Posts Tagged ‘tap water’

By now I assume you know how I feel about consuming unfiltered tap water. If not, you can click here. Well now there is even more proof that tap water can be extremely toxic and harmful to you.

Over 500,000 times!!! You would think the government bodies in charge of these laws…

Actually, I prefer to avoid speaking about the politics of this issue, please read for yourself though.

Here’s the article published in The New York Times.

PS – Don’t forget to question the source of the water used in your morning tea or coffee if you are not making it at home; and bottled drinks as well.

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Let’s continue from part 1. The next type of water filter media I’ll discuss is known as Kinetic Degradation Fluxion®(KDF).  This is a patented technology that works by way of biochemical reactions known as oxidation and reduction (or redox) using a copper-zinc media.  Essentially, it works via either copper or zinc transferring one or more electrons to the toxin, in turn causing a chemical reaction that converts the toxin into a different non-toxic compound. For example, when KDF contacts chlorine, the zinc loses one electron (oxidation) and the chlorine gains one electron (reduction).  As a result, potentially toxic chlorine gets reduced to non-toxic chloride ions.  Generally, KDF is used in conjunction with another type of filter, often activated carbon.  In addition to chlorine, KDF helps “filter” (really oxidize or reduce) iron; hydrogen sulfide (toxic and has a bad sulfur/rotten egg odor); metals (lead, mercury, copper, nickel, chromium, and other positively-charged metals); and it may also control bacteria, algae, and fungi growth (which is why it’s often used with carbon filters that “trap” and may colonize bacteria).

Now I’ll talk about another type of water purifier called reverse osmosis.  This works by forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane while leaving the contaminants behind.  This system requires pressure to push the water through.  That’s why it’s called “reverse osmosis”, because osmosis occurs when natural movement causes a solvent to move from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration.  Reverse osmosis is fantastic at removing many different types of contaminants.  However, it should be combined with a type of sediment pre-filter and carbon filter because some contaminants (that the others can remove first) can clog or degrade the membrane.  OK, so here’s the list of things reverse osmosis can filter: aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chloride, chromium, copper, fluoride, magnesium, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nitrate, selenium, silver, sulfate, zinc, asbestos, chemicals (that cause bad tastes, color, and odor), particulates, general turbidity (or cloudiness from particles), radium, bacteria, viruses, salts, sugars, proteins, dyes, volatile organic compounds, and chlorine and its by-products.  I’m sure there are some others that I may have missed.  Now think about combining that with an activated carbon filter.
Three important caveats: 1) bacteria and viruses can still accumulate and also degrade the membrane; 2) by removing minerals the water becomes acidic, meaning it will have a pH below 7 (our blood is between 7.35-7.45) – however high quality salt can be added to raise the pH, more on pH and why consuming  alkaline-forming foods and drinks is extremely important for health in another article; and 3) it wastes A LOT of water – at least 3-5x the amount of original water that is filtered for drinking, is wasted.

Ok let’s move on.  What do we do about all these bacteria, viruses, parasites, cysts, algae, fungi, and other microorganisms that can be in our water.  Chlorine will not always kill everything.  And there’s even chlorine-resistant bacteria out there.  For these bugs, the best way to kill them is none other than light – ultraviolet light (UV) to be specific.  The UV light damages the organisms DNA, making it’s cells incapable of reproducing/dividing – thus making it harmless or killing it.  Simple as that!  Hmmm, wouldn’t that solve the problem of having to add chlorine to water (which causes the production of toxic by-products).  Of course it would, and ozone (a molecule with 3 oxygen atoms) is another alternative for the job.  Apparently, there are “more than 400 municipal water treatment ozone systems operating in the U.S. alone.”  BY THE WAY, for those of us in NYC – this option (of UV light) has been reported about in 2005, though I don’t know what sort of progress has been made.

Let’s finish with one more – ceramic filters.  These use porous ceramic to literally filter the water through, while leaving the contaminants behind.  They are especially known for filtering microorganisms, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has even created standards for their effectiveness.  Search Google™ for “US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers” for their report.  So if you get a ceramic filter, make sure it’s stamped with their approval.  These filters most notably remove parasites and bacteria.  It will certainly filter large sediment (that can’t pass through the pores) as well.  However, some manufacturers of ceramic filters are certified to be effective in removing chlorine, lead, turbidity and particulates, and bad taste and odor.  Additionally, these can be cleaned by hand when they clog up – but be VERY careful as simply handing it can clog the pores, rendering them less effective.  They can also break, or get hairline cracks, which will cause particles to pass right through into your drinking water.  Follow the instructions very closely.

Wait, really the last – distillation is by far the best way to remove most (and perhaps all) contaminants that can possibly exist.  The water is basically boiled and the steam is collected which is then converted back to liquid for use.  The contaminants are left behind, not emitted in the steam.  However, that doesn’t mean it produces the best water.  Some people say it can act as a vacuum and draw minerals out of the body.  I haven’t been able to verify that yet.



spring or purified

spring or purified

And, Dr. Masaru Emoto has taken pictures of water from a “pure source” and distilled water.  No comment – see the pictures and make your own judgment please.  By the way, it’s quite tedious and energy consuming to distill water at home.  SmartWater® is distilled, although it has some minerals added back into it.  I like that it’s definitely “clean”.

On fluoride — some companies talk about a separate fluoride-removal filter, but fail to disclose the mechanism it uses.

There are some links at the end of the article if you’re interested in buying a water filter.  I have no financial connection with any of the companies – although I signed up as a “dealer” with EcoQuest® last year. I haven’t renewed my membership this year, but probably will. It cost me $25 to become a dealer, which saved me around $100 on the filter (Living Water 3® with a fluoride and arsenic pre-filter).

If I were you, I would speak with the companies first to make sure the filter meets your needs.  And you may want to call your local municipality to see if they add fluoride to the water – and see if, maybe (hopefully) they use UV light or ozone as a chlorine alternative.

H20 International Corporation
The Water Exchange
Home Water Purifiers and Filters – a source for this article
Doultan USA

I’m sure there are many more – I just happen to come upon these that “looked good”.

PS – don’t forget a showerhead filter!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiologist

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OK, so now what.  You’ve heard about a lot of the dangers of tap water – but we still have to drink water because it’s the most important “nutrient” for our body, aside from oxygen.  So where do we go from here?

There are basically only two practical alternatives to tap water: 1) bottled water and 2) filtered water.  By the way, well water is not out of the woods – it can be, and quite often is contaminated.

There are definitely some great quality bottled waters on the market.  Here are a few brands I personally like: Mountain Valley Spring® (glass), Gerolsteiner® (glass, sparkling), and Smart Water® (plastic).  There are plenty more, but those are my top 3 choices. Please see their sites if you want to learn more about them.

Unfortunately, bottled water presents an enormous environmental hazard. And it’s totally unpractical to drink all of the time.  You can find plenty of information on the environmental impact all over the internet and I encourage you to do so.  Additionally, the industry is not regulated and therefore you need to know your source.  You could easily be buying tap water (it’s been said that 40% is tap water) or water tainted with many harmful chemicals and microorganisms in it.  Based on what I read off of the labels, most bottled water isn’t worth it, although you can usually find a “fairly good” bottled water readily accessible if necessary.

OK, so the other option is a filter.  This is a win-win situation!  Save the environment and save money (compared to bottled water).  There are so many options when it comes to filters.  I’ll discuss one right now.

(Activated) carbon (AC), also known as activated charcoal– Carbon filters contain granules or powdered carbon which acts to absorb impurities from the water it is in contact with.  Activated carbon (one step up from ordinary carbon) has a slightly positive charge to it, which can further help to attract (negatively-charged) impurities.  There are two main variables for how well an AC filter will perform.  First is the amount of carbon.  More carbon means more absorption, just like a large towel will absorb more than a smaller one.  Second is the amount of time the water/contaminant is in contact with the carbon.  The longer the water can be in physical contact, the more will be absorbed.  The size of the contaminant will also be a factor.

Activated carbon filters will also trap or breed bacteria in the filter medium.  Unfortunately, they do NOT kill the organisms.  Therefore, they can build up in the filter creating a sort of breeding ground for bacteria, eventually headed for the drinking water.  This is why it is highly recommended to change the filter often – which can become costly.

Activated carbon filters are also claimed to contain the toxic metal aluminum, which can get into the filtered water.  The only information I found related to this makes the claim look accurate.  Click here for information on the patent of “compacted activated charcoal filter material” (note the words “aluminum oxide” and “aluminum hydroxide”).  Charcoal that has been “acid-washed” is said to contain little or no aluminum.

Lastly, activated carbon from coconut shells (as opposed to coal) is more environmentally-friendly and contains less aluminum.  So ideally, if you go with an AC filter, it should be acid-washed and made from coconut shells.

Here’s what an AC filter is capable of removing and/or reducing: volatile organic compounds (including MTBE from gasoline and other chemicals that cause bad tastes and odors), pesticides and herbicides, chlorine, benzene, trihalomethanes (by-products of chlorine), radon, solvents, and many other man-made chemicals that find there way into the groundwater.

Unfortunately, AC filters alone won’t remove all the contaminants we spoke about – i.e.: toxic metals and fluoride, and perhaps haloaceticacids (more chlorine by-products).  Because the presence of pharmaceutical drugs in tap water is relatively new, I can’t find information on filters effective in removing them.  Although, it’s certainly possible that the filters we’ll discuss can filter drug residues anyway.

Don’t forget, these AC filters need to be changed very often to prevent bacteria build-up, which can get into the drinking water.  And unless they’re acid-washed and from coconut shells, they probably have a fair amount of aluminum in them.

The Brita® Pitcher Filter is one example of an AC filter.  It also contains something called an ion-exchange resin which helps remove copper, mercury, cadmium, and zinc.  Hmmm, what about lead.  Well, the Brita® Faucet Filter is said to have something called zeolite as well, which helps remove lead.
My guess is that these filters are from coal and not coconut shells, nor acid-washed – please verify the specifications with the manufacturer, as I am making no claims.  The above information about Brita® was derived from their website.

Please click here if you are interested in more information on the differences between coal and coconut shell derived carbon material.  And click here for more general information and the source of some information above.  I have no financial connection to any of the brands mentioned, or products sold from any links.

More on other types of filters soon.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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So far, in this series, we’ve covered issues relating to harmful by-products of chlorine, toxic metals, and fluoride in tap water.  Let’s continue on to another, rather strange, ingredient(s) in our tap water.

I’m referring to none other than your “neighbor’s” (already ingested) antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, ibuprofen, sedatives, heart medication, and more!!!  That’s right, pharmaceutical medications are in the tap water.  Well it does make sense when you think about it.  People take drugs and not all of them are absorbed or fully metabolized.  The drugs subsequently end up in sewage or wastewater which can then get treated for sterilization and directed into reserviors.  It can also get into the surface water or groundwater which again goes to the tap after treatment.

According to the Associated Press(AP), “In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas – from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville.”  They also said that the water supply of at least 41 million Americans contains a vast array of pharmaceuticals.  Key results noted by the AP are as follows: testing in Philadelphia revealed 56 different drugs or byproducts in treated water including medication for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness, and heart problems.  Sixty-three drugs or byproducts were found in the watersheds.

Another article in USA Today said that more than 15 drugs or byproducts were detected in the water sources that feed into NYC taps.  These included: medication for “aches; infections; seizures; high blood pressure; hormones for menopause; the active ingredient in a popular sedative; and caffeine”.

There are many more areas around the country where this is a problem, please check the articles above and plenty of others that are easily searchable for further information.  And by the way, six of 28 metropolitan areas (where drugs were found in watersheds or their supply) didn’t bother to test the water at the tap.  And New York City is one of them!

Let’s see what the (New York) city water officials have to say. Well, nothing to the AP because they declined multiple requests for an interview with them.  They did however, issue this statement: “New York City’s drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system.”  Phew!  Oh wait, there are no federal or state regulations in place for pharmaceuticals in the water supply.

Another article from the AP states some more baffling news.  “In April (presumably 2008, the article is dated 9/11/08) New York City council members insisted during an emergency hearing that their drinking water be tested.  But DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) officials declared that “the testing of finished tap water is not warranted at this time”.”

If you are interested in how the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is not happy with how the US Environmental Protection Agency is dealing (or not dealing) with this problem, click here.

One last issue (I’ll mention) is that the USA Today article states that there is evidence that the added chlorine in tap water is making some of those pharmaceuticals more toxic.

OK, now let’s talk about the health issue of this.  Well, that’s quite the cocktail!  Fortunately, it’s most likely going to be infintessimally low doses compared to prescriptive doses.  However, there is obviously no data on the long-term effects.  I can’t but help but re-iterate how you will be adding to your bodies toxic burden and stressing your detoxification pathways with the addition of ANY amount of a toxin(s).  Will this be the straw that broke the camel’s back in developing that chronic disease (cancer, thyroid, liver, or kidney problems, etc.) of unknown origin?  So it’s really just one more thing to add to the list.  So far the list (in tap water alone) consists of chlorinated byproducts, toxic metals, and (maybe) fluoride.  That’s a generous maybe, by the way.

Also, please stop and think – if I had a glass of the cleanest, purest, fresh water possible and then told you I added a cocktail of random pharmaceuticals to it, would you drink it???

LASTLY, raise your hand if you think there must also be illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines in the water!

Keep in mind, even though I’m not a proponent of drinking tap water, that does NOT mean I am a proponent of drinking bottled water.  More on that in future articles.

More on better choices than tap water coming soon.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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In parts 1 and 2 we heard about the challenges of the by-products of chlorine and toxic metals that are present in tap water.  Remember that’s not my opinion, that’s data I researched which was collected from the New York Department of Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA).  And don’t miss this link to the EPA’s statements on these chemicals; when you get there scroll down to “Disinfection Byproducts.”

I believe it safe to say that the government does NOT add toxic metals to our water supply.  Toxic metals find their way into the water via the environment, industrial pollution, and through out-dated means of delivery to your tap.  The next ingredient in tap water I’d like to discuss, that is deliberately added, is fluoride.  Chlorine is deliberately added to water as well, but with a slightly different intention than fluoride.  Chlorine will kill potentially deadly disease-causing microorganisms, so it’s obviously put there for your safety (despite the concerns mentioned in part 1).  Fluoride on the other hand is added to medicate you.  That’s right, the reason fluoride is added is to help you prevent tooth decay.

We know why fluoride is supposed to be beneficial, when added to our water supply.  Let’s examine some information that points to why it might be harmful to us.

According to the US EPA: “Some people who drink water containing fluoride well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could get bone disease (including pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth.”  I have a lot of questions right now.  How is “well in excess” defined?  How many is “many years”?  Should the EPA put limits on the amount of fluoridated tap water a person should consume?  Does the amount in your toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash matter?  What population is most at risk?

Currently, the EPA set the MCL for fluoride at 4 parts per million (ppm).  However, the National Council of Research (NRC) suggests that the EPA lower this level because of strong evidence that links fluoride to bone fracture, joint pain, and damage to teeth.  Additionally, they have found research linking fluoride exposure to problems with the brain, thyroid, and pineal gland.  The NRC even reported that the amounts of fluoride associated with thyroid imbalances are now being exceeded by many Americans, mainly children – even while living in areas where fluoride is measured at 1ppm.  The American Dental Association says that optimal levels are 0.7-1.2ppm.

Additionally, the NRC reported on patients who live in a community where the water has fluoride at rates of 4ppm, and said that they “have all accumulated fluoride in their skeletal system and potentially have very high fluoride concentrations in their bones.  The bone marrow is where immune cells develop and that could affect humoral immunity and the production of antibodies to foreign chemicals”.  So here we have fluoride possibly presenting people with immune system challenges that may ultimately end up causing infections and/or cancer.  The NRC also makes an excellent point stating “there is no question that fluoride can affect the cells involved in providing immune responses.  The question is in what proportion” – of the population.  That’s reflects my question also: “What population is most at risk?”

There are more potential health concerns with fluoride exposure such as: increased lead absorption, hyperactivity and/or lethargy, brain damage and lowered IQ, dementia, inactivates 62 enzymes, genetic damage and cell death, disrupts synthesis of collagen, muscle disorders, arthritis, bone fractures, bone cancer, damage to sperm, decreased fertility, kidney problems, and more.  Unfortunately, I don’t have solid evidence for those problems so I won’t expand on them.  Perhaps one day I’ll look into the research.  One last condition of excess fluoride as a child is, ironically, dental fluorosis (I suppose that’s the mottled teeth the EPA speaks of).  By the way, send me an e-mail at dr.robertdaquila@gmail.com if you would like the NRC’s report.

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to prove whether or not some substance prevented a particular condition.  Now that I think of it, ask yourself: “Did I ever have a cavity?”  If so, did you drink fluoridated tap water all the years growing up?  Now, not all municipalities add fluoride to the water.  Did yours?  Perhaps you would have had even more cavities if you hadn’t had those daily doses of fluoride.  What about diet?  What about sugar intake?  What about dental hygiene?  Here’s one of the best questions, what about the pH (acid/alkaline balance) of your saliva?  For optimal health it should preferably be on the alkaline side.

As with all toxins and even diseases (e.g.: swine flu), those “considered” to have the weakest immune systems, the elderly, and young children are usually the ones most at risk.  So most people don’t think twice about a lot of public health concerns.  Here’s another question: Should we be concerned with people who have nutrient deficiencies that impair their liver and kidney’s ability to detoxify chemicals appropriately – and consume fluoridated tap water for “many years?”

As an aside and some food for thought: if  “they” are so concerned with our health (i.e.: tooth decay), what about the rest of our bodies?  Why don’t they add zinc to the water supply, or magnesium, or calcium?  Just about everyday I find people deficient in those minerals.

Interestingly, a 13-year old patient’s mother called me last week.  In the past I had helped her daughter fully overcome obsessive/compulsive behavior through diet, supplements, and chiropractic treatments.  Now, she’d like to bring her in again for treatment next weekend.  She explained how after a fluoride treatment at the dentist, her daughter experienced severe stomach pain, nausea, and anxiety.  This is obviously a case of acute fluoride poisoning and not what I’ve discussing above.  My point is that because she knows I am a holistic, wellness-oriented chiropractor, who practices applied kinesiology; I have the ability to help people overcome very challenging health concerns.  Therefore, I’ll be able to help identify what organ system is the most stressed and what nutrients she needs to detoxify effectively.  Additionally, I’ll employ standard chiropractic treatments in order to help her entire body.  Please consider this information if you or someone you know has a health concern.

In conclusion, there are many concerns with water fluoridation regarding health effects and ethics beyond the scope of this article.  I strongly encourage you to read The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson if this topic interests you.

Additionally, I encourage you to find the time to watch these 2 YouTube videos on the subject of fluoride.  They are around 5 and 8 minutes in length.

Professional Perspectives: Fluoride in Tap Water

The Fluoride Deception: Part 1

Keep in mind, even though I’m not a proponent of drinking tap water, that does NOT mean I am a proponent of drinking bottled water.  More on that in future articles.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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In part 1, we spoke about how damaging the by-products of water chlorination can be.

Let’s move further and discuss toxic metals.  In case you’re not sure, examples of toxic metals would be mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, arsenic, nickel, etc..  Bear in mind, however, necessary minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, etc, can be toxic in large doses.  Necessary minerals don’t usually present a problem, whereas exposure to toxic metals is a very prevalent problem.  There are many sources of toxic metals in our environment, such as the food we eat and the air we breathe, but for now let’s focus on tap water.

Every year, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publishes a report on drinking water.  Here’s an excerpt from the New York City 2008 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report – “New York City water is virtually lead-free when it is delivered from the City’s upstate reservoir system, but water can absorb lead from solder, fixtures, and pipes found in the plumbing of some buildings or homes.”  Click on the word virtually in the last sentence if you need a reminder of the definition.  So basically, tap water in NYC definitely has a certain amount of lead in it based on the DEP’s measurements, and perhaps more by the time it reaches your tap.  Lead (and copper) from pipes will be a bigger problem for those who live in homes or buildings built before the late 1980s.  And don’t forget water fountains and restaurants.  The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “maximum contaminant level goal” for lead in tap water is “0” mg/L.  One would think that the EPA’s goal for all toxic metals should be zero, but that’s not the case.  In fact, the “goal” for other toxic metals in our water supply such as antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, and thallium are all above “0.”  They apparently consider lead much more of a problem.  Here’s a link to their page on “Drinking Water Contaminants.” with a list of every contaminant (THEY LOOK FOR) in the water.  (FYI, the picture of the sink with brown water is reportedly from Stuyvesant Town in NYC)

Some more daunting news:
In October 2004, The Washington Post reported that, “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 of drinking more of the contaminant than their suppliers are reporting.”  In regard to NYC they said the following: “In New York City, 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, according to records.”  Click here for the article. Again, the article is from 2004, let’s hope that scenario has changed since then.

Now, let’s hear about the health problems associated with lead and other toxic metals.  The problem with toxic metals has a lot to do with how they interfere with the way other minerals work and thus the body’s enzyme pathways.  And if you remember from my article titled “Dr. Rob’s Top 5 Supplements for Overall Health” you’ll know that minerals and enzymes are involved in converting one chemical into another an allowing the body’s biochemical processes to continue smoothly.  They also cause detoxification imbalances as a result, and add to the body’s burden of toxins.  Which type(s) of toxins that will not be excreted depends on your individual physiology and nutritional status.  As a result, a person may experience any (or MORE) of the following conditions: muscle pain, nerve disorders (might be related to Multiple Sclerosis), kidney disorders (the kidney’s are the main detox route for metals, because they are water-soluble), possibly developmental problems in children, cardiovascular disorders, anemia, memory loss, depression, reproductive disorders, possibly Alzheimer’s disease (can be related to aluminum specifically), headaches (especially from copper toxicity – although essential, it can be toxic at high levels), PMS, cancer, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, and more.

To date, I have helped my patients with the following conditions related to toxic metals: muscle and joint pain, kidney disorders, headaches, PMS, chronic fatigue, and hypothyroidism.  Because I am a chiropractor who uses Applied Kinesiology and focuses on wellness and treating people holistically; I can detect when excessive levels of toxic (and essential) metals might be affecting a person’s body.  Aside from Applied Kinesiology methods, there is a simple take-home urine test that will measure levels of toxic and essential metals.  Click here for more information on that test.

Additionally, there is almost always a chronic mineral deficiency that contributes, causes, or is the result of toxic metals in the body.  Most notably, that mineral is zinc, however there are others.

Oh, and some really sad news – unfortunately, it no longer takes many years of exposure to become toxic.  Some of these metals might pass through the placenta from mothers that are toxic (and don’t even know it).  As a result, many babies are born with a burden from “day one”.

The good news is that it is not very difficult to expel these harmful substances from your body.  With the right diet (mainly avoiding fish), targeted supplements (to up-regulate detoxification pathways), and decreased exposure, it may take as little as 3-6 months to detoxify and start feeling better.  Most of the time patients will feel better even sooner.

Keep in mind, even though I’m not a proponent of drinking tap water, that does NOT mean I am a proponent of drinking bottled water.  More on that in future articles.

Come back to read “issue” #3 on tap water

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Fortunately, those of us who are lucky enough to live in a developed country like the US have a very low risk of getting acutely sick from our water supply.  That’s not the case in other countries such as India or even Mexico.  The main reason for this is because the water in the US is disinfected before it reaches the tap.  As you know, this is the reason chlorine is added to the water supply.  I’ve even smelled it in the glass at times.

The intentions behind the use of this chemical in public drinking water makes perfect sense.  It’s an extremely effective disinfectant against disease-causing bacteria that’s naturally present in the water, or the pipes it comes from.  Great, I don’t want to come down with a potentially fatal bacterial infection either.  But nor do I want to come down with cancer!  As mentioned in the previous article on the health hazards of baby carrots, it’s the by-products of chlorine we all should be concerned with.  When the added chlorine interacts with naturally occurring, organic (meaning carbon-based) plant matter in the water, disinfection by-products (DBPs) are formed.  These DBPs, more specifically known as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloaceticacids (HAAs), are incredibly toxic.  They are primarily related to an increased risk of cancer; but also cause liver malfunction, plaquing of the arteries, and a weakening of the immune system.  One frightening report came from The U.S. Council of Environmental Quality and stated that cancer risks for people who drink chlorinated water are 93% higher than people who don’t.  And the US Environmental Protection Agency has a “maximum contaminant level goal” for bromate (a DBP) of “0.”  They do NOT have a goal of zero for many other chemicals, which indicates the serious danger of this chemical.  Click here for the report.  Don’t you wish they had a goal of “0” for all toxic chemicals in the water supply!

These DBPs are so toxic that allowable levels in the water supply are measured in parts per billion!  Most contaminants are measured in parts per million.  That essentially means they are considered 1,000 times more toxic than most other contaminants.  One more thing to consider is that we are exposed to these DBPs in tap water three different ways – 1) by drinking, 2) through skin contact (everyday use and especially chlorinated swimming pools), and 3) by inhalation.  The inhalation route is possible from the steam generated through hot baths or showers.  In fact, this route is thought to expose you to these chemicals nearly 10 times more than actually drinking the water.  That’s mainly because of the volume of water.

So exposure to DBPs is not an acute problem like ingesting bacteria or protozoa in the water.  That would most likely give you severe gastrointestinal symptoms.  Then again, avoidance of acute problems like those is precisely why the chlorine is added in the first place.  So you can drink, have skin contact, and bathe in this water for many, many years before you notice any symptoms.

I put notice in italics for a reason.  Many people have chronic problems for no known reason.  Examples might be hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic infections, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, and female hormonal imbalances to name a few.  Is it possible that exposure to these chemicals over time can create symptoms that fall under these conditions?  What do you think my answer is?  “Yes,” of course!  Remember, we know the symptoms and eventual outcomes of many chronic problems, we often don’t know the origin (other than too often blaming genetics).  I can’t tell you how many times I detect an imbalance in people’s ability to detoxify environmental chemicals.  Now, I’m not saying that these DBPs from chlorinated tap water are always the problem.  I’m saying that by exposing yourself to DBPs unnecessarily is simply adding to the body’s burden.  And believe me, we all have a toxic burden in our systems to some degree (especially in NYC and other urban areas).  Because I am a wellness chiropractor and applied kinesiologist, I am able to uncover problems like chemical sensitivities.  In my experience, they are often to blame for many chronic problems with no apparent cause.  And, by avoiding the source of the chemical(s) (when possible as in tap water) or increasing the body’s ability to detoxify (via a particular nutrient(s) one may be deficient in), these chronic problems are often eliminated.

Keep in mind, even though I’m not a proponent of drinking tap water, that does NOT mean I am a proponent of drinking bottled water.  More on that in future articles.

Come back to read “issue” #2 on tap water

Dr Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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