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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