It’s strange how the rise of technology and industrial products have pulled us away from our surroundings, yet, we continue to rely heavily on our natural resources every single day. And one of these resources that are easily the most taken granted for is water.
With pollution and overuse threatening so many of our world’s drinking water sources, there is very little clean water available. Why should this concern us? Because the average adult human body is 55-60 percent water. Water also happens to make up 70 percent of the human brain, while the lungs are 90 percent water. Therefore, it goes without saying that the quality of water we drink or use has an enormous impact on our health.
Unfortunately, the water we have access to is nothing close to pure. Here’s some insight on some of the common sources of water that are made available to us, and why we need to be concerned about their quality.
1. Tap Water
Despite government regulations and municipal water treatment facilities, tap water still contains an alarming number of dangerous contaminants. The water regulations do very little to address the problem of the toxin content in our water. In addition to this, they are also old and outdated and only partially regulate the toxins present in tap water today, some of which are potential carcinogens.1
As far as the municipal water treatment facilities are concerned, it is the methods they use that are largely to blame for our tap water contamination. Dangerous chemicals like fluoride and chlorine are added to the water as part of the treatment process. According to studies, these can cause a large number of diseases and ailments like birth defects, dental mottling, elevated serum cholesterol levels, and maybe even cancer.2 3 Additionally, municipalities may also use poor quality corroded pipes to transport their water. So even if the water has been treated properly, it can still get contaminated by the leaching of the heavy metals contained in these pipes.
So unless you use a good filtration process at home, drinking water straight out of the tap is not a very great idea.
2. Bottled Water
Many of us prefer bottled water either because of the taste or because of how convenient it is to grab one of these bottles to go. Plus, since they’re available everywhere, you can easily get yourself to drink your required 8 glasses every day.
Unfortunately, it turns out that bottled water isn’t all that pristine as the manufacturers claim it to be and is, in fact, associated with a long list of health problems like:
- Weight gain: Many plastics, including the one that you’re drinking water from, contain bisphenol A (BPA). This particular chemical compound has been found to trigger fat cell growth.4
- Birth defects: BPA – which is really a low-grade version of estrogen, triggers unnatural changes in cells that will eventually become eggs in the developing fetus. When it’s time for the offspring to be reproduced, these cells will not able to divide properly, meaning the fertilized egg has an incorrect chromosome number. This, in turn, causes birth defects like Down syndrome, and can even lead to miscarriage.
- Cancer: When a plastic bottle is left out in the heat for too long, the plastic can release carcinogenic chemicals like BPA and dioxin into the water that may naturally, increase your risk of getting cancer. While we’re waiting for proper evidence to prove this fact, you may as well give up bottled water in case studies confirm that it can cause cancer after all!
- Hormonal dysfunction: Factory-produced plastic bottles are routinely laced with hormone or endocrine disruptors. The body is unable to tell the difference between the real hormone and the imposter and ends up responding to the signals, triggering a chain of health complications that you’re better off without.
- Liver dysfunction: Ingesting BPA and other toxins through your bottled water is going to lead to all these chemicals being circulated throughout your body.5 They can cause some damaging effects to your organs, including your liver – the primary detox organ that works hard to filter out waste to keep your body clean and healthy. Over the years, your body will become a giant dumping ground for all sorts of chemicals and toxins. If your liver cannot function properly either, there will be nothing to filter out the waste, and from thereon, it’s just a downward spiral.
Bottled water also puts a huge pressure on the environment. While plastic bottles are usually recyclable, very few end up being actually recycled. This small number does nothing to eliminate or reduce the number of plastic bottle waste in landfills. In addition to this, there are plenty of resources that are wasted when extracting, transporting, and distributing the water. For instance, bottled water is usually transported within the country in huge trucks that emit a lot of greenhouse gases and other fumes that pollute the air around us.
3. Surface Water
Surface water pollution is one of the major downsides of living in times that encourage the thriving of industries and factories. City sewage, industrial waste, agricultural run-off, or field water either get dumped or are allowed to drain off into our lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and oceans. These carry hundreds of pollutants in the form of chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides that either dissolve or lie suspended in the water.
Because of this deterioration in the quality of surface water, the concerned ecosystems also end up facing severe consequences, causing the same pollutants and disease-causing microbes to trickle into our food chain and back onto our dinner plates.
4. Rain Water
Rainwater, which was once considered wild and pure, is sadly no different from the surface water that’s available around us. Just like surface water, rainwater isn’t immune to industrial waste either. Fumes from factories and gases released by traffic rise into the atmosphere and get absorbed as the water vapor in the air condenses. When the atmosphere is finally ready to shed its load, all these pollutants and chemicals fall back onto the surface in the form of rain, which is in no way completely safe for consumption.
The One Source Of Pure Water Left: Spring Water
Springs usually form when an underground aquifer is filled to a point that the excess water seeps out, often through the surface of rocks. Because of this natural filtration process, spring water is not only high in mineral composition but also has a distinct, rich taste that people associate with purity. Spring water is usually safe to drink and requires no treatment, though the quality of the water may not always be guaranteed.
Keep in mind, however, that bottled spring water, just like ordinary bottled water may be subjected to faulty transportation factors such as pipes, pumps, faucets or BPA-laced plastic bottles. Bottled spring water will also need to be filtered and tested in order to meet the EPA standard requirements. For this reason, you may want to stick to spring water that has been sourced naturally.
|↑1, ↑2||Drinking Water and Health: Volume 1. National Center for Biotechnology Information.|
|↑3||Koivusalo, Meri, and Terttu Vartiainen. “Drinking water chlorination by-products and cancer.” Reviews on environmental health 12, no. 2 (1997): 81-90.|
|↑4||Boucher, Jonathan G., Shaimaa Ahmed, and Ella Atlas. “Bisphenol S induces adipogenesis in primary human preadipocytes from female donors.” Endocrinology 157, no. 4 (2016): 1397-1407.|
|↑5||Vandenberg, Laura N., Ibrahim Chahoud, Jerrold J. Heindel, Vasantha Padmanabhan, Francisco JR Paumgartten, and Gilbert Schoenfelder. “Urinary, circulating, and tissue biomonitoring studies indicate widespread exposure to bisphenol A.” Environmental health perspectives 118, no. 8 (2010): 1055.|