be linked to a probable cause, can now be directly linked to toxins in our drinking water.

The use of pesticides and herbicides has become so excessive that they are now commonly found in household tap water with alarming frequency.

A 1994 study of 29 major U.S. cities by the Environmental Working Group found that all 29 cities had traces of at least one weed killer in the drinking water. The report titled “Tap Water Blues“ went on to say that “Millions of Americans are routinely exposed to one or more pesticides in a single glass of tap water”.

These first ever “tap water testings” found two or more pesticides in the drinking water of 27 of the 29 cities, three or more in 24 cities, four or more in 21 cities, five or more in 18 cities, six or more in 13 cities and seven or more pesticides in the tap water of five cities. In Fort Wayne Indiana nine different pesticides were found in a single glass of tap water!

As a startling side note it was reported that in these 29 cities 45,000 infants drank formula mixed with tap water containing weed killers and that “ over half of these infants were swallowing 4 to 9 chemicals in every bottle!”

The tragic health effects of consuming these highly toxic chemicals are magnified many times over for small children because their systems are more sensitive and still developing. Small children also consume a much larger volume of fluids per pound of body weight and therefore get a bigger dose, yet non of these factors are considered when the EPA's maximum contaminant levels are set. The National Academy of Sciences issued a report in 1993 on this subject and stated that “ children are not little adults, their bodies are less developed and incapable of detoxifying certain harmful compounds.”

Another major flaw in the estimated risks of chemicals in our drinking water is the false assumption that only that one chemical is being consumed. The regulations are set based on what is assumed safe for a 175 pound adult drinking water with only that one chemical present and does not take into account the combined toxicity of two or more chemicals. In a 1995 Science Advisory Report to the EPA it was stated that “when two or more of these contaminants combine in our water the potency may be increased by as much as 1000 times.” Regardless of the differing opinions it is safe to assume that there is no acceptable level for pesticides and weed killers in our drinking water.

In America each year we use over 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides, or eight pounds for every man woman and child in the country.

Industrial solvents like TCE and Benzene make their way into our water supplies from literally hundreds of sources. Airports and military bases degrease planes and engine parts with TCE, one of the most concentrated toxins in existence. One teaspoon of TCE will render undrinkable over 250,000 gallons of water, and yet thousands of gallons are used in uncontained applications each day. Perchlorethelyne, cyanide, and benzene are used in such common industries as dry cleaning, car washes and photo processing, much of which ends up going down someone's drain and into our water supplies. It has been shown that areas with the highest levels of these man made carcinogens in their water supplies also have the highest incidence of cancer. Jacquelyn Warren of the Natural Resources Defense Council commented on this subject, “The one thing we know for sure about toxins in our drinking water is that the more we look the more we find.”

Cancer extracts a staggering toll from our society, one in every seven people will die from this man made disease. According to the Center For Disease Control “death from cancer is increasing more rapidly than is the population”. It is now widely accepted that cancer is an environmental disease. The World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute both suggest that most human cancers, perhaps as many as 90% are caused by chemical carcinogens in the environment. This realization is paramount for change because it means that most cancers could be prevented by minimizing or eliminating our exposure to chemical carcinogens.

While the powerful chemical industry argues that the levels of these toxins in the environment are not significant, scientific evidence has shown otherwise. A National Cancer Institute report to the Surgeon General concluded that “no level of exposure to a chemical carcinogen should be considered toxicologically insignificant for man.”

We spend billions of dollars each year seeking a cure for cancer. The disease is merely a result of the real problem, environmental pollution. If we were to direct these billions of dollars and the same intense effort towards curing the problem (pollution) instead of learning to live with the result (cancer) we would do future generations a great service, and we could realistically stop the “cancer epidemic”.

Chlorine, cancer and heart disease

"We are quite convinced, based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water”
Medical College Of Wisconsin research team.

The addition of chlorine to our drinking water began in the late 1800s and by 1904 was the standard in water treatment, and for the most part remains so today. We don't use chlorine because it's the safest or even the most effective means of disinfection, we use it because it is the cheapest. In spite of all our technological advances, we essentially still pour bleach in our water before we drink it. The long term effects of chlorinated drinking water have just recently being recognized. According to the U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”

Dr. Joseph Price wrote a highly controversial book in the late sixties titled “Coronaries/ Cholesterol/ Chlorine” and concluded that “ nothing can negate the incontrovertible fact, the basic cause of atherosclerosis and resulting entities such as heart attacks and stroke, is chlorine.” Dr. Price later headed up a study using chickens as test subjects, where two groups of several hundred birds were observed throughout their span to maturity. One group was given water with chlorine and the other without. The group raised with chlorine, when autopsied, showed some level of heart or circulatory disease in every specimen, the group without had no incidence of disease. The group with chlorine under winter conditions, showed outward signs of poor circulation, shivering, drooped feathers and a reduced level of activity. The group without chlorine grew faster, larger and displayed vigorous health. This study was well recepted in the poultry industry and is still used as a reference today. As a result, most large poultry producers use dechlorinated water. “It would be a common sense conclusion that if regular chlorinated tap water is not good enough for the chickens, then it probably is not good enough for us humans!”

There is a lot of well founded concern about chlorine. When chlorine is added to our water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcenogenic. “Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States“. The Environmental Defense Fund.

Simply stated chlorine is a pesticide, as defined by the U.S. EPA, who's sole purpose is to kill living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it kills some part of us, destroying cells and tissue inside our body. Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher who's work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up by claiming, “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution”, and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”

Breast cancer, which now effects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it's kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

One of the most shocking components to all of these studies is that up to 2/3s of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows for excelerated absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water. The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream. When we drink contaminated water the toxins are partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system. Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs, it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II. The inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children… which has increased 300% in the last two decades. “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.” Dr Lance Wallace, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Chlorine in shower water also has a very negative cosmetic effect, robbing our skin and hair of moisture and elasticity, resulting in a less vibrant and youthful appearance. Anyone who has ever swam in a chlorinated pool can relate to the harsh effects that chlorine has on the skin and hair. What's surprising is that we commonly find higher levels of chlorine in our tap water than is recommended safe for swimming pools.

Aside from all the health risks related to chlorine in our water, it is the primary cause of bad taste and odor in drinking water. The objectionable taste causes many people to turn to other less healthful beverages like soft drinks, tea or other sweetened drinks. A decreased intake of water, for any reason, can only result in a lower degree of health.

The good news is that chlorine is one of the easiest substances to remove from our water. For that reason it logically should serve it's purpose of keeping our water free from harmful bacteria and water borne diseases right up to the time of consumption, where it should then be removed by quality home filtration.

No one will argue that chlorine serves an important purpose, and that the hazards of doing away with chlorine are greater than or equal to the related health risks. The simple truth is that chlorine is likely here to stay. The idea that we could do away with chlorine any time in the near future is just not realistic. It is also clear that chlorine represents a very real and serious threat to our health, and should be removed in our homes, at the point of use, both from the water we drink and the water we shower in.

Health and Science

Study: Dirty tap water puts pregnant women at risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of americans have been drinking tap water contaminated with chemical by-products from chlorine that are far more than what studies suggest may be safe for pregnant women, two environmental groups say in a new study.

Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect drinking water. When it is added to water that contains organic matter such as runoff from farms or lawns, however, it can form compounds such as chloroform that can cause illness.

The study released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group and Public Interest Research Groups identified areas that may have increased health risks including miscarriage, neural tube defects and reduced fetal growth from women drinking chlorination byproducts.

"By failing to clean up rivers and reservoirs that provide drinking water for hundreds of millions of Americans, EPA and the Congress have forced water utilities to chlorinate water that is contaminated with animal waste, sewage, fertilizer, algae and sediment," the report says.

Jane Houlihan, EWG's research director, said the report also shows how that cleanup failure has "a direct impact on human health." Pregnant women need to drink plenty of water, she said, but they can reduce their exposure to potential risks through simple measures such as home filters and purchasing bottled water.

One expert on environmental health cautioned that the link between the byproducts and pregnancy risks is suggestive, not conclusive.

Still, if the pregnancy studies are proved, millions could be at risk, said Dr. Robert Morris, an environmental epidemiologist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

"That body of literature isn't necessarily conclusive but people ought to be aware of it," Morris said. "It's pretty clear that some of these compounds can be pretty bad actors. The fact that these levels are as high as they are is certainly something to be concerned about."

The environmental groups combed water quality records in 29 states and the District of Columbia and matched them with various research into birth defects and miscarriages conducted by state and federal agencies and universities.

"The groups said the places statistically most at risk due to chlorination byproducts were those that are populous, lacked buffers from urban sprawl and were downstream from agricultural sites. But women in small towns generally face twice the risk from drinking high levels of the by-products", Houlihan said.

Matching high rates doesn't prove the environmental risk caused the health problems, however. Also, the results are limited because, among other reasons, such health records do not exist in some states.

The Environmental Protection Agency already has decided that some chlorination byproducts pose health risks and instituted stricter standards on Jan. 1 for seven of them: five haloacetic acids, bromate and chlorite. The agency also began requiring a reduction by one-fifth of the allowable level for trihalomethanes, another chemical produced by adding chlorine to dirty water.

EPA studies showed that reducing the level of trihalomethanes might mean 2,332 fewer cases of bladder cancer per year, down from its estimate of up to 9,300 annual cases caused by trihalomethanes.

While the environmental groups said the majority of water suppliers were meeting the current and future drinking water health standards, they also found that since 1995 more than 11 million people in 1,044 communities were being served water contaminated with chlorination byproducts for 12 months in a row at levels above the new legal limit.

To reduce the risks, the groups said, the federal government should provide billions of dollars more for cleaning up sources of contaminated water and providing more buffer areas that can filter potential contaminants from farmland and urban areas.

Lead In Drinking Water

Lead is the number one environmental health threat to our children.
U.S. department of Health And Human Services

Next to chlorine, lead is the most common contaminant found in tap water. Lead in drinking water usually originates between the water main in the street and the household faucet, so treatment from a central point is neither logical or practical. Most lead in drinking water comes from lead lined pipes, lead solder and brass plumbing fixtures inside your home. The EPA estimates that 98% of all homes have pipes, fixtures or solder joints in the household plumbing that can contribute some level of lead to the tap water.

It has been determined and recognized by the EPA that there is no safe level for lead in drinking water and that any level poses some degree of adverse health effects.

Ironically lead takes it's greatest toll on small children. Even very low levels of lead can cause reduced IQs, learning disabilities and behavioral problems such as hypertension and reduced attention span in children. And often the effects of lead are life long and irreversible.

In adults lead in drinking water causes high blood pressure and reduces hemoglobin production necessary for oxygen transport and interferes with normal cellular calcium metabolism. Water borne lead effects every one in a very tragic and permanent way. Lead exposure is cumulative and long lasting. This toxic metal is stored by the body, primarily in teeth and bones. When the body is under physical stress, or deficient in certain minerals, the stored lead is released in varying quantities depending on the individuals physical state.

Essentially, lead has a very damaging effect on the body's electrical system, the nervous system. It causes the critical life giving messages, sent from the brain to every cell and organ in our body, to become distorted. This results in the onset of a chain of tragic health effects.

It is estimated by the U.S. EPA that lead in drinking water contributes to 560,000 cases of learning disorders in children and 680,000 cases of hypertension in adults, each year in the U.S. alone. Some studies have even shown a relationship in exposure to lead and adolescent crime. Areas in large cities that have shown to have higher levels of lead in the drinking water, have also been found to have a higher rate of pre-adult crime. The effects of lead in drinking water; depression, anxiety, learning disabilities and hypertension are many of the same factors that lead to anti-social behavior and in some cases violent activities in children and teenagers.

In the first quarter of 1993, the EPA released a first-time report that showed the results of the new “test at the tap” requirements for lead in drinking water. The report documented that, in America, 42 states exceeded the legal limits of lead in drinking water and that other states failed to do the required testing. Some areas had lead levels in excess of 450 parts per billion, thirty times the legal limit of 15 ppb. The level the EPA has set as the safe level, or MCLG (maximum contaminant level goal), is -0- ppb.

The U.S. EPA has also found that in adult males, better control over lead in drinking water could prevent over 680,000 cases of hypertension, 650 strokes, 880 heart attacks, and 670 premature deaths from heart disease every year in America alone.

In 1991, the U.S. EPA lowered the federal standard for the allowable level of lead in drinking water from 50 ppb (parts per billion) to 15 ppb. This new standard was an improvement, but according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, was in violation of federal law. The law requires EPA to set Maximum Contaminant Levels based on “health effects” and not economic feasibility. Even though research presented to the EPA documented that there is NO safe level for lead in drinking water, and that any level poses certain adverse health effects, the allowable level was set at 15 ppb after an intense lobbying effort by the water utilities. EPA's new standard also gave water utilities, that were out of compliance, up to 20 years to comply.

Essentially, every household with indoor plumbing has some level of lead in the tap water that represents a health risk. The biggest tragedy of lead contamination from drinking water is that it is completely preventable. By taking a few simple steps, beginning with Point-Of-Use filtration of our drinking water, we can virtually eliminate the crippling effects of lead on our society, and most importantly on our children.

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"After reading these articles and dozens more like them, I am convinced that one of the best ways to avoid cancer is to purify your water. As quoted by one of my clients, who is a Naturopath Doctor: "You either use a filter, or you are a filter."
"We have three products that can solve the problem. A whole house filtration system, a shower filter and a point of use kitchen water purifier."

(See " Water purification " in our "Catalogue" )

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- 75% of the Earth's surface is water, but only 1% is drinkable.
- Over 70% of our body is water.
- We can only survive 12 days without drinking water.
- Healthy living depends on drinking 8 glasses of water a day.
- Our drinking water is heavily contaminated.

The Answer:

BELKRAFT has teamed up with Doulton of England, the world leader in filtration for over 183 years. Doulton markets over 100 million filters every year in 188 different countries. Our Surgical Steel expertise and Doulton's porcelain filtration expertise combined to produce
"The Best".

The NUTRI-TECH is modern in design, rugged and beautiful, tough and durable, practically indestructible. Comes with a lifetime warranty of 50 years on the housing. It is made of 304-S Surgical Stainless Steel. Installation is easy and can be used above counter or under the sink, all parts are included.

The media is warning us every day of the dangers. We need to supply water that tastes good, has a good appearance, eliminates harmful elements, suspended solids and bacteria.

The NUTRI-TECH is designed to filter 1,500 gallons. The average family of four uses from 1 to 2 gallons a day. However, the flow rate typically diminishes with use and may vary with local water conditions. It shuts down automatically when it needs caring.

Our system uses only regular household water pressure, has the most effective filtration media for reducing common, but potentially harmful pollutants. It reduces lead, chlorine sediment, bad taste and odours, plus much more. It is a total filter!


Our British made 15” 3-stage cartridge

The NUTRI-TECH cartridge has an ion exchange resin which effectively reduces lead levels.

It is designed to trap bacteria on the outer surface of the element and to prevent the bacteria from passing through into the drinking water. When the flow diminishes, it is an indication that it is time to wash the element.

The silver renders its surface bacteriostatic, that is bacteria cannot grow on the surface or work its way through. Silver mixed with granulated carbon leaches out. Such a unit will be less effective.

It is a high-porosity, microsporous ceramic impregnated with highly stable silver. It effectively removes: aluminium, bacteria, cysts, chlorine, organic chemicals, rust and sediment particles, tastes and odours from your drinking water.


* It is EPA approved.
* It is the only complete unit ready to use above the counter or under the sink. There is nothing else to buy. The unit is easy to install.
* It meets NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) standards 42 and 53.
* The average family consumes three gallons of water a day or 1,080 gallons a year. You only need to replace your filter every 18 to 24 months.
* It uses only FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved materials.
* It kills bacteria and stops it from growing inside the filter.
* It requires no electrical hook-up. It operates with push button convenience. It will improve the quality of your coffee, tea, soup, baby formula, etc. Your food will taste better.
* It allows the free flow of beneficial calcium and other natural minerals required for healthy living.
* It is only available through bonded distributors, trained to advise. It will pay for itself in one year, compared to buying bottled water.
* It is the best: It provided clear, safe, good tasting water at tremendous savings, operates for just pennies a day.
* It is backed by two respected companies: BELKRAFT and Doulton of England.


Faits :

* 75% de la surface de la Terre est de l'eau, mais seulement 1% est buvable.

* Plus de 70% de notre corps est l'eau.

* La vie saine dépend que l'on boit 8 verres d'eau par jour.

* Boire une abondance d'eau vous aide à perdre du poids naturellement.

* Notre eau potable est fortement souillé. Le gouvernement fédéral admet au cancer causé par des contaminants dans notre eau.

* La plupart des gens boivent du lait, des boissons non alcooliques, du café etc..

* Sucres, graisses, sel et alcool retarde l'absorption d'eau dont votre corps a besoin.

BELKRAFT est partenaire avec Doulton de l'Angleterre, le chef du monde dans la filtration pendant plus de 150 ans. Doulton vend plus de 100 millions de filtres chaque année dans 188 pays différents. L'expertise en acier chirurgicale de Nutraway et l'expertise de filtration de la porcelaine de Doulton, ont été combiné pour produire la façon la plus économique possible de filtrer l'eau potable de votre famille. Le NUTRI-TECH est moderne dans ça conception. Il est robuste, beau et durable. Fait de l'acier inoxydable chirurgical 304-S, il est pratiquement indestructible dont avec une garantie 50 ans. L'installation est facile et peut être installé au-dessus du comptoir ou sous votre évier. Toutes les pièces sont incluses.

Le secret :

Les anglais ont fait Doulton (avant-filtre). Le filtre est fait d'une haut-porosité, en céramique microporeux imbibée de l'argent fortement stable. Il enlève efficacement : aluminium, bactéries, kystes, E.coli, salmonelles, chlore, produits chimiques organiques, Cryptosporidium, THM, rouille, méchant goût et méchante odeur de votre eau potable. La surface d'élément est bactériostatique. Les bactéries ne peut pas se développer sur la surface ou au travers. La porcelaine est conçue pour emprisonner les bactéries et les particules vers le bas à 0.3 micron. La surface est lavable. Le débit diminue avec l'utilisation et indique quand il est temps de nettoyer l'élément. La deuxième étape de la cartouche de "FULL-SPECTRUM" est une résine d'échange ionique, qui enlève le mercure et l'arsenic. La troisième étape est le noyau expulsé plein de carbone qui est six fois plus efficace que les filtres réguliers de l'eau de G.A.C.

Pourquoi le filtre de l'eau de NUTRI-TECH est le meilleur pour vous?

C'est EPA approuvé. (Agence de protection de l'environnement). L'unité est facile à installer. Aucune conjugaison électrique. Elle répond aux normes 42 et 53 de NSF (Base nationale d'hygiène). Elle emploie seulement des matériaux approuvés par la FDA (Administration fédérale de drogue). Elle tue des bactéries et les arrête sa croissance à l'intérieur du filtre. Elle permet l'écoulement libre du calcium salutaire et autres de mineraux normal exigés pour la vie saine. Elle améliorera la qualité de votre café, thé, formule de bébé, potages, etc.. Votre nourriture goûtera mieux. Elle fournit clairement la bonne eau et vous donne des épargnes énormes. Elle se paye comparativement à l'eau embouteillé.

Ce filtre peut seulement être obtenus par deux compagnies respectées : BELKRAFT et DOULTON.

Your health: Brita or tapwater?

Updated 12:00 PM ET December 6, 2000

From Staff Reports
Daily Californian
U. California-Berkeley

(U-WIRE) BERKELEY, Calif. -- The popularity of bottled water and water filters such as Brita and Pur cause many people question the cleanliness and safety of drinking water out of the tap. Just thinking about all of the chemicals that run down the drain during chemistry lab may make a person think twice before taking a sip straight from the faucet.

The chlorine residue in water protects tap water as it flows through the winding pipelines, which would otherwise become a breeding ground for bacteria.

What water filter producers advertise, however, is the fact that while chlorination of municipal water supplies is necessary to kill and prevent bacteria as the water travels from the treatment plant to your tap, once you turn your tap on, you neither need it nor want it.

Many prefer to filter their water or to buy bottled water because the use of chlorine as a disinfectant causes a distinct and sometimes pungent taste and smell in water.

Chlorine makes some people nervous because a number of research studies draw links between long-term consumption of chlorinated drinking water and an increased risk of colon and bladder cancer. There is also growing concern about the long-term health implications of chlorine intake.

Research has shown that long-term exposure to certain by-products of chlorine may increase the risk of cancer, and bladder cancer in particular.

Studies have linked one specific by-product, called trihalomethanes or "THMs" to a significant increase in the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women who drank five or more glasses of unfiltered tap water a day.

THMs are a group of organic chemicals, which are suspected of being carcinogenic. They are formed in water when chlorine being used as a disinfectant reacts with natural organic matter (such as humic acids from decaying vegetation).

Brita water filters, however, do not filter THMs out of tap water.

Tap water may be just as safe because chlorine and THMs evaporate from tap water after a few hours.

Some studies have shown that home plumbing may be a source of excessive levels of lead. Impurities such as organic matter, sediment, rust and lead can be absorbed in the water ways and plumbing system, especially when using hot water from the tap.

In terms of bacteria, the Brita water filters does not aid to kill the microorganisms. If you have not changed your filter in six months, the Brita filter becomes useless.

Brita does not kill bacteria. Because the filter cannot kill bacteria, it actually becomes a breeding ground for the microorganisms if not changed regularly. An old, unchanged Brita filter can be dangerous because its use may add bacteria, which had been killed in the tap by chlorine, back into water.

So, the bottom line is that if you have a clean Brita filter, it is fine to use it for better tasting water and to take extra precaution. But for those not concerned about chlorine levels, you can also go ahead and drink the tap as well. Chlorine is a fat-soluble compound and just as much enters your body when you take a shower as when you drink it directly.

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The Soft'n Clean Shower Filter

The Soft'n Clean is the only shower filter that softens and cleans your water.

Simply taking showers can contribute to highly toxic chlorine and other contaminants making their way into your body. Open pores absorb them, and you breathe in toxins released in tiny water droplets in the steam from the shower. This vapor can aggravate sinuses and lungs. Skin is stripped of its precious and protective covering causing it to become dry and itchy.

Although most of us take clean water for granted, hidden contaminants are commonly found in our water supply. Chlorine, lead, pesticides, bacteria, and parasites are often present in water and can wreak havoc on the body. Chlorine byproducts (THM's) and other toxic substances can be devastating to the immune system, or deadly to those with impaired immune systems.

Protect yourself from the harsh toxic effects of chlorine and other contaminants in your shower water with the Soft 'n Clean shower filter. Our premier filtration mechanism contains one pound of specialized 100% KDF media, a patented alloy media that is comprised of high purity copper and zinc, and is the driving force in removing chlorine.

Surpassing the standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation, the Soft 'n Clean shower filter enhances the quality of your homes bathing water. In addition, the shower filter helps control the unwanted growth of bacteria, as well as algae, mold, and lime in the shower.

For just pennies per gallon, you can have all the pure water you need for good health. Plus, it's easy to install with no plumbing required!


Water has been called "the most essential nutrient".

Since creation, the amount of water on this planet has not changed. Every living creature depends on water to survive. A person can live for weeks without food, but only for a few days without water. Almost daily you can pick up a book or newspaper and read yet another fact emphasizing the significance of water in our lives.

Did you know that:

"A reduction of a 4% in body water will result in a decline of 20-30% in work performance".

Drinks containing concentrated nutrients, such as milk, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and salty tomato-based juices, count more as food than drink since they themselves increase your body's water needs.

Because most food contains a large amount of water, you obtain approximately 3 ½ cups of water from what is eaten over the course of a day. Interestingly, the body's metabolism itself is another source, since-as it makes and uses energy -one of its daily byproducts is about 1-½ cups of water. So if you add up your losses (two cups for the lungs, two for sweating, and six for the intestines and kidneys), you come up with a total loss of 10 cups... not counting any excess loss through perspiration during exercise. Therefore, taking into account the approximately four cups provided by food and metabolism, the average person needs to drink six to eight cups of water daily just to keep functioning well. An athlete commonly loses four litres (of water) in a practice session.

What is the best drink when we're hot and thirsty? Something sweet, sour or salty, an ice cold beer or frothy alcoholic beverage?

The official answer from the American College of Sports Medicine is none of the above. Scientific analysis shows that water alone is still the No.1 thirst quencher. The next time you're thirsty or reaching into your refrigerator, scanning a menu or hailing a bartender, remember: a drink that contains excessive amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), fats, salt or alcohol actually retards absorption of the water your body needs.

It is simple and inexpensive to install a water filter that combines coarse filtration (to remove particulates) and an activated charcoal block, which removes chlorine and harmful chemicals from the water as it flows through.

We think the filtered water tastes delicious -as good as expensive bottled water- and it is ideal for cooking as well.