The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. This agency employs thousands of people, in a number of locations throughout the United States, as well as working closely with other governments around the world. When seeking information on health and well being, many of us turn to information released by the CDC, knowing it will be accurate, enlightening, and beneficial.
Since 1971, the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have maintained a collaborative surveillance system for collecting and periodically reporting data that relate to occurrences and causes of waterborne-disease outbreaks. The surveillance system includes data provided by state, territorial, and local health departments covering outbreaks associated with drinking water and recreational water. This reporting to the CDC is on a voluntary basis. While we all understand that statistics released are not necessarily as current as we would like them to be, when the CDC issues information, it is always informative, pertinent, and revealing. The following information was provided for a two year period, 1995 – 1996, and was released in a December 1998 article by the CDC.
The statistics found in this report is representative of a bigger picture and does not reflect the true number of waterborne-disease outbreaks. The report is limited by the fact that not all outbreaks are recognized, investigated, or reported. This particular surveillance report of 22 waterborne-disease outbreaks was compiled from the reporting of 13 states. During this time, over thousands of people became ill but fortunately there were no deaths reported. Of the 22 outbreaks, the cause of 14 could be identified while the other 8 outbreaks were described as “AGI: Acute gastrointestinal illness of unknown etiology.” (It is interesting to note that the number of outbreaks, as described in this report, were comparable to those reported for each year during 1987-1994, except for an increase in 1992. The CDC primarily uses number of outbreaks rather than persons effected, thus, the 400,000 people who became ill in 1993 from Cryptosporidium in the drinking water counts as one outbreak.) The bottom line on this report reveals the startling fact that here in the United States the quality of our drinking water is also compromised by the very same things in the water of our third-world neighbors…bacteria, parasites, viruses!
We do have a problem with chemical contamination in our drinking water. However, as the graph in Figure 1 demonstrates, “Infectious or suspected infectious etiology” far outweighs chemicals in water contamination. These infections have names: Giardia lamblia, Shigella sonnei, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Cryptosporidium, Fecal Coliforms. There are three basic categories of pathogen that can be found in water. The first is protozoa. Protozoa include the well-known Giardia, and the not-so-well-known Cryptosporidium. These two have been detected in 90% of U.S. surface water. Protozoa are the largest organisms of our three categories, ranging in size from 1-16 microns. They are more resistant to disinfection by iodine or chlorine than either bacteria or virus, but can be effectively filtered. Giardia is relatively large and easy to catch, but Crypto is smaller and more difficult to eliminate. The second category is bacteria. Bacteria include such commonly known organisms as Campylobacter, E. coli, Vibrio cholera, and Salmonella. Bacteria are intermediate sized organisms, ranging from .2 to about 10 microns. The third category is viruses. Commonly known viruses include Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, Norwalk, and Polio. Viruses are truly tiny; they range in size between .02 and .085 microns.
As shown on Figure 2, this graph deals with the different types of water systems in the United States and where deficiencies were discovered with regards to outbreaks of illness. Please note the very small number of systems classified as ‘individual’. The following are definitions used by the Center for Disease Control:
“Community Water System: A public water system that serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or a mobile-home park that has greater than or equal to 15 service connections or an average of greater than or equal to 25 residents.”
“Noncommunity Water System: A public water system that a) serves an institution, industry, camp, park, hotel, or business that is used by public for greater than or equal to 60 days per year; b) has greater than or equal to 15 service connections or serves an average of greater than or equal to 25 persons; and c) is not a community water system.”
As the graph demonstrates the cause of the outbreak is frightening: chemical contamination equals bacteria, viral, and parasitic contamination, with unknown sources leading the outbreaks. But the truly sobering facts remain that the water quality we depended upon was shown lacking when it was reported that nearly 70% of the outbreaks came when the distribution/treatment systems failed the very ones who were depending upon them.
WHAT IS IT?
Although recreational water is not necessarily viewed as a source of illness, unfortunately that is not the case. As you can see by Figure 3 “water play” has been linked to many outbreaks of illness. The information in this figure goes hand in hand to those in Figure 2. As demonstrated, the greatest percentage of contaminated water is found in a lake or a spring… Figure 2 shows these were used as our water sources in over 40 percent of illness outbreaks….and shows the deficiency of the dispensing or treatment systems. (This graph also shows the seriousness of the types of contamination, for example, cryptosporidium parvum which CANNOT be killed with chlorine. One single oocyst will make a person very ill.)
WHAT MADE US SICK?
MTBE, chlorine, pesticides, chemicals are found in our drinking water. It is common knowledge that these agents pose a health threat and that over long periods of exposure can cause cancer as well as heart disease. However, never to diminish these dangers, it is still prudent for us to take note of the causes of waterborne-disease outbreaks as illustrated in the graph found in Figure 4. The dangers of bacteria and parasites in our water are very real and cannot be ignored.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN TO ME?
When it comes to water and what must be done to improve its quality, may be a confusing issue and a frustrating one. Without disinfecting, water can be the cause of serious illnesses ultimately effecting thousands. History has shown that many times, the disinfecting procedures fail the very ones that are depending upon it. The failure has come in the form of not true decontamination and also the chemicals used to clean the water have been demonstrated to cause serious health problems as well. What do we do? It is prudent that we all take control of our health and that of our family’s and seek the solution ourselves.
The AquaRain™ Water Filtration System has been engineered to provide safe drinking water from raw water sources such as rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, ponds, wells, and cisterns. At the heart of the AquaRain™ Water Filtration System are state-of-the-art ceramic elements utilizing a long-proven filtration process that is over 100 years old which will safely remove dangerous waterborne pathogens such as cysts(Cryptospordium, Giardia lamblia) and bacteria (E. coli, Samonelli typhus, etc…). These innovative ceramic elements are also filled with a high grade silvered granulated activated carbon (GAC). The GAC reduces pesticides, chemicals, chlorine, color, tastes and odors, while leaving the naturally occurring minerals found in the water unaffected.
Reports continue to come in and rather than improvement, water quality continues to deteriorate. What could be more important than clean, safe water? The AquaRain Natural Water Filter will provide your family with water you can trust, all without having to boil your water, use potentially dangerous chemicals, or rely on man-made energy.