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Drinking Water Special Interest Topics

What Various Contaminants Can Do To Your Health

Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure - Out of sight, out of mind.  That's the situation with the drinking water and water treatment systems in the United States.  These systems (some in the ground for more than 100 years) provide a critical public health function and are essential for economic development and growth.  These aging systems have not been maintained, and some estimates suggest this is the single largest public works endeavor in our nationï's history.  This 90 minute documentary is an essential introduction to anyone who drinks municipal water.  Read the synopsis, watch the trailer then check it out from your library or find a way to watch it online - We watched it on Netflix.

Contaminants That Could Be In Your Drinking Water

Special focus on lead as it relates to pregnancy and young children.
If you are are just browsing water issues and are not in the high risk category for lead poisoning (pregnant or have a young child), but  you  know someone who is pregnant or has young children, please suggest they read the section on lead as soon as possible!

What's The Best Drinking Water Purification Method For You Bottled water articles from:
Reader's Digest Magazine
 (2/08), Time Magazine (8/9/07)
National Geographic Magazine
(2/06), NPR (4/4/08)
Bottled water is no better regulated and not necessarily any safer than most tap water.  Although bottle labels often portray the source water as originating in pure, exotic locations, over 25% of bottled water (including many top name brands) comes from municipal sources.  Bottled water costs consumers hundreds to thousands of times more than tap water.  Bottle manufacture and water treatment use resources and create waste products.  Transporting the full bottles to the store uses resources and creates waste.  An estimated 90% of the billions of water bottles produced in a year wind up in land fills.

Hotel bottled water offering at $19 per gallon.
Hotel H20

Don't miss Penn and Teller's "The Truth About Bottled Water". The pair is a bit crude, and perhaps their experiments are not as "scientific" as they could be, but some very interesting results are demonstrated about the power of suggestion.  The Placebo Effect episode further illustrates how suggestion and an uncritical willingness to believe can explain not only people's perceptions about bottled water but their acceptance of other claims from downright fraudulent companies.  If the specific P&T links above are broken, you can search YouTube for the PE episode and the TABW episodes. (If you open one of the S1 E07 Feng Shui & Bottled Water episodes, the TABW segment is approximately 15 - 16.5 minutes into the episode.)

Watch The Story Of Bottled Water: An educational, 8 minute exposé on the manufactured demand for bottled water.

Read more about bottled water here and

Drinking Water Scams Water Lead-Levels Misrepresented: Dozens of the nation's largest drinking-water utilities have tried to hide lead contamination and failed to correct problems, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.  The newspaper analyzed data from 65 large water systems in the United States and found that high lead levels were concealed from regulators. (NPR, All Things Considered)
Drinking Water Scams Note the common themes in the 1996 and 2004 stories below
Houston Chronicle series exploring the safety of the nation's  tap water and explaining the dangers threatening our water and what communities can do to protect it (October 1996).  The newspaper has retained the original articles, for which I am glad, but removed the high-level links and index, for which I am NOT glad.  I attempted to recreate links to the original stories and that worked for awhile. As of 1/1/2014 the series has disappeared completely from the Houston Chronicle.  I am trying to get the series reposted since it has historic value - the same problems described in 1996 are common today.  In the meantime, the series can be read on the Wayback Archive.

National Public Radio reports on drinking water issues:
Weak Drinking Water Laws Blamed in D.C. Lead Scare - April 19, 2004 News of dangerous levels of lead in Washington D.C.'s drinking water sparks an outcry from the community -- especially because city water officials knew about the problem and did little to warn the public. In the first of two reports, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling explains that weak federal laws regulating drinking water are to blame.

Aging Water Systems Plague Cities - April 20, 2004 Lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C., is just part of a larger, more profound problem that affects cities across the country.  In his second report about contaminated drinking water, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reveals that many cities are still getting their drinking water from systems that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

For Empty Water Bottles, There's an Afterlife (7/11/2007) Last year, Americans bought more than 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles.  Most of the containers end up in the trash. But now, there's a competitive global market for the bottles, once they're recycled.

The Water Debate Continues: Bottled vs. Tap (7/23/2007) Last year, Americans bought more than 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles.  Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson explains why some city leaders are encouraging their citizens to start turning to the tap.  2009 update - the laws are changing...

Water Wars Out West: Keep What You Catch! (7/1/2009) Colorado takes this sort of illegal harvesting of precipitation seriously.  If caught, Hanzel could have faced fines of up to $500 a day. Luckily for him, a law recently passed legalizes his collection system.  It's a narrow exception to the ban for people who would have to dig a well or have water trucked in.

Drinking Water Scams Reader's Digest Magazine Article - Drinking Recycled Sewage Water: The Debate
Drinking treated sewage is a proposition as emotionally wrought as it is scientifically feasible. That�s why the editors at Reader�s Digest thought it was time to gather together the facts and arguments on both sides of the issue. Here they are, then, and we leave it to you to make up your own mind (3/2012).
Drinking Water Scams New York Times series, Toxic Waters:
A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulator's response - specific articles: 8/22/09, 12/7/09, 12/16/09, 3/14/10.
Drinking Water Scams

I am 72 years old.  I do not drink any water and have not most of my life.  I thought I would throw this into the mix concerning if we should drink distilled water or not.

I drink coffee, diet soda, beer and an occasional V-8.  Oops, I forgot the 1/2 glass of water I take every morning with my 325 mg aspirin tablet I have taken for the last 40 years.

My question: why am I not dead?  All of the above is true as strange as it might sound.


My Answer:
An excellent and important question, Rick. Since you have made a habit of drinking heavily contaminated water for the better part of 72 years, switching to distilled water would probably be a severe shock to your system - I would discourage the experiment.

Seriously though, if you were actually living on 1/2 glass of water a day you would indeed be dead. The reason you are not dead goes to the heart of the distilled water debate.

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* Please be advised that the information on this page and on this site is for general educational information only and is NOT intended to make any specific health claims or recommend any specific treatment method or preventative advice for any health issue or problem.  Consult your physician or a health specialist for specific steps to take for your specific health or nutrition requirements!