The Blessing and Curse of Chlorination

The problem of contaminated water is an old problem. Hundreds of Americans, even through the 1920s and the 1930s, have died from typhoid fever and amoebic dysentery caused by drinking polluted municipal water. The use of chlorine to purify water supplies is considered one of the most important public health advances of the twentieth century. Following the introduction of widespread water chlorination, once-common diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever were practically eliminated. Using disinfectants, along with improved filtration and sewage treatment, dramatic improvements in our water quality have been achieved. Today 98% of U.S. drinking water is disinfected by chlorine.

The bad news is that the chlorination cure-all does have a downside. Disinfection by-products (DBPs) resulting from the reaction between chlorine and organic material, such as leaves and sediment in the source water, are now found in our drinking water. In the 1970s, certain DBPs were found to cause adverse health effects. According to the EPA, chronic exposure to chlorine and chlorine by-products may cause liver, kidney, heart, and neurological damage, as well as affecting unborn children. Chlorinating, which kills bacteria, also kills body cells. Chlorinating can produce trihalomethanes (THM), which have been found to be carcinogenic. A study led by Kenneth P. Cantor at the National Cancer Institute, which was published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, found that people who drank 8 cups of chlorinated tap water for 40-59 years had a 40% greater risk of bladder cancer than those who drank less tap water or unchlorinated water. People who drank 8 cups of chlorinated tap water for 60 or more years had an 80% greater risk of bladder cancer.

An article from the January 1995, Environmental Health Perspectives: Consumers must still rely on chemical disinfection to prevent waterborne disease. From 1971 to 1990, more than 140,000 people nationwide became ill from microbial contamination of drinking water, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, according to Robert D. Morris, an epidemiologist with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, such numbers on waterborne disease are only speculative. “The surveillance systems for waterborne disease are designed only to address severe outbreaks. They are useless for dealing with diseases where there is no mortality and which are self-limiting.” Thus, the numbers of people affected by waterborne disease are likely much higher than reported numbers. EPA is attempting to balance risks from microbial contaminants against risks from disinfectants and disinfection by-products.

Dr. Joseph Price, writer of Coronary/Cholesterol/Chlorine, noted an elevated rate of arteriosclerosis among servicemen in Vietnam who drank chlorinated water. He noticed unusually increased rates of cholesterol in 18 and 20 year old men and concluded that it was caused by the chlorinated water. His theory was born out when he tested it in a controlled situation with animals…he gave some chlorinated water and some not. While researching his book, Dr. Price also found the small city of Fullerton, Pennsylvania, which had no water treatment, boasting a population which suffers with no heart disease. This was true, even though most of the population of Fullterton is of Italian ancestry, and they consumed what should have been a high cholesterol diet. The question is, can chlorinating our water lead to heart disease??

A February 20th news article out of the United Kingdom reported that an independent study into the use of chlorine-treated drinking water has been ordered by the Government because of fears that it may causespina bifida and stillbirth. Scientists will carry out the research after doctors in other parts of the world reported higher levels of birth defects in areas where chlorine is used, compared with drinking water treated by alternative methods. All of Britain’s water companies chlorinate their supplies.

A Norwegian study of 141,000 births over three years, found a 14 percent increased risk of birth defects in areas with chlorinated water. Scientists have already found an association between chlorine and an increased risk of bowel, kidney, and bladder cancer, but it is the first time that a link has been found with higher levels of spina bifida.

Chlorinated water touches everyone. Mr. Erik D. Olson, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says: “One of the largest exposures to chlorinated compounds is from drinking water. Virtually every person in the country is exposed daily, even hourly, to chlorinated water.”

It is important that each family takes precautions as to the quality of water which we drink. The AquaRain Water Filtration System has been specifically engineered to provide safe drinking water from raw water sources as well as municipal sources which we wish to filter. The innovative ceramic elements are filled with a high grade silvered granulated activated carbon and will remove bacteria, cysts, pesticides, chemicals, chlorine, tastes and odors, while leaving the naturally occurring minerals and beneficial electrolytes found in the water unaffected. The ceramic shell is manufactured of natural inert materials (diatomaceous earth and clay) and will gently filter drinking water nature’s way using gravity.

Water is simply poured into the upper container of the AquaRain system where it trickles down through the highly specialized ceramic filter elements, leaving cysts, bacteria, and sediment in the outer layer of the ceramic. After passing through the thick ceramic wall, the water flows through a bed of silvered coconut shell carbon which adsorbs pesticides, various organic chemicals, and chlorine. The filtered water then drips into the lower storage container where it accumulates for easy dispensing with a handy lever-action faucet. The ceramic filters are easily cleaned – up to 200 times – and feature individually attached wear indicators.

When seeking self-reliant living, as well as safe, cost effective drinking water from an energy-free source, a gravity water system is the answer. It is gravity fed. No electricity or water pressure is needed. Ceramic filters safely remove dangerous waterborne pathogens such as cysts and bacteria without the use of dangerous chemicals like chlorine or iodine or the high energy costs of a distiller. The energy-free gravity operation of an AquaRain Water Filter, combined with very long life, state-of-the-art ceramic technology and high quality coconut shell carbon, allows this filter system to produce safe, clean drinking water at the absolute lowest cost per gallon. The durable and attractive stainless steel housing with long lasting ceramic filter elements make the AquaRain Gravity Water Filter System the absolute best value for the dollar in comparison to any other water filter system. All this with the ADDED benefit of its ability to keep producing safe drinking water in an emergency.

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