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Blog Action Day: All About the Water

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Today is Blog Action Day, and all over the world bloggers are coming together to discuss a single issue: water.

I’m not going to write about drought, or ecosystems. I’m sure others far better qualified than I will do justice to those subjects.

Instead, I’m going to write about our bodies’ need for clean, uncontaminated water to maintain health.

It may seem a bit snarky to complain about our relatively potable water in the US when millions throughout the world don’t have safe drinking water, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Tap Water Is Hazardous to Your Health

Most US residents enjoy a seemingly endless supply of safe drinking water. Oh, sure, it’s safe in the sense that it’s generally not teeming with killer bacteria.

Unfortunately, it’s full of killer chemicals:

  • chlorine
  • fluoride
  • PCBs
  • DBPs
  • prescription drugs
  • arsenic
  • heavy metals


Chlorine is commonly used in water treatment to kill bacteria (or any other living organisms like plant matter). It’s been widely used for decades, but the problems associated with its use are mounting.

Chlorine destroys the good bacteria in your gut, which you need to protect your immune system and properly digest your food.

Chlorine can wipe out vitamin B and the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your system.

Chlorine combines with other compounds in water to form carcinogens. They’re stored in fatty tissues and can alter DNA, suppress your immune system and screw up cell growth.


For decades the chemical companies have been laughing up their sleeves. Fluoride — an industrial waste from the manufacture of copper, iron and aluminum — was introduced into public water supplies across the country as a way to prevent tooth decay.

Before we all started guzzling the stuff, it was used to kill rats and insects.

Then a big aluminum manufacturer funded a study that “proved” fluoride helped prevent tooth decay.

The World Health Organization studied tooth decay in countries across the globe, and found it has been declining in countries across Europe, Japan, Iceland and the US. The reason? Improved dental hygience. Of the countries studied, only the US uses fluoride. Heck, even the American Dental Association has finally acknowledged that adding fluoride to drinking water doesn’t prevent tooth decay.

Here’s what fluoride does do: it increases your body’s ability to absorb aluminum, and aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers. It also increases your risk of osteoporosis and cancer, especially bone cancer.

If you want to learn more about fluoride and your health, check out


PCB stands for polychlorinated biphenyls. They’ve been used in the manufacture of pesticides, electronics, and a whole range of goods. They’re so dangerous that the US finally banned their use during the 1970s, but since they don’t break down, they’re still seeping from the ground into our water supplies. (You can find them in fish as well.)

PCBs affect your brain and nervous system. They’re fat soluble, and they’re found in high concentrations in milk.

They’ve been connected to cancers of the liver, skin, brain and breast.


DBP is short for disinfection byproducts — in other words, the chemicals that are created by attempts to kill germs in the water. They’re about 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine. When chlorine is combined with decaying organic matter in the water, THMs (trihalomethanes) and HAAs (haloacetic acids) are created.

DBPs cause reproductive problems, and THMS are carcinogens.

Even worse, there’s mounting evidence they do even more damage when absorbed through the skin than when you drink them.

Prescription Drugs

Other people’s used prescriptions get recycled into our drinking water. Beta blockers, psychiatric drugs, hormones, statins, antibiotics and painkillers all end up in your glass. You may think you’re not taking any prescriptions, but if you drink municipal tap water, you’re wrong.


The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) did a study of arsenic in drinking water in 1999 and 2000. You can read more about it here.

They found 25 states with arsenic at unsafe levels in drinking water — and those only included the states that reported arsenic information to the EPA. Not all of them do.

Heavy Metals

Mercury, lead and other heavy metals are poisonous to human life. Because eliminating them is difficult, they build up in your tissues and cause problems with memory, concentration and other brain functions, dementia, depression, nausea, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure. Increasingly, heavy metal toxicity is being linked to conditions like autism, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome and other behavioral problems.

Filter Your Water

To avoid these contaminants — and a raft of others — you should filter your water with a high quality carbon or reverse osmosis filter. (Drinking bottled water is not the answer for a variety of reasons.)

If you are able to install a whole-house filter to remove these toxins from your showers and bathroom taps, even better.

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  1. I love this article. You’re doing a great service to diabetics around the world who have to take extra care to reduce the stress on their bodies. It’s not an easy job to get the word out. We worked for months to come up with a video that we could launch on Blog Action Day. Hopefully we conveyed some of the points that you also talked about.

    • Thanks, Glenn. It’s a big problem, and so many people are unaware of it. We all know about “pollution” in general — but need educating on what the pollution means to us in specific terms.

  2. Great read Susanna, very useful to diabetics.

    I didn’t know that about Flouride and it’s use prior to keeping our teeth nice and healthy – it makes you wonder why this isn’t being revised!

    Once again, thanks for a great read

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