Category Archives: Home Water Filtration Systems

How Pharmaceuticals in Your Tap Water Are Affecting You

Pharmaceuticals In Drinking Water

Pharmaceuticals – the wide range of medications prescribed for any number of ailments and conditions – may have some dangerous side effects that aren’t listed in the fine print.

A vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public “doesn’t know how to interpret the information” and might be unduly alarmed.

The issue here is that water utilities do not yet have the infrastructure to adequately test and filter these “emerging contaminants,” but recent studies have shown some glaring concerns that suggest we might want to tackle this issue soon.

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

How do the pharmaceuticals get in our drinking water?

  1. People take pills.
  2. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet.
  3. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes.
  4. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

 

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise.

For example, water department officials in New Orleans said their water had not been tested for pharmaceuticals, but a Tulane University researcher and his students have published a study that found the pain reliever naproxen, the sex hormone estrone and the anti-cholesterol drug byproduct clofibric acid in treated drinking water.

In the United States, the problem isn’t confined to surface waters.

Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation’s water supply.

Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

And while drugs are tested to be safe for humans, the timeframe is usually over a matter of months, not a lifetime. Pharmaceuticals also can produce side effects and interact with other drugs at normal medical doses. That’s why aside from therapeutic doses of fluoride injected into potable water supplies pharmaceuticals are prescribed to people who need them, not delivered to everyone in their drinking water.

Sources:

  1. http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/pharmawater_site/day1_01.html

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!

3 Reasons to Quit Your Water Delivery Service

waterDelivery

The 5-gallon water jug has become a staple of offices and homes across the country. Many businesses and home owners feel that water delivery services provide them with an easy, healthy and cheap alternative to water straight from the tap.

However, these ideas aren’t totally valid. In fact, there are some pretty negative effects from using these water delivery services on your health, your wallet and the environment.

Check out these reasons why you should ditch the water cooler!

Price

While cheaper than bottled water (Americans spend $1.45 per bottle on average), a home delivery service is still expensive. We took a look at two prominent companies in the San Diego area. If you purchase three 5-gallon jugs for your home or office each month (the most common option) you’re looking at $22.49 per month with Sparklett’s. If go with Arrowhead (owned by Nestle), you’ll shell out $3.75 per 5 gallon jug, but also need to rent the water cooler, with a total that comes out to $22.47 monthly with delivery.

Doing some simple math, that means that the average consumer is paying $1.49 per gallon. Thats a pretty steep price considering the Aura H20 water system can give you higher quality water at your tap for only 20 cents per gallon your first year, and then 8 cents a gallon every year after.

Water Quality

The water quality from home delivery is roughly equivalent to that of bottled water. Most bottled water isn’t from a spring or mountain. In fact, a recent study showed that around 25% of bottled water is simply tap water. Additional studies have shown this leads to things like mold, microbes, benzene, tri-halomethanes, and even arsenic in your bottled water.

Moreover, even if your water is clean and pure, you’re still putting yourself at risk by using the bottle. Plastic bottles pose the risk of containing BPA in them, which can leach into your water and be cancerous.

Using an in-home filtration system eliminates all of these issues.

Plastic Pollutes the Environment

As much as companies want to tell you plastic bottles are sustainable, they are not. Vast quantities of fossil fuels and water go into creating these bottles, which are then filled and shipped around the globe. Bottles aren’t biodegradable either, meaning that they can stick around for a long time!

An under-counter filtration system eliminates the extensive carbon footprint of plastic production and shipping involved in home water delivery services.

The Solution

The best solution is to install a water filtration system in your home or office. Evolution Healthworks systems are less expensive than bottled water, produce higher-quality water and are better for the environment.

Check out our products TODAY!  Or give us a call at 619-356-3766

 

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.

7 Easy Ways to Drink More Water

filtered water

Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget about staying hydrated. After all, drinking water isn’t exactly the most fun thing to do. Research suggests that the easiest way to learn new habits is by incorporating them into your existing routines.  This is what we’ve done with these 7 easy ways to make sure you’re staying hydrated!

1. If you eat, drink

An easy way to start drinking water more often is to have a glass before every meal. It’s a simple transition, because most likely you drink something while you’re eating. Drinking water also helps you eat less, so your waistline will thank you. This trick applies to drinking as well – try having a glass of water for every cocktail or beer you order. It’ll help with your hangovers!

2. Take it with you

You can’t drink water if you don’t have access. Carrying your own water bottle is a great way to avoid costly, wasteful bottled water. It’s also important to avoid plastic, which can leach harmful BPAs. Our Evolution Healthworks Glass DrinkSafes are perfect on-the-go bottles because they have a neoprene sleeve with handles.

3. Eat your veggies!

You don’t always have to drink in order to stay hydrated. Many vegetables and fruits are packed with water, so you can stay hydrated without chugging all day!

4. Set an alarm

If you’re anything like us, you and your smartphone are inseparable. Let’s face it: phones are becoming our appendages, so we might as well use them to our benefit. It’s simple – go to your Calendar app and set alerts for several times tomorrow (i.e. 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm) with any label – maybe a Wave emoji? Then, click on the Repeat option and set it to Every Day. Now, as you’re Buzzfeeding your day away, you’ll be reminded to stay hydrated!

5. Make a game out of it

Like playing games? Of course you do. Like competition? Of course you do. Studies have shown that adding a social or competitive aspect to your goals leads to much higher levels of achievement. Think Weight Watchers meetings. Or people posting their workout numbers on social media every day. Adding this layer of social pressure leads to much better results.

Now you don’t have to throw it in everyone’s faces, but you can start a mini-competition between yourself and a few friends. Just set some stakes (first round of drinks?) and keep track. Whoever hits 8 glasses a day for the longest wins!

6. Get your money’s worth

Here at Evolution Healthworks, we’ve had numerous customers tell us that they started drinking much more water after they purchased one of our home water filtration systems. We all like to get our money’s worth. If you buy a gym membership, you’re going to use it. The same goes for drinking water systems – the only difference is its much easier to drink more water than it is to go to the gym. Even better, you’ll see results much faster.

7. Reward yourself

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that we’re all humans. The reason you’re dehydrated in the first place is because life is hectic and it’s easy to forget to drink water. So when you succeed, make sure to reward yourself. We’ll let you decide how to do this, but whatever it is – make it worth your while to stay hydrated!