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How clean is our water?

How clean is our water?Is our tap water safe to drink? OK, so we don't live in a third world country where death and disease is linked to unsafe water, but is ours really any better? We know our tap water contains chlorine and fluoride, of which neither have been proven good for human consumption. This is particularly true of chlorine, which, in high doses, harms human tissue. Fluoride is no better for us as it increases the absorption of lead in our bodies. However, these are just the chemicals which we know about. A recent study in the USA has found over 200 toxic chemicals found in their tap water including:

Copper - Caused by the erosion of pipes which can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose and mouth, headaches, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhoea. Can cause liver and kidney damage

Fluoride - Can cause skeletal flourosis, increased risk of Alzheimer's. Is also associated with low IQ in children and depressed activity of the thyroid gland.

Lead - Toxic effect - usually irreversible. Can cause damage to brain, kidneys, and central nervous system. Linked to learning difficulties, memory and concentration, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, reproductive problems in men and women, and premature birth.

Arsenic - Causes changes in skin such as thickening and discolour. Long term exposure can lead to cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidneys, bone marrow depression and damage to the nervous system.

Pesticides - Linked to levels of ontological cancer and haematology morbidity. Can cause inborn deformities and immune system deficiencies.

Nitrates - Pregnant women likely to have birth defects, people with heart, and lung disease and those with cancer are more susceptible to toxic effects. Long term exposure may lead to increased risk of cancer.

Chromium - Allergic reactions such as rashes, upset stomachs, ulcers and breathing problems, weakens immune system, causes liver and kidney damage and can lead to lung cancer.

Mercury - Allergic reaction, tiredness, headaches disruption to brain functions and central nervous system, tremours, deafness, memory loss. Can also cause sperm damage, birth defects and miscarriages.

Cyanide - heart, respiratory and central nervous system most at risk. Prevents cells from using oxygen which consequently die.

These are just a short example, the list does go on. We have to worry about whether these chemicals are in our water too. It obviously does not just affect humans. A recent study on otters since 1990 has shown a decrease in their penis bones, undescended testes and an increase in cysts on sperm carrying tubes. Researchers believe this is most likely down to hormone disrupting chemicals in the water linked to male fertility problems. These endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in building materials, cars and cosmetics. If it is doing this to animals what on earth is it doing to us? There are many people, even experts, that highly recommend domestic filtration systems for our drinking water.

With all of these considerations taken into account, the final verdict may be that tap water, even in industrial countries, may be unsafe to drink. This is not good for us, we have to be aware and realise what we are putting in our bodies - are we being told the truth? Doubtful!

You can pick up a water filter from any good department store eg B&Q, Argos etc. Buy the best you can. Britta filters are a good start (www.britta.com) or search for other reputable companies in the area.

Keep your eyes peeled for further information and articles on what may or may not be good for you.

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