In the quest of searching for the pure water, I have personally spent countless years researching and testing ways of removing impurities. While our tap water in Australia is some of the cleanest and most sanitary water you’ll find, experts agree that the toxic and destructive effects of modern industry, place us at risk of a continual, low level exposure, to some of the most toxic compounds that can be found on earth.
Whether it’s the controversial addition of fluoride, runoff from farming agriculture, mining and construction, airborne pollution, disinfection products and even the human cocktail of sewage and wastewater – you would have to agree the revolving cycle of water, is becoming more and more contaminated.
To think we are not ingesting these same toxins just because our water is clear, odourless and comes from a tap could well be considered – a little naive.
In this article I will show you the most effective ways of reducing the toxic load from drinking water by the removal the chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, pesticides and more.
For many, our municipal water supply can be one of the biggest source of unwanted and often toxic contaminants that enter our body. Unless you are lucky enough to have a deep artesian spring in your backyard, or cough up the continual expense of having spring water to be delivered to your home, you may want to consider one of the many options of filtering your own tap water.
Like most things, there are a few different ways to get the job done – some good, some that are okay and some that honestly have the filtering ability of a dirty gym sock.
Before we get into a run down on water filtration types, I’ll quickly run through just how our municipal tap water can get contaminated from both natural and man-made sources. Serious offenders being –
•High Density Monoculture
•Concentrated Feed Operations
(Dairy and meat)
(Construction, mining, industry)
High density monoculture
This is farming on a massive scale and according to the Australian Department of Environment over 30,000 tonnes of herbicides and pesticides are sprayed over crops every year in Australia alone. The reality is these chemicals that so many of the health minded people try so hard to avoid by purchasing organically grown produce or making the effort to thoroughly wash the produce – may not only lace the food, but collect it from run off. This ‘run off’ will have the ability to enter waterways, and this is backed up by measurable amounts found in the water supply.
Did you know – Australia’s “ allowable safe” limits of pesticides allowed in our tap water, are actually twenty times higher than limits set in parts of Europe?
Heavy Industry and Mining
Industrial pollution and the way we power our country proves to be a severe threat to water resources around the world. In Australia, the push for economic growth and our governments ‘love for coal‘ has seen the amount of pollution from these industries increase dramatically.
I believe it is a common misconception that these big polluters have treatment plants that deal with all water pollutants – truth is, it’s far from foolproof.
Coal mines, being the worst offenders, withdraw enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every three and a half minutes, the slurry left behind sits in ‘treatment’ ponds, being highly hazardous which contains arsenic, mercury and lead – often leaching into groundwater.
To add to this, burnt ash from coal fired power plants is carried by wind over long distances, the heavy metals settle in catchment areas. Living in close proximity to coal operations of any kind, greatly increases exposure through air and ground water and increases the risk of cancer, heart damage, lung disease and birth defects, not to mention many other serious illnesses.
Concentrated Animal Feed Operations
These are where thousands of animals are packed together in unnatural and unhygienic small spaces to raise animals for meat and dairy produce. Due to the diminished quality of life these animals are given, sickness and disease are almost guaranteed to all animals living in these conditions – as a result indiscriminate amounts of antibiotics are used.
Water contamination occurs when the sheer unmanageable loads of waste are washed from these C.A.F.O housings and large scale dairy milking stations into contamination settling ponds. These ponds are full of manure and residue of the antibiotics. Over time these contaminants leach into groundwater giving us measurable amounts of antibiotics and other chemicals in our tap water, adding to the risk of superbugs and other problems associated with antibiotics.
Contaminants From Pipes
Water travels from the water treatment plants to your house through a network of pipes, and some of these pipes may be well over 70 years old. These pipes can contain a range of contaminants like, copper, lead, rust, slimes and sand. These contaminants build up in the pipes over a number of years and can be a real issue when pipes are accidentally broken or accessed for repairs and maintenance
Chlorine Resistant Parasites and Bacteria.
Much like antibiotics, over time there have become a number of bacterias become resistant to chlorine disinfection. Nasty little things called Cryptosporidium and Giardia were discovered in water supplies here in Australia. Rare here, but exposure can cause serious health problems with the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system or poor gut health.
Something you may not know is that ‘The Water Authority’ is required to treat our water supply with a range of chemicals in order to comply with the relevant regulations. These include not only FLUORIDE but also a couple of other things I’m sure most would rather not put in their bodies voluntarily.
Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to remove potentially dangerous bacteria and other micro-organisms. During a hot summer when water can be heavily evaporated, leaving chlorine (and other chemicals) to be super-concentrated. Im sure there has been times where smell and odour in our tap water is very noticeable – Try a glass of Perth’s water in the summer and you will know what I’m on about.
While chlorine is deemed essential, the chemical itself is listed as a potential carcinogen and it’s the newly discovered reaction that happens between chlorine and organic compounds found in water – that are now proven to cause carcinogenic compounds called (voc’s). These VOC’S are another addition to the list of cancer causing issues we face today.
With a process called Flocculation, Aluminium is added to our water supply to make, strangely enough – the water clearer. Although it’s said to be filtered out, it is gladly accepted by the water authorities that a small percentage is not. Aluminium is now linked to Parkinson’s and Autism and more.
In my personal opinion – shared with many others, fluoride is the most pointless chemical added to our drinking water. The chemical used in Australia to fluoridate tap water is actually not even fluoride we put on our teeth. Instead it’s a very toxic compound called Fluorosalicylic Acid, a byproduct (waste product) of chemical based fertiliser and aluminium processing factories. This same compound is far too toxic to release into the air, it is strangely, somehow passed off as a preventative of tooth decay.
Aside from the assumption we are unable to maintain our own oral hygiene without the use of this toxic chemical, the campaign of fluoridation (starting back in the 1950’s) is based on outdated, bad science and is now linked to thyroid disease, lowered I.Q and more.
Do your own research on this chemical – you may just be surprised at the public safety con many have believing for years.
How to reduce the exposure to in tap water?
While you could safely say that one will never drop dead from municipal tap water, we can limit the risks with the many different water filters out there for all different types of applications. I’ll be explaining the differences in common filtration systems used in the home for drinking water – In order of effectiveness
- Fridge Jug filter – When I recommend a client to filter their water, the first thing they generally say is…. “I have a jug filter in my fridge”
If you want to filter the toxins mentioned above, the jug filter is not the right choice as the filters used are loose carbon only. If you look on the disclaimer that is printed on any jug filter packaging, pitcher filters are not intended to purify water.
Pros- It will filter sand and other visible contaminates
Cons- It wont filter out anything else
- Ceramic bench filter – This common home filter is a gravity fed system that if correctly manufactured, have a pore size of 22 micron or smaller. This will prevent bacteria from passing through filter. These types of filter systems, when clean can provide the cheapest answer for bacterial free water. However if water has excess minerals and other particles, they tend to clog up, leading to a diminished water flow. The typical gravity fed system supplies only a few litres per day. They are often combined with Active Carbon in Filter to improved water filtration.
Cons- These will not filter heavy metals or fluoride and may only process a few litres of filtered water a day
- Fridge water dispenser – The filtering system that is used for the refrigerator dispenser is almost always a solid activated carbon filter. The ability of the filter is measured in microns, the smaller the number of microns – the smaller a contaminant must be to pass through. Carbon filters have an average rating of 20 microns, that means organic chemicals that are generally responsible for taste and odour will be filtered. The best feature of charcoal filtration is it also removes chlorine and (Voc’s) volatile organic compounds – endocrine disrupters, pesticides and herbicides etc.
Cons- Carbon filtration does not remove microbes, sodium, nitrates and fluoride and in most cases, does not remove lead and other heavy metals.
- Distillation Filtration – or Distilled water is water is heated to its boiling point. The condensation from the boiling water is then collected resulting in a very high purity.
– An excellent way of getting water pure, but they can be costly and run on power, many health experts will argue that distilled water comes highly acidic, while claims on P.H levels are often overhyped, repetitive use can lead to negative effects to bodily functions over time.
- Reverse osmosis – or R.O, uses an advanced membrane to filter water under pressure to push through a 0.006-micron membrane. The water pressure forces the pure water molecules through the membrane and its design draws the pollutants back, to be passed into the waste system.- this system removes heavy metals such as lead and aluminium as well as micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. The best thing by far is it removes fluoride from the water.
– The downsides to R.O is that the filter itself will not rid endocrine disrupting compounds like pesticides and herbicides and it will filter out all minerals in the water also. It takes constant pressure to drive the filtering action and unfortunately creates wastewater.
What does The Greenpost use to filter their water?
This is a filter system that has been conceived purely through my desire of obtaining the purest water possible from our kitchen tap.
A portable version and very convenient.
To give a quick run through of our system – A series of carbon filters made from compressed coconut shell, charcoal removing sediment, grit and chlorine – the all important R.O filter does the hard work of removing fluoride and bacteria, finishing off with a Bio-ceramic Re-mineralising filter.
This Bio-ceramic filter is very important as it adds your isotonic minerals such as Potassium Magnesium and Calcium . It does this by allowing the water to pass through tightly packed mineral pellets and at the same time raises the P.H of the water from acidic, into a into a neutral or slightly alkaline level.
It is said that this filter will replicate how water is mineralised and charged in natural condition throughout underground aquifers.
The benefits of having this portable system would have to be that you can actually attach it to any tap in the house, at work or even on holiday and not have to worry about complexities or costs of installation.
It can be set up in a discrete location in the house, you only need to fill your dispenser as needed.
Costs for the R.O system run far less than delivered spring water by a long margin.
The 6 stage system we use @Greenpost Hq cost under $500 delivered including the re-mineralising filter and replacement filters to last for 3 years.
If you, like many, do not have access to a pristine artesian underwater spring, you may want to go for the convenient filtration system we offer to get the toxic gunk out of your tap water.
Please contact us if you would like anymore information on what we use at The GreenpostContact