Water, Water Everywhere . . . But is it Safe to Drink?

Water, Water Everywhere . . . But is it Safe to Drink?

Water is a key element to life on planet earth, with over two thirds of the surface of the earth and 80% of our bodies composed of it. Our brains contain 85% water, our blood 95%, even our bones contain 15% of of this vital nutrient. And yes, water is a nutrient, containing the most vital of all elements for human beings, oxygen, represented as the O in H2O. All of our estimated 100 trillion cells need to be continually bathed in water, as water is the matrix for the entire body.  Babies and kids really need water, too, as their bodies contain more of it than adults. Those cute, pudgy little babies are soft and cuddly because they have been living in water. Water is life on planet earth and the quality, source and purity of it should be one of our most important health concerns.

Water is essential to every bodily function. It is used in the body as a lubricant, for joints as synovial fluid, (making our movements more fluid of course), between organs, tissues and muscles, so that everything slides and glides easily, even our eyeballs need water to function properly. Water is the essential to digestion, as saliva and is the hydro in hydrochloric acid produced by our stomachs. Water is the primary ingredient in the millions of chemical reactions that occur in the body every second. It is the fluid in lymphatic fluid, (which is an important part of the immune system and where cells, tissues and organs eliminate toxins) in blood, urine, and cerebral spinal fluid, (which surrounds the brain, spinal cord and every nerve in the body). We lose water through our skin by sweating, which is how the body regulates temperature, through urination, (the color of which should be the pale yellowish color of wheat).  We even have a thirst mechanism, which lets us know when we need more water, but, by the time we become aware of it, we are already dehydrated. Without adequate amounts of water, the body doesn’t work very well and without it, we would die in just a few days.

Water is used by the body to eliminate toxins, as it combines easily and dilutes even the most toxic substances; that is, if we drink enough of it. And, when we don’t drink enough, the body uses its own water recycling system, which recycles water from the large intestine for use elsewhere, making our elimination much much more difficult and us much more constipated. Seventy-five percent of Americans have mild to chronic dehydration, which contributes to a plethora of health problems. For the body to do its job properly, we need to replace the water we lose during the day with pure, unadulterated H2O.  Water is the gift of life for human beings, which begs the question, what have we done to this precious gift? Here is the current recipe for the water we currently use. It is unfortunately, a recipe for disaster.

First we add chlorine. Chlorine is classified as a greenish yellow gas that also combines easily with other elements. It was used in WW l as poisonous mustard gas, and as a chemical weapon during the Iraq War. It is a toxic respiratory irritant that irritates mucous membranes and burns the skin on contact. Chlorine is a corrosive, poisonous substance that belongs to the halogen family on the periodic table of elements. Other halogens to which we are exposed include fluorine, (also in our water), bromine (which is added added to our flour), and iodine. Chlorine, fluorine and bromine are halogens that compete with the thyroid gland for iodine. Thyroxin, which is the primary hormone produced by the thyroid, is 65% iodine. Drinking chlorinated and fluorinated water as well as consuming bromine treated flour products, displaces iodine in the thyroid. Currently, 27 million Americans experience thyroid disorders, with millions of new cases reported every year. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, this makes thyroid disease the leading endocrine disorder in the United States. As common as thyroid disease is, the AACE estimates that about half of people with thyroid disease remain undiagnosed.

Chlorine is still used to bleach flour, which has been controversial since the 1940’s when nitrogen trichloride was replaced by chlorine dioxide due to skin reactions and dermatitis. Both nitrogen trichloride and chlorine dioxide have been shown to cause skin irritations in humans and convulsions and death in dogs.1 Chlorine dioxide use is currently banned in the European Union for health reasons, but we still use it here in America.2  All forms of chlorine used as flour bleaching agents convert the Vitamin E Complex found in wheat into the dangerous, highly toxic poison, alloxan. Alloxan has been demonstrated to destroy insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, producing permanent diabetes in laboratory animals.3  Chlorine dioxide, described as a broad spectrum biocide, is the same chemical that we use in our water supply today.

Although it is necessary to purify our water supply in order to eliminate harmful bacteria such as e coli and other pathogens, it is certainly not necessary for us to drink it. Chlorine in drinking water causes rashes and skin irritations, eczema, acne, psoriasis, dry skin and destroys our intestinal flora. Chlorine has been proven to harden arteries, destroy proteins in the body, irritate skin and sinuses and aggravate asthma, allergies and respiratory problems in humans.4 Chlorinated water nearly doubles the risk of birth defects. Thomas Chalmers and his colleagues at Harvard, used meta-analysis of the best ten studies to determine that people drinking chlorinated water over long periods of time have a 21% increase in the risk of contracting bladder cancer and a 38% increase in the risk of rectal cancer.5 Other studies rate the risk of bladder cancers from chlorinated water as high as 80%. And, as dangerous as chlorine can be to humans and animals who drink it, it is not nearly as dangerous or as commonplace as the byproducts that are formed when chlorine interacts with organic matter like twigs, leaves, food or chemicals from agricultural runoff, which are found in all natural bodies of water, including our reservoirs, water systems, swimming pools and hot tubs.

The highly toxic chemical chloroform is one of these byproducts that dramatically accelerate the aging process and is commonly found in water systems throughout the United States. Chloroform is part of a class of chemicals called trihalomethanes or THMs. THMs are the very dangerous and toxic chemicals that are direct byproducts of chlorine use and are classified as carcinogenic or cancer causing chemicals. THMs alter our DNA, suppress our immune systems, interfere with cell growth and are stored in our fatty tissues. The big problem here is that not only are THMs absorbed by drinking chlorinated water, but are much more easily absorbed through our skin when we shower or bathe. The proverbial ‘hot shower’ produces THMs such as chloroform, and trichlo-roethanes or TCEs in the form of chlorine gas which is akin to showering in a gas chamber. Heat can liberate 50% of dissolved chloroform and 80% of the dissolved TCEs into the air.6  On an average, 64% of our chlorine intake is absorbed through our skin. “Chlorine has so many dangers it should be banned,” says Dr Herbert Schwartz of Cumberland College. “Putting chlorine in the water supply is like starting a time bomb. Cancer, heart trouble, premature senility, both mental and physical, and hardening of the arteries are all conditions attributed to chlorine treated water supplies.” 7

Dr. Joseph Price, M.D, author of Moseby’s Medical Dictionary, describes chlorine as “the greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an insidious poison.” He presents startling evidence that THMs are “the prime causative agents of arteriosclerosis and its inevitable result, the heart attack or stroke.”8  Another study by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities determined that drinking chlorinated water for 15 years or more was conducive to a high rate of colon cancer.9 A Norwegian government study of 141,000 births over three years, determined that not only are there associations between chlorine and bowel, kidney and bladder cancer, but there is an important link to Spina Bifida and stillbirths.10

Although chlorine has been acclaimed as the savior against cholera, and various other water-borne diseases, its disinfectant qualities and economic production have allowed communities and cities to provide disease free tap water to homes and industry. But is this water safe to drink? Chlorine is bleach that comes to our tap as a mild bleach solution. “It is precisely these low concentrations that cancer scientists now believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States”.11  That is a Wow!

There is also a new chemical mixture that is now being touted by chemical companies to replace the increasingly maligned chlorine, which is much worse than chlorine or THMs. The new kid on the block is a chlorine/ammonia mix that could be up to 300 times more toxic than the chloroform we are now drinking. Yes, we do need to purify our water and chlorine has been the most cost effective way, and many municipalities even have laws that mandate its use. But, there are other alternatives that need to be explored for future use. Some notables include ozone gas and ultra violet light. These and other purification methods are available to cleanse our water supply of unwanted pathogens, without killing off the population.

Next we add fluoride to the mix. . . look forward to receiving Part II of this article in Dr. Jim’s January 2013 Health Tip.

Be well, be informed and drink up! Remember to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day,
Dr. Jim

Footnotes:

1)    Dallas Morning News, Sept 22nd 1955; Bread Called Cause of Some Skin Ills.
2)    Wikipedia, Flour bleaching agents, Chlorine dioxide.
3)    Mercola, The Little-Known Secrets about Bleached Flour, March 26, 2009;  http//mercola.com.
4)    Mind Body Health newsletter; Chlorine One of the dangers that lurks in our water supply, http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/Chlorine1.htm.
5)    Pure Earth Technologies, Inc., Health Effects of Chlorine in Drinking Water, 9/24/12, http://www.pure-earth.com/chlorine.html, pg.2
6)    Mind Body Health newsletter; Chlorine One of the dangers that lurks in our water supply, http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/Chlorine1.htm.5
7)    Pure Earth Technologies, Inc., Health Effects of Chlorine in Drinking Water, 9/24/12, http://www.pure-earth.com/chlorine.html, pg.3.
8)    IBID, pg.2.
9)    IBID, pg. 2.
10)  IBID, pg. 5.
11)  Report Issued by the Environmental Defense Fund, http://www.pure-earth.com/ chlorine.html.

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