"But I've Drank This Water All My Life!" or "This Is The Government's Respons
I meet a lot of people who don't know the first thing about water other than the fact it's a liquid.
Considering every person is 72.8% water, I find this a bit of a dangerous conundrum. Those who do not know water, do not know themselves. When disease manifests in a body which is composed of the 'chemical soup' we call tap water, it should not come as a surprise - it should be expected. While the true blame is on lack of education, and misleading of our school youth when learning about water - seeking pure water is as important as clean food and clean air.
Since Walkerton, the government has mandated that all water be chlorinated. At the turn of the century when Walkerton happened and people died from E.coli, the cancer rate was hovering at around 1 in 12. Currently, since mass chlorination, the cancer rate is higher than 1 in 3.
Are more people dying from chemicals in the water than from bacteria and parasites? Most people instinctively know there is something wrong with the water - sales figures for the bottled water industry are proof enough of that. But too often, there is a large amount of our population that believe what they are told by our officials. These are the kinds of citizens who do not take things into their own hands, and instead trust and expect the government to take care of them. This is a dangerous way of thinking.
While it may just be naivety - there is a point where if naivety is harming your health, and the health of your family, it's not naivety - it's stubborn ignorance. These people refuse to believe the scientific, government, and journalistic evidence I provide. So here are a few of the questions they ask and beliefs they hold.
As the Buddhists say, your mind is like a cup of water. If you come seeking knowledge, but your cup is full - how can you expect to gain knowledge. If you empty your cup and come seek knowledge - your cup will be filled.
Q: "So why doesn't the city (or Indian Band) just install a reverse osmosis and UV light at the treatment plant?"
A: This question is innocent enough because it suggests something that should take place, but this is wishful thinking. Large cities only spend about $60,000 a year chlorinating the water. Reverse Osmosis maintenance and UV light replacement would cost in the millions. The government agencies responsible for balancing the budget and funding water infrastructure have to weigh the costs in regards to human health, as well as where the water is actually used.
80% or more of tap water is used to water lawns, wash cars, fill hot tubs and swimming pools, flush down toilets - the majority of this 80% is used for agriculture. Only 20% is used by humans, and this can be everything from showering, brushing teeth, cooking, rinsing vegetables, and of course - drinking. About 5% of that 20% is used for drinking. That means, human health only plays a 5% role in what decision is made on a city's water quality. "If it's good enough to water the lawn, it's good enough for you." is the general sentiment. Why would the government spend millions of dollars to make health water, when 80% isn't even used for human use? It's bad business for government to supply you with pure water. Why do they tell you it's good? Cause everyone has to justify their job.
Q: "My mayor/chief/MP says our water is the best in the world, how can it be so bad?"
A: In Canada, there are no legally binding water laws in cities and First Nations. We have voluntary guidelines which are NOT required to be met. This means that anyone in a position of influence and power can say anything about the water without being held legally accountable. E.coli was found in the district of Coldstream in Vernon, and the government was found negligent, and they were only fined $18,000. $11 per person whome the water affected, and a few $100 fines for environmental fees. If your city doesn't meet the government guidelines, there is NO penalty whatsoever. There is literally no reason to strive for pure water quality.
In the USA, where there are legally binding water quality laws, the EPA enforces strict guidelines that must be followed. There are over 400,000 infractions annually against these laws, and fines are heavy if serious. This year, a water line broke in San Mateo, California which killed dozens of endangered aquatic species. This was simple tap water that the citizens of this county were actually drinking on a daily basis, by the way. The municipality was fined $3 Million, and the infraction didn't even affect humans, it killed fish and frogs!
Q: "But I've drank this water all my life and I'm still here."
A: This is more of a statement than a question, but it's a common belief people have that water remains the same. Water is constantly changing, it is a solvent. It absorbs everything it comes in contact with - chemicals, heavy metals, minerals, organic matter. The water you drank yesterday is not the same as what you're drinking today. In the last 40 years, water has changed so dramatically that there is no way of even testing the possible 500,000 chemicals and contaminants that can be in one glass of water. Studies are done every year about the new drugs and compounds that are turning up in tap water.
Q: "Aren't minerals in the water good for you?"
A: This is an easy answer to Google. The minerals found in water are elemental - which are not as bioavailable to the body as organic minerals in food, milk, meat. When plant roots take up minerals in the soil, those minerals bind with the carbon in the plant - and since all life on Earth is carbon based, this helps humans and all other creatures absorb the nutrients easier from that plant, nut, berry, fruit, vegetable... Would you eat sand for your minerals, because that's where the minerals in tap water come from. Not only that, but the few beneficial minerals you might get in water are accompanied by chemicals and heavy metals.
Q: "I heard reverse osmosis water is acidic."
A: This is about as common as a myth as alkalized water being good for you. Water is neutral by nature, and reverse osmosis water is pure and neutral, with about 7.0 to 7.2 pH. Because it has no minerals in the water, doesn't mean it is trying to steal minerals in your body. You are an organic, living being and your cell membranes protect you from the possibility of water leaching minerals out of your bones. You can even add minerals to your pure reverse osmosis water. But if you rely on tap water for minerals, you are not just getting minerals - you're getting the heavy metals and chemicals too.
Do aquatic plants dissolve in water? No. Your body works very hard to maintain it's pH, and just a few points either alkaline or acidic can cause health problems.. Alkalized water must be neutralized by the stomach acid in your digestive system - actually it seems to cause a lot of people to have acid reflux which increases esophogeal cancer risk. The best way to alkalize your water naturally is add a bit of lemon juice.
Q: "I boil my water, so I'm okay right?"
A: Wrong. Boiling water makes your water quality worse. Chlorine is often mixed with ammonia, creating Chloramine, which does not boil out or evaporate from sitting water. Furthermore, when you boil water - the steam is the clean water going away. What's left is a higher concentration of contaminants in your water. When you are told to boil your water, this is simply to protect you from bacteria or parasites. If there is chlorine in your water, then the parasites have been killed (but their dead bodies are still floating around in the water).
Can you boil a rock out of water? The minerals, metals, and some of the chemicals are suspended solids, like microscopic rocks, and cannot be boiled out. Some contaminants sensitive to heat, such as lead, mercury, uranium, and chemicals, will interact with eachother and may create new, more harmful compounds.
Q: "But bottled water is fine, I drink that."
A: Bottled water is not fine. It is only sometimes better than tap water because it has less chemicals and higher standards because there is a corporate profit involved. But there are few regulations for bottled water, and the plastics involved are harmful to both us and the planet.
Our high end water filters cost $1999. Most people are spending $70/month for decent bottled water. The cheaper the water, the worse it is (a lot of cheap bottled water is just tap water).
At $70/mo, you could have owned a high end, certified water filter in two years, and used 10 times more pure water for drinking, coffee, tea, cooking soups rice and pasta, pets, canning, and making home made beer & wine. If you used bottled water for all that, you'd be spending $200 per month.
Be water, my friend.