Question: Is Chlorine harmful?
Answer: Chlorine was first added to a community water system in 1908 in Chicago and was instrumental in eliminating many types of water-borne disease such as Cholera and Typhoid fever. Prior to chlorination, many major cities had death tolls of 1 in 1000 people from Typhoid alone. Chlorine has been used to disinfect municipal water for over 80 years and has had some positive effects on public health. In the 1970's it was discovered that chlorine, when added to water, forms Trihalomethanes (chlorinated by-products) by combining with certain naturally occurring organic matter such as vegetation and algae. In 1992 the American Journal of Public Health published a report that showed a 15% to 35% increase in certain types of cancer for people who consume chlorinated water. This report also stated that much of these effects were due to showering in chlorinated water. The National Cancer Institute estimates cancer risks for people who consume chlorinated water to be up to 93% higher than for people who do not. The effects of drinking chlorinated water have been debated for decades. However, most experts now agree that there are some significant risks related to consuming chlorine and chlorinated by-products in drinking water.
Chlorine and Cancer
Question: Why do some areas test negative for chlorine?
Answer: Virtually all city water systems contain some level of chlorine. The level will vary based on outdoor temperature, the season, distance from water utility and current usage. While chlorine may sometimes be undetectable on a certain day with a standard OTO test kit, that level can change dramatically day to day. Also some cities use ammonia at certain times as a disinfectant in order to reduce chlorination by products. Without chlorine the dangers of water borne disease would be too significant. An undetectable chlorine level, on a certain day, does not eliminate the need for an effective home filtration system.
Question: What is the best container for storing filtered water?
Answer: Glass is always best, however if glass is not practical, then a high grade polycarbonate material is best. Clear plastic bottles and pitchers with a #1 in the recycle triangle on the bottom, like the bottles used by Evian and the higher quality bottled waters, are the best option for water storage since they have been shown to release the lowest levels of plastic component chemicals into water. Translucent, colored or bottles with a number other than 1 on the bottom should be avoided because there is the possibility of higher levels of chemicals leeching into the water from the plastic.
Question: Are whole house systems (P.O.E.- point-of-entry) better than counter-top filters (P.O.U.- point-of-use)?
Answer: P.O.U. systems are by far the best way to ensure the highest quality water since many water-borne contaminants come from the plumbing in your house, especially lead and vinyl chloride from the piping. By filtering water at the point-of-use you remove contaminants just prior to consumption, eliminating the chance of recontamination. Point-of-entry systems offer certain benefits but do not replace the benefits of point-of-use filtration.
Question: What are the benefits of magnetic water treatment?
Answer: While there are manufacturers that make beneficial claims for magnetic water treatment, there are no credible studies or documentation that magnetics offer any measurable benefits for drinking water, consumers should beware of undocumented claims.
Question: How do you know if there are contaminants in your water?
Answer: All public water systems contain some level of one or more unhealthful chemicals. Regulations only require periodic testing of about 90 chemicals. There are now more than 75,000 chemicals used in our society with over 1000 new ones being developed each year. Contaminant levels fluctuate throughout the year making it impossible to know the actual level of contamination in a central water system. So far over 2100 toxic chemicals have been detected in America's water systems. The risk is high; the cost for a sure solution is low, 10¢ per gallon with Aquasana.
See What's in my water?
Question: Are some people more sensitive to chemicals in drinking water and shower water than others?
Answer: Definitely, small children and the elderly are especially more affected by contaminants in water due to a reduced capacity to deal with toxins and an under-developed or less tolerant immune system.
Question: If my municipal water company's Annual Water Quality Report shows that it meets all EPA guidelines, does that mean its safe?
Answer: On October 1st 1999 a new federal law went into effect that requires water utilities to send each customer a detailed report showing what is in their water, appropriately called "The Right To Know Amendment." The most important thing to remember is that no matter how insistent these reports are that "contaminants in your water do not necessarily pose a health risk", any level of contamination in our drinking water does in fact represent a danger to our health. Of the over 75,000 toxic chemicals used in our society, the EPA has only set standards (MCLs) for about 90, and those 90 Maximum Contaminant Levels are not necessarily set on "health effects." The EPA considers limited health studies based on consumption of one certain chemical by a 175 lb. adult when setting these standards. No consideration is given to the effects on small children or the combined effects of two or more contaminants, which some studies show are magnified by as much as 1000 times. Water utilities are only required to test for the 90 contaminants that the EPA has set standards for.
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