What's Hiding in Your Water?
by Elisa Adams

Five hundred years ago, a mere blink in time historically speaking, Massachusetts was virgin forests and sparkling waterways. The native inhabitants kept the countryside immaculate by regular burning of the underbrush and dead leaves, to allow the grass to grow thickly, as in a park, and to aid them in sneaking up silently on the local ruminants — deer, moose, and other furry denizens of the eastern woodlands. 

When our earliest ancestors arrived from over-farmed and over-populated Europe, they were astounded to find a land kept as well as the greatest noblemen’s parks, inhabited by men they deemed “savages.”

Now, in the early years of the new millenium, Massachusetts is attempting to recover from some of the worst pollution inflicted on our beautiful planet. The polluted waters of Woburn, responsible for the deaths of several local children who died of leukemia, are no longer an issue. Thanks to local activists, the Nashua flows more cleanly than it has in decades. Almost every town has a lake clean enough for the children to swim in, and fishermen are beginning to be able to find rivers where they can fish and actually eat their catch safely.

One of the greatest remaining challenges is to provide pure drinking water for people inhabiting our local cities. Unfortunately, the quality of water adequate for flushing toilets, watering lawns, and running carwashes and washing machines does not equal the quality of water needed by thirsty pregnant women, little children, and the elderly.

One of the problems is chlorine, used by cities to prevent bacterial growth in the municipal water supplies. Chemists have pointed out for decades that chlorinated water, mixed with food and other organic substances, creates carcinogens that should not be ingested. 

One category, called CBPs, are known carcinogens. A 1998 bulletin released by Health Canada, the Canadian food and drug administration, reported that “CBP’s (may be) the most important environmental carcinogens in terms of attributable cancers.” The study, labeled “Safe Drinking Water: A Public Health Challenge” also links CBPs with miscarriages, birth defects, and childhood asthma.

A decade ago, in 1992, the American Medical Association issued its own statistics, attributing a full 28% of all colon cancer and 18% of all bladder cancers to the drinking of chlorinated water! By 1998, a dozen studies confirmed these findings. One, reported upon in the journal Epidemiology, indicated that men who drink chlorinated tap water for more than 40 years have a 200% increased risk for bladder cancer compared with men who drink distilled, bottled, or reverse-osmosis water.

The EPA admits that trihalomethanes (THMs) are present in virtually all chlorinated water. Despite the dangers of chlorination, the safer method of disinfecting water with ozone or UV light, used in Amsterdam, Paris, and many other European cities, has not caught on in American communities.

Another major problem in drinking water safety is fluoride. According the late Dean Burk, Ph.D., former head chemist at the National Cancer Institute, “Fluoride causes more cancer, and causes it faster, than any other chemical.” Fluoride has also been linked to loss of memory, osteoporosis, and kidney disorders. 

The employees' union of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also takes a strong stand against fluoridated water. “Our union — comprising several hundred toxicologists, other scientist, and lawyers — maintains its solid opposition to fluoridation,” offers Dr. J. William Huzy, senior vice president of the EPA union.

One of the best solutions for the drinking water problem is having a point-of-use reverse osmosis unit available for providing your family with pure drinking water. Used by astronauts in the space shuttle, by the Saudis to create fresh water out of seawater, and by most Nature’s Sunshine distributors, reverse osmosis has provided hundreds of local families with pure drinking water free of contaminants, including lead, copper, fluoride, and chlorine. By making pure water from tap water in your own homes, you can enjoy

  • No more dangerous tap water in the tea, soup, or rice
  • No more lugging heavy bottles home from the store
  • No more expensive deliveries from commercial water companies!

Until the waterways in Massachusetts run as pure and free as they did five hundred years ago, we can thank our inventors for reverse osmosis and use the tools we have to save our health.

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