Posted by Mark W. Boutwell on Jul 8th 2017
According to reports by the U.S. General Accounting Office, there are serious gaps in water treatments in about 75% of the states. The Natural Resources Defense Council says that unclean water remains the biggest risk to human beings in the world and it constantly poses a threat to public health and the quality of life in the United States. At the same time, health officials in the U.S. estimate that 900,000 people contract waterborne diseases each year with at least 900 people dying.
Water Contamination Process
Water contamination is directly proportional to environmental contamination. Rainwater flushes all airborne pollution and washes it on land before running it into lakes, streams and rivers that are the source of drinking water. Most other chemicals produced because of human activity also find their way to water sources.
Use of Chlorine in Treatment of Contaminated Water
To make contaminated water safe for consumption, it has to be treated to remove pathogens or organisms that can cause diseases. In many cases, water suppliers use disinfectants like chlorine to get the water safe. Chlorinating drinking water is specifically intended to reduce mortality rates resulting from waterborne pathogens. At the onset, the use of chlorine was thought to be safe as concerns around safety of drinking treated water focused more on elimination of bacteria and microbes. An article that appeared in the New York Times portrayed the effectiveness of chlorine in purifying water; claiming that any water from the municipal supply could be made pure just like mountain spring water. The article claimed that chlorination destroys all microbial and animal life and leaves no trace of itself in the water. These claims reflected opinions that were generally accepted until recently when organic halogenated compounds like chloroform were found in chlorinated drinking water. Surveys conducted in recent years show presence of these compounds in major water supplies across the United States. Although chlorine works effectively to address microbial contamination in drinking water, it reacts with organic matter to form dangerous carcinogenic substances.
Chlorine is a Toxic Substance
Chlorine is an insidious toxic substance that has become a killer and crippler of modern times. Chlorine’s chemical element is corrosive and poisonous. Water filter manufacturer, Vanessa Lausch says, “Chlorine is known to poison the human body and it is no coincidence that this gas served as a deadly weapon during the First World War. When inhaled, chlorine gas would cause severe burns on the lungs and other body tissues but is less powerful if ingested by mouth.”
Chlorine forms Chloroform Compounds
Chlorine in itself is not the main concern when it comes to drinking water. It is its interaction with organic matter in untreated water that leads to formation of chlorination by-products that is the major concern. In the 1970s, scientists made a discovery that when added to water, chlorine forms chloroform compounds known as Trihalomethanes (THMs). Compounds that are created when chlorine interacts with organic compounds whose ingestion encourages growth of free radicals. The quantity of chlorination by-products formed in water largely depends on the amount of chlorine added to the water as well as the amount of organic matter that the water under treatment contains. As a persistent chemical, chlorine does not break down. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans exceed recommended chlorine levels by 300 to 600 times. Chlorination of public water supplies has been happening for more than a century. One of the initial cases of water chlorination happened in 1850 when John Snow attempted to disinfect a water supply system known as Broad Street Pump in London following a Cholera outbreak. Chlorine in the form of a bleach solution was used again in 1897 by Sims Woodhead to sterilize water for distribution in Maidstone, England after a Typhoid outbreak.
Chlorine Compounds produce Free Radicals
This compound increases production of free radicals in the human body and is considered to be highly carcinogenic. Both chlorine and THMs have been linked to different forms of cancer, liver and kidney damage, nervous system disorders, dysfunction of the immune system, birth defects and hardening of arteries.
Though thousands of municipalities across the United States add chlorine to drinking water as a way of disinfecting the water, this highly effective inexpensive disinfectant has serious long-term effects.
Chlorinated Tap Water lacks Bio-Energy
According to Walter Last, chlorinated tap water is polluted by non-biological chemicals and negative energy imprints. It is also devoid of bio-energy and so may be regarded as badly polluted as well as ‘dead’. This means that chlorinated water lacks renewable energy.
Chlorinated Tap Water is Linked to Cancer
Research has linked chlorinated water to high cases of rectal, breast and bladder cancers. In July, 1992, the American Journal of Public Health published the outcome of a study conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The report showed that people who have repeat exposure to high chlorine levels through tap water are at high risks of developing rectal and bladder cancers than those who consume un-chlorinated water. Since a lot of drinking water ends up in the rectum or bladder, trihalomethanes causes damage to these organs. According to the study, 9% of all bladder cancer cases and 18% of all rectal cancer cases are linked to long-term ingestion of chlorine by-products. This translates to more than 20,000 new cancer cases every year. The link between cancers of the rectum and bladder and chlorine have been known. However, studies recently conducted show that there is a link between breast cancer and commonly used chlorine disinfectants. Breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 American Women. A recent study undertaken by Hartford, Connecticut showed that female breast cancer patients have 50% to 60% higher amounts of chlorine by-products (organochlorines) in breast tissues compared to cancer free women.
To remain chlorine free, bottled water is not the option because most bottled water that is sold in the United States basically comes from municipal water sources that are treated using chlorine. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, there is no evidence to show that bottled water is a safe option compared to tap water. However, there are several ways of disinfecting public water supplies without using chlorine or that reduce the amount of THMs in chlorinated water:
Use of Ozone in Water Treatment
In Las Vegas for instance, municipal water supplies are treated using harmless ozone as opposed to chlorine. Harmless ozone is a technology that many Canadian and European cities are using to treat drinking water.
Use of Carbon Filter Systems
Exposure to chlorination by-products may also be reduced by use of carbon filter systems in water pitchers. However, these filters do not reduce all chlorine by-products.
Reducing THM Formation
Formation of THMs can be reduced by filtering the organic matter in contaminated water before chlorinating it by an average 20%. Harvesting all the vegetation from the margins of water reservoirs as the water level goes up can reduce the formation of THMs by 10%. Also, diverting the flow of water for the initial 24 hours during its transfer to water reservoirs can reduce the formation of THM by 2%.
Use of Drops of Balance Mineral Solution
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