Why water purity matters now more than ever.
Watching the news this week, I’ve witnessed the sheer devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy all over the East Coast—my home for more than half of my life. My heart goes out to all of you in the region affected by the storm – you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers throughout the recovery process.
As a nutritionist and health advocate for the last three decades, issues of public health and safety are my greatest concern. When I see the images of rising flood waters, I can’t help but worry about the possible threat of water supply contamination.
Even in regular conditions, experts agree that we can no longer assume that our water is pollutant-free—regardless of the source. And, when disaster strikes, it’s especially critical to take precaution: ”Disruptions to water supply treatment due to power outages and flooding can lead to serious health issues,” Mary O’Dowd, New Jersey Health Commissioner, said in a statement earlier this week.
I recently interviewed biochemist and water specialist Dr. Roy Speiser, who has devoted the past three decades of his career to developing water protection products. According to Dr. Speiser, “the public is being misled to believe that water is safe just because it meets government standards. Even if your local water report detects that the level of contaminants meets the government’s allowable concentration, consuming small amounts of heavy metals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals over years accumulates in our bodies and will make us sick.”
Water from a municipal water source or even private wells can be contaminated with parasites, chlorine, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, birth control pills, gasoline additives, industrial discharge, jet fuel and even radioactivity.
Chlorine is especially worrisome because while it remains the government’s preferred disinfectant of choice for dirty water, it creates secondary by-products that are toxins when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter. These by-products such as trihalomethanes (THMs) are suspected carcinogens and can increase risks of heart, lung, kidney, and bladder damage. Recently, water suppliers have been adding ammonia to drinking water in an attempt to reduce the THMs which unfortunately results in even more toxic chemical by-products that function as hormone disruptors as well as probable carcinogens.