Category Archives: Tap Water

How the Drought is Poisoning California’s Drinking Water

california drought water quality

As California struggles through the fourth year of its historic drought, the effects are starting to hit a little closer to home… and our health.

The results of a 10-year study of California groundwater quality showed some disturbing findings.

Normally, Californians get about 30% of their drinking water from aquifers, but the drought has forced Californians to rely on these aquifers for more than 60% of our water needs.

The study found that roughly 20% of our groundwater is contaminated with high concentrations of dangerous substances like arsenic, uranium and nitrates. And it’s not getting any better…

As groundwater keeps getting lower, our drinking water will become more and more unsafe.

The longer the drought continues, the more we will rely on groundwater. You can probably see how this is quite the vicious cycle. But is there an answer? In order to understand that, we have to know what caused this quality issue.

 

Where do the contaminants come from?

Contaminants enter California’s water artificially – through heavy use of nitrogen-based fertilizers on farms – and naturally – through erosion of natural deposits.

Heavy reliance on nitrogen fertilizers (and animal waste) has led to increased levels of nitrates in the water. At levels above 10 ppm (parts per million), nitrates can impede the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, leading to birth defects and cancers of the ovaries and thyroid.

Agriculture alone isn’t the only source of contamination; arsenic – which is not used on farms – turned up more than nitrates. The study also found an alarming amount of aquifers poisoned with uranium, which is a contaminant not used in farms, but which has been pushed further into the water table (5-10 feet per year) by irrigation.

According to Kenneth Belitz, the study’s lead author and chief of the USGS’s National Water Quality Assessment Program, the process of contaminants slowly moving further down into the water table affects all areas of California.

Former agricultural areas that have evolved into suburban (Santa Ana, for example) will start to see the effects of years-old nitrates sinking into their water tables. Today’s farming hotspots – especially the San Joaquin Valley (where San Diego gets a portion of its water) – could be slowly building up nitrate levels year by year that could lead to much higher nitrate levels in well water.

 

How is the drought making it worse?

This heart-wrenching video from High Country News depicts how the drought is exacerbating the level of contaminants in California’s water. It shows the situation in East Orosi, one of the areas hit hardest by the drought.

Chad Fischer, East Orosi District Engineer, explains how landowners are digging a higher level of wells, putting more stress on the aquifers:

“It’s simple, drill a lot of wells, produce a lot of water. The water tables are going to drop and the level of contaminants is going to go up.”

As groundwater levels drop and the level of contaminants stays the same, the concentration of nitrates in groundwater supply will continue to increase.

Think of it as a small amount of poison that’s diluted by a large amount of water. The poison is relatively harmless as long as the water level stays high enough. But when the water level decreases, there’s not as much to dilute the poison, making it much more dangerous.

This issue is hitting areas of California at different times. East Orosi is getting the worst of it now. Residents use five-gallon plastic jugs for drinking, cleaning, brushing teeth, making tea and coffee, making soup and cleaning fruits and vegetables.

East Orosi’s situation serves as a stark warning to the rest of the state about the dangers of the drought on water quality. Hopefully it serves as a canary in the coal mine demonstrating that serious actions need to be taken for the health and safety of the people.

When will it end?

That’s the bad news. According to NASA Analysis, California’s aquifers are extremely depleted (by 11 trillion gallons, to be exact). Lower rainfall in the coming years and steady or increased farming will only continue to diminish these sources, therefore raising contaminant concentration.

As the drought continues, it’s imperative that California residents continue to monitor their local drinking water quality. Every municipality is required to send out a Water Quality Report (or CCR) annually, detailing local contaminant levels.

As always, the safest solution for your water’s safety is to install water filter systems in your home to ensure the highest quality clean water in your home regardless of outside circumstances. See your home water filter options HERE.

 

More information: Mother Jones on California’s Drinking Water

 

What’s the Difference Between Water Softeners & Water Conditioners?

whole home water conditioner softener

As a new homeowner, you’ll likely face a common question: do I need a water softener? After some research, you’ll likely come across some info about a similar piece of equipment called a water conditioner. The differences between the two can be confusing, but making the right choice can have a significant impact on you and your family’s health and your home’s appearance and value. 

Many areas across the country – especially Southern California – have “hard water,” which means your tap water has exceptionally high mineral content.

Hard water is not particularly unhealthy, but it’s capable of causing some costly problems for your home. The most costly issues include scaling, pipe blockage and even pipe leaks. 

Your Home’s Health

Scaling is the buildup of minerals to form a deposit called lime scale. Hard water mixed with soap forms nasty soap scum, which leaves a bathtub ring on your surfaces. 

hard vs soft water

The difference in scaling between a showerhead with hard water and soft water is obvious.

Excessive scaling can lead to clogged pipes, which decrease water flow rate to your faucets and showerheads and can even affect the life of toilet flushing units.

hard water damage

A pipe clogged with hardness minerals.

Eventually, the scaling in your pipes will allow less water to flow through. Showerheads will dribble instead of spraying and faucets will deliver a weak stream of water. Buildup in your faucets can also lead to faulty shutoff mechanisms and dripping faucets.

The third costly effect of hard water is when dissolved minerals eat through pipes causing leaks and water damage in your home. It’s important to realize this potential issue early, because there are water pipes throughout your home and even a small hole can result in VERY costly damage.

hard water pipe damage

Pipe with a significant leak due to hard water.

 

Your Health and Happiness (and Sanity)

The effects of hard water are not limited to your home and plumbing fixtures; it can also affect your quality of life. Hard water requires more soap or detergent and water for showering and laundry.

åAdditionally, mixing soap and hard water on the body can cause what’s referred to as a “curd,” which can remain on the skin after rinsing, clogging pores. This serves as a breeding ground for bacteria, rashes and dry skin irritations.

Hard water also leads to mineral deposits in your hair, making it harder to untangle post-shower.

So What’s the Solution?

Now that you understand the multitude of issues surrounding hard water, let’s discuss the best way to get rid of hard water in your home. A water softener may be the more popular option, but I’m going to explain to you why a water conditioner is the better option for your home, your health and your wallet.

Water Softeners vs. Water Conditioners

Both water softeners and water conditioners solve the problems associated with hard water. The two are significantly different, though, in 3 main ways:

  1. Water Quality
  2. Simplicity
  3. Price

Water Quality

The biggest difference between water softeners and water conditioners is water quality. The reason is pretty simple: water softeners DO NOT filter your water and water conditioners do.

Water softeners use what’s called “ion exchange,” which swaps hardness mineral ions for sodium, reducing the water’s hardness. The problem is that softeners only focus on hardness, not contaminants such as chlorine and carcinogenic disinfectant byproducts like chloroform. 

Chlorine is generally the most noticeable contaminant in tap water (due to the large amount added in at a municipal level in order to disinfect water). It is also quite dangerous and damaging to your health and beauty. Chlorine can cause cancer over time when ingested and is notorious for drying out skin and hair. In addition to being dangerous to the body, chlorine can contribute to pinhole leaks in your pipes.

Without a conditioner, you will not be able to remove chlorine and other dangerous contaminants – you will simply have softer, dirty water.

Simplicity

As I mentioned above, water softeners use a process called “ion exchange,” which is about as complicated as it sounds. It requires electricity (which drives up cost of operation) and maintenance such as buying, hauling and adding salt periodically. In addition to being physically trying and time-consuming, adding salt also requires upwards of $200 per year.

Ion exchange is also not eco-friendly in any way. The process requires waste water to be expelled through a special drain. Research showed that this briny waste water was actually affecting area water supplies, leading to the recent ban of salt-based water softeners in cities such as San Diego and Los Angeles. That’s right: if you live in Southern California, you are likely outlawed from even purchasing a salt-based water softener.

Water conditioners do not use any electricity, saving your energy bill. They also create zero wastewater and require no maintenance aside from annual filter changes. Additionally, water conditioners use significantly less floor space in your garage and make no noise.

On an aesthetic level, conditioners produce water that mixes well with soaps and detergents, allowing you to use less of each, saving you even more money. Conditioned water also feels better in the shower, whereas softened water leaves a distinct “slippery” feel on the skin. 

Price

Of course, one of the most important aspects of any home improvement purchase is the price. What is it worth for you to have clean water and fortified investments in your kitchen and bathroom fixtures? Obviously, many companies will use this argument to justify ridiculously-priced items. But water conditioners are actually priced significantly below water softeners.

The Evolution Whole Home Water Conditioner starts at only $795, compared with softeners in the thousands of dollars, plus maintenance costs. Conditioners also save you from the electricity and water costs associated with a complicated softener. 

Most importantly, though, a Water Conditioner preserves the health of you and your family, as you can be sure the dangerous contaminants found increasingly in tap water supplies will be eradicated at the source. 

Call 619-356-3766 or email info@evolutionhealthworks.com today for more info about how a Water Conditioner can help improve your life and the value of your home!

What’s the Deal with Fluoride in My Water?

fluoride

The controversy over fluoridated water is making news lately, as more and more concerned citizens question their local governments about the benefits and possible drawbacks of adding fluoride to drinking water.

In 1945, dental researchers and city officials in Grand Rapids, Michigan agreed to fluoridate the city water supply for experimental purposes. After eleven years, the results were staggering; tooth decay rates had dropped 60%.

Ever since, cities across the country have adopted fluoridation. The American Dental Association and other prominent public health organizations endorse the practice wholeheartedly.

In a situation becoming more familiar in our information-heavy world, though, people are speaking out and challenging institutions on the benefits of fluoridation. Similar to the anti-vaccine and anti-GMO movements, there is a spectrum of dissent ranging from legitimate concern to government conspiracy mongering.

It’s hard to argue with the wealth of information proving that fluoridated water has improved dental health, but it’s also important to acknowledge that many beneficial public health policies have detrimental side effects.

(For example, adding chlorine to public water supplies for disinfection purposes was one of the great inventions of the 20th century, improving life expectancy for millions. But chlorine reacts with natural materials in water to create dangerous, cancer-causing disinfectant byproducts.)

Fluoride’s drawbacks are documented at length across the web, but few have been widely accepted. A recent British study showed a link between water fluoridation and thyroid issues (hypothyroidism). One undisputed fact is that an excess of fluoride (fluorosis) causes tooth decay. There is minimal evidence of fluoride as a carcinogen.

The real issue with fluoride in public water supplies is informed consent.

Americans have always been fiercely individualistic; the explosion of the internet has magnified this trait. Citizens can now pull up information on other countries’ fluoridation practices quickly and realize that the U.S. adds fluoride more widely than any other country in the world.

People can also look up the fact that fluoride is a chemical, one being prescribed to them without consent. This issue is also at the core of the anti-vaccine movement, but there is one very important difference.

If you don’t vaccinate your child, others are at risk of catching a disease from him or her. If you don’t opt to fluoridate your water, you are not putting anyone else at risk.

This is the core of the fluoridation issue today. People deserve the option of what they consume, especially if it has the potential to affect their health.

All Evolution Healthworks drinking water products reduce fluoride content by 65%. For those wishing to remove more than two thirds of fluoride, we offer an additional filter attachment to remove 99.9% of fluoride.

Shampoo, Narcotics and Birth Control: Things You Didn’t Know You Were Drinking

drug water

When was the last time you drank shampoo? How about painkillers or birth control? Statistically, you consumed all of the above recently, whether you wanted to or not.

Researchers have found antiseptics, pharmaceuticals, detergents and a number of other products everywhere they’ve looked for them in our water supplies.

According to a study published by the EPA, the nation’s water sources tested positive for dangerous pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone, high-blood pressure medications and antidepressants.

Water treatment plants are not required to test for or monitor levels of these so-called “emerging contaminants” in our drinking water. Some of the products – such as shampoo and dish detergent – have been in our water supplies for decades, but skyrocketing rates of prescription drug use and abuse in the U.S. are leading to other contaminants that didn’t used to pollute our water.

In fact, a recent Mayo Clinic study determined that nearly 70% of Americans take prescription drugs. Many people flush their old and unused pharmaceuticals. The only proper way to dispose of old prescription or over-the-counter meds is to take them to a pharmacist. This doesn’t prevent all pharmaceuticals from getting into our water, though. We also urinate and otherwise excrete trace amounts of drugs and antibiotics into drains and toilets.

While emerging contaminants are not currently regulated, but this does not mean they don’t pose a risk. It’s unclear how emerging contaminants in drinking water affect our health, but it’s an area of growing concern among health officials.

One medication of which we know some effects is birth control. This is because hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body, suggesting that birth control can affect our bodies even though it shows up in low concentrations in our water. This possibility was highlighted recently when fish in the Potomac River were found to have both male and female sex glands after exposure to estrogen.

Humans have been lucky to not experience such extreme consequences, but the fact that fish are absorbing pharmaceuticals from human wastewater and suffering mutations suggests problems down the line. It may also come full circle, as we are likely to consume the same contaminants with our seafood.

While healthy adults have sophisticated detoxification processes that may protect them from emerging contaminants for the time being, pregnant women and children are much more susceptible.

Home drinking water filters are a good way to cut down the amount of emerging contaminants in your tap water, according to Timothy Bartrand, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Drexel University, Philadelphia, who worked with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on drinking water research.

We encourage you to ask your water authority what it is doing to keep you safe from emerging contaminants. The number for the San Diego County Water Authority is (858) 522-6600.

Also, consider using an Evolution Drinking Water System in your home to not only cut down on emerging contaminants, but also add vital trace minerals to your family’s drinking, cooking and coffee/tea brewing water.

 

 

The Next Water Revolution

city water

Drinking water has evolved in three major shifts – or revolutions – over the past 2,000 years. Each of these revolutions either made water vastly more available or potable for a large number of people.

In his book, Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource, David Sedlak discusses the three water revolutions of the past 2,000 years as well as the next one – Water 4.0 – that needs to happen for the sake of societal health and safety.

The author explains that today, “continued population growth and climate change stretch the ability of urban water systems to meet our needs.” The process of devising and financing a solution will be anything but east, but Sedlak is confident there is a way. 

In today’s post, we’ll discuss Sedlak’s 3 water revolutions as well as the one we need to start planning for today.

Water 1.0

The Romans are known for a number of astonishing accomplishments, but one we don’t often hear about (maybe because it’s not sexy enough for a Hollywood blockbuster) is how the behemoth ancient civilization managed to provide anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million people with drinking water.

Ingenious Roman engineers devised a system of gravity-harnessing aqueducts to bring water into the city from surrounding rural areas. Not only did they build this solution to solve the issue of water shortage, but the Romans also built a sophisticated sewer system to handle runoff. This revolution paved the way for the expansion of civilization over the next 1,900 years.

Water 2.0

The boom of the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century saw the emergence of water wheels and steam engines. This led to toilets and the vast amount of waste created as a result. Rather than disposing of waste in the fields, urban toilets sent human waste down the sewers, from where it entered bodies of water and traveled downstream to some less fortunate communities.

The corresponding rise in typhoid fever and cholera necessitated the need for another water revolution. This time, the engineers behind water’s advancement were from MIT. They formulated a system of filtering with sand, which surprisingly eliminated most disease from drinking water. Similar improvements used chlorine to further disinfect the water. Water 2.0 was born, effectively increasing the average American lifespan by 15 years.

Water 3.0

While the second water revolution allowed for drinking water to be treated, there still was not a widely available technology for treating wastewater. Thus, industrial centers and large municipalities simply disposed of sewage in rivers and lakes. Waterfront cities such as New York, Cleveland and Chicago reeked and fish died at an alarming rate.

In an ultimately successful effort to curb the expansion of water pollution across the country, the federal government passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. This landmark legislation allocated federal funds toward the construction of sewage treatment plants. Water 3.0 saved the health of The Great Lakes and numerous other bodies of water across the country.

Water 4.0?

Sedlak explains that we are now in need of a 4th water revolution, one that is likely going to be more complicated – and more expensive – than its precedents.

Many of the water utilities constructed 40-50 years ago are aged significantly. As with many societal problems, the roadblock in front of water reconstruction is cost. The growth of population has led to a consequential strain on water systems built for far fewer people.

In the Northeast, many cities have experienced raw sewage overflows when snow or rain fills treatment plants to their limits. The Southwest is experiencing a problem on the other side of the spectrum; areas such as Arizona and California are suffering from drought and water shortages.

The problem for both regions is that climate change models suggest that the areas experiencing overflow will only get wetter and the drought-stricken regions will only get drier.

Three areas in which Water 4.0 has already begun to take form are desalination, water recycling and decentralization.

Desalination – the process of treating seawater to make it potable – will be a significant, but not nearly a majority of San Diego’s water (7%) starting next year. Water recycling, in which wastewater is either treated to drinking water standards or at least to a level that it can be used for watering crops, is also popular in Southern California. Decentralization likely will be a prevalent technology across the country, especially given the amount of Americans living in suburbs. This practice would involve the construction of smaller water treatment facilities outside of the large ones in city centers.

Sedlak says that Water 4.0 will happen one way or another, the only question is whether we will be proactive in preparing our water systems. The sad truth is that more often, civilizations wait for catastrophe to allocate the necessary funds for water system improvements.

 

 

 

 

Helping You Compare Water Filters

compare water filters

As awareness of the importance of clean water in the home rises, more and more people are starting to consider what water filter is right for them.

With this increase in demand, water filter suppliers are flooding (so to speak) the market with products. This can lead to confusion, especially when companies make over-the-top claims.

We don’t want to confuse you – we want you to compare the different water filters available on the market so you can decide what’s best for you and your family. Below are some simple explanations of water filter options.

Carbon Filters

Activated Carbon products are the most common filters on the market. You probably know them better as pitchers or attachments on your sink. These are helpful if you’re renting or staying somewhere temporary. They take care of foul odors and tastes, but do not remove bacteria or microorganisms.

Other than lacking in how much junk they can remove, the main downside to carbon filters is that they don’t last long. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had a filter pitcher blink red at you after a month in the fridge.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

RO systems became popular because they are very powerful and filter almost all dissolved solids in tap water. They are usually installed under the sink, which is nice because they don’t take up counter or fridge space. There are a few problems with RO, though. While it filters lots of bad stuff from your water, it also removes good stuff such as healthy trace minerals. This can pose some serious health issues down the road. Another issue is that RO systems create a large amount of waste water, almost 5 times as much as they do filtered water in some cases.

Remineralizers

The best alternative to RO’s mineral-deficient water is remineralized water. They are harder to find, but quality water filter companies often have a remineralizer included in their filtration systems. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t just adding minerals to unfiltered water, though.

 

Ionizers

These are the worst offenders when it comes to ridiculous health claims. Multi-level marketing companies got a hold of ionizers a few years back and started selling them without integrity. These are not miracle-machines, but they do have significant health benefits.

Ionizers charge minerals in the water to raise its alkalinity. The resulting alkaline water (above 7 on the pH scale) has been shown to raise overall blood alkalinity, act as an antioxidant capable of killing leukemia cells and increase bone health. These are claims backed by accredited scientific studies, not commercial science.

It’s very important to make sure you only use an ionizer with a water filter, since there is no research on the effects of ionized contaminants. Also, since water can’t be ionized – only the minerals in it – it’s important to have a remineralizer included with your ionizer.

Whole Home Systems

The water you drink isn’t the only water you’re exposed to in the home. If you live in an area with poor water quality (see the EWG’s 10 Best and Worst Water Utilities here), a whole home water filter system would be a good investment because you’re at risk from showering in contaminants.

Hot showers open up your pores, allowing you to absorb contaminants directly into your bloodstream. Similarly, water vaporizes in the heat, leaving your vulnerable to inhaled pollutants such as trihalomethanes (a byproduct of chlorine disinfectants) or fluoride.

Many whole home water filter systems cost thousands of dollars, but there are many more affordable systems on the market that will provide you with much cleaner water.

Which one is for you?

You’ve seen the options – which one fits best for you? If you’re not yet sure, we’d love to talk.

Give us a call at 619-356-3766.

In health!

3 Reasons to Have Clean Water Throughout Your Whole Home

beautiful skin water youthful hydrated

We all know the importance of drinking clean water – it protects us from harmful contaminants and keeps us hydrated – but it’s also crucial that we filter the rest of the water in our homes.

Contaminants in our water can harm us in many more ways than just through drinking. Think of all the ways you come in contact with water throughout an average day.

Below are 3 reasons to filter every drop of water in your home. Enjoy!

1. Your skin absorbs contaminants freely

Your skin doesn’t only depend on the water you drink, it also reacts to the water in which you bathe. For the same reasons that water from the tap can be dangerous to drink, it can be even more harmful to shower in.

You see, our local governments add chlorine and other chemicals to the water supply to disinfect it, but this process creates byproducts that can wreak havoc on your skin and your overall health. When you shower, your pores open up and absorb these toxins, leaving you vulnerable.

2. You can inhale contaminants in hot shower water vapor

If you take hot showers (of course you do), you know that they create steam. If you breathe during your hot showers (of course you do), you’re inhaling compounds such as fluoride directly into your lungs.

Fluoride is added to the water supply by most major municipalities because it’s beneficial when used topically on our teeth. Recent studies suggest, though, that it has detrimental effects when ingested.

What is especially scary about this is the fact that vapors that you inhale hit your bloodstream significantly faster, meaning you could be more vulnerable to fluoride and other contaminants in your shower water than in your drinking water.

3. Whole home systems are affordable

It’s a no brainer that some type of whole home water filter system is necessary in any home. The problem is the confusing marketplace. Many companies will try to sell whole home systems for several thousand dollars.

The Evolution Healthworks Whole-Home Water System effectively removes chemical byproducts and other nasty substances from entering your home.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Reverse Osmosis is Bad For Your Health

reverse osmosis bad

If you’ve researched water filter systems for your home, then you are probably familiar with reverse osmosis.

For those of you who are not familiar, reverse osmosis is commonly described as the most complete way to filter your water. In some ways, this statement is valid. Reverse osmosis uses a membrane to very finely remove almost all dissolved solids from tap water.

This sounds like a great system, right? After all, the point of water filtration is to take out all of the bad substances and leave us with safe water.

It’s not that simple, though.

To get truly safe and healthy water, it’s very important to consider the adverse effects of drinking water that has no beneficial constituents.

The World Health Organization released a report summarizing some eye-opening findings about reverse osmosis and the “demineralized” water it creates. Below are 5 reasons from the report that reveal why reverse osmosis is bad for your health.

 1. It leads to mineral deficiencies 

Water is the universal solvent. When it is demineralized – or run through a reverse osmosis system – it aggressively seeks new metals and minerals to leach and absorb.

This becomes a problem when you RO water – it leaches beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium from your body.

Studies from around the world over a fifty-year period agree that water low in calcium and magnesium leads to a higher rate of bone fractures, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy disorders and some cancers.

2. It makes you urinate more

This might sound obvious – of course drinking water results in more trips to the restroom – but it’s more complicated than that.

Reverse osmosis water throws off water homeostasis in the body, causing a 20% increase in diuresis (aka need to urinate).

3. It negates the nutrients you get from food

Most reverse osmosis companies will advise you to use your demineralized water for cooking. While cooking with the right water can make a significant difference, this is NOT the case for reverse osmosis.

The study explains that cooking with demineralized water actually removes about 60% of the beneficial minerals from your food. Since the majority of our nutrients come from what we eat, cooking with demineralized water can be very detrimental to your dietary health.

4. It leads to more toxic chemicals in your water

Just as reverse osmosis water is likely to absorb minerals in your body, it is also highly aggressive to materials with which it comes into contact before entering your body.

It readily dissolves metals and organic substances from your sink’s pipes, coatings, storage tanks, hose lines and fittings before entering your glass.

Low-mineral water intensifies the leaching process, raising your chances of getting lead poisoning from your kitchen’s plumbing.

5. It’s less thirst-quenching

The report explains that since demineralized water throws off homeostasis in the body, it leads to more thirst.

What’s wrong with a little additional thirst? It means more of all the problems listed above. Welcome to the vicious cycle of reverse osmosis.

 

What’s an acceptable alternative?

It’s important to look for a Drinking Water System that reintroduces healthy trace minerals to your water, in addition to removing harmful contaminants.

The Aura H2O Water Filter not only removes 99.9% of contaminants, but also adds minerals such as calcium and magnesium back to your water. Also, the Evolution Healthworks system wastes no water, compared to the average reverse osmosis system that wastes about 5 gallons for every 1 it filters.

 

More info: The World Health Organization on Water, Sanitation and Health
Protection and the Human Environment 

 

Weight Loss is a Glass Away

weight loss

In today’s world of superfoods, fad diets and workout crazes, potential solutions for those struggling with weight issues are everywhere. The only problem is that most of these “solutions” are expensive and involve some weird-tasting drinks or awkward movements. How many infomercials have you seen touting a workout machine (that requires some ridiculously painful-looking contortion) for three easy payments of $59.99?

The truth is, many of these weight loss techniques are great, but only if you first focus on one much more important aspect of your health. The best part about this one aspect? It’s a lot easier than eating seaweed or doing a side bend.

So what is this utopian, so-easy-anyone-can-do-it cure-all for weight loss? Drink more water. Yes, it’s that simple.

How does drinking water help with weight issues?

Lauren Grant, CEO and Founder of The Hungry Heart – a highly-regarded emotional eating and weight loss counseling service in Southern California – explains that “Many times people end up overeating when they are actually dehydrated.”

Grant shares that many of us are simply mistaking our thirst for hunger. An empty stomach often indicates hunger, but in many cases, it’s actually asking for more water. Learning to recognize this can result in some immediate results.

“You may notice your food consumption goes down as you drink more water and eat water-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes or water-based healthy soups,” Grant said.

Simple, right? No need for a fancy DVD or a $300 weekly grocery bill. The first step to losing weight is much easier.

If it’s so easy, though, why don’t more people just drink water? Why don’t we see more commercials for water? There’s several reasons – one is obvious and the other is more subconscious.

The first is that drinking more water than usual results in more trips to the restroom than usual. This is a completely valid concern – no one likes running off to the restroom every half hour. Is it really that bad, however, considering the payoff? If it helps with pesky weight issues, wouldn’t you rather make a few extra trips to the john? If nothing else, at least it gives you some extra exercise (optimism is also important)!

There’s another reason more people don’t turn to water for their weight loss issues, but this one is a little less obvious. We buy into fad diets and buy exotic workout machines because they are different. Our minds are hard-wired to search for new solutions when it doesn’t seem like anything we’re currently doing is helping. Thus, the weirder and more exotic the solution, the more our mind is attracted to it.

Imagine your internal dialogue: “Why would water help me? I’ve always drank water. The key to weight loss is doing a crab walk to Brazilian dance music while eating a flaxseed celery cookie. I’ve never done that before, therefore that is the solution!”

Now that you’re convinced, let’s discuss how much water is enough. I’m sure you’ve heard the classic “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” rule. While following this memorable plan will certainly be better than drinking nothing, it is much too simplified.

Grant argues that the average person needs 80 ounces of water a day, without physical activity, perspiration or a variety of other factors. You actually need even more water if you’re active, on medication, or you drink coffee or alcohol. Bottoms up, folks.

For more information on effective routes to losing weight naturally and keeping it off, check out The Hungry Heart’s brand new Free Video Counseling series. Grant and her talented team have been helping men and women with their emotional eating and weight issues since 1996.

Before you increase your water intake significantly, though, you should be aware of the possible contaminants lurking in your home’s tap water.

What doesn’t kill you makes you sicker

chlorine-Danger

Following last month’s drinking water crisis in Ohio, city officials around Lake Erie started adding more chlorine to the area’s water supply to combat the effects of microorganisms originating from an algae bloom. This is another reminder of the widespread practice of adding disinfectants to city water supplies in order to combat contaminants.

Disinfectants such as chlorine are effective in killing dangerous microorganisms, but they can also wreak havoc on our bodies. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to chlorinated water can cause bladder cancer. form harmful byproducts called tri-halomethanes (THM) that can wreak havoc on our bodies.

One well-known THM is chloroform, which is classified by the EPA as a carcinogen. Other effects of chloroform ingestion, absorption or inhalation include kidney and liver damage, immune system dysfunction and birth defects.

Why worry, though? Even if we drink a little chloroform, why would we absorb or inhale it? This is where it gets scary, folks.

Did you know that we can absorb and inhale more chloroform in a 10-minute shower than we would drinking eight glasses of water in a day? This is because warm showers open up our pores, allowing contaminants to be easily absorbed. Showers also create steam, which we inhale, introducing chloroform to our respiratory system.

Cities have been chlorinating water supplies for over a century. Despite the setbacks, disinfection is necessary to combat microorganisms that would make us very sick, very quickly. Since the practice is not going to end any time soon, it’s our responsibility to manage the water coming into our homes.

The only way to ensure that every drop of water in your home is free from dangerous THMs and byproducts is to install a Whole Home Water System. Be careful in your search, though. Many companies charge thousands of dollars for these systems, using their size as justification for a hefty price.

The Evolution Healthworks Whole Home Water System is extremely effective and is priced affordably. It is also smaller than other similar products on the market, leaving you more room in the garage to store your gear.

Big Fracking Problem: How oil drilling wreaks havoc on your water

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The highly controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing – better known as fracking – is back in the news again after a recent report revealed that regulations protecting municipal drinking water sources are not adequate.

This comes on the heels of California’s announcement last months that it would be shutting down 11 fracking wastewater disposal sites for leaks that contaminated drinking water aquifers.

Many expected the Government Accountability Office report to finally raise concerns about fracking’s effects on personal and environmental health, but a study by Media Matters found that the media is dropping the ball on covering the report’s findings.

Fracking has mustered a great deal of support because of its proposed benefits, including increased energy independence and beefy economic stimulus (to the tune of $24-28 billion annually in large fracking states such as California). The practice’s drawbacks, though, negate its benefits.

How does it work?

Oil companies love fracking because it is an an effective method for extracting more oil than regular vertical drilling. The hydraulic fracturing process drills down into the earth and then pumps a mixture of fluid chemicals and sand at a very high pressure to create horizontal fractures, releasing oil from rock formations. The oil – and the chemicals – then bubble to the surface.

The chemicals used for fracking include “ethylene glycol, which can damage kidneys; formaldehyde, a known cancer risk; and naphthalene, considered a possible carcinogen.”

Once separated from the oil, the chemicals are disposed of in “wastewater injection wells.”

The problem

The safety of these wastewater injection wells is basically a crapshoot. The regulations for constructing one vary by location. For example, Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources issues permits to construct wells, but companies in Pennsylvania must go to the EPA for permits. The result? 200 wastewater injection wells in Ohio and only 10 in Pennsylvania.

The GAO’s report suggests that these hastily granted permits (Ohio DNR typically processes applications in 6 weeks versus the EPA’s 6 months) result in poorly regulated wells that are responsible for poisoning water supplies.

Despite being built of mostly steel and concrete, the wastewater injection well casings are highly susceptible to seismic activity, which wouldn’t be as much of an issue if fracking wasn’t also scientifically proven to cause earthquakes.

Frequent earthquakes, caused by the process of injecting water into faults in the earth, damage these deep injection wells and allow dangerous chemicals to leak into the earth, and eventually into your tap water.

Why isn’t this a bigger story?

The fact that constant reports of fracking’s negative effects on municipal drinking water haven’t been covered in the news is highly alarming. The Media Matter study found that in four of the states doing the most fracking (Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Colorado), only one major newspaper reported on the GAO’s findings.

Several of these papers have published editorials in support of fracking, likely revealing the reasoning behind their failure to cover the GAO report.

What can you do?

As fracking continues to boom, the number of dangerous wastewater injection wells will also increase.

Check out this map to see if fracking occurs where you live.

As always, you can write a letter to your local Congressman, but unless you’re ready to include a fat check rivaling those oil and gas industry lobbyists are writing, your letter is likely to go unnoticed.

If fracking is happening in your area, your water could be at risk today. Take matters into your hands and find out how a Whole Home Water System can protect you from the carcinogens fracking is releasing into your water.

 

Update: More info on this topic from a member of the National Resources Defense Council

9 reasons to drink water every day

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1. It’s the key to life. Water is absolutely essential to the human body’s survival. A person can live for about a month without food, but only about a week without water.

2. It keeps you slim. Water helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite.

3. It wakes you up. Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is actually mild dehydration.

4. It can make you live longer. Drinking adequate amounts of water can decrease the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, bladder cancer, and breast cancer.

5. It takes away pain. For a majority of sufferers, drinking water can significantly reduce joint and/or back pain.

6. It detoxifies your body. Water leads to overall greater health by flushing out wastes and bacteria that can cause disease.

7. It makes you feel better. Water can prevent and alleviate headaches.

8. It makes you look younger. Water naturally moisturizes skin and ensures proper cellular formation underneath layers of skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.

9. It makes your regular. Water aids in the digestion process and prevents constipation.