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Water and Water Filters

Water may be the most underrated and least understood substance in the universe. Water is the most abundant element on earth and inside our bodies, yet it is also one of the most mysterious.

Every activity within the body occurs in a water-based fluid medium. Even the lungs and bones need water to function properly. That’s why drinking ample amounts of high-quality water is crucial to our health.

Unfortunately, tap water can no longer be considered high-quality, despite claims to the contrary. Water from your tap might look clean and pure, but ordinary tap water can contain hazards such as chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, giardia, cryptosporidium, and heavy metals like lead.

While the municipal use of chlorine is necessary to remove disease-causing pathogens from water, the same cannot be said about fluoride, which is chemically considered a toxin between arsenic and lead. (If fluoride has a dental benefit, its effect is topical, not systemic.  Its toxic effects, however, occur primarily when it is taken internally. None of these substances belongs in our bodies.

What's the best way to Filter Water?

One of the best investments you can make in your health is a good water filter fitted at the point of entry. It is difficult if not impossible to find a water filter that removes every contaminant. Small pitcher-style filters are only effective in the short-term and deceptively expensive in the long run. Their soft carbon filters improve the taste and odor of water, but they are inefficient and short-lived. If you don’t change their water filter cartridges religiously each month, they can become a hospitable medium for bacterial growth.

Ceramic water filters such as the Doulton sink-based one are made by firing diatomaceous earth. The hollow, porous ceramic uses dead-end filtration to trap bacteria, cryptosporidium, and other microorganisms. The best water filtering options combine ceramic filters with an activated carbon block. They remove chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and toxic chemicals like trihalomethanes while simultaneously improving taste and odors and leaving healthy minerals unaffected. Trace elements of silver inhibit microbial growth, making these filters self-sterilizing. They can also be cleaned, prolonging the life of the cartridge anywhere from six to nine months, depending on the quality of the water. If your water is fluoridated, you can remove fluoride with an additional filter that fits inside the ceramic one. If heavy metals are a concern, you can also add an ion exchange resin to your water filter.

Drinking chlorinated tap water is only half the problem. Bathing and showering in it exposes the skin, hair, and lungs to vaporized chlorine, which can then travel straight into the bloodstream. One option is to invest in a whole-house water filter, bearing in mind that drinking water should still be filtered as an additional step. More affordable options include fitting a simple shower filter and using a dechlorinating bath ball. The carbon filters convert free chlorine in water into harmless soluble chloride. Water filters with KDF media offer the added advantage of preventing bacterial growth due to its bacteriostatic properties. KDF filter media  won’t remove bacteria from the water, but it will stop bacteria from growing in the unit.

Reverse osmosis (RO) filters such as distillation produce water that is acidic and lifeless, stripped of its beneficial minerals. Some RO systems solve this problem by adding minerals back into the water, but RO systems still are costly, wasteful of water and high maintenance.

For more information, see Chlorine in the Water and the upcoming article on Fluoride.

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