Water 201

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Water 201

All about pH, alkaline water, minerals, ORP, bottled water, with more on water contaminants and how to remove them

Look for the answers to these questions as you read:

  1. One of the best ways to alkalize your body is to drink alkaline water. (true of false)
  2. What single element is considered to be the ultimate antioxidant?
  3. What is the best pH for water?
  4. In what form are the minerals in ionized water? (organic or inorganic)
  5. Is alkaline, ionized water good for plants and fish?
  6. What are the factors that affect the bio availability of minerals from water?
  7. What is one of the best ways to add balanced minerals to water?
  8. Water with a very negative ORP is electron rich and is therefore good for the body. (true or false)
  9. Bottled water is more regulated than tap water. (true or false)
  10. If you drink municipal water, you might be drinking other people’s medications. (true or false)


Most people have been convinced they should drink alkaline water to neutralize the acids in their body that cause disease.http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4556965434033107&pid=1.7&w=209&h=143&c=7&rs=1

Even though it is true that alkalinity cancels acidity, simply because a substance is alkaline or acidic does not mean that it will remain that way when it is broken down by digestion and metabolism. Cooked meat is very alkaline; yet it contributes to over-acidity in the tissues of the body; and a lemon—one of the most acidic fruits—contributes to a healthy, balanced pH.

The body is a very complex organism. Alkaline foods and alkaline water do not neutralize acids in the body. There is no scientific basis for this claim. If they did, then eating overly-cooked meat (alkaline) would be the best way to reduce acidity. Second, acids don’t cause disease, free radicals do. So, it is not quite as simple as we have been led to believe.

Parts of the body were meant to be acidic and parts were meant to remain alkaline. Overall, the body strives for a fairly neutral pH. So how do we untangle the confusion?


The pH scale is a chemical yardstick that measures whether a substance is acidic or alkaline. pH, stands for Potential Hydrogen. Hydrogen is found in large concentrations in acids. The left side of the pH scale measures the presence of dominant hydrogen (acids). The right side of the pH scale measures the absence of dominant hydrogen (alkali). The more dominant the hydrogen atoms are, the more acidic the material is and the smaller the number on the pH scale. Think of the pH scale as “plus or minus” hydrogen.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ncuYDLXhL._SL500_AA300_.jpgHydrogen is at the core of all life on Earth. Live acids are the backbone of existence. The human body is a hydrogen-converting machine that extracts energy from hydrogen at each stage of the digestive process. Because they contain hydrogen, acids supply energy that feed all organic life.

According to the recent book, pH Madness, by Roger Bezanis, human digestion is like a fireplace and hydrogen is the wood. Bezanis says that it would be equally accurate to call the pH scale the scale of Potential Heat. The only reason a log burns is because of the acids or potential heat units that the log has available. Calories are measurements of potential heat or energy from hydrogen.

Hydrogen = acid = potential heat = energy

Two things to remember about pH


pH is a measure of hydrogen which is the fuel of life An acidic pH means available hydrogen for fuel and energy

scan0001.jpgFireplace ashes are all that is left when organic acids are burned. Their energy is released during combustion. If you have ever watched a hot fire you will recall that when the fuel (acidic) is gone, all that is left is cool ash (alkaline). According to Bezanis, food follows the same flow:

 Live foods are acidic (all fresh fruits and vegetables are acidic – with pH 6.9 and under)

Digestion releases their potential heat units

Leftover waste (urine, sweat, stools, tears, mucus) should be neutral or slightly alkaline in a healthy body.

In other words, acidic foods (fresh fruits and vegetables) release their energy (from hydrogen) and leave alkaline ash behind in the form of alkaline waste. Consuming alkaline food and alkaline water taxes the elimination organs of the body – often overloading them. When alkaline wastes cannot be removed rapidly enough, they end up as arterial plaque, kidney stones, calcification in joints etc. In order to balance the alkaline waste, the body then creates acids.

All the confusion around acidity has led some to believe that acidity is the cause of the problem. In reality, it is part of the solution. Recent research from Russia shows that when the body needs extra help controlling free radicals, it creates an acidic environment to release hydrogen. What the body is calling for when tissues become too acidic is antioxidants. Acids are the body’s way of releasing hydrogen (an antioxidant) to neutralize free radicals. So, from this perspective, acids are the not the cause – they are the solution for an overabundance of waste and the resulting disease-causing free radicals.

pH pg 2.jpg

What about the pH of water?

Most people think pure water has a pH of 7. That is another misconception. Pure water (water without anything in it) can only have a pH of 7 in a vacuum. Ultra-pure water immediately absorbs CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air and forms carbonic acid. This is why distilled and reverse osmosis water are acidic. Being free of minerals, these sources of water immediately grab carbon dioxide and form carbonic acid which is an organic acid. In Nature, water is frequently found to be slightly acidic. It contains organic acids that are necessary to balance alkaline minerals. The lower the pH, the more minerals water can hold. If the pH rises too high, minerals drop out as sediment. They also form scale on anything they come in contact with. Without balance, alkaline minerals wreak havoc in all living organisms. That’s why the proponents of alkaline water tell you not to give alkaline water to plants or to put it in a fish tank. It will kill them.


Professor Louis-Claude Vincent (1906-1988), a hydrologist from France, spent many years researching water throughout Europe to see whether there was a correlation between drinking water and longevity. His work, which has never been completely translated to English, revealed that minerals needed to be organically bound by organic acids in order to be available for use by the human body. The more minerals in water, the lower the pH needed to be in order for them to be safely utilized (organically bound). Another important discovery of Vincent’s research was that more calcium in water correlated with higher mortality rates. According to Vincent, excess calcium in water does NOT contribute to longevity – just the opposite. His work supports the ideas of Roger Bezanis and others who are challenging the old, oversimplified ideas on pH and acidity. Louis-Claude Vincent‘s work was later used in the development of Biological Terrain  Assessment—a holistic method of metabolic measurement for early detection of Illness and premature aging.

Fruit_Vegetables.jpgThe minerals in fresh fruits and vegetables are organically bound (balanced by organic acids). In this way they are available for the human body. Healthy drinking water contains organically bound minerals too, NOT colloidal inorganic ions. Healthy drinking water also has an abundance of excess electrons that act as antioxidants.

Alkaline water – is it good for you?

According to an article written by the authors of the new book, Dancing with Water: The New Science of Water, there are 7 major reasons (and many minor ones) not to drink alkaline water:

  1. Picture of Human StomachAlkaline water hinders digestion. The first and the most obvious red flag regarding the consumption of alkaline ionized water is its potential impact on digestion. Since the digestive process begins in the stomach—an extremely acidic environment—a person must ask the question: What is the impact of alkaline water on the digestive process? Fifty percent of people over the age of 60 are hypochlorhydric. This means that they can no longer produce enough stomach acid for optimal digestion. For these individuals, the consumption of alkaline water presents a significant problem. You might be surprised to discover how many people who begin to drink alkaline ionized water end up with digestive trouble—and they have no idea it was caused by the water.

  2. Alkaline water does not balance the body’s pH. One of the arguments used in favor of alkaline water, supposes that its consumption will alkalize the body and negate the buildup of acids caused by our modern diet and lifestyle.  Raw food balances the body’s pH in a way that alkaline water cannot. Yet, all raw plant foods are acidic (with the exception of a few herbs). They are made of organic acids combined with organically – complex alkaline minerals – in balance.

  3. Ionization damages water’s life force. Nature creates liquid crystalline (structured) water using weak electromagnetic fields. Those who sell ionizers believe that the strong electric current used during ionization produces the same kind of water. It does not. Although electric currents cause water molecules to align, strong electric currents (like those used during ionization) have a damaging effect on the electromagnetic field around water molecules. In essence, they leave it without life force. The water loses its molecular organization rapidly when it is removed from the electric field. Water that has been treated in this manner is aggressive and unnatural. It is no longer capable of carrying the finely-tuned signals and other vibratory information that water is intended to carry within the human body.

  4. https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTqJmcNqCPNUuHcmrgXzcliMWVNbFYRWF12DW5GBsApccZGUobEAlkaline ionized water contains minerals in an inorganic form that contribute to arterial plaque and joint disorders. During ionization, water molecules are split (ionized). Positively-charged ions (H+) are attracted to negatively-charged mineral ions (phosphate, chloride, sulfide, iodide, etc.) to form a variety of acidic compounds in the acidic stream of water. Negatively-charged water ions (OH-) are attracted to positively-charged mineral ions (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium) to form numerous alkaline compounds in the alkaline stream of water.  The alkaline minerals are not available for use in the body. Most of them end up as arterial plaque or as mineral deposits in joints and other tissues.

  5. Alkaline water is imbalanced. Water ionizers separate water into two streams.  One contains the acidic minerals. The other stream of water contains alkaline minerals. Both sets of minerals are necessary in the human body. Nature rarely provides one without the other.  The chemistry of life is dependent on the balance between acids and bases. One without the other for an extended period of time is an invitation for trouble.

  6. Alkaline ionized water causes cell death. While alkaline ionized water has been in use in Japan for over 40 years, its use (until recently) has been restricted to clinical settings where the water was used in controlled amounts for short periods of time. There are no long-term studies to identify potential problems with either the extended or the exclusive use of this type of water. In the absence of controlled human studies, rats (with a shorter life span) have been the subjects of investigation. Three separate studies have shown that long-term consumption of alkaline ionized water produces cell death (necrosis), fibrosis, and other complications in the heart muscle in rats.

  7. Alkaline ionized water is aggressive and unnatural. One of the biggest arguments in favor of alkaline ionized water is that its strong electron potential neutralizes free radicals. While it is true that alkaline ionized water has a strong electrical potential (evidenced by negative ORP values), the rH2 value (hydrogen potential) is a more accurate representation of electron potential than ORP alone. Understanding Biological Terrain Assessment helps in the realization that water with a strongly negative ORP value is way out of balance for the human body. It may initially reduce the free radical load but continued consumption upsets cellular balance and metabolic homeostasis. The ongoing consumption of alkaline ionized water opens the way for other serious metabolic consequences.

Minerals in water

There has been significant debate over the health benefits of minerals from drinking water; the bioavailability of minerals from water has been questioned for many years. Although drinking water is not the major source of minerals for the human body, drinking mineralized water (not alkaline water) has been shown to make a contribution to the mineral balance in the body. The bioavailability of minerals from water is dependent on several factors: the presence of flora and other conditions within the intestines, the presence of food at the time of consumption, age-related metabolic efficiency, and mineral deficiencies. Each of these factors can affect the degree to which minerals are absorbed from water.

Nowhere in nature is water without minerals. According to an article titled, Health Risks from Drinking Demineralized Water, demineralized, distilled, and reverse osmosis water have several negative health effects. They cause increased urination and the excessive elimination of minerals and electrolytes. They also causes a build-up of extra-cellular fluid (edema or puffiness), fewer red blood cells, and other changes in the blood. So, drinking water with minerals is a good idea. However, the form of the minerals is also important.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQZY1haZ_l-iYIpH6y5_fQygSWcNghEkN4NM5RrWHEROWRGBIkBCalcium carbonate (not a well-absorbed form of calcium) can be difficult to break apart in the stomach, and it may be taken up as a whole molecule that is then deposited in joints and arteries, just like scale is deposited in pipes. Underground sources of water often have high concentrations of calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide which should be avoided by those with arthritis or atherosclerosis. Minerals in ionic form are generally more easily absorbed. This is the way minerals are found in spring water—as ions or salts that are balanced. One of the best ways to get a balance of minerals is to add unprocessed salt to your water. Salt contains balanced ions that are released in water and also trace minerals that are used to activate many enzymes.


When a solution has a negative ORP, it has an abundance of electrons. A strongly positive ORP indicates that a solutions is lacking in free electrons. Water Ionization can push the ORP value of water down to between -100 and -800 mV depending on the original water and depending on the capacity of the ionizer. This gives alkaline ionized water a tremendous electron potential and a tremendous potential to neutralize free radicals. It is one reason people who drink alkaline ionized water experience relief from many symptoms. According to the principles of Biological Terrain Assessment developed by Louis Claude Vincent, balance is the key. An overabundance of electrons is equally as harmful as an overabundance of free radicals. Professor Vincent determined that near neutral ORP values were more balancing for the internal fluids of the human body than either highly positive (electron poor) or highly negative (electron rich) ORP values.


NOTE: The ORP of most fresh fruits and vegetables is slightly positive!

The minerals in fresh fruits and vegetables are organically bound (balanced by organic acids). In this way they are available for the human body.

Bottled water

drinking watrer2.jpgWhen you purchase bottled water (which can cost dozens of times more than your tap water) you ought to know what’s inside the expensive bottle. Most bottled water  producers keep the answers to these 3 simple questions a secret:

  • Where does the water come from?
  • Is it purified? How?
  • Have tests found any contaminants?

Of the 10 best-selling bottled water brands, 9 won’t answer at least one of those questions. The industry’s reluctance to tell consumers the truth about bottled water makes it obvious people would turn away if they knew the water came from municipal water sources . . .or that the plastic used to make the bottles commonly contains chemicals that leach into water. Ironically, the bottled water industry is less regulated than municipal tap water … and bottled water can sometimes contain the same chemicals you are trying to avoid by purchasing bottled water!

Bottled water is a four-billion-dollar-a-year business in the United States. It has also become a serious health and environmental issue. Even when bottled water complies with the EPA’s bottled water standards, those rules are weaker than EPA rules for city tap water. Fluoride is even added to some bottled water.

Comprehensive testing released in a 2008 report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed an array of chemical contaminants in each of the popular bottled water brands analyzed. Contaminants included toxic by-products of chlorination at levels no different than routinely found in tap water. In fact, further investigation showed the contaminants were often the same—and at similar levels to those found in the local water supply. This indicates that many store brands are simply bottling the local tap water. Some store brands exceeded legal limits for water contaminants; four brands contained bacteria, some contained pain medication.

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4642658714453771&pid=1.7&w=108&h=152&c=7&rs=1In 2009, the EWG released its Bottled Water Scorecard, documenting the industry’s failure to disclose contaminants and other crucial facts about bottled water. The latest EWG survey (published in 2010) showed a few improvements – but not many. Overall, 18% of bottled water brands failed to list the source of their water. Nearly one third disclosed nothing about the treatment or purity of the water; 13% published water quality information that lacked testing results.More than half of the brands surveyed both years either made no improvements—or they revealed even less in 2010 than in 2009.

Yes, there are many good brands of bottled water …. and yet bottled water is not the answer. Let’s have a look at some of the issues.

Problems with Bottled Water

Where does it come from?

If you buy water in a bottle, you need to do your research. You could be buying tap water. According to industry and government estimates, about 25% of bottled water is actually bottled tap water. This may be due to the fact that a large portion of the bottled water that is sold is Aquafina (owned by Pepsi) and Dasani (owned by Coca-Cola); both are processed tap water. And there are some generic brands that simply go from the tap to the bottle without any sort of process at all. Because the bottled water industry is less regulated than tap water, you could be drinking water that is worse than the water from your own kitchen sink.

Another difficulty with bottled water is the environmental impact:

·         plastic bottles in landfil.jpgPlastic water bottles are the fastest growing form of municipal solid waste in the United States. Each year more than 4 billion pounds of plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter.

·         Bottled water production and transportation for the U.S. market consumes more than 30 million barrels of oil each year and produces as much carbon dioxide as 2 million cars.



What about the bottle?

The vast majority of bottled waters come packaged in plastic, even though there is increasing concern that plastic leaches a variety of chemicals into water. Plastic is made by combining a number of synthetic chemicals in a process called polymerization. The plastics industry tells us that the process binds toxic chemicals so they are not able to escape. However, the polymerization process is never 100% complete. It always leaves some toxic chemicals available to migrate from the plastic and into whatever contacts it. For years the EPA referred to plastic as an “indirect food additive.”

Many of the chemicals used to make plastic are toxic. Some are known to cause cancer; others are endocrine disruptors because they disrupt the normal functioning of hormones. Hormones are active in tiny concentrations (parts/per/trillion) and have an effect on virtually every bodily function. The effects of disrupting the normal activities of hormones can be devastating. An EWG study included assays for breast cancer cell proliferation. One bottled water brand caused a 78% increase in the growth of breast cancer cells compared to a control sample. The ingestion of hormone-disrupting chemicals from plastics is an important health concern for those who exclusively drink bottled water. The bottled water industry would prefer you didn’t know.

One-and-a-half million tons of plastic are used to bottle water every year. Even though the plastic is recyclable, most of it ends up in landfills, slowly leaching its harmful components into the soil.

More like soda than water

Today, the bottled water industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the action. The bottled water industry is so huge that it is not enough anymore to simply sell water. To gain market share, companies are now offering bottled water with flavors, sweeteners, electrolytes, carbonation, vitamins, antioxidants, and any number of additives to create a water product that is more enticing than water. Many, like Coca-Cola’s Vitamin-water, contain sugar (32.5 grams/bottle) and artificial flavorings. This means they can increase the price for adding a few pennies worth of ingredients. But the resulting “water” is more like soda than water.

For example, Nestle, the largest bottled water company in the United States, now offers Natural Fruit Flavored Water which is flavored and sweetened with the artificial sweetener, Splenda. Propel Zero Calorie Nutrient Enhanced Water by Gatorade (PepsiCo) is another example, containing nothing more than sugar, sodium, potassium, vitamins, and flavorings .Often, because of the artificial ingredients, “enhanced” bottled water products are less healthy than water itself.

Ultimately, bottled water, whether it is pure or nutrient-enhanced, is not the answer. The answer lies in protecting our water sources from chemical, industrial and agricultural pollution. Think about it; buying bottled water on a regular basis does not contribute to the necessary changes we need to make as a human race. Filtering or purifying your own water may be your best bet—economically, ecologically, and for your health.

Water contaminants and how to remove them


In a review of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, 260 water contaminants were found to be routinely served to the public. More than half of these contaminants are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards; and testing for them is currently not required.

Types of Water Contaminants and their Sources


Major Sources


Dissolved gasses, heavy metals, fluoride, nitrates and nitrites, hard water minerals


Pesticides, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, plastics, solvents, disinfectant by-products


Bacteria, virus, protozoans

Inorganic contaminants

Gasses, heavy metals, fluoride, and hard water minerals

Most dissolved gases are normal in water (oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen). However, some, like chlorine, chloramines, hydrogen sulfide, and radon are harmful.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRMLc6sR6M-O_7dQLX4BA8dzHw4Fr9wu3iLbZh57T9HkAObe_8kGaseous Water Contaminants


Chlorine is still the standard when it comes to water disinfection. Chlorine is a pesticide. Its purpose as a drinking water additive is to kill living organisms. When you consume water containing chlorine, it destroys cells and tissues in your body. The long-term dangers of drinking chlorinated water have been acknowledged for many years. However, chlorine is one of the easiest contaminants to remove and can be handled with basic carbon filtration.


Chloramines are a more recent water treatment. A combination of gasses (chlorine and ammonia), chloramines are used in addition to, or in place of chlorine because their effects are longer lasting. However, numerous difficulties have been identified with the use of chloramines as a water disinfectant:

  • Chloramines remain in the water longer than chlorine—they do not evaporate when left in the open as chlorine does.
  • Chloramines cannot be removed by boiling.
  • Chloramines deteriorate certain types of rubber hoses and gaskets, such as those on washing  machines and hot water heaters.
  • Chloramines react with lead and lead solder in plumbing, causing toxic levels of lead to be released into drinking water.
  • Chloramines are potentially lethal to kidney dialysis patients.

The removal of chloramines requires a special type of catalytic carbon filter. Most of these devices are tanks designed to filter the incoming water for the whole house. Vitamin C has also been shown to neutralize chloramine, but this method is only realistic for smaller applications such as shower filters or counter top systems.

Hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally-occurring gas that gives a rotten egg odor to water. It is more common in wells. Hydrogen sulfide is corrosive to plumbing fixtures even at low concentrations. Chlorine is currently used to eliminate it. Activated carbon filtration must then be used to remove the excessive chlorine.

A better solution for removing the sulfur smell and corrosive effects from water that contains hydrogen sulfide lies in the use of magnetic or electromagnetic fields. These devices have received dubious reports over the years as a variety of technologies have been marketed. However, in 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy released a report designed to speed the adoption of these energy-efficient technologies. One of the benefits of the technology (aside from the reduction of hard water deposits and scale on heating and cooling equipment) is a reduction of corrosion and the reduction of algae and hydrogen sulfide odors.


Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of radium. The primary source of radon in homes is from the underlying soil and bedrock. However, radon can also be found in the water supply, particularly if the house is served by a private well or by a small community water system. Since radon is a gas, it can be inhaled during showers or while bathing. It is easily removed by carbon filtration.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTj6wQGLonEPrgcEbwQqA_lZHpi1ZxAXz4p6c7YKVcpnwMc46piQwHeavy Metals

Heavy metals (aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, & mercury) are dangerous in water even at extremely low concentrations.


The solubility of aluminum in water is so low that it is seldom a concern in municipal or industrial water systems. Aluminum in drinking water comes from the use of aluminum sulfate (alum) as a coagulant in water treatment plants. Reverse osmosis will reduce the aluminum content by over 98 percent. Distillation will reduce aluminum by more than 99 percent.


Arsenic is highly toxic. It is used in pesticides and various metal alloys. When found in a water supply, it usually comes from mining operations or from runoff in agricultural areas. Filtration through activated carbon will reduce the amount of arsenic in drinking water by 40 to 70 percent. Reverse osmosis has a 90 percent removal rate. Distillation will remove 98 percent.


Cadmium makes its way into water supplies as a result of the deterioration of galvanized plumbing, industrial waste, or fertilizer contamination. Reverse osmosis removes 95 to 98 percent of the cadmium in water.


Lead can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells. Lead in drinking water is primarily from the corrosion of the lead solder used to put together copper piping. Activated carbon filtration can reduce lead to a certain extent. Reverse osmosis can remove 94 to 98 percent of lead in drinking water at the point of use. Distillation will also remove lead from drinking water.


Mercury is unique among metals. It can evaporate when released to water or soil. Activated carbon filtration is very effective for removal of mercury. Reverse osmosis will also remove 95 to 97 percent of mercury.


skull and crossbones.jpgFluoride is a trace mineral found in varying concentrations in food and in water. Small amounts of fluoride are present in all water sources. However, naturally-occurring fluoride is much different than the fluoride compounds used in toothpaste and to  fluoridate water.Not only does fluoride not prevent cavities, the irony is that when you get too much fluoride, your teeth can become discolored and crumble. It’s called dental fluorosis—a mottling and deterioration of the enamel on teeth. In 1940, this mottling condition occurred in 10 percent of children’s teeth. Today, it is as high as 55 percent.

Carbon filtration does not remove fluoride. Reverse osmosis will remove 93 to 95 percent. If your water is fluoridated, you should consider purchasing a special fluoride filter but be careful because many point of use fluoride filters have been determined to be effective for only a short period of time.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units that combine with various organic and inorganic compounds. Because they are highly soluble and do not bind to soils, nitrates/nitrites migrate to ground water. Excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness—especially for infants. This is due to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the body, which can interfere with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Ion exchange (similar to water softening) and reverse osmosis removes nitrates/nitrites.


Hard Water Minerals

Calcium and magnesium ions in drinking water can be beneficial when they are biologically available. However, in the form of calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide (found in most hard water) they are not only biologically unavailable but they cause scaly deposits on faucets and in pipes and water heaters. They can do the same inside your body! Hard water minerals can be removed by a variety of water-conditioning techniques including ion exchange, magnetic conditioners and reverse osmosis.

Organic Contaminants

Organic compounds are those that contain the carbon atom. They are usually associated with living matter (or matter that was once living) such as leaves and other debris that make their way into water. However, a growing list of synthetic organic compounds is being produced by modern technology. Many of these also end up in water. They include pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trihalomethanes (THMs), pharmaceuticals, and others. Organic compounds (especially those that are synthetic) comprise the longest list of potential water contaminants—in the thousands.

Many of these organic contaminants in water are presumed to increase the risk of various cancers in humans—often after many years of low-level exposure. Others may affect the nervous system, increasing the incidence of diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease; some can cause hormonal disruptions, including infertility and impotency. Still others can cause autoimmune syndromes such as lupus and fibromyalgia. Organic contaminants are even suspected of having a relationship to emotional and sociopathic disorders.


https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuA9qadLaQuFpI6zlumZ-0apGq4AU4KQb3835JkUi4YpsGQ2CtPesticides are common synthetic, organic contaminants in water. They reach surface and well water supplies from the runoff in agricultural areas. Some pesticides decompose and break down as they perform their function. However, many take years to break down. There is no EPA maximum contamination level for pesticides as a total; each substance must be considered separately. Most go unregulated in water. Activated carbon filtration will remove most pesticides. Reverse osmosis will remove 97 to 99 percent of pesticides.


organic compounds (VOCs) VOCs, including benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and vinyl chloride (PVC), are known carcinogens. They are man-made. Twelve different VOCs are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, there are others that are not currently regulated. The best choice for removing VOCs from water is activated carbon filtration. The adsorption capacity of the carbon will vary with each type of VOC. Reverse osmosis will only remove 70 to 80 percent of the VOCs in the water.

Trihalomethanes (THMSs)

When chlorine reacts with organic matter in water it produces hundreds of chemical by-products, several of which have been proven to be carcinogenic. THMs make up the bulk of these cancer-causing by-products. The level of THMs in water is usually greater in water systems where surface water is the source. Even drinking water with low-level THM contamination over a forty- to fifty-year period may increase the risk of cancer. Currently, carbon filtration is the best way to remove THMs and other dangerous chlorine by-products.


Americans take a lot of prescription medications. They take even more over-the-counter drugs. The body absorbs some of these medications, but some of them pass through and are flushed away. Unfortunately, wastewater treatment facilities are not set up to remove drug residues. This means that if you are drinking tap water or using it to cook with, you may be exposed to other people’s medications in your water. Medications pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they are designed to act on the human body at extremely low concentrations. The EPA has set no safety limits for pharmaceuticals in water and admits that there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove them. A number of advanced water treatment technologies have been evaluated for their ability to remove or neutralize the most common pharmaceuticals from drinking water. A combination of ozone and ultraviolet (UV) light is quite successful. Ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis offer the most promise for the complete elimination of pharmaceuticals.

Biological Contaminants


Pathogenic bacteria cause illnesses such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, infectious hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera. The most common and undisputed method of removing bacteria from water is chemical oxidation and disinfection. The injection of ozone into a water supply is one form of chemical oxidation and disinfection. Chlorination is another. Reverse osmosis will also remove more than 99 percent of the bacteria in a drinking-water system.


There are more than a hundred types of enteric viruses. The test for coliform bacteria is widely accepted as an indication of whether or not water is safe to drink. Therefore, tests for viruses are not usually conducted. As with bacterial contaminants, chemical oxidation or disinfection is the preferred treatment for viral populations in water. Chlorine, followed by activated carbon filtration, is the most widely used treatment. Ozone or iodine may be utilized as oxidizing agents. Ultraviolet sterilization and distillation are also effective methods for the removal of viruses.


https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTPfqRRWxb-bILciVWhLTVvIYiPerL3AUPZUDif8D3wne4MflvEProtozoans, cryptosporidia, and giardia are single-celled organisms that lack a cell wall. They form dormant cysts that are resistant to typical levels of chlorination. Cryptosporidia and giardia cause nausea, abdominal cramps, and low-grade fever. For people with compromised immune systems, an infection can be fatal. Filtration is the most effective treatment for protozoan cysts. Filters rated at 0.5 microns are designed for the removal of protozoans.



Two Ways to Find Out What Is in Your Drinking Water:

  1. tap water.jpgRead the annual water quality report from your municipal water company. Your water company is required by federal law to provide reports listing the measured levels of the most common and/or harmful water contaminants.

  2. Test your water. If you have a private water source (well, spring, or surface water), you are responsible for the safety of your home’s water supply.

Read Water 301 for information on Water’s liquid crystalline structure and its possible benefits for your health.

Answers to the quiz

  1. One of the best ways to alkalize your body is to drink alkaline water. (true of false) False
  2. What single element is considered to be the ultimate antioxidant? Hydrogen
  3. What is the best pH for water? Near neutral (about 7.0)
  4. In what form are the minerals in ionized water? (organic or inorganic) inorganic
  5. Is alkaline, ionized water good for plants and fish? No, it will kill them
  6. What are the factors that affect the bio-availability of minerals from water? The bio-availability of minerals from water is dependent on the presence of flora and other conditions within the intestines, the presence of food at the time of consumption, age-related metabolic efficiency, and mineral deficiencies.
  7. What is one of the best ways to add balanced minerals to water? as a saturated salt solution
  8. Water with a very negative ORP is electron rich and is therefore good for the body. (true or false) Too much of anything is imbalanced and although electron-rich water has antioxidant qualities, too much can be just as harmful as too little.
  9. Bottled water is more regulated than tap water. (true or false) False
  10. If you drink municipal water, you might be drinking other people’s medications. (true or false) True

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