It’s been a while since I’ve done a rant, and it’s been a while since I’ve really talked about water purity, so I thought I would put the two together today.
During the past 25 years that I’ve been in the water industry, the most amazing thing I’ve learned is that THERE IS SO MUCH MISINFORMATION about water!
This stems from the fact that there are so many competing agenda’s on water and everyone with an agenda stirs up the message to make it cloudy. Consider these points…
ENVIRONMENTALISTS want you to stop buying bottled water, so they tell you that tap water is safe to drink. But they don’t know where you live or what’s in your water so this is a very irresponsible claim.
The vast majority of GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS know nothing about water, but what they do want is for you to stay calm and not put the spotlight on them, so they tell you that your drinking water is safe to drink. But what they don’t tell you is that they are using the LEGAL definition of the word “safe”, not the English language definition of the word safe. This is extremely deceptive, and is probably at the heart of most of the misunderstanding about water.
SCIENTISTS will look at a contaminant that’s in the water, and they may notice a higher rate of a certain type of cancer in your area, but they won’t draw any conclusions. Scientists usually say, “the data is inconclusive, more studies are needed,” which of course, is job security for them. They want money for the next study, but the result of each study is usually that more research is needed. Yes, research can help shape policy in the long term, but this continual research does nothing to help you and your family now.
Some COMPANIES AND SALESPERSONS will say anything to get you to buy their product, even lie or tell fantastic stories about how water is alive (it isn’t), or about how their filter takes out the bad stuff but leaves in the good stuff (impossible).
THE MEDIA has an agenda as well. They will ignore 99.99% of water problems, but when there is a slow news period they will find a water issue and turn it into a spectacle for a short period of time. Their agenda is to create a short term news bonanza that will draw attention, then they will drop the issue like a hot potato.
Even many DOCTORS AND NUTRITIONISTS know very little about water, water purity or how it acts in your body, but they will speak with authority on it, thus spreading the misinformation and confusion about water.
THE RESULT: A TON OF MISINFORMATION ON AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT SUBJECT!
This misinformation can negatively affect the health of you and your family.
So I want to start at the beginning: I want to start with this point; we live in a toxic world, and it’s only getting worse.
Think about it this way; until very recently, humans have lived in a chemical-free world. Of course, what I am referring to are the highly-refined and very powerful synthetic chemicals that are mainly created from petroleum. The first synthetic chemical from petroleum was created only about 150 years ago. Up until that time, synthetic chemicals simply didn’t exist.
But it wasn’t until about 90 years ago that the modern petrochemical industry was born and these chemicals were mass-produced. At this time, most of our environment was still pristine. There are people still alive (perhaps your grandparents when they were young) who drank water that was still mostly untouched by these chemicals.
Within this period of time another thing happened. The human population grew from around 1.7 billion people to over 7.6 billion! This is an astonishing growth rate! This 500% increase in population drove massive increases in chemical production.
Now over 60,000 different chemicals are in use today.
Over 5 BILLION pounds of chemicals are used every year in the USA (which is on top of the 5 billion pounds that were used the year before, and the year before that, etc). These chemicals include solvents, gasoline additives, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. By the way, the term ‘cides’ refers to chemicals that are intentionally designed to kill things. They are often made from petrochemicals because these are chemicals that are based on the carbon atom, and all life-forms are based on the carbon atom, thus they are good at attacking living organisms.
These chemicals are widespread, and are now thoroughly spread throughout every part of our environment. Whether a chemical is burned, dumped, flushed, buried or sprayed it can find it’s way into our streams, lakes and rivers, which is where we get our drinking water.
Recently, the US Geological Survey studied 178 streams across the USA for pesticides. The study showed that EVERY SINGLE STREAM contained at least one pesticide. 20% of them contained more than TEN pesticides. Note that this study was only looking for pesticides and not the countless other types of chemicals in our environment.
Within the next 25 years the human population is expected to exceed 9 billion people. Like it or not, world chemical production will only increase and our world will become more toxic.
But we shouldn’t worry, because the government is ensuring that the water coming out of our tap is safe, right?
Well, it depends upon your definition of “safe”.
One of the most important things that you must understand about water is that when the government says that the water coming from your tap is “safe”, they are using the LEGAL definition of the word “safe”, not the English language definition of the word safe.
Did they ever tell you this? No.
So, when the government tells you that your local tap water is “safe”, it still may contain dangerous chemicals! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Almost deceptive even. I believe that this practice by the government is the number one reason that people are so misinformed about water.
A recent article by the New York Times says this, “Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times.”
The article then quotes Dr. Pankaj Parekh, director of the water quality division for the City of Los Angeles, “People don’t understand that just because water is technically legal, it can still present health risks”.
Modern water treatment plants were designed primarily to protect against bacteria and parasites (which is hugely important). They are simply not able, however, to provide a high level of protection against the full range of potential contaminants. Especially when you consider that only 2% of the water that is sent through the taps is consumed.
So how dangerous are these chemicals?
We know that of the 830 most common chemicals, many are associated with cancer or other diseases. The majority of chemicals however have unknown affects on our health. This brings us to another important point about water.
Do you remember the chemical spill that happened in West Virginia in 2014? Over 10,000 gallons of MCHM leaked from a neglected storage tank into West Virginia’s Elk River, just upstream from a major water intake facility. As a result, 300,000 residents were told not to drink, cook with, bathe or even touch the water. Even though this chemical was is in active production and use, there was no publicly released hazard data or evidence of it’s safety.
How can this be? This chemical is one of tens of thousands of chemicals on the market with little or no safety data. The fact is that in 1976, 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered into the TSCA, the USA’s main chemical safety law. What does grandfathering mean? It means that all of these chemicals were simply presumed to be safe by the EPA. The EPA is not even allowed to determine whether these chemicals are dangerous unless they first provide evidence that the chemical may pose a risk. A classic catch-22.
Now, let’s stay on the subject of this West Virginia chemical spill. It was a huge media event and it was the top story in the news for more than a week. The inference was that this type of chemical spill was a rare event, but is it?
Not in the slightest.
After the WV chemical spill, BusinessWeek reported that there were over 3,885 similar chemical spills in the U.S. in 2013!
That equates to more than 10 per day in the USA!
Pause for a moment and let that sink in…
Now, let’s take it a step further. This number of 3,885 chemical spills in 2013 is based solely on self-reports of accidents from 76 publicly traded companies. So how many unreported chemical spills came from the thousands of other companies? The military? Other government agencies? Twice this amount? Ten times this amount?
The answer is simply that no one knows.
Now, let’s take it a step further. This number of 3,885 chemical spills in 2013 is based solely on self-reports of accidents from 76 publicly traded companies. So how many unreported chemical spills came from the thousands of other companies? The military? Other government agencies? Twice this amount? Ten times this amount? The answer is simply that no one knows.
Lead in the Water.
It’s now been almost three years since the outcry over lead in the water in Flint, MI. Lead is a very dangerous heavy metal because it builds up in your system and can cause very serious health problems, especially for children and babies. The EPA sets a maximum level of lead at 15 parts per billion (ppb). At it’s highest, the lead level in Flint tap water was 158 ppb, more than 10x the limit!
It’s important to note that there is NO safe level of lead exposure. Even at small doses, lead poses a health threat, especially for pregnant women, infants and young children. Lead can damage growing brains and cause reduced IQs, attention disorders and problem behaviors. The fact is that hundreds of kids have permanent brain damage because of being exposed to lead in Flint.
So we must have solved the problem by now, right?
Just two months after the Flint, MI crisis hit the news, USA TODAY published an investigation that “identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.“
2,000 water systems! Of these 2,000 water systems…
- 350 provided water to schools and daycares.
- 180 failed to notify customers.
- A Maine Elementary School had water that that was 42x the legal limit for lead!
- A Pennsylvania preschool had water that that was 14x the legal limit for lead!
- An Ithica, NY Elementary School had water that that was 333x the legal limit for lead! (this is so high that it’s on the verge of being toxic waste).
Since then there have been a number of other reports about how big a problem lead is. A CNN article reported that, “More than 5,300 water systems in America are in violation of the EPA’s lead and copper rule…What’s worse, the report reveals that the EPA is also aware that many utilities “game the system,” using flawed or questionable testing methods in order to avoid detecting high levels of lead.“
We have personal experience of witnessing this “gaming the system”. About a decade ago we traveled to schools around the country to try to help them solve this problem. At the time, it was common practice for custodians in a particular school district to get to the school early and flush out the water lines because they knew that the State was coming to test the water.
Yes, lead is a big concern, but it’s only one of countless dangerous contaminants that can be in water.
Another example is atrazine. “Environmental Protection Agency data show that in some Corn Belt communities, atrazine levels can spike three to seven times above the legal limit in late spring and early summer. But by avoiding water testing during peak periods, some water utilities stay in compliance with drinking water regulations – and don’t have to tell customers they were exposed to a hazardous chemical in their tap water.“
So here are some facts…
FIRST, we live in an increasingly toxic world. The evidence for this is staggering.
SECOND, you don’t know what is in your drinking water right now. Nor does the government know.
THIRD, there are many contaminants that have been found in water systems across the USA that are dangerous, and many more that have unknown health effects on your body.
FOURTH, water contamination can be dangerous to anyone, but it’s especially dangerous for babies because it can interfere with brain development.
So here’s what it comes down to…
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF WATER FOR YOUR FAMILY!
You should do whatever you can to ensure that your family drinks the purest water possible. Don’t sit back and rely upon the government, because your standards are different from theirs. You want to protect your loved ones to the highest degree.
There are two primary technologies for purifying water; filtration and distillation.
FILTRATION, which includes reverse osmosis, is the most popular method because it’s cheap and because the constant replacement of filters is a good source of residual revenue for companies. There is a lot of variability in the performance of filters though. There are many different types of filters, each of which is specialized for a particular type of contaminant, so a good filter solution will include a combination of filters that is designed for your particular water analysis. For this reason, if you want to have a filter solution you should avoid the simple, mass-marketed filters and instead go to a qualified local water treatment specialist and have him design one for your water.
DISTILLATION is recognized as the gold standard for purification, because it’s certainly the best way to purify water. A good water distiller will provide broader protection against contaminants in water than filters, and this protection will be much more consistent over time. While filters need to be specifically designed for your specific water based on which contaminants are in it, distillation offers broad-spectrum removal and will provide consistent results on the vast majority of water sources.
The only water that my family and I consume on a regular basis is freshly distilled water.
We’ve been drinking distilled water for over 30 years, and this is what we will do for the rest of our lives.
Now, I want to be a little knit-picky here to clarify something…
Actually, there is no such thing as “distilled water”. Water is water. The only difference between different types of water is how clean it is. The only difference between highly contaminated ocean water, for example, and pure rain water are the contaminants that are in the water.
The word “distilled” just describes the method by which the water was cleaned. The process of distillation is usually a very thorough and consistent way to clean water, so it’s considered the gold standard of clean water. “Filtered water”, on the other hand, can describe water that has a huge variability in the water’s purity. Filters are not nearly as effective or consistent as the process of distillation.
It’s Important to Act Now
Every day that you are not consuming purified water is a day that you could be harming your body. This is especially true for infants, children, diabetics and the elderly.
Consider the people in Flint, Michigan who drank the lead contaminated water for over a year without even knowing it. The children who drank the water are permanently brain damaged.
I don’t know if there are dangerous contaminants in your tap water right now or not (nor does the government know), but this has happened countless times, and it’s happening right now in different parts of the country. There are places right now that have dangerous levels of lead, pesticides and other contaminants in their water and the people don’t know it.
And those people may never know that their child has a lower IQ due to lead in their water. Or that they got cancer from something that was in their water, such as the military families at Camp Lejeune.
It’s important to act now to ensure that all the water you consume is high purity water.
There is Good News…
The good news is that purifying your water is cheaper and simpler to do than any other healthy-lifestyle change that you want to make in your life, which means that you will be able to enjoy the long-term health benefits.
Unlike exercise equipment that requires you to take action and change your lifestyle, with a good water purifier, you simply have to drink water from faucet A on your sink as opposed to faucet B. Since there is no lifestyle change required, you can feel confident that it’s a change that you will be able to adopt for the long term.
It’s not nearly as complicated, difficult or as expensive as a change to your diet.
And, pure water will make everything taste better, including your coffee, tea, soups, etc.
- Educate yourself properly and DO NOT FALL for misinformation.
- Prioritize pure water. Consuming only purified water is a very important action you can take to keep your family healthy and safe. It’s also one of the simplest actions you can take.
- It’s not just about drinking water, but all of the water you consume should be pure. Anything that goes into your body should be made with purified water. This includes coffee, tea, pasta, cooking veggies, protein shakes, soups, ice cubes and baby formula.
- It’s important that everyone in your family consumes purified water, but it’s especially important for babies, children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Ensure that your child drinks plenty of good water. Also note that there have been a number of cases in which schools and preschools have had very high levels of lead in their water, so be careful with this. Make sure that your child is drinking purified water at school.
- Water that comes in contact with your skin (showers, baths, etc) does not need to be high purity water, but you may want to look into a carbon filter. This is especially true in certain parts of the country that have specific organic based chemicals in the water.
- If you choose to get an high-end filter and reverse osmosis system for your drinking water, go to a well-known local water treatment dealer and have him / her test your water before designing the right system for your specific contaminants. In addition, make sure that they frequently change the filters (at least twice a year or more). Such a system will typically run between $4,000 and $7,000.
- Alternatively (and preferably) get a good water distiller for all of your consumable water needs. A properly designed water distiller should last you 30 years, and it will provide you with excellent water for the entire time. I recommend an automatic distiller that plumbs into your water line and automatically produces distilled water as you need it, and then it delivers the distilled water to a separate faucet on your sink with a pump. Such a distiller will actually be less expensive than a good reverse osmosis system, and it will produce better, more consistent results.
What I Do For My Family…
If you want specific recommendations, I recommend that you buy a water distiller from my father’s business (instructions below).
Before I launched the Survival Still and started my own company, I worked with my father for over 20 years.
My father’s business was the first company in the world to produce a stainless steel household distiller in 1968, and they have been the world’s leading producers of premium distillers since then. Hundreds of thousands of families use their distillers, and many US Embassies rely on their distillers to protect their employees from harsh water conditions and potential terror threats to their water supplies.
They are the best distillers on the market and they are made in the USA by an ethical, fantastic company. I think you will find them to be quite reasonably priced, and surprisingly, even the larger automatic systems are priced lower than a professionally designed filter system.
I personally use and recommend the larger size systems, and I recommend getting a pump with the system so that you can have the water delivered directly to a separate faucet on your sink. Remember that it’s not just about drinking pure water, but rather, everything that you CONSUME should be pure. This means that soups, coffee, tea, pasta, rice, protein drinks, and especially baby formula should be made with pure water, which is why I recommend the larger sizes.
There are two ways to order.
First, you can order online by going here. Use the coupon code 327417 in order to get a discount on your purchase. I
If you want to talk to someone about the AquaNui products, call the company at 402-467-9300, and talk to Jim Blakely or Courtney Meder (my sister) who will be able to explain anything about the products and can help you choose the right option. Tell them about the discount code “327417”.
I am thankful that I am in the position to educate you on water contamination and steps that you can take to protect your family. I hope you liked my rant. Leave a comment if you have any questions.
I hope this helps you.
P.S. Full disclosure, yes I receive a small commission if you follow this link and purchase a distiller, but this commission does not affect the price that you would get the product for. Also, I would recommend these distillers even if I didn’t get a commission because they are simply the best.