The Curse of Contaminated Water

Is there a ‘hidden, unspoken’ problem associated with the quality of the drinking water in the U.S.? When water quality in third world countries is discussed, no one is surprised to hear that the problem faced in their drinking water always surrounds bacterial, parasitic, and viral contaminations. Here in the United States, we assume and/or are told by the pundits, that our main concern deals with heavy metals or chemical contaminants, ie: lead, copper, nitrates. While never diminishing the concerns we have with regards to these issues, microbial contaminants are by far the greater threat, and you may find the following information alarming.

There are three basic categories of pathogen that can be found in water. The first is protozoa which is the largest organism of the three categories, ranging in size from 1-16 microns. Protozoa include the well-known Giardia Lamblia, and the not-so-well-known Cryptosporidium Parvum, which have been detected in 90% of U.S. surface water. These protozoa are more resistant to disinfection by chlorine or iodine than either bacteria or virus, but can be effectively filtered. The second category is bacteria, which are considered intermediate sized organisms, ranging from .2 to about 10 microns. Bacteria include such commonly-known organisms as Typhus, Campylobacteria, E. coli, Vibrio cholera, and Salmonella. The third category is viruses, which are truly tiny in size between .02 and .085 microns. Commonly known viruses include Rotavirus, Polio, Norwalk, and Hepatitis A.

As per a recent report, it has been determined that healthy people can be infected with minute exposure to Cryptosporidium, a small parasitic organism. In light of this report, the Natural Resources Defense Council asserts that at least 45 million people are at risk of this diarrhea causing pathogen in what may appear as clean drinking water. Just how many people can really become infected from their drinking water is impossible to estimate. The systems who responded represent only a small percentage of Americans; thus, the NRDC says the figure of 45 million may be extremely conservative at best.

Cryptosporidium can remain viable for months in sewage, runoff from feedlots, or groundwater until it finds a new host. This protozoa is neither killed by chlorine nor removed by standard filters. Like the very young, the elderly are at greatly increased risk from waterborne pathogens such as E.coli or Cryptosporidium parvum. Officials are concerned with the seriousness of this problem, and it has been recently said by Mr. L.D. McMullen, CEO of the Des Moines, Iowa, public water system and chairman of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council that he envisions a future in which utilities would deliver bottled water door to door, like milk. Others said physicians could write prescriptions for bottled water!

Cryptosporidium is a very real and serious threat to the quality of our water. According to University of Florida researcher Joan Rose, the minimum infectious dose is low, JUST ONE SINGLE OOCYST! Recent data has indicated that pregnant women, as well as children and the immunocompromised, may be more susceptible. Finally, NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENT has been found. In one test, after soaking cryptosporidium oocysts in straight household bleach for 24 hours, it was still able to infect mice. We may all recall the 1993 outbreak of cryptosporidia which swept through water-treatment filters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An estimated 400,000 people became sick with varying degrees of illness including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Almost one hundred persons died associated with this outbreak.

We do have a problem with chemical contamination in our drinking water; however, 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. We must remain guarded and protect our family as best as we can. The AquaRain Gravity Water Filter System removes waterborne pathogens including cysts and bacteria. These filter elements offer the tightest effective ceramic filtration, providing removal of pathogenic bacteria and cysts far exceeding EPA purifier requirements…all without having to boil your water, use potentially dangerous chemicals, or rely on man-made energy.