Welcome to our new Water Blog! We want you to feel welcome here. Feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas about water, from testimonials about our awesome products to your own experiences of saving the world one bottled water at a time. We'll be talking about all things water with the hope of providing some great information to you.
|Posted by Kira on December 26, 2010 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
How safe is YOUR tap water?
A new study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that tap water in 31 of 35 American cities is highly contaminated with hexavalent chromium, according to a press release this morning.
The highest levels were in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Riverside, Calif.
In all, water samples from 25 cities contained the toxic metal at concentrations above the safe maximum recently proposed by California regulators, the release stated.
The National Toxicology Program has concluded that hexavalent chromium (also called chromium-6) in drinking water shows “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity” in laboratory animals, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal tumors.
In September 2010, a draft toxicological review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) similarly found that hexavalent chromium in tap water is “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
At least 74 million Americans in 42 states drink chromium-polluted tap water, much of it likely in the cancer-causing hexavalent form, according to the release.
In light of the study’s findings, EWG has urged EPA to move expeditiously to establish a legal limit for chromium-6 and require public water suppliers to test for it.
What's the good news in all of this? Multi-Pure is to the rescue, once again! Our reverse osmosis drinking water system has proven to effectively reduce chromium in tap water!
Multi-Pure is certified by NSF to reduce and remove more contaminants than any other filter on the market. Yay Multi-Pure!
To read the entire article, go to: http://static.ewg.org/reports/2010/chrome6/html/home.html
|Posted by Kira on September 13, 2010 at 4:48 PM||comments (1)|
Canada bans BPA. Why haven't we?
Environment Canada -- our northern neighbor's version of the EPA -- has officially declared bisphenol A (BPA) toxic. The ubiquitous chemical, found in the lining of nearly all cans used by the food and beverage industry, will have to be phased out in Canada.
BPA is vile stuff. Here's how Scientific American recently described it: "In recent years dozens of scientists around the globe have linked BPA to myriad health effects in rodents: mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity, and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder."
The North American chemical industry is furious with Environment Canada's decision. The American Chemistry Council has vigorously defended BPA during Environment Canada's toxic review, declaring that the agency had "pandered to emotional zealots" by even considering the toxic designation, the Toronto Star reports. The industry group demanded that Environment Canada halt the review process; Environment Canada held firm.
In our political system, the chemical industry has had better luck pushing its agenda.
In January, the FDA took a singularly maddening position on the stuff, as Tom Laskawy reported for Grist. On the one hand, after years of denying mounting evidence that BPA posed serious health risks, the agency declared it had "some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children."
On the other, the agency has essentially claimed it is unable to ban it from use. "Today there exist hundreds of different formulations for BPA-containing epoxy linings, which have varying characteristics," and food companies aren't obligated to declare which ones they're using, the agency complained in its January statement. "If FDA were to decide to revoke one or more approved uses, FDA would need to undertake what could be a lengthy process of rulemaking to accomplish this goal," the agency declared, referring to itself in the third person.
In other words, the poison has been distilled into so many forms that it would take a lot of work to keep it out of food processing. And rather than initiate that process, FDA chose to sit on its hands -- meaning that the food industry still knowingly exposes millions of people every day to a chemical the FDA acknowledges is harmful.
Laskawy aptly read the report as "a bureaucratic cry for help" -- FDA decision makers' acknowledgement that, in the face of chemical-industry pressure, "they really [don't] have the authority to ban BPA or even to meaningfully restrict its use." He concluded: "It seems that only Congress can provide the antidote."
The U.S. Senate to the rescue? Not so much. Earlier this month, a ban on BPA was removed from the Senate's food safety bill under industry pressure. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) vowed to add an amendment to a compromise bill that would ban BPA, negotiations on the bill stalled.
In the wake of the massive salmonella-tainted egg recall, the Senate will probably have to act on food safety legislation when it returns in September. Let's hope Canada's action on BPA gives our elected officials the spine they need to stand up to the chemical industry.
|Posted by Kira on September 13, 2010 at 4:46 PM||comments (0)|
Coal Waste Contaminates More Water than Initial Estimates
More U.S. coal-waste disposal sites have contaminated drinking or surface water with arsenic and other heavy metals, according to a study by Earthjustice, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The report, “In Harm’s Way: Lack Of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans And Their Environment” (PDF), based on data available through state agencies, reveals that contaminants at 39 coal-waste sites across 21 states have leached into the groundwater. This is in addition to 67 cases already identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A February 2010 EIP/Earthjustice report documented 31 coal-ash dump sites in 14 states. The 39 additional sites in this report, along with the 67 already identified by the EPA, brings the total number of known toxic contamination sites from coal ash pollution to 137 in 34 states, according to the researchers.
Of the 39 problem sites, 35 had groundwater-monitoring data available, which showed that wells located at or near the coal-waste disposal sites contained pollutants such as arsenic, selenium, lead and chromium, according to the article. The four other sites involved surface water discharges and spills.
But there could be a bigger problem, according to the report. The study indicates that large coal ash-generating states like Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and Tennessee, require no monitoring by law at coal ash ponds, at least while they are still in operation.
The coalition says the survey indicates that the EPA needs to regulate the waste produced by coal-fired power plants instead of leaving oversight to the states, according to the article.
The report is intended to influence the EPA as the agency begins public hearings next week on whether to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, put enforcement into the hands of federal and state officials, or institute new restrictions under which enforcement would come through lawsuits by states and individuals, reports the newspaper.
Depending on how those regulations are crafted, coal ash could be regulated like a hazardous waste, a move that has raised concerns among small and large businesses alike. Utilities have already begun lobbying the White House on the potential effect of the EPA’s proposed rules.
And some recyclers have said that a hazardous waste classification carries a stigma and would raise liability fears, making it difficult to use coal ash in building materials.
More than 40 percent of coal waste is recycled, added to products such as cement and drywall, a practice known as “beneficial reuse,” while the remainder is disposed of in landfills or retention ponds, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The EPA’s proposed rules support beneficial reuse or recycling of coal ash in the manufacture of materials such as cement, concrete and asphalt.
|Posted by Kira on September 13, 2010 at 4:42 PM||comments (0)|
What is bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Where is BPA found?
Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.
How does BPA get into the body?
The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.
Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.
Why are people concerned about BPA?
One reason people may be concerned about BPA is because human exposure to BPA is widespread. The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people six years and older. The CDC NHANES data are considered representative of exposures in the United States. Another reason for concern, especially for parents, may be because some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.
If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to BPA?
Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA:
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.
- Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom
- Reduce your use of canned foods.
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA free.
|Posted by Kira on August 17, 2010 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
On May 11, the White House announced it was targeting a new threat to America’s health and security. It wasn’t some rogue nation or terrorist organization, or a newfound disease or environmental threat. It was a class of chemicals that are making Americans fat. They’re called endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. And chances are you’re eating or drinking them right now.
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released a report called "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation." In the report they list endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a possible reason for increased obesity in the country and describe how scientists have coined a new term for these chemicals — "obesogens" — because they "may promote weight gain and obesity."
What does this mean for you? It means that weight gain is not just about calories-in versus calories-out.
No, America’s obesity crisis can’t entirely be blamed on too much fast food and too little exercise. We have to consider a third factor: the obesogens. They’re natural and synthetic compounds, and many of these chemicals work by mimicking estrogen — the very hormone that doctors DON’T want women taking anymore (as a large clinical trial linked hormone therapy to increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood clots and abnormal mammograms).
Why traditional diets don’t work anymore
Because high school biology was likely a while back, here’s a quick refresher: The endocrine system is made up of all the glands and cells that produce the hormones that regulate our bodies. Growth and development, sexual function, reproductive processes, mood, sleep, hunger, stress, metabolism and the way our bodies use food — it’s all controlled by hormones. So whether you’re tall or short, lean or heavy — that’s all determined in a big way by your endocrine system.
But your endocrine system is a finely tuned instrument that can easily be thrown off-kilter. "Obesogens are thought to act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight," says Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., curators’ professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. That’s why endocrine disruptors are so good at making us fat — and that’s why diet advice doesn’t always work — because even strictly following the smartest traditional advice won’t lower your obesogen exposure. See, an apple a day may have kept the doctor away 250 years ago when Benjamin Franklin included the phrase in his almanac. But if that apple comes loaded with obesity-promoting chemicals — nine of the ten most commonly used pesticides are obesogens, and apples are one of the most pesticide-laden foods out there — then Ben’s advice is way out of date.
The obesogen effect is the reason why traditional diet advice — choose chicken over beef, eat more fish, load up on fruits and vegetables — may not work anymore. This is why we’re calling for a New American Diet.
See, while digging up all of this research on obesogens we’ve discovered some good news: There’s no reason why all of our favorite foods — from steak to burgers, from pasta to ice cream — can’t be part of a reasonable weight-loss program. We just need to get rid of old thinking. We can reverse the obesogen effect if we simply adopt these four simple laws of leanness:
Leanness Law No. 1: Know When to Go Organic
The average American is exposed to 10 to 13 different pesticides through food, beverages and drinking water every day and nine of the ten most common pesticides are EDCs. But according to a recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, eating an organic diet for just five days can reduce circulating pesticide EDCs to non-detectable or near non-detectable levels.
Of course, organic foods can be expensive. But not all organics are created equal—many foods have such low levels of pesticides that buying organic just isn’t worth it. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) calculated that you can reduce your pesticide exposure nearly 80 percent simply by choosing organic for the 12 fruits and vegetables shown in their tests to contain the highest levels of pesticides. They call them "The Dirty Dozen," and (starting with the worst) they are celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries (domestic), nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale/collard greens, cherries, potatoes and grapes (imported). And you can feel good about buying the following 15 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that the EWG dubbed "The Clean Fifteen," because they were shown to have little pesticide residue: onions, avocado, sweet corn (frozen), pineapples, mango, sweet peas (frozen), asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and honeydew melon.
Leanness Law No. 2: Don’t Eat Plastic
This ought to be a no-brainer. Indeed, you’re probably already thinking, Well, I don’t generally eat plastic. Ah, but you do. Chances are that you’re among the 93 percent of Americans with detectable levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in their bodies, and that you’re also among the 75 percent of Americans with detectable levels of phthalates. Both are synthetic chemicals found in plastics that mimic estrogen — essentially, artificial female hormones. And like pesticides, these plastic-based chemicals trick our bodies into storing fat and not building or retaining muscle. Decreasing your exposure to plastic-based obesogens will maximize your chances both of losing unwanted flab and of building lean muscle mass. Here’s how: 1) Never heat food in plastic containers or put plastic items in the dishwasher, which can damage them and increase leaching. BPA leaches from polycarbonate sports bottles 55 times faster when exposed to boiling liquids as opposed to cold ones, according to a study in the journal Toxicology Letters. 2) Avoid buying fatty foods like meats that are packaged in plastic wrap because EDCs are stored in fatty tissue. The plastic wrap used at the supermarket is mostly PVC, whereas the plastic wrap you buy to wrap things at home is increasingly made from polyethylene. 3) Cut down on canned goods by choosing tuna in a pouch over canned tuna. And get any canned and jarred foods from Eden Organic, one of the only companies that doesn’t have BPA in its cans.
Leanness Law No. 3: Go Lean
Always choose pasture-raised meats, which, studies show, have less fat than their confined, grain-fed counterparts and none of the weight-promoting hormones. Plus, grass-fed beef contains 60 percent more omega-3s, 200 percent more vitamin E and two to three times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA, a near-magic nutrient that helps ward off heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and can help you lose weight, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) than conventional beef. If you must choose a conventional cut of beef, choose lean cuts top sirloin, 95 percent lean ground beef, bottom round roast, eye round roast, top round roast or sirloin tip steak. Bison burgers and veggie burgers are also great substitutes when grass-fed beef isn’t available. And select sustainable lean fish with low toxic loads (meaning low levels of toxins like mercury and PCBs). A study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that even though the pesticide DDT was banned in 1973, the chemical and its breakdown product DDE can still be found today in fatty fish. Bigger fish eat smaller fish, and so carry a much higher toxic load.
Avoid ahi or bigeye tuna, tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, marlin and orange roughy — and focus on smaller fish like anchovies, Atlantic herring and mackerel, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Choose farmed rainbow trout, farmed mussels, anchovies, scallops (bay, farmed), Pacific cod, Pacific Halibut, Tuna (canned light) and mahimahi. Also, when you cook the fish, broil, poach, grill, boil or bake instead of pan-frying — this will allow contaminants from the fatty portions of fish to drain out.
Leanness Law No. 4: Filter Your Water
The best way to eliminate EDCs from your tap water is an activated carbon water filter. Available for faucets and pitchers, and as under-the-sink units, these filters remove most pesticides and industrial pollutants. Check the label to make sure the filter meets the NSF/American National Standards Institute’s standard 53, indicating that it treats water for both health and aesthetic concerns. If you have perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel!) in your water (you can find out by asking your municipal water supplier for a copy of its most recent water-quality report) you’ll need a reverse osmosis filter. But for every five gallons of treated water they create per day, they discharge 40 to 90 gallons of wastewater, so make sure it’s necessary before purchasing one.