Which is the Best Drinking Water?

Only oxygen is more essential than water in sustaining the life of all living organisms.

Human beings can live for several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. The quality of your tissues, their performance, and their resistance to disease and injury are linked to the quality and quantity of water you drink. Let's find out which water source is best.

No to Bottled Water

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) investigation of almost 200 popular bottled water brands found less than 2 percent disclose the water’s source, how the water has been purified and what chemical pollutants each bottle of water may contain. Only two of the 188 individual brands EWG analyzed disclosed those three basic facts about their water.

The EWG's study found as many as 38 pollutants in 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water. In all, the EWG discovered carcinogens in bottled water from five states (California, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia) and Washington, D.C. The worst offenders were the waters put out by big chain retailers such as Walmart and Giant. The carcinogens discovered were at levels that significantly exceeded the bottled water industry's own self-imposed standards.  
Following extensive research, Dr William Shotyk recently published his findings in the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal, where he revealed that traces of a chemical called antimony, which is used in the making of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, is leaking into the water within the bottle itself.

Shocking indeed and Shotyk has vowed never to drink bottled water again!

The journal records that small doses of antimony can make you feel ill and depressed. Larger quantities chemists say, can cause violent vomiting and even death. The study went on to stress that the amounts of antimony they found were well below official recommended levels but Shotyk’s study also disclosed, '...that the levels of antimony almost double, when the bottles are stored for three months.'

Scary stuff and it’s costing us the earth too... because according to the most recent report by Ling Li, conducted for the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, the environmental impact of bottled water is just as horrifying. It starts at the source too, with local streams and underground aquifers now becoming depleted - due to ‘excessive withdrawal’ - caused by insufficient regulation.

A further look at the statistics on the energy costs of producing, bottling, packaging, storing and shipping bottled water; adds millions of tons of oil-derived plastic and transportation, all needed to get the product to the consumer.

The facts remains too, that most brands of water are bottled in polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, because it requires less energy to recycle and does not release chlorine into the atmosphere when burned. But recycling figures are depressing, showing a decline in recycling levels in the US, from around 40% in 1995, to only 23% in 2005.

In a world that thirsts for safety, cleanliness, taste and social cachet by buying bottled water, one has to wonder at the craze itself, when one billion or so people are left in the world’s poorest countries, without access to any clean drinking water at all?

The statistics on this subject can send anyone concerned about their environment, reeling; because overall, bottled water costs affluent countries somewhere between 240 to 10,000 times more than water taken from the tap and filtered through a course home-filtering system, like charcoal.

In dollars, that means that water sold in bottles, costs roughly $500 to $1,000 per 1 cubic metre (35.3 cu ft), compared with 50 cents to a dollar, for the same water, in either California US or Brisbane, Australia -or similar places - where the quality of tap water is high.

The cost in pollution to Global Warming, is yet to be quantified into metric tons of CO2 and other harmful gasses.

Of course, it comes as no surprise that the beverage industry benefits the most from our bottled water obsession, with profits in the UK alone somewhere around 1.2 billion pounds, a sum that could offer clean water to the 35% of urban dwellers in Africa and Asia without any potable water, within a year. In fact, so prevalent an irony, one company, Ethos H2O, charges almost twice as much for its bottled water - than its competitors - and people buy it, because Ethos’ slogan is that their ‘profits’ bring clean drinking water to villages in India and Ethiopia.

Currently, world consumption of bottled water has more than doubled between 1997 and 2005, with the United States being the largest consumers, drinking nearly 24 billion litres (6.3 billion gallons) in 2005 statistics.

Amongst other developed countries, which also support the bottled water habit, India's consumption nearly tripled for the period and China's more than doubled between 2000 and 2005. Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Indonesia and Spain round out the top 10. 

No to Unfiltered Tap Water

Most people get their water from the household tap.  This water originates from lakes, rivers, streams, and underground sources.  The majority of water goes through a cleaning system at a local water treatment plant.  However, many harmful pollutants and water borne diseases are present in the finished treated water
Fifty percent of the US population uses water that, in part, is made up of recently discharged wastewater. And like the treatments for drinking water, wastewater treatments do not remove many of the toxic substances. Prevention Magazine

Environmental Working Group EWG says in 2009, "
Since 2004, testing by water utilities has found 315 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) drinking water quality analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials.

More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001."
According to scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it has been estimated that between 60 to 80 percent of all cancer is caused by chemicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.  The NCI expressed concern over 20 years ago that increases in carcinogens in water and our inability to remove them could result in serious exposure of the general population.

cities with the top rated water utlities are:

Arlington, TX
Providence, RI
Fort Worth, TX
Charleston, SC
Boston, MA
Honlulu, HI
Austin, TX
Fairfax County, VA
St. Louis, MO
Minneapolis, MN

cities with the lowest rated water utilities:
Pensacola, FL
Riverside, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Riverside County, CA
Reno, NV
Houston, TX
Omaha, NE
North Las Vegas, NV
San Diego, CA
Jacksonville, FL

Yes to Filtered Tap Water

Tap water is nowhere near free from dangerous contaminants. The most recent and innovative solution to the problems of low water quality has come about in the age of water filters. 

Water filters remove more dangerous contaminants than any other purification method, and they are uniquely designed to work with municipally treated water. The water they produce is not subject to phthalate contamination, and they are able to remove cryptosporidium from drinking water, a feat that neither municipal water treatment plants nor bottled water companies have yet managed. Also, drinking filtered water is a much more economical practice than drinking bottled water. The pure water product of a water filter costs very little more than untreated tap water. Furthermore, because water filters use no more energy than is already required to propel water through a home’s plumbing system, they circumvent several of the environmental problems of the bottled water industry.

No to Distilled Water

Distillation heats raw (untreated) water until the water reaches its boiling point and begins to vaporize. The heat is then kept at a constant temperature to maintain water vaporization while prohibiting other undesirable elements from vaporizing. Water has a lower boiling point than salt and other mineral sediments. This process also separates the water molecules from microscopic, disease-causing organisms. Once all of the water has vaporized, the vapor is led into a condenser, where, upon cooling, the water reverts to the liquid form and runs into a receiving container. The remaining elements, whose boiling point was too high to permit vaporization, remain in the original container and constitute the sediment.  Because the distillation process can never ensure a complete separation between water and other materials, it is often repeated one or more times with the treated water. Many alcoholic beverages, like brandy, gin, and whiskey, are distilled, using an apparatus similar in constitution to the water distillation apparatus.

Aside from desalinating water, the distillation process will reliably remove bacteria and viruses and dangerous heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury. Distillation is ideal for recipients of non-municipally treated water, due to the particular challenges and heavy contamination of raw, untreated water. For this reason, distillation is often used as the preferred method of water treatment in developing nations that must work with heavily contaminated, untreated drinking water. Distillation is extremely effective at the removal of bacteria and often used in areas at high risk of waterborne diseases. Distillation also removes soluble minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous that may harden water and increase the occurrence of scaling.

The distillation process contains several elements that make it undesirable for purifying drinking water. First of all, while the vaporization process will strip water of salt, metals, and bacteria, the boiling point of most synthetic chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine solutions is lower than the boiling point of water. Synthetic chemicals are the major contaminants remaining after municipal treatment. Distillation does not remove these harmful chemicals. Because this process must be repeated several times to ensure significant water purity, it could take several hours to provide one gallon of cleansed water. Generally, distillation requires five gallons of tap water to generate one gallon of purified water.
Finally, distillation, like reverse osmosis, strips water of natural trace elements. When these elements are removed from water, the hydrogen composition becomes greater in proportion, making the water very acidic. Several studies have proven that drinking distilled water, stripped of minerals, can actually be harmful to the body system. Long-term consumption of such de-mineralized water can result in mineral deficiencies in the body. Though the removal of trace minerals creates water that is ideal for use in photo or print shops, it creates tasteless and even unhealthy drinking water. 

Yes to Spring Water

Well water and spring water are similar in the sense that they are both produced from natural aquifers located around rockbeds and soil. Spring water, however, continues naturally to the surface. Water which comes from below and has no natural tributaries is considered to be spring water. Bottlers may use some natural processes such as reverse osmosis to improve water quality, but spring water must be naturally rich in trace minerals. Some municipalities also use spring water as a source for their tap waters, but they are processed with chemicals and more advanced filtration systems. Spring water is perhaps the best overall water for health benefits and rehydration.

The health benefits of spring water have been widely known for centuries. People travel miles to obtain pure, fresh spring water. Natural spring water rises to the land surface naturally. Some health experts feel that this means it is ready to be consumed as opposed to the artesian water that is brought to the surface prematurely. Spring water contains antioxidants and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Spring water is alive as is artesian water. When it comes straight from the ground it has nourishing qualities that are not present in purified water. One thing to be cautious of when drinking spring water is that it could contain contaminants and therefore should be tested before consumption. Most ideal, is to obtain spring water and then filter it.

Yes to Water In Raw Food

Organic raw fruits and vegetables are the most water-dense food available to humans. Like our bodies, most of them are more water than anything else. Watermelon is at least 90% water, for instance. Cucumbers, celery and lettuce are about 95% water; Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peaches and strawberries are about 90% water in their raw state. Compare that with cereal which is 5%.

Most people eat a diet based around dehydrated or rehydrated foods like rice and pasta, forcing them to rely heavily on drinking water to meet their needs. A person could easily get 20% of their water needs from foods, or much more depending on how many raw foods one eats in a day, which provide pure, energy-filled water in a vechicle of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.

In his new book The Water Secret, Murad dismisses the notion that we need to drink eight glasses of water a day. "What I really want you to do is eat your water," he explains.
He has no argument with the 1948 study which showed we need 2.5 litres a day of water to function properly: "It's just that no account has been taken of how much of that water we can get from our food.
"Cucumber is 97 per cent water, tomatoes 95 per cent and carrots 88 per cent; even so-called dry food contains water. Water is nearly two-thirds the content of baked salmon and chicken, and one-third of a piece of bread."
The point, he says, is that eaten water is better value than that which is simply drunk. "It's structured water; it carries vitamins and other nutrients, unlike the water in our glass.
"There's nothing wrong with drinking water, but if we don't improve the capacity to get it into our cells and keep it there, it goes straight into the toilet without doing us any good." Or worse, floats between our cells, aging us and making us feel fat and sluggish, he warns: "Puffy eyes, swollen ankles and a bloated stomach are signs of a body that is not handling water efficiently."The method, which dovetails with government health guidelines, is to eat lots of fruit and veg. "Buy the most vividly-coloured you can find for the greatest nutritional value," he says.
Murad, who is a qualified chemist as well as a skincare guru, recommends buying organic versions of varieties which may contain high pesticide residues, like cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, strawberries, lettuce, spinach, celery and potatoes.



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