Information for Transformation
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WATER FILTRATION AND PURIFICATION PRODUCTS
Russell Blaylock Neurosurgeon Talks About Fluoride in Water
Water is central to life — so central that Albert Szent-Györgyi, the father of modern biochemistry, once opined: “Life is water dancing to the tune of solids.” Without that dance, there could be no life." It’s well known that poor quality water can give you diseases or even kill you, on the flip side good quality living water has many amazing benefits for our health. Water is absolutely central to human health. Water is the source of life on earth. The water we want to drink must have characteristics that go beyond simple purification.
Water is the most important substance on earth! Water constitutes four-fifths (80%) of the body's weight and performs and supports the internal functions of animals and plants. The average adult body loses about three and a half quarts daily in perspiration, respiration, urination and defecation. Body temperature is regulated through water. Water makes up 92% of the blood of the body and nearly 98% of intestinal, gastric, salivary and pancreatic juices. Water holds all nutritive factors in solution and acts as a transportation medium of these substances. Water is necessary for proper digestion of food. One of the most important functions of water is to flush toxins from the body. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Even mild dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied. Lack of water is the number one 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 or on a printed page. 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.
Many people think dehydration is something that happens to travelers in the desert when they run out of water. But there is a chronic form of dehydration that goes unnoticed. It is widespread and affects everyone who is not drinking enough of the right liquids. One cannot hydrate with coffee, tea, Coke or Pepsi; in fact these drinks contribute to chronic dehydration and inflammation.
Water, the simplest and one of the most abundant substances in the world is one of the best pain medications, effective for asthma and is the best anti-histamine medication there is. It is the solvent of our ills and the deliverer of ripe old age.
The ideal water is high in pH and specifically highly alkaline because it is rich in magnesium and other minerals like bicarbonate. The ideal water is properly structured, making it easy to fully hydrate oneself—which is more difficult than most of us believe. One would think all water hydrates equally but this is not the case. Low quality acid demineralized water leads to dehydration as well as disease.
On planet earth, we never really use up or lose water. It’s always recaptured somewhere, in some form. And yet, having enough fresh, clean water is the single greatest crisis facing our civilization. If water doesn’t really disappear, why is there a crisis? You may have heard the term “peak oil,” but have you heard of “peak water?” It may well turn out to be even more serious than peak oil. In this report, you’ll learn why. Few people are fully aware of the threats that water problems pose to the population at large. Most of us take water for granted. We assume there will be enough. (There isn’t.) We assume it will be clean. (It isn’t.) All across the United States and around the world, more and more people are coming to the stark realization that fresh, clean water is a finite resource.
Of the entire water mass on our planet, only .62% of it is fresh water … and most of it is in a very deep lake in Siberia.
The world is rapidly running out of clean water. Some of the largest lakes and rivers on the globe are being depleted at a very frightening pace, and many of the most important underground aquifers that we depend on to irrigate our crops will soon be gone. At this point, approximately 40 percent of the entire population of the planet has little or no access to clean water, and it is being projected that by 2025 two-thirds of humanity will live in "water-stressed" areas. But most Americans are not too concerned about all of this because they assume that North America has more fresh water than anyone else does. And actually they would be right about that, but the truth is that even North America is rapidly running out of water and it is going to change all of our lives.
Today, the most important underground water source in America, the Ogallala Aquifer, is rapidly running dry. The most important lake in the western United States, Lake Mead, is rapidly running dry. The most important river in the western United States, the Colorado River, is rapidly running dry. Putting our heads in the sand and pretending that we are not on the verge of an absolutely horrific water crisis is not going to make it go away. Without water, you cannot grow crops, you cannot raise livestock and you cannot support modern cities. As this global water crisis gets worse, it is going to affect every single man, woman and child on the planet.
Right now, the United States uses approximately 148 trillion gallons of fresh water a year, and there is no way that is sustainable in the long run. According to a U.S. government report, 36 states are already facing water shortages or will be facing water shortages within the next few years. The U.S. intelligence community understands what is happening. According to one shocking government report that was released last year, the global need for water will exceed the global supply of water by 40 percent by the year 2030... In the United States we have massive underground aquifers that have allowed our nation to be the breadbasket of the world. But once the water from those aquifers is gone, it is gone for good. According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years. Approximately 40 percent of all rivers in the United States and approximately 46 percent of all lakes in the United States have become so polluted that they are are no longer fit for human use.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the average U.S. household used 200 gallons per day in 1999. Now, 12 years later, we’re using about 350 gallons per household per day. For the 112 million U.S. households, that adds up to 39,200,000,000 gallons per day – a 57 percent increase in just a decade. In the next decade, we’ll need even more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made a worrisome announcement in 2009. “In the last five years, nearly every region of the country has experienced water shortages,” they reported. “At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013, even under non-drought conditions.”
Are you drinking the right amount of water you should every day? Here's an easy way to figure the proper daily amount. Take your body weight and divide it in two (150lbs. = 75lbs.) then change the pounds to ounces, (75lbs. = 75oz.). This is how much water you should drink a day to maintain proper hydration. Be sure to increase your water intake slowly, or you will spend a great deal of time in the bathroom.
The EPA revealed that 627 industrial plants and 12 federal installations dumped toxic substances into the nations waters in one year. A recent survey showed that industry released 9.7 billion pounds of toxics into streams and rivers.In fact the EPA says there is chemically polluted surface water in 49 out of our 50 states. Our underground water reserves which provide 60% of the American population with drinking water, have become contaminated in recent years by seepage from underground chemical storage tanks and toxic leakage from landfills.
A survey released as far back as January 1974, by the EPA revealed that about one-quarter of the municipal water supplies did not meet federal drinking water standards. The EPA also has identified more than 700 pollutants that occur regularly in drinking water,both from municipal sources and from water taken directly from the earth through wells or springs. At least 22 are known to cause cancer. We don't know about the other 687 pollutants because they haven't all been tested. It has been estimated that the 700 known pollutants could represent as little as 10% of the actual number of contaminants that may be present in municipal drinking water; testing procedures have not yet been invented to detect all of the substances that could be making your water dangerous to drink.
Water contaminants can be broken down into two broad categories: substances that affect water's taste or appearance but are considered harmless, and substances that present health hazards. The cosmetic contaminants include such minerals as iron, copper, and manganese, and the hardness-/softness-determining minerals, calcium and magnesium. Often the cosmetic contaminants can be detected by taste, smell, or touch. Iron can turn water brackish or red and frothy, and may add a soapy taste. It can also pit pipes and fixtures. Copper is tangy, bitter, or metallic-tasting, and leaves blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures. Hard water, with high levels of calcium and magnesium, leaves scaly or soapy looking deposits on sinks, water heaters and pipes. Chlorine tastes salty, corrodes pipes, and blackens steel. The more serious health hazard contaminants exist as microorganisms, inorganic and organic chemicals, and radionuclides. In the U.S. today, the added chemicals, chlorine, fluoride, and chloramine fit into this category.
Microbial contamination persists as a major problem. The usual source is human and animal fecal matter that has entered the water system. Single-use, disposable baby diapers present a growing problem. There are also some 20 million septic tanks in the U.S., many of which discharge into the areas where there are more than forty such units per square mile, septic contamination can be a major pollution problem. During a 12-year period, there were 427 outbreaks of disease, such as dysentery and gastroenteric problems, affecting over 100,000 persons in the U.S., that could be traced to water-borne microorganisms. Inorganic chemicals such as arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, lead and nitrate come from a variety of sources, including industrial wastes, geologic sources, mining and agriculture. The most worrisome in this category are lead and nitrate.
Over 90% of all U.S. homes and apartments have lead in their plumbing in some form, either as lead service pipes, lead-soldered connections, or brass faucets (brass contains lead). Nitrogen compounds, usually from chemical fertilizers, sewage, and feedlot runoff, are converted to nitrate in the soil and then picked up by groundwater. Surveys have indicated that some 600,000 households, mostly in rural areas, use well water that exceeds the EPA's nitrate standard of 10 parts per million. Organic chemicals include pesticides and herbicides such as chlordane, ethylene dibromide (EDB), and 2,4-D, as well as such toxic substances as trihalomethanes (from chlorine), vinyl chloride, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride. The potential health effects include liver and kidney damage, impairment of the nervous and reproductive systems, and cancer.
Science and Medicine have been seeking and studying miracle healing waters for decades. High elevation regions such as the Hunza in
For over three decades, Dr. Patrick Flanagan ha studied the remote regions of the world where people live healthy active lives past the age of 100 years. While the diets in these regions differed dramatically, Dr. Flanagan discovered the amazing fact that the drinking water in these regions was almost identical and came from frozen glaciers that had melted. This water, known in some circles as glacial milk, displays some very distinct physical differences from the water that most of the civilized world is drinking.
The surface tension of glacial milk is much lower. This means that the water can be absorbed directly into the cells of the body with much greater ease facilitating hydration and nutrient uptake. It also means that waste materials can be removed from the cells more easily by the same life-giving water. Dr. Flanagan also discovered that glacial milk, or “life water,” had very distinct physical properties of viscosity, heat, and energy potential. After decades of laboratory and field research and study, Dr. Flanagan uncovered what may be the most important discovery about the true nature of hydration. He discovered why the waters are so different and can hydrate the human cell so effectively where people of these remote regions live well past 100 years of age.
For thousands of years, man has trekked to the mountains and the sea for physical, emotional, and spiritual replenishment. Dr. Flanagan discovered that the water from these regions contains massive quantities of negatively-charged ions. Several decades ago, this fact was confirmed by other scientists. Negatively-charged ions have proven to be highly beneficial to the human organism.
Hydrogen is one of the primordial elements that fuel the development of all life on Earth. As provided by the Sun as rays of light, human beings cannot live without Hydrogen. While science refers to us as carbon-based life forms, man is actually a Silica-based and Hydrogen-based life form. All life on Earth is hydrogen-based. When plants absorb sunlight, they store negatively-charged Hydrogen ions through the process of photosynthesis. When you eat unprocessed plants, your body’s cells utilize the nutrients in those plants and, perhaps more importantly, the electrical charge of the Hydrogen ions in those plants. When your body burns Hydrogen and Oxygen, it generates the energy you need for every single process of life. As a matter of fact, nearly every life form on the planet utilizes Hydrogen and Oxygen to generate energy. The key is that without Hydrogen, there is no life.
Hydrogen is the smallest known element in the Universe. All living things must have Hydrogen to sustain life. Hydrogen is the key to life, death, and aging.Without Hydrogen ions, there would be no life on Earth. As a result of Dr. Flanagan’s discoveries, many scientists now believe that the quantity of Hydrogen ions in plants and water is a qualitative indicator of its energy potential. Hydrogen ions are a key fuel and energy source for the human body. Negatively-charged Hydrogen ions (H-) can determine the overall health of every cell in the human body.
The human body must breathe to get Oxygen, and must eat and drink to get Hydrogen ions. Without breathing Oxygen, the body dies. Without eating or drinking sources of Hydrogen ions, the body has no source of energy and dies. The fact is that human cells need Hydrogen and oxygen in order to generate the energy we call life. The primary source of hydrogen ions for the human body is fresh uncooked plants, fruits, vegetables, and water.
Due in no small part to mass food production, mineral deficient soil, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, over-processing of foods, the addition of chemical preservatives, and drinking over-chlorinated and over-fluoridated water, millions of individuals are not getting enough Hydrogen ions daily. Cell damage occurs when the body has insufficient Hydrogen ions but sufficient Oxygen. The body’s cells become oxidized like Oxygen rusts iron.
When certain chemicals in the body lose an electron, they become positively charged and are called free radicals or oxidants. These chemicals roam freely through the rest of the body stealing electrons from other cells. Free radicals damage cellular DNA. The majority of modern science has come to the conclusion that free radical damage in the human body is the cause of aging. Science has also discovered that aging is not a natural function of time passing. Aging is evidence of the damage to millions of the body’s cells through oxidation. This oxidation is due to the lack of negative Hydrogen ions that are available to stop free radical damage.
The human body is under siege by free radicals 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. Pollution, chemicals, fumes, toxins, and other poisonous materials only add to the damage that the body endures on a daily basis. The amount of free radical damage is equivalent to the amount you have aged. The best known antioxidants prior to Dr. Flanagan’s pure Hydrogen ion product were vitamin-E, vitamin-C, green tea extract and grape seed extract. Both green tea and grape seed extracts have many times more antioxidant potential than either vitamin-E or vitamin-C. Scientific evidence proves that Mega H- is hundreds of times more powerful as an antioxidant than either green tea extract or grape seed extract. There is no known antioxidant more powerful than Mega H-. More importantly, because Mega H- is so pure, you get far more Hydrogen ions from a daily supplement of Mega H- than from eating pounds of raw fruits and vegetables and drinking gallons of water from the Hunza region.
The active ingredient in Mega H- is Silica Hydride. One very important characteristic of the antioxidant capacity of Silica Hydride is that it is the only antioxidant that does not turn into a free radical (i.e. oxidant) once it has neutralized a free radical by donating its electron. Negatively-charged hydrogen turns into benign gas and/or turns into water.
Two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom make water. Without water, there is no life. Dr. Flanagan stunned the scientific community with the discovery that the configuration of the minerals within the water not just their existence, provides glacial milk with its unique hydration and life-giving properties. In order to replicate these beneficial elements of glacial milk water, Dr. Flanagan spent the past three decades on the development of a simple and easy-to-use Silica Hydride powder that can hold Hydrogen ions stable over time and releases them in your body when they come in contact with water.
Mega H- is the product of a lifetime of research and development by Dr. Flanagan. There is no other product available on the planet like Mega H- that delivers billions of negatively-charged Hydrogen ions to the cells of the body by simply taking it with water.
Mega H- contains the active ingredient Silica Hydride, a compound known to positively affect the zeta potential of blood cells. Zeta potential (or oxidation/reduction potential) is the electric potential, or charge, that exists in a hydrated particle and the surrounding solution. This can be measured with an ORP meter. Zeta potential is an important and useful indicator that this charge can be used to predict and control the stability of colloidal suspensions. The greater the zeta potential, the more likely the suspension will be stable because the charged particles repel one another and thus overcome the natural tendency to aggregate. Zeta potential is an electrical charge that describes how far apart cells are. Greater zeta potential indicates more space between cells.
Increased zeta potential has many positive health benefits. More zeta potential means more surface area for cells. Toxins, viral matter, fungi, and bacteria trapped between cells can be expunged more readily. More importantly, water enters cells more easily. Water is arguably the most vital component of anti-aging, life extension, and the removal of free radicals and waste.
Nationwide food consumption surveys have shown that a portion of the population may be dehydrated. Why do people lack hydration? This may be due to a poor thirst mechanism as we get older, dissatisfaction with the taste of water, the consumption of caffeine and alcohol, climate controlled environments (both heated and cooled), and excessive exercise. With water loss at 2% of body weight, individuals experience impaired physiological and mental performance. Double blind placebo studies clearly demonstrate that the Silica Hydride in Mega H- dramatically increases total body water in just four weeks! Mega H- is a dietary supplement that is considered a food-grade supplement rich in antioxidants by the FDA. Mega H- is safe, and has been tested and shown to have no known side-effects.
Many individuals taking Mega H- experience these benefits:
· Significant increases in hydration at the cellular level as confirmed by laboratory testing
· Combats dehydration and its symptoms in adults, children, and pets
· One daily dose of Mega H- has more antioxidant power than hundreds of glasses of fresh vegetable and fruit juices, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and other foods rich in antioxidants to prevent free radical damage
· The anti-aging pill
Natural Pain Relief:
· Mega H- provides natural pain relief form headaches, sore muscles, and inflammation of the joints
Drinking water for more than 20 million Americans is contaminated with a toxic legacy of the Cold War: A chemical that interferes with normal thyroid function, may cause cancer and persists indefinitely in the environment, but is currently unregulated by state or federal authorities.
Perchlorate, the explosive main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel, contaminates drinking water supplies, groundwater or soil in hundreds of locations in at least 43 states, according to Environmental Working Group’s updated analysis of government data. EWG’s analysis of the latest scientific studies, which show harmful health effects from minute doses, argues that a national standard for perchlorate in drinking water should be no higher than one-tenth the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currrently recommends as safe.
Perchlorate is a powerful thyroid toxin that can affect the thyroid’s ability to take up the essential nutrient iodide and make thyroid hormones. Small disruptions in thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy can cause lowered IQ and larger disruptions cause mental retardation, loss of hearing and speech, or deficits in motor skills for infants and children.
In California, Arizona and Nevada, where testing has been most extensive, well over 20 million people drink water from public and private sources known to be polluted with perchlorate. This estimate includes millions of customers of 81 contaminated public water systems in California and aproximately 20 million customers in the three states who get at least part of their drinking water from the perchlorate-tainted Colorado River. (Because there is some overlap between systems that are supplied by groundwater sources and those supplied by the Colorado River, a total cannot be calculated by adding the two figures.)
Radionuclide contamination is a serious problem that relates to geography and groundwater. Uranium is prevalent in the West; radium in the Midwest and Southeast; radon in Appalachia, New England, and the Midwest. Some 8 million people use water with high radon levels. Many of the contaminants relate to either geography or identifiable polluters. For instance, if your water smells of gasoline, it could be contaminated from one of the several million underground storage tanks in the country. Your water supply's proximity to landfills, junkyards and dumps can mean that your water is tainted.
Nature can also be a source of contaminants. People near the sea can have high levels of chloride or sodium in their water. Much inorganic contamination is related to naturally occurring ground minerals and metals leaching into water. Metals and minerals are expensive for municipal systems to remove, so systems either reduce them just enough to meet federal standards, or ignore them. EPA surveys of private wells show that two-thirds of them violate at least one Safe Drinking Water Act standard. The most frequent contaminants are nitrate, fluoride, arsenic, bacteria, barium, pesticides and salt. 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water every year. Toxic chemicals can be released into the environment during the manufacture and disposal of bottles.
By law, the EPA is required to monitor only 8 inorganic chemicals and 10 organic chemicals, leaving what has been estimated to be perhaps as many as 30,000 possible hazardous pollutants without regulation. The EPA itself has heightened concern because it has been unable to enforce water-safety standards for lack of money. In one year alone, it neglected to act on more than 100,000 violations in water systems serving 37 million people. And an audit in September 1989, found the agency was not enforcing water-quality regulations for airlines, trains and buses. The audit said the agency's failure to monitor compliance with water standards aboard airlines, trains, and buses resulted in "passengers on these interstate carrier conveyances being exposed to unnecessary health risks."
Studies reveal that almost one in five Americans drinks water that's full of lead (50 parts per billion). The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) claims that every year, some 200,000 American children who drink heavily leaded water experience a loss of brain function equivalent to five IQ points. What's more, the NAS estimates that each year 640,000 fetuses suffer some neurological damage when pregnant women swallow leaded water. In spite of these figures, as of 1989, no lead regulations had been set by congress. The EPA has regulated only 40 of the hundreds of chemicals known to be contaminating our water. In addition to ignoring 100,000 violations of federal standards by public water systems, an audit conducted by the Agency's Inspector General in September 1988 said the agency was not enforcing regulations governing 150,000 "non-community" water systems, which are used by about 36 million people in restaurants, schools, motels and industries that have their own wells or reservoirs.
The problem is that most municipal treatment facilities were built in the early 1900s for the purpose of killing pathogenic bacteria, not to remove chemical contaminants and radiation. Scientists have found that water which sits in household pipes overnight can pick up hazardous amounts of metals like cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese and zinc which are inorganic forms. Lead can leach into water from lead-containing galvanized pipes and from lead-soldered joints in copper pipe, and is an existing hazard in every home in the nation that was built before September 1986, when lead solder and lead piping were outlawed. In adults, lead can cause high blood pressure and neurological ailments and complications in pregnancy.
Asbestos, from concrete in main water lines is regularly found in tap water. Asbestos has repeatedly been shown to cause cancer, liver and kidney damage and is a leading killer. Taking a steaming shower for 15 minutes is equivalent to drinking eight glasses of water because of vapors inhaled. Americans are so worried about the safety of their drinking water that in 1988, there were nearly 7 million household filtration systems in place, and surveys show an annual growth of 20% in sales. With over 500 manufacturers and nearly a thousand products now on the market, consumers are faced with many choices, and also with opportunities for fraud, or at the least, poor performance.
The bottled water industry is now a $22 billion a year business. Those drinking water from municipal water taps are familiar with the unpleasant taste of chlorine. The chemical has been used for almost a hundred years to "purify" drinking water. While chlorination may have helped wipe out typhoid, it has also introduced new hazards. Roughly 200 million American residents drink chlorinated water and have increased risk of contracting cancer and heart disease. In the early 1950s, scientists linked chlorine to the development of atherosclerosis in chickens and demonstrated its ability to destroy vitamin E, an essential cancer-preventing antioxidant nutrient. The EPA has reported that "Chlorine, next to cigarette smoking, is the leading cause of cancer in the United States." Toxic and carcinogenic compounds called trihalomethanes (chloroform and trichloroethylene, for example) are formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter in water. Scientists have found two other cancer-causing agents that form in drinking water when chlorine interacts with humus--the organic material formed from the decay of plants.
One of these, known as MX, may be the single largest contributor of mutagenicity (the ability to induce genetic mutation) and has shown up in every chlorinated drinking water source tested for it. Another mutagen, called DCA, is known to alter cholesterol metabolism and cause liver cancers. Many scientists believe that these two chlorinated acids are the riskiest chemicals found in American drinking water. Chlorine (like antibiotics) also kills the "friendly," lactic acid producing bacteria in the colon, which are vital to proper elimination of toxins from the body and for the production of vitamins B2,B3, B12, K, folic acid and biotin. The resulting bacterial imbalance also causes gas and bloating. The intestinal flora metabolizes nutrients, hormones, bile acids, cholesterol and carcinogens. The average consumer of fluoridated water is usually not aware that sodium fluoride, or hydrofluosilicic acid, is rated as more toxic than lead in chemistry indexes and only slightly less toxic than arsenic.
Before fluoridation's implementation in 1945 and popular acceptance in 1950, sodium fluoride, a byproduct of aluminum manufacture, was known as an intractable industrial pollutant. Waterworks engineers warned that water containing 1 ppm (part per million) fluoride was contaminated. When one drinks sodium fluoride (NaF) in water, they excrete calcium fluoride (CaF2) in their urine. This calcium is stolen from the body. In an article titled Chronic Fluorine Intoxication in a 1943 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared, "Fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons."Fluoride kills human cells at one-twentieth the strength of fluoridated water and, by robbing calcium (white blood cells are calcium dependant), weakens the immune system, setting the stage for conditions like aids.
Studies on DNA and DNA-repair systems have shown that fluoride inhibits or interferes with the ability of DNA to repair itself. These substances must be removed from the water before it is used for drinking or cooking. Most packaged foods are processed with fluoridated water. Restaurants use tap water for cooking and serve it for drinking. Some beer-drinking men consume over six liters of fluoridated water a day from beer alone! In 1989, estimates put bottled water sales at more than $3 billion. And since 1976, when Perrier started the craze, bottled water has become the fastest growing segment of the beverage market, increasing more than 300% during the past decade. The FDA doesn't impose any legal definitions on bottled water. Nor does the government apply any specific quality standards to the more than 600 brands of available bottled waters, except that they must be as safe as tap water--but they're not required to be better. And, several brands of bottled water come from city tap water. Over 26 million people draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes, and they are in serious trouble. Over seventy years of abuse as a regional sink for toxic chemicals have turned them into a 750-mile-wide chain of industrial sewers. Half of Canada's population lives here, and the region's population is expected to double in 40 years.
Nearly 500 chemicals have been detected in the flesh of Great Lakes fish. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study revealed in 1981 that nearly every fish sample taken contained detectable amounts of DDT, PCBs and the pesticides toxaphene, dieldrin and chlordane. Cancer rates increase as one looks east, the direction in which the basin drains and the prevailing winds blow. Lake Ontario, the most eastward in the chain of Great Lakes, has a higher cancer rate than the rest of the Great Lakes basin. The U.S. National Research Council and the Royal Society of Canada have concluded that living in the Great Lakes basin exposes a human to "substantially higher levels of environmental contaminants" than any other place on the continent. Toxic chemicals come from nearly everywhere. Wind, rain, the run-off from city streets, industrial outfall pipes, toxic waste burial grounds and draining cornfields all contribute a variety of chemicals to the toxic burden. Clearly, we must take the responsibility ourselves for obtaining pure water.
Many people believe that bottled water is of higher quality than tap water, although legally this is not necessarily true. Some bottled waters from "natural" sources contain unhealthy levels of arsenic and fluoride, according to a Consumers Report (January 1987) survey of bottled waters, because a regulatory loophole classifies them as sodas rather than drinking water (which must pass stricter quality standards). And three out of 30 brands of water bottled in Massachusetts exceeded federal standards for contaminants, according to state health department reports cited in Organic Gardening (April 1988). Unfortunately, simply buying bottled water is no guarantee of better quality. Many large cities have a municipal lab, a state hygienic laboratory, or a university lab which will do analysis tests for the public. Each state also has EPA-certified labs used for public water systems. Lists of these labs can be obtained at the eight regional offices of the EPA through its Division of Drinking Water. Not every lab can perform full testing of drinking water. For costs from $200 to $400, a person can cover all EPA parameters and more with multi-residue tests for pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and synthetic organic compounds (SOCs).
In order to meet standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), municipal water districts across the United States are changing the way they disinfect public water supplies. In many cases this involves adding ammonia to chlorinated water to produce chloramines, or chloraminated water. While chloramination has been recommended by the EPA since the 1990s as a way to lower the level of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts (DBPs) created by chlorination, it has led to unintended consequences, in some cases making the water extremely toxic.
In the nation’s capital, for example, the change to chloraminated water in 2000 caused a huge spike in lead levels in the water. The chloramines reacted with antiquated pipes causing toxic levels of lead in some Washintonians’ drinking water.
When Washington’s Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) switched from using free chlorine to chloramines to disinfect the water, serious problems with lead leaching started to occur. Lead levels were found in Washington’s water 3,200 times the EPA’s “action level” and 4,800 times the UN’s acceptable level for the toxic heavy metal.
The Washington Post reported in October 2004 that the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority knew in 2001 that its water contained unsafe lead levels, but “withheld six high test results and said the water was fine.” While the Post article did not mention chloramines, it did say that other cities have similar problems dealing with unacceptably high levels of lead in their water: “Cities across the country are manipulating the results of tests used to detect lead in water, violating federal law and putting millions of Americans at risk,” the Post reported. “Some cities, including Philadelphia and Boston, have thrown out tests that show high readings or have avoided testing homes most likely to have lead.” “In New York City,” the Post wrote, “the nation’s largest water provider has for the past three years assured its 9.3 million customers that its water was safe because the lead content fell below federal limits. But the city has withheld from regulators hundreds of test results that would have raised lead levels above the safety standard in two of those years.”
The American Water Works Association (AWWA), an international nonprofit scientific society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality, reported that samples of Washinton water collected after flushing were as high as 48,000 parts per billion (ppb). Some of the highest lead concentrations came from taps after one minute of flushing.
The EPA’s “action level” for lead in drinking water is 15 ppb, while the UN’s World Health Organization recommends that lead not exceed 10 ppb. According to the EPA, “If the lead concentration of the drinking water at the tap is above the action level, the water supplier may be required to install corrosion-control equipment, monitor the water source, and replace lead service lines, as well as undertake a public education program.”
After switching to chloraminated water, children in Washington ingested more than 60 times the EPA’s maximum level of lead with one glass of water. “Lead contaminated water is a greater risk to youth,” the EPA notes. A 2-year-pld’s estimated daily intake of lead from all sources should not exceed 190 ppb per day, according to EPA’s guidelines. In March 2004, after a number of 2-year-olds in Washington were found to have high levels of lead in their blood, D.C. City Administrator Robert Bobb said that 23,000 homes with lead service lines would receive filters within 30 days.
Lead in the drinking water was a problem that plagued ancient Rome. Vitruvius, Roman architect and engineer, warned of lead in his 1st century B.C. opus De Architectura: “Water from clay pipes is much more wholesome than that which is conducted through lead pipes, because lead is found to be harmful…hurtful to the human system. “Hence, water ought by no means to be conducted in lead pipes, if we want to have it wholesome,” Viturvius wrote.
The chlorination of water also creates a host of known and unknown organic byproducts. Which experts say are “the chemicals of greatest concern” due to their toxicity and carcinogenic potential. To reduce the level of harmful DBPs, and the odor in the water, the EPA began promoting chloramination of water in 1994. While the chloramines reduce the level of known DBPs, they create a host of unknown DBPs, some of which are extremely toxic.
In Corpus Christi, Texas, for example, where the water is treated only with chloramines, the reaction with the bromide and iodide laden source water creates some of the “most toxic and genotoxic DBPs” ever found. Although chlorine has been used to disinfect water for over 100 years, less than 50 percent of the DBPs in chlorinated drinking water are known. With chloramines, only 17 percent of the DBPs have been identified.
“The unintended generation of DBPs poses a chronic health risk,” Dr. Michael J. Plewa, a genetic toxicology expert at the University of Illinois, wrote. Plewa authored a 2004 EPA-funded study of the effects of chloramines in the water of Corpus Christi. In the choramine-treated water of Corpus Christi, Plewa’s study discovered a number of new and extremely toxic DBPs: iodoacids. “The iodoacetic acid is the most toxic and genotoxic DBP in mammalian cells reported in the literature,” Plewa wrote. Of the known DBPs, the iodoacetic acid found in the drinking water of Corpus Christi was “the most toxic and DNA-damaging.” Plewa stated that Houston’s source water is probably very similar to the water of Corpus Christi. “Individuals who consume chlorinated drinking water have an elevated risk of cancer of the bladder, stomach, pancreas, kidney and rectum as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Plewa wrote. “DBPs also have been linked to reproductive and developmental effects, including the induction of spontaneous abortions.”
“I don’t want to sound glib,” Plewa said in an interview with American Free Press, “but we are participating in a vastly big experiment.” The EPA is looking for an exit strategy from research on chloraminated water, Plewa said, while scientists are calling for more research about the toxicity of the halogenated organics, the unintended DBPs, in our drinking water.
Asked about a home water filtration system, Plewa said he and his wife, both veteran scientists, use a solid block carbon filter on the cold water intake for their kitchen in central Illinois. The filter Plewa uses, is about 10 inches long by 2 inches in diameter and requires a filter change every 4 months. The filter removes heavy metals, organics, and DBPs from his drinking water, he said.
In San Francisco, the addition of chloramines in February 2004 to the peninsula’s drinking water has provoked “chloramines wars,” pitting outraged citizens against the municipal water boards, The San Francisco Examiner noted in the summer of 2004. Chloraminated water kills fish and reptiles. When it was added to the San Francisco water supply it nearly had the same effect on some humans. “I almost died,” Denise Kula Johnson of Menlo Park said the day after chloramines were added to her water supply. “I was in the shower and suddenly I could not breathe. I passed out on the floor. I was terrified.”
Leading the crusade against chloramines in drinking water is Winn Parker, a medical technologist from Milbrae, California. “This is a national issue,” Parker said. “The government is hiding the fact that the drinking water is not usable.” Parker is calling for government funding of alternative disinfection methods, such as ultra-violet and reverse osmosis, which would make harmful chemical disinfection methods obsolete.
According to Parker, the most at-risk groups from chloraminated water are: the fetus in the first trimester, children to age three, people over age 60 and those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Women in the 35-45 age group are at risk of recurring rashes on the inner thighs and chest, he added.
Twenty years ago, the use of chloraminated water in Los Angeles was found to be potentially lethal to kidney patients during dialysis. The increased nitrogen in the drinking water, which filters don’t remove, can severely affect people taking medications for hypertension, breast cancer and penile dysfunction, Parker said, “The side-effects are close to death.”
“The government is being its own bio-terrorists,” Parker said. Every day Parker considers the health risks faced by the 180 million Americans who consume chloraminated water. “We need to amend the Constitution,” Parker said, “to give the people in each state the right to vote on what goes into their water.”
Up to 90 percent of every drug that a person takes into their body is either excreted from the body totally unchanged or is broken down into an active metabolite before being flushed down the toilet and into the sewer system, ultimately finding its way into the water supply. But there’s one more step to this chain of events: this chemical potpourri eventually returns to us every time we turn on the water faucet.
In addition to pharmaceutical drugs, there’s another group of chemicals sneaking into the water supply. More than 10,500 chemical ingredients are used to manufacture what is collectively known as personal care products. These are products that most of us can’t imagine living without: the moisturizers, cleansers, bubble baths, shampoos, fragrances, deodorants, mouthwashes, sunscreens, etc. It is now proven that vast numbers of these chemicals interfere with our endocrine, neurological, respiratory and immune systems.
This collection of chemical compounds is now officially known as Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Pollutants (PPCPs), a label which refers in general to any product consumed by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons. PPCPs comprise a broad, diverse array of thousands of chemical substances, including prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs, fragrances, cosmetics, sunscreen agents, diagnostic agents, nutraceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and many others. Until recently, little if any thought had been given to the consequences from the staggering quantities of chemicals that are washed down the sink, flushed as human waste down the toilet or rinsed form our bodies into drains.
According to Dr. Christian G. Daughton, EPA scientist and a leading researcher in the PPCP field, “the amount of pharmaceuticals and personal care products entering the environment annually is about equal to the amount of pesticides used each year.”
Many pharmaceutical and personal care products have persistent chemicals and compounds that remain biologically active even when they are disposed of in landfills and water systems. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, veterinary clinics, farms, ranches and even the average home are major contributors to the PPCP overload. Other sources include unused medications, which are commonly flushed down the toilet, leaks from failing septic systems and discharges from wastewater treatment plants. It’s indeed a most sobering thought to realize that our personal grooming habits as well as our reliance on pharmaceutical drugs may, however unwittingly, be contributing to a global PPCP problem.
The occurrence of PPCPs in water supplies is not a new phenomenon; it’s just that it remained unrecognized for decades. Current knowledge about PPCPs is due to advances in science that have enabled the detection of compounds in water at infinitesimal concentrations. These advances have finally piqued interest in the extent of the presence and persistence of PPCPs in water, as well as their effects on aquatic organisms and, most importantly, their possible effects on human health. The fact is, no one really knows how these chemical mixtures might be altering our health. But there are plenty of clues. Many chemicals are designed to profoundly affect human physiology. Dr. Daughton warns that it wouldn’t be surprising if they affected fish, birds, frogs and insects as well. However, unlike pesticides, these drugsas well as shampoos, sunscreens and other personal care productsare not examined for their effect on the environment before they’re placed on the market.
“This is surprising,” Daughton says, “especially since certain pharmaceuticals are designed to modulate endocrine and immune systems.” Hence, they have “obvious potential as endocrine disruptors in the environment.”
Even though it is now recognized that PPCPs have permeated sensitive ecosystems, very little research has ever been conducted on their potential effects. No municipal sewage treatment plants are engineered for PPCP removal. The risks posed to aquatic organisms by continual life-long exposure and to humans by long-term consumption of minute quantities in drinking and bathing water are essentially unknown.
While the major concerns to date have been with the promotion of pathogen resistance to antibiotics and the disruption of endocrine systems by natural and synthetic sex steroids, the consequences of many other PPCPs are unknown.
A study by Thomas Heberer and Hans-Jurgen Stan of the
According to Bent Halling-Sorensen, professor of analytical chemistry at the
The PPCP problem gained prominence in the United States in 2002, when results from the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) sampling of 139 streams showed detectable, although minute, quantities of PPCPs targeted by researchers, the most frequent being steroids and nonprescription drugs. Antibiotics, prescription medications, detergents, fire retardants, pesticides and natural and synthetic hormones were also present.
Synthetic estrogen hormones are taken by millions of women worldwide as oral contraceptive control or hormone replacement therapy. Estrogens are also prescribed to men for prostate cancer treatment. Both natural and synthetic estrogens enter sewage treatment plants in large quantities; so do estrogen-mimicking chemicals originating from the degradation of surfactants and plasticizers. Steroid hormones can interfere with vulnerable hormonal receptors in living creatures!
For three years, Canadian scientists added birth-control pills to a remote and pristine
In river otters, frogs and other living aquatic populations, the effect is the same: the presence of female hormones is making the male species less malemuch less male. For instance, in
Theo Colborn, senior scientist at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and co-author of Our Stolen Future, is very worried about pharmaceutical estrogens mixing with chemicals already present in streams. “You can liken it to side effects of a prescription drugyou don’t know how it’s going to interact with the over-the-counter drugs you’re taking. For example bisphenol A, a component of plastic, causes female mice to reach puberty earlier than normal. Bisphenol A forms a weak bond with the body’s estrogen receptors. It can scramble a cell’s natural communication system and cause it to replicate too quickly. That, in turn, raises concerns about breast cancer in women. What happens if this compound, which is active at low levels of exposure, combines with estrogen from a birth control pill in the water? At this point, it’s still unclear.” Colborn fears it “could have long-term health effects.”
Evidence is already mounting on the impact of hormone mimics on humans. Studies have found that the average Englishman produces only a third as much sperm as a hamster. Average sperm counts in men have dropped by more than half over the past 50 yearsfrom about 160 million milliliters of semen to 66 million. Could estrogen-laced water contribute to sharply falling human sperm counts? In
What about the effects on women and children? Unfortunately, the rising numbers of breast and uterine cancers, early puberty and hypospadias (a birth defect of the urethra and penis) reveal a most disturbing picture. It is not difficult to imagine how unnatural exposure to potent estrogen hormones as well as estrogen mimics could be seriously and irrevocably altering critical hormonal signaling for adults as well as even more vulnerable infants and children.
The release of antibiotics into waterways is particularly worrisome. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control found eight antibiotics in the aquatic environment: trimethoprim, sulfamethazine, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadimethoxine, erythromycin, roximthromycin, lincomycin and enrofloxacin.
A bacteria-phobic public now uses millions of pounds annually of triclosan, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Triclosan is a derivative of the herbicide 2,4,-D. It is the active ingredient found in thousands of products such as antibacterial soaps, deodorants, mouthwashes, sponges and household cleaners. Triclosan’s popularity has contributed to the antibiotic resistance problem.
If triclosan-initiated antibiotic resistance weren’t bad enough, researchers at the
An estimated 157 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in the
In August 2004, major headlines in
Animal studies show that SSRIs elicit certain behaviors in shellfish. For example, bivalves’ reproductive functions, including spawning, oocyte maturation and parturition, are regulated by serotonin. Researchers have found traces of Prozac and other antidepressants in the liver, muscle and brain of bluegill fish in
Low-level exposure to fluoxetine, the active ingredient of Prozac, delays both development in fish and metamorphosis in frogs. The researchers strongly suspect that results implicate a disruption of thyroid function. “We know that the thyroid levels peak with metamorphic climax, when the legs and arms form and the tail resorbs. We believe that fluoxetine inhibits the thyroid, so we’re measuring the thyroid hormone levels next.” Fluoxetine is made from fluoride which is a potent thyroid inhibitor. No one really knows what might be the effect when whole populations, including pregnant women and children, are getting traces of antidepressant drugs through their water supplies. It is known, however, that serious side effects of SSRIs include depression, insomnia, hallucinations, self-mutilating behavior and violence. In fact, there are more questions about the possible side effects of PPCPs on humans and aquatic life than there are answers. It is a truly daunting task to assess the possible harmful effects of just on PPCP, much less the thousands that are in our water systems. And what might be the consequence of all those incalculable permutations of drug mixtures is a big question.
The addition of even more pharmaceutical drugs is looming in the near future. Presently, drug companies target about 500 known biochemical receptors in the human body. That number is soon expected to jump as much as 20-foldto 10,000 targets. Dr. Daughton raises a disturbing thought. “The enormous array of pharmaceuticals will continue to diversify and grow as the human genome is mapped. This is adding exponentially to the already large array of chemical classes, each with distinct modes of biochemical action, many of which are poorly understood.”
According to Bill Turner,
So, if we can’t rely on the municipal water treatment systems, it’s really up to each person to find solutions. It’s obvious that homes, restaurants, hospitals, schools and businesses must realize the importance of providing water that’s not only free of pesticides and heavy metals but also PPCPs. It has been shown that the most effective water purification system for removing all these contaminants, including PPCPs, is an activated carbon filtration system. Units are available which can filter your tap water, but it would be far wiser to install a whole home unit. Since the skin absorbs chemicals 600 times more effectively than through ingestion, all bathing water as well as drinking water should be adequately filtered. Investing in a high-quality whole-house water system using an activated carbon filtration method which purifies all the water used in your home, i.e., drinking, bathing and washing, would be your best line of defense. At the very least, use an activated carbon filtered system for all your drinking water.
The global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from the 98 billion liters consumed five years earlier. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasingproducing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy. Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline.
Italians drink the most bottled water per person, at nearly 184 liters in 2004more than two glasses a day.
Some of the largest increases in bottled water consumption have occurred in developing countries. Of the top 15 per capita consumers of bottled water,
In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers, transported by boat, train, and truck. In 2004, for example, Nord Water of
Fossil fuels are also used in the packaging of water. The most commonly used plastic for making water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000
After the water has been consumed, the plastic bottle must be disposed of. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the
In addition to the strains bottled water puts on our ecosystem through its production and transport, the rapid growth in this industry means that water extraction is concentrated in communities where bottling plants are located. For example, water shortages near beverage bottling plants have been reported in
Studies show that consumers associate bottled water with healthy living. But bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit. The French Senate even advises people who drink bottled mineral water to change brands frequently because the added minerals are helpful in small amounts but may be dangerous in higher doses.
The French Senate also noted that small, localized problems with tap water can cause a widespread loss of confidence in municipal supplies. In fact, in a number of places, including Europe and the
There is no question that clean, affordable drinking water is essential to the health of our global community. But bottled water is not the answer in the developed world, nor does it solve problems for the 1.1 billion people who lack a secure water supply. Improving and expanding existing water treatment and sanitation systems is more likely to provide safe and sustainable sources of water over the long term. In villages, rainwater harvesting and digging new wells can create more affordable sources of water.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goal for environmental sustainability calls for halving the proportion of people lacking sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. Meeting this goal would require doubling the $15 billion a year that the world currently spends on water supply and sanitation. While this amount may seem large, it pales in comparison to the estimated $100 billion spent each year on bottled water.
Filtration is one of the oldest methods of purifying water. It is most effective for removing particles and bacteria because it works by passing water through a porous medium that traps the solid material in or on top of the filter. The effluent liquid is then relatively particle-free. If your water is heavily contaminated with rust or other types of sediment, filtration should help clean it up. If your water is cloudy, filtration will be of some use if the cloudiness is caused by small particles suspended in the water. Sometimes the particles causing the problem can be seen by the naked eye. If the tap water is cloudy initially and then clears up as it sits, from the top of the glass first, particulates are the cause of the problem. If the bottom clears first, the cloudiness is due to air bubbles trapped in the water, and filtration will not be helpful.
There are basically two classes of filters: depth filters and screen filters. Both perform similar jobs, but by different mechanisms. A depth filter retains particles throughout its whole volume or depth. A screen filter stops particles and bacteria at its upstream surface. Either type can be used alone, or they can be used in tandem. Using them together combines the advantages of both. Depth filters are used for many everyday jobs. Your car's oil filter is a depth filter. Other depth filters keep dirt from clogging your furnace, air conditioner, or swimming pool. Screen filters, on the other hand, are more common in industrial applications where requirements for particulate-free water are more exacting. The simplest screen filters look like a screen door mesh. Sand and gravel yards use screen filters to sift sand, stone, and other material according to size. Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies use screen filters to remove bacteria from parenteral drugs and other solutions that cannot be sterilized by heat. These types of screen filters look like pieces of paper, and stop bacteria in the same way a screen door stops insects from coming into your house. Some home devices containing activated carbon are called filters, but they are not true filters as we are using the term here. Filters, for our purposes, cannot remove organic or inorganic contaminants. If you want to remove trihalomethanes or pesticides from your water, a regular depth or screen filter will not do the job. A depth filter consists of a random array of fibrous, granular, or sintered material that is pressed, wound, or bonded together to form a tortuous maze of flow channels.
Materials used to make depth filters include cotton, wool, fiberglass, paper, asbestos, porcelain, and diatomaceous earth. Particles in the liquid to be filtered or trapped throughout the whole volume, or depth, of the filter--hence its name. Mechanical entrapment is the main mechanism by which the filter removes particles from the liquid. Depth filters are assigned what is called a nominal rating, which approximates the particle size above which a certain percentage of particles will be retained. This rating is determined experimentally and is usually measured in microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter. A single hair is about 100 microns in diameter, and this paper is about 100 microns thick. Bacteria are typically 1-10 microns wide. If a depth filter has a rating of, say 50 microns, most, but not all particles larger than 50 microns will be removed from the water. If a filter has no rating, it is probably only good for taking out leaves and dead fish that might find their way into your tap. Also, the test methods manufacturers use to rate depth filters are not standardized, so a 10-micron filter may differ in performance from manufacturer to manufacturer. The nominal rating can overestimate how well the filter will perform once you buy it. If the rating came from a test that used water at low pressure, the rating will be better than if a higher pressure were used. This is because the higher the water pressure, the less efficient a depth filter is in retaining particles. So if a pore-size rating is given, it is useful to know the pressure at which the testing was performed. Most tap water pressures are in the 40 to 80 pounds per square inch (psi) range. If the tests were performed at 10 psi, the filter will not remove particles at your tap as well as advertised. The main advantage of depth filters is that they can retain relatively large amounts of dirt and debris without clogging. They are also comparatively cheap, sometimes selling for just a few dollars.
They are decidedly low-tech: Packed sand in a hollow tube makes a good depth filter. The thicker the filter, the higher the particle-holding capacity. The more particles the filter can hold, the less frequently will you have to change it. A depth filter needs changing less often than a screen filter. When a depth filter clogs, simply replace it with another one. The manufacturer should recommend either replacement times or, even better, the total amount of water that can be processed before replacement. To determine if your filter is clogging, measure the water flow rate. Time how long it takes to fill, say, a 4-quart pot. If it takes longer from one day to the next, the filter is clogging. As a rule of thumb, change the filter when the flow rate is down to one-fifth its initial value. You can also look at the filter to determine when to change it. If the filter looks clogged, it probably is. What may look like crystal-clear tap water to the naked eye might contain a good deal of particulate matter, and the filter concentrates this material within its matrix. Most filters used in the home should have a rating above 10 microns, unless there is a specific reason otherwise. Filters with a higher nominal rating will clog less frequently than filters with a smaller rating but will let more particles through. Similarly, a filter with a lower rating will require frequent replacement but will remove particles more efficiently. Another disadvantage of depth filters is that bacteria can grow inside them. As more and more water if filtered, these bacteria can be forced deeper and deeper into the filter. The bacteria use the nutrients in the water to grow and divide, and they eventually emerge on the downstream side of the filter, in your filtered water. It is not known if this poses a public health risk, although if the bacteria aren't pathogenic, there should be no problem.
If the incoming water is municipally treated, the chances of its containing any pathogens are small. If even a single pathogen colonizes the filer, it could reproduce and create a brood of these bacteria. A depth filter is not designed to retain all microbes, regardless of its rating. Another problem with depth filters is that the material comprising the filter matrix can come loose. If the filter is made of fibers, for instance, these fibers can slough off during filtration. If the fibers are small--asbestos, for example--there may be valid cause for concern about cancer. Choose a filter held together by adhesive instead of one that is pressed together. Such filters will experience less of this media migration, and you will not wind up drinking parts of the filter. Media migration is most prevalent during sudden water surges or during the abrupt changes in line pressure known as water hammer. Depth filters are usually sold in a cartridge configuration. The cartridge is cylindrically shaped and looks like a tennis ball can. This shape allows the most filter area to be packed into a relatively small volume. The greater the filter area, the more water that can pass through the filter without clogging. To force water through a filter, pressure is needed: Usually, tap pressure is sufficient. If tap pressure is not enough, you'll probably need a pump. The filter housing, sold separately, allows pressure to build up around the filter and force the water through. It is virtually impossible to predict how efficiently a depth filter will retain bacteria. Retention depends on the pressure of the water and how long the filter has been in use. Depth filters are not designed to remove all bacteria. They are designed to remove sediment and dirt. Sand filters, a kind of depth filter, are a cheap way to filter water. Many treatment plants use them to remove particles and bacteria.
Screen filters are highly porous filters that differ from depth filters in the way they remove bacteria and particles. When a liquid is passed through the filter, all particles and bacteria larger than the pore size will be retained on the upstream surface. Screen filters come in a range of pore sizes, from inches down to microns. A special paper filter has a pore-size rating of 0.2 microns will remove bacteria from water. This type of filter is good at removing bacteria and is used to sterilize liquids that cannot be heat-sterilized. These filters are called membrane filters, and are also sold in cartridge form. The greater the membrane area in a cartridge, the greater the amount of water that can be filtered before a change is necessary. Screen filters have several disadvantages. Their particle-holding capacity is quite small, so they clog rapidly. You'll have to change it more frequently than a depth filter. Another major disadvantage is cost. The high price for screen filter is prohibitive for most home applications unless you insist on bacteria-free water at any cost. A depth filter can be used upstream of a membrane filter to increase the useful lifetime of the final filter. If bacteria-free water is you goal, a UV device will do the job nicely and will be much cheaper than a screen filter. Because a screen filter concentrates the bacteria on the upstream surface, these bacteria will grow there and can eventually grow through the filter, thus almost compounding the original problem. Any filter--depth or screen--has to be replaced regularly to prevent this from happening if you want bacteria-free water.
Activated carbon filtersare one of the most popular types of home water treatment. Activated carbon has been used for centuries to treat water. A form of activated carbon water purification is even mentioned in the Bible. Activated carbon is used mainly to remove unpleasant odors and tastes from drinking water, and for this purpose it is quite effective. Today, activated carbon is also being considered as a way to remove organics from both home drinking water and municipal supplies. Activated carbon is not one substance, but a family of materials with some common characteristics. Activated carbon is vegetable or animal material that has been heat treated with steam to make it extremely porous and adsorptive. These features give activated carbon its unique properties. After the heat treatment, the material is crushed, graded, screened to size, and packaged. Granulated activated carbon (GAC), the most commonly used form of carbon, resembles small beads. GAC can be made from many different carbonaceous materials such as bituminous coal, bones, coconut shells, lignite, peat, pecan shells, petroleum-based residues, pulp mill black ash, and wood. Activated carbon has an internal network of microscopic tunnels that challenge the most industrious ant mound. The lattice of internal passageways gives the carbon an immense surface area.
A single gram of activated carbon can have a total surface area of more than 100 square meters (more than 1,000 square feet). If you could unravel and spread out all the internal surface area of 1 gram of activated carbon, it would cover the area on a football field between the 10 and 30 yardlines. The total internal area of 6 grams (0.2 ounces) would cover the entire field. Activated carbon is also extremely adsorptive. When many organics in water come into contact with the carbon, they stick to the carbon. As the water flows past the individual particles of carbon, organic molecules diffuse into the pores of the carbon, and eventually stick to the internal surfaces. Smaller organic molecules will diffuse deeper into the activated carbon than bigger molecules, and not all will bind to the carbon with the same strength. Once an organic makes contact with the carbon, that organic is effectively removed and the effluent water is free or organics. In general, activated carbon best removes organics that do not dissolve very well in water. But the temperature of the water, the amount of particulate matter in it, the number and kinds of organics present, the contact time, the acidity, and the type of carbon all affect the ability of activated carbon to remove organics.
There are four basic types of home carbon filters: faucet-mounted, stationary, pour-through, and line bypass. Faucet-mounted filters are attached directly to the outlet of your faucet, usually in the kitchen. All the water coming from the faucet goes through the filter. This type of filter tends to be small so it doesn't get in the way when you wash dishes, for example, and contains relatively little carbon. Pour-through filters are not connected to the plumbing and usually sit on a counter top. You pour water through and catch it in a container. Stationary filters are connected to the water pipes, often under the kitchen sink. Line bypass filters, also installed under the sink, are hooked up to a special faucet that can be operated independently of the regular faucet. Only this extra faucet gives filtered water. There are two main procedures to determine the adsorptivity of activated carbon: the iodine test and the phenol test. They yield a single number rating for each type of carbon. The iodine number is defined as the amount of iodine, in milligrams, adsorbed by 1 gram of carbon under a certain set of conditions. The larger the iodine number, the more adsorptive the carbon. The phenol value is the amount of carbon, measured in ppm, required to reduce a standard concentration of phenol from 100 ppb to 10 ppb. Most commercial carbons have a phenol value between 15 and 30 ppm. The lower the phenol number, the better the carbon is at removing organics. When comparing home carbon devices, pay attention to these relative iodine or phenol values or an equivalent value. Stay away from a sales person or dealer who doesn't know the phenol or iodine number. The adsorptivity of the carbon is not the only factor that determines how well the unit will remove organics from the water. Contact time--the time the water is in contact with the carbon--is also important.
If the water percolates through the carbon very quickly, the organics in the water do not have much time to diffuse into the pores of any one carbon particle. It's like trying to put a letter in a roadside mailbox as you drive past at 30 miles-an-hour. But if you slow down to 1 mile an hour, you have a better shot at getting the letter into the box. The same is true for removing organics form water with carbon. The slower the rates, the longer the contact time, and the better the carbon can do its job. Contact time or flow rate is determined by both the pressure driving the water and the shape and size of the channel through which the water flows. Good flow geometry should be designed into the device itself to give maximum contact time. Contact times on home devices typically range from less than 1 second to 2 minutes. If you divide the volume of the carbon in the container by the flow rate of the water as it passes through, you can calculate contact time. In general, filters with more carbon do a better job of removing organics, but only if the contact time is long enough. Efficiency depends on the kinds of organics in the water, because activated carbon filters do not adsorb every type of organic equally well. In most cases, filters with more carbon remove more organics. Home carbon filters have been criticized because they tend to trap and grow bacteria. When water passes through a carbon column, bacteria in the water can attach themselves to the individual carbon particles. These bacteria can then proliferate and grow within the filter.
Because the carbon is so good at removing organics, the bacteria growing on the carbon particles have a ready supply of nutrients. Because activated carbon deactivates chlorine, any bacteria present will not have to contend with a disinfectant. Bacteria growth may be a problem after the filter has been in operation for a long period. But bacteria can also proliferate if no water passes through the filter for some time--for example, during the night, when on one runs the faucet. In the morning, the first water drawn from the filter may have concentrations of bacteria much higher than if no filter were used in the first place. Bacteria that had been growing in the filer over-night are flushed out into your morning glass of water, orange juice, or coffee. The public health significance of these elevated bacteria counts is not clear. Everyday we ingest millions of bacteria without any ill effects. Yogurt is laced with live bacteria, yet people consider it a health food. The bacteria downstream from a carbon filter, for the most part, are not pathogens, and there have been no reports of diseases caused by carbon filters. To keep bacteria from growing in carbon filters, some manufacturers have impregnated the carbon with silver.
A small amount of silver is supposed to leach off the carbon as the water passes through the filter, interacts with the bacteria, and reduce their ability to reproduce. If your water is heavily contaminated, it is advisable to pre-filter it to remove sediment and other components that may interfere with efficient removal of organics before treating the water with carbon. Pre-filtering with a depth filter will also increase the lifetime of the carbon filter. If you are considering purchasing an under-the-sink or in-line carbon treatment device, it is recommended that you also purchase a meter that measures total water flow. The meter should be placed in line with the carbon so that you can measure the total amount of water that has passed through the carbon. Some meters are "smart" and will stop the water flow when a prearranged volume has passed.
Only since the 1970s has ultraviolet (UV) processing of water been used in industrial applications. UV has only recently been used to treat home water, and there are only a few devices designed for consumer use. Although UV processing of water has received very little media attention and is not in widespread use, it can kill bacteria. It often makes sense to use UV treatment on well water: If the bacterial quality varies, but other qualities of the water are acceptable, a UV irradiator can keep the bacteria count down. UV treatment will not affect sediment, rust, or other debris. Rather, sediment in the water will inhibit the efficiency of UV treatment. Nor will ultraviolet remove inorganic contaminants, soften water, or reduce its salt content. Ultraviolet radiation is a type of light, just as infrared radiation (heat) and visible light are. Ultraviolet light is responsible for sunburns, and repeated prolonged exposure can also cause skin cancer. UV light is usually described as radiation with wavelengths from 400 nanometers to about 180 nanometers. One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter. Visible light spans the 400-700 nanometer range. Because shorter wavelengths contain more energy than longer wavelengths, UV light carries more energy than does visible light. This concentration of energy gives UV light the ability to kill bacteria. When water is irradiated with UV light, some of the energy in the light is transferred to the materials in the water, changing their physical structures in the process. When UV light hits bacteria, for instance, it changes the structure of their DNA, and thereby kills them. But bacteria have enzyme systems that do nothing but repair damaged DNA, so if the UV treatment isn't strong enough, the bacteria may, given enough time, repair themselves and be as effective as before. Because visible light can activate some of these repair systems, water that has been disinfected with UV light shouldn't be exposed to visible light afterward.
To make UV radiation an effective water treatment, the light intensity must be great enough to kill microorganisms. The design of the UV device can make the difference between effective and ineffective UV treatment. In most cases, the lamp is a low-pressure mercury-vapor lamp that emits UV light primarily at 253.7 nanometers. The lamp is housed in a cylindrical quartz sleeve that is transparent to UV light. When water flows over and around the sleeve, it is exposed to UV light. Because sediment in the water can coat the quartz sleeve, it needs a wiping mechanism to keep the quarts clean. Some devices have automatic wipers; for others, you are the wiper. Because dirt can not only block the UV light but also shield bacteria from it, it is advisable to pre-filter the water if you are using a UV device. A depth filter is appropriate. How well a UV device kills bacteria depends on the amount of UV radiation reaching the bacteria and on how long the bacteria are exposed to the radiation. A short exposure time to a high-intensity lamp can be just as effective as a long exposure time to a lower-intensity lamp. There will be a higher probability of killing bacteria as the power rating goes up. Values of 20,000 microwatt seconds per square centimeter will kill most types of pathogenic bacteria. A high dosage is worthless unless the UV radiation actually reaches the bacteria. The transmission of light depends first on the amount of water through which it travels. The thicker the water layer, the lower the amount of light that gets through. Second, dissolved and suspended matter in the water can absorb UV that was meant for the bacteria. Typical tap water absorbs about 20% of the UV; deionized water, less than 1%.
Many organic chemicals and iron complexes absorb UV; ordinary salt does not. It is impossible to tell by eye if such UV absorbers are present in the water; in fact, the amount changes over time and with the seasons. A good UV device should therefore have a continuous UV intensity monitor built in. If the monitor indicates that the UV absorbance of the water has increased so that the bacteria are receiving less UV radiation, increase the lamp intensity or filter out UV-absorbing materials. Be wary if a UV device does not have a built-in pre-filter or a UV monitor. Suspended solids such as rust or plain dirt shield microorganisms from the effects of the UV radiation. Bacteria can hide in the shadow of solid particles and be unaffected by the UV. For this reason, UV devices should be designed so that the water churns and swirls as it passes over the quartz sleeve. In such turbulence, any bacteria in the center of the water stream will eventually end up nearer the light source and in the direct path of the radiation. The radiation should also bombard the bacteria from several directions, not just one, to increase the efficiency of the kill. The UV device should also have a flow-restriction device, which ensures that water does not flow through the irradiation chamber too quickly and reduce the contact time. Delivering too much UV light to water poses little risk. UV devices have several advantages. They generate no toxic chlorinated compounds and impart no chemical odors or tastes to the water. The disadvantages are that the water may have to be pre-filtered, the treated water has no residual disinfection capacity, and UV is not as effective against parasites and viruses as it is against bacteria.
Ozonation is more widely used in industry than in the home. Ozonation can combat several water problems because ozone is a potent oxidizing agent, a chemical that strips electrons from molecules, thereby changing the molecules' structure and properties. If enough electrons are eliminated from an odor-causing organic, the organic will lose its ability to generate an odor. Thus ozonation can eliminate offensive odors and tastes by changing organics to tasteless forms. Its oxidizing ability also makes ozone an extraordinary disinfectant. It kills bacteria much more quickly than common disinfectants, but it will not remove inorganics, minerals, particulate matter, or sediment from water. Ozonation kills bacteria more quickly than chlorine, iodine, or monochloramines. The drawback to ozone's oxidizing ability is that it will oxidize the target that is closest. So, if the water is relatively dirty or full of organics, substantially longer contact times or higher concentrations will be needed to kill bacteria. This is not a serious disadvantage because almost every disinfectant has difficulty killing bacteria in dirty water.
Unlike other filtration methods, reverse osmosis (RO) can reduce the concentrations of all the major classes of contaminants found in water: bacteria, inorganics, organics and particulates. Although classified as filters, RO units are completely different from the depth filters discussed earlier, in the way they work and in how they are constructed. RO filters are frequently called membrane filters because they mimic the functions of natural membranes that surround living cells. RO membranes are semipermeable, which means that some molecules can go through the filters. In general, water can go through an RO filter, but ions, large organics, particles, and bacteria cannot. RO filters can even retain small ions such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Also, they pass oxygen well, so the finished water doesn't have the flat taste of boiled water or distilled water. RO has been used to purify seawater to make it potable. To understand reverse osmosis, it helps to be familiar with normal osmosis. If a semipermeable membrane separates two solutions--one being pure water and the other salt water--a natural force develops to drive some of the pure water through the membrane to the salt water side. This process is called osmosis. If sea water were the salt solution, the pressure of osmosis would be more than 350 psi (pounds per square inch). By comparison, water comes out of the tap at between 40 and 80 psi. Tap water has an associated osmotic pressure much less than does sea water. In reverse osmosis, an RO filter restricts the flow of everything except water. Because normal osmosis would push water from the pure side to the salt side, external pressure must be applied to the salt side of the membrane filter. This pressure forces the water from the salty side through the membrane, to the pure side. The membrane retains the salt, along with some bacteria, inorganics, or organics that are present. In practice, the external pressure in an RO treatment must be much greater than the osmotic pressure exerted by the salt water being purified.
Systems designed to remove salt from sea water operate at 1,000 to 1,500 psi. Organic chemicals also exert an osmotic pressure, but it is usually much smaller because the concentration of organics is usually much less than of salts in water. The larger the applied pressure, the faster the water will flow through the membrane. Home RO units are designed to run on tap water pressure. This relatively low operating pressure limits the salinity of the water an RO device can treat. If unusually salty raw water is to be treated, pressures higher than tap pressures are needed, and an auxiliary pump is built into the system. An analogy to the RO membrane is the skin of a prune. Put the prune into hot water and the prune rehydrates because the osmotic force between the inside and the outside of the skin is great enough to cause the prune to gain water and swell. If we squeeze the enlarging prune (increasing external pressure), we could force this water out, against its natural direction. In RO we overcome the natural flow of water by applying pressure. The engineering design of the filter for an RO membrane is unlike the holders for depth and screen filters. In those simple filters, water flows perpendicular to the plane of the filter, going down a one-way, dead-end passage. If water flowed through an RO filter this way, the membrane would clog and become useless almost instantly because the effective pore sizes in an RO membrane are much smaller than those in a screen or depth filter.
All reliable and well-designed RO filters therefore use tangential flow. In tangential flow filtration, the tap water flows along the top of the filter, and only some of it actually passes through the filter. The water that doesn't pass through sweeps dirt and debris from the filter's top side, and goes down the drain. Tangential flow provides a self-cleaning feature that allows RO membranes to be used for relatively long periods of time before replacement. You shouldn't buy an RO device that doesn't have this feature. The higher the inlet pressure to an RO unit, the better the unit works. Increasing the inlet pressure increases the velocity of water flowing across the upstream side of the membrane and thus cleans the membrane better. A high inlet pressure also raises the pressure across the membrane and thus pushes water through the membrane faster.
The RO membrane will retain molecules only if they exceed a certain size. For this reason, they do not remove chloroform (trihalomethane) well, because chloroform is so small. But they do filter out pesticides, which generally have bigger molecules. Trihalomethanes (THM) are not removed by the RO membrane itself, but a good carbon filter is able to remove this organic. RO membranes are generally very efficient at removing common pesticides as malathion, parathion, aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor, lindane, DDT, and heptachlor epoxide. These have molecular sizes at least ten times larger than water molecules. An RO membrane alone reduces the concentration of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) by 95%. RO units also remove a number of heavy metals and other inorganic ions in the water. Lead, nitrate, and silver are not removed in any significant quantity, but multivalent sulfate, magnesium, and calcium are reduced in concentration by 98%. Sodium, fluoride, chloride, total dissolved solids, and chromium are all reduced by at least 82%. Similarly, 99% of the bacteria and sediment will be removed. Because of these high efficiencies, if the incoming water has a low concentration of contaminants, in the treated water, their concentration may be too small to measure.
Most manufacturers specify the efficiency of an RO membrane by its salt rejection percentage. This indicates how much sodium chloride the membrane retains on the upstream side. The higher the salt rejection percentage, the better the membrane. When buying an RO unit, ask what its salt rejection value is. Good industrial RO membranes have a rating of at least 90%. When comparing RO units, be wary of exaggerated claims. In general, the most any manufacturer can guarantee is to lower a contaminant level by a factor of 100. That corresponds to a 99% reduction. If, for instance, there are 200 ppm of an organic chemical in the feed water, 99% removal will leave 2 ppm in the treated water. If there are 10,000 bacteria per milliliter, 99% removal leaves 100 bacteria per milliliter. One hundred percent removal, on the other hand, means that absolutely no contaminants remain in the treated water.
So don't believe advertisements that equate 99% removal with 100% removal. RO membranes cannot be certified to remove 100% of anything. RO membranes can be made from several types of materials, some of which may be unsuitable for filtering your water. Membranes made from a polymer called polyamide, for instance, cannot tolerate chlorine at all, and will be ruined by chlorinated water. Membranes made of cellulose acetate tolerate chlorine somewhat better, but even they cannot withstand continuous levels of chlorine above 1.5 ppm. Neither type of membrane should be used if the water temperature is above about 35º C(95º F), or if the acidity falls outside a pH range of 4 to 7.5, although polyamide is more resistant to higher pH values. This can be measured with a pH meter. So, if your tap water is high in chlorine, choose a cellulose membrane over a polyamide membrane unless you remove chlorine with a carbon filter first. If your water has an extremely high or low pH, the pH will have to be adjusted by the continuous addition of acid or base before the RO device can be used. Any reputable water conditioning company should first measure the pH and chlorine content of your tap water before recommending an RO system. A third type of membrane is available, called a thin-film composite.
There are several types of composites, each with slightly different properties. In general, the composites combine the best characteristics of cellulose acetate and polyamide. If you are considering buying a unit with a composite membrane, check for its tolerance to chlorine, pH, and temperature. The most popular type of RO configuration--the spiral cartridge--has RO membranes wrapped around a hollow cylindrical core. The other configuration is the hollow fiber, which is essentially a bundle of thousands of hollow fibers whose ends are bound in a block of plastic. If you are concerned with removing some of all types of water contaminants with a single home treatment unit, only RO and distillation can do the job, and RO is the cheapest. An RO membrane should last at least a year. One component of operating cost is the electricity for the pump--is a pump is needed at all--but if the RO device runs off tap water pressure without a pump, the operating costs are for the water itself and the replacement prefilter. It is not unusual to have a depth prefilter upstream of the replacing the depth filter periodically then becomes the principal operating cost of the unit. Many RO cartridges also have carbon filters downstream to remove the last traces of organics that the RO filters let through.
When shopping for a RO unit, look for one with these features: an automatic membrane flush feature that periodically cleans the membrane more vigorously than normal; automatic shutdown when the storage tank is full; a prefilter to remove sediment that would otherwise clog the RO membrane; a full year's warranty for the RO cartridge; pressure gauges to help you determine how effectively the unit is operating; a sanitizing procedure and scheduled to kill bacteria that have accumulated in the unit; and a high conversion rate, which is the percentage of treated water you get from a given amount of feed water. A 10% conversion, for instance, means that only 10% of the water is purified; 90% goes down the drain! Because tangential flow constantly cleans the membranes, RO units need relatively little maintenance compared with other types of home water treatments.
The unit should be disinfected or sanitized periodically to reduce the number of bacteria on the upstream side of the filter. Pretreatment may be necessary if the raw water has a high concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS). This can be measured with a TDS meter. If the water has a lot of dissolved solids, the filter may clog despite the tangential flow. Most manufacturers therefore recommend a maximum TDS level, above which the RO unit no longer operates efficiently. If the raw water exceeds this level, it should be pretreated by filtration, ion exchange (softening), or a combination, to remove most of the solids. Pretreatment can also rid the water of contaminants that can make the membrane disintegrate. Pretreatment might mean removing chlorine, or controlling the acidity. Before buying an RO unit, determine whether your tap water is compatible with the RO membrane. Never let an RO membrane dry out. Once it does, the membrane will not perform properly even if it is wetted again.
Distillation can remove some of the contaminants in each of the main categories of impurities, much as reverse osmosis can. It can remove some of the organics, some of the inorganics, some of the bacteria, and some of the particulates, not all of them. No single water treatment technique can remove all contaminants. Because distillation is relatively expensive, it should be used to produce water only for drinking or other special uses, such as operating steam irons, etc. Reverse osmosis will typically cost a fraction of the cost of distillation. And because distillation is relatively slow, you will have to collect and store the finished product. Most home stills produce only about a quarter-gallon per hour or less. Distillation makes use of the different boiling points of various substances.
Water is introduced into a boiling flask and heated until it begins to boil. At this point, the water changes from liquid to gas. Anything with a boiling point above that of water remains in the boiling flask. The hot water vapor then rises from the boiling flask, in a tube through a series of baffles. When the vapor comes into contact with the baffles, some of it condenses on the baffles and runs down to the boiling flask to repeat the process. Baffles impede the movement of particles, keeping them in the boiling flask. The vapor that successfully navigates the baffles enters the condensate part of the still. Here, cold water or air circulates around the tube carrying the vapor, changing it from a gas to liquid much as water vapor condenses on the outside of a cool glass on a hot day. Finally, the water vapor falls into the collection vessel (preferably glass).
This water is now called distillate. The most serious drawback of distillation is that any liquids whose boiling point is less than that of water will be carried with the water into the distillate. In general, the smaller organic molecules have lower boiling points, so molecules like the THMs will reach the finished water. So will chloroform, phenol, and trichloroethylene. Large-molecule organics with high boiling points, on the other hand, are usually left behind. These chemicals will concentrate in the water that remains in the boiling flask, so it is advisable to discard the residual water periodically, rather than adding more, if you want to continue distilling. Start with a new batch of raw water every time you distill, so that a critical amount of chemicals does not accumulate in the raw water. Mineral salts will also be left behind in the flask, becoming ever more concentrated. This causes two problems. First, it increases the boiling point of the water, and unless the heat is turned up, boiling will either take longer, or stop altogether. Second, salts create scale. When the concentration of salts in the water gets high enough, the salts will precipitate out of solution and drop to the bottom of the boiling flask.
If the water you are distilling is hard, the magnesium and calcium form a rock-hard coating of scale on the boiling flask. Because the scale acts as a thermal insulator, more heat will have to be applied to get the same amount of distillate. More heat costs more money. The scale has to be removed by hand, which means dismantling the still and cleaning it. Unlike relatively maintenance-free reverse osmosis systems, stills must be cleaned regularly to maintain efficient operation. Still manufacturers frequently state that the boiling temperatures will kill all bacteria in the water. True, most pathogenic bacteria are killed by boiling, but bacterial spores (microzyma) can sometimes survive boiling. Temperatures of 121º C (250º F), maintained for 15 minutes, are needed to kill spores. Spores are essentially hibernating bacteria precursors that are extremely resistant to most physical and chemical agents that would normally kill bacteria. The main problem with the spores that make their way into distilled water is that they can morph into bacteria and proliferate when the water is stored after distillation.
Even if there are no bacteria initially in the distilled water, opening and closing the water container can introduce bacteria to the water, as can the container itself if it isn't sterile. Stored water will invariably have bacteria in it. You can add an ounce of colloidal silver water to a gallon of distilled water to inhibit bacterial growth. These microbes are not outright pathogens, but can become so for people with an impaired immune system. If you distill water, store it in glass and store it in a refrigerator to slow down the bacterial growth. Do not rely on appearance. Crystal-clear water can harbor up to 1 million bacteria per milliliter. Almost any still on the market will produce water relatively free of bacteria and inorganics. The trick is in removing volatile organics and performing the distillation efficiently. One of the main differences between stills is in how they cool the line carrying the condensate. Some stills have air-cooled condensate lines, but it is most efficient to run cold water over the condensate line. Water cooling has the advantage of not needing any power, as a fan for circulating air does.
Some stills are designed so that the feed water going into the still first passes over the condensate loop. The feed water is partially heated by the condensing water, so less heat is needed to vaporize the water once it reaches the boiling flask. Gas vents are sometimes placed near the top of the boiling column to remove volatiles such as chloroform. While it may remove organics from your water, it adds them to your air. Vents can also be placed near the boiling flask. This gives volatiles in the raw water a chance to vaporize off before the water goes into the flask, which is a closed system. If the vents are placed near the top of the condensate line, the amount of volatiles driven off will depend on the temperature of that line. The hotter the condensate, the more volatiles will escape through the vent. Unfortunately, water will also escape. A still with a vent near the condensate line should be able to control the temperature of the condensate by adjusting the flow of cooling water. The higher the flow of cooling water, the cooler the condensate. The cooler the condensate, the fewer the volatiles that will pass through the vent. Portable stove-top stills are available that can be used over a campfire or on the grill at home. There are table-top units available as well. They require only an electrical connection to a 120-volt outlet. Metal stills are more durable than glass, but have the potential disadvantage of leaching metals into the distillate.
Water flowing in the soil is affected by the Earth's natural magnetic field and has a higher potential than the surrounding rock and thus creates an attractive force, dissolving the limestone and other mineral salts (mainly calcium and magnesium), much the same as sugar or salt dissolves in a glass of water. These minerals play an extremely important role in the metabolism of all living organisms, which constitutes the foundation of all biological processes. The minerals dissolved in soil are subsequently carried into pipes, installations & water process equipment. These metals having in turn a higher potential than water, attract those minerals which, when drawn, seed and conglomerate (crystallize) back into rock like formation, i.e. “calcite” (“scale”). When the soluble calcium bicarbonate, CaHCO3, changes to the less hydrated, insoluble calcium carbonate (CaCO3), the result is doubly harmful, since water looses these beneficial minerals and the accumulating sediment destroys water installations. Because of the overwhelming negativity of the CO3 component, the calcium carbonate molecule possesses a net negative charge, resulting in a few attractive forces between it and water (in untreated water there is always a low concentration of Carbonate that remains dissolved).
Scale is one of the basic problems that exist in the technological processes that deal with water (heating, cooling, chilling, heat exchanging, evaporation, condensation, etc.). This is the phenomena that harms equipment and installations by the crystalline precipitates due to the loss of CO2 gas from water when its temperature rises. These crystals, above all composed of calcium and magnesium salts, form a thermal isolator, which is very hard and difficult to remove, since calcite appears in a less hydrated form with hard surface bonds. The scale problems mean only one thing: needless consumption of energy for water heating (each millimeter of scale represents 8-10% energy loss), imminent corrosion deterioration due to scale-metal electrolysis, as well as overheating of walls of the heating elements, clogging of piping, money spent on cleaning chemicals, brushing, accompanying down-time, or the polluted environment (water table). This is why we highly recommend use of the MAGNETIZER.
Ground water contains thousands of particles and microelements whose impurities give rise to the surrounding electron shells: cations (+), anions (-). "Pure" water is a polar liquid, i.e. part of the water molecule has a positive and part of it has a negative, electrical charge, but overall the net electrical charge is negative. Thus, the water molecule being a small magnet (dipole), one may effect its magnetic (or electric) field by causing the molecule to turn or rotate in one direction or the other, taking on a positive or negative higher potential, depending, whether the S (South, positive) or N (Nonegative) outside magnetic field had been applied.
It has been firmly established in the world of science that the Positive, expanding, field influence of the South Pole makes liquids more soluble (lowering surface tension); thereby hydrating, dissolving and removing calcite and other mineral/various water by-product build-up in pipes and equipment. The Positive field hydrates all mineral build-up by de-clustering the liquid and solid pre- and post nucleated crystalline scale material. Such an S-pole induced change in the orientation affects the aggregation and crystallization of a water molecule causing increased hydration (water saturation), solubility and selective ionization, thus changing fluid physically, structurally and behaviorally. The mobility of ions in water solution is considerably increased. This creates a more solvent fluid flow (which e.g. impregnates the membranes or filters more efficiently), increased flocculation, i.e. greater particle size (causing higher filtration efficiency) or the electromotive force of the softener's solution raised to 99.9 percent efficiency.
The negative contracting field influence of the North Pole has a diametrically opposite effect on fluids. It clusters (and hardens) minerals and increases surface tension. It is used in precipitation and separation (e.g. sewage treatment). Such a change in the electron orientation effects aggregation and crystallization of the water molecule causing increased hydration (water saturation), solubility and selective ionization, in this way changing the fluid physically, structurally and behaviorally. The mobility of ions in the water solution increases dramatically. This causes that the, passing fluid is more soluble (which e.g. saturated more effectively membranes and filters), increases flocculation, i.e. the molecule size increases (causing the augmentation of filtering efficiency) or the electro-motor force of the softening solution increase4s up to 99.9%. Applying the MAGNETIZER's extremely strong and focused magnetic field, the natural process that occurs underground in soil is imitated due to magnetic polarization of all these particles when the electron shells change their potential.
Normally, the molecules in a fluid are in a completely random configuration, due to having slight natural variance in their electrical net charges. As polar bodies they will react uniquely to the magnetic stimuli, depending upon the net charge of the outside force. For example, a positive charge (South pole) would physically configure the fluid so that the negative poles of the molecules were closest to the magnetic source (opposite charges attract, like charges repel). After passing through the influence of the direct external magnetic force there is a transformation of the randomly oriented population into an ordered matrix of molecules: the molecules with greatest opposite net charge will be closest to the stimulus and conversely, those with the greatest like net charge will be furthest away. The energized and amplified (magnetized) molecules, like little magnets, uniformly line up end-to-end as the net charges are all equalized by being energized by the external magnet influence. Thus the polarization consists of changing the chaotic molecules of liquid or gas fluid into such fluid which has equal charge and is uniformly linearized.
Exposure to a magnetic South pole field affects an atom's electron spin in such a way as to compact the size of the electron orbit. For the H2O molecule, the hydrogen, which is bonded to oxygen by "sharing" the oxygen's electrons, are drawn closer to the oxygen atom. This action changes the bond lengths and in turn, the bond angles, from a triangular formation to a closer linear configuration. In the magnetized "linear" condition, the more positively charged hydrogen (H) tends to shield the negatively charged oxygen. The resultant shielding is what changes the net negative charge of the non-magnetized water molecule to the net positive charge of the magnetized water. Therefore magnetizing will change the water's net charge so that the carbonate molecules are not allowed to aggregate and crystallize. This also works on dissolving existing crystalline structures (previous scaling) by cleaving bonds between the carbonate molecules via the same charge influencean actual magnetic attraction of the carbonate molecule to the water molecule.
The random configuration of water molecules is changed to a charged and organized form, with their shape and size also modified. In the process the associations clustering around the suspended particles are broken up as the molecules line up in polarization. The fluid's paramagnetic properties allow for more dissolved material to be contained in it due to increased efficiency of the fluid's available space. It appears that the magnetic treatment allows the carbon dioxide (CO2) to stay dissolved in water of a higher temperature. Calcium carbonate is converted back to calcium bicarbonate. With the increased solubility of CO2, pH is lowered, which also accelerates the de-scaling, the end product of which is aragonite--a soft hydrated form of calcite crystal obtained through its increased hydration. It is now maintained in a "colloidal" suspension (microscopic solution) ready to be mechanically flushed from the attached surface and not placing itself on the pipes or hot water heater, instead, its beneficial effect staying in water. This "aragonite soup" can become rather thick as past experience has indicated. The polarized cations, such as calcium and magnesium associate (micro) electrically in a water solution with other complementary particles (anions) in the form of ionic conglomerates and continue their way with the water flow.
That the magnetic field amplifies the potential in water (electromotive force) making it greater than that of the plumbing (thus the minerals are re-attracted into water) and it maintains the "magnetic memory effect" can be empirically proven by a simple voltage test (use a more precise volt meter with the L.E.D. readout, and not the analog meter type) of hard water by measuring the millivolts (mV) before and after the "Magnetizer" installation on the cold water tap (or entrance to home and furthest tap away). It will show change from approx. -0.5mV to an approx. +1.0 mV. On the average with the MAGNETIZER there is an increase of 1.5 millivolt. Please note that other bi- or multi-polar systems show no mV increase or very little. A report from Science News (Sept. 6, 1980) by Ellingsen,
With simple mathematics the workings of the MAGNETIZER in water can be proven thus: H20 has a net negative charge of, say: -300 mV, whereas iron pipe is electrically neutral, i.e. = 0, thus 0 > -300 and it attracts the minerals contained in flowing water, which starts building up scale. In this example say Ca = -350 mV and Mg = -400 mV, thus 0 > -300 > - 350 > -400. Upon installation of the MAGNETIZER, with its very strong positive magnetic pole, say of +310 mV, the equation above is effected in a following manner: H2O = -300 mV (before) + 310 mV (with the MAGNETIZER) = +10 mV, whereas Ca = -350 mV + 310 mV (with the MAGNETIZER) = -10 mV, and whereas Mg = -400 mV + 310 mV (with the MAGNETIZER) = -60 mV. Finally we get: +10 > 0 > -10 > -60 and this magnetic process can be thus proven mathematically, whereas water having a stronger electric charge attracts minerals that do not precipitate anymore on the pipe's walls.