Let’s face it, a cancer diagnosis is probably one of the worst things that we can imagine and people that have gone through that experience can attest to that. This is a very emotional time and the desire to remove potential cancer risks is going to require some major lifestyle changes. Most cancer prevention plans involve quitting smoking, taking exercise, ditching junk food, and limiting the exposure to UV light and toxic chemicals. This is all excellent advice, but one area of our lives that is typically overlooked is our drinking water. We trust that the water from our tap is clean and healthy but even if it meets EPA and local standards it can still contain three contaminants that are potential causes of cancer.
A Brief Primer
The Environmental Working Group or EWG has found 22 carcinogens that are found in our tap water. Each of these can cause a cumulative increase in the risk of developing cancer in 100,000 citizens over the course of their life. Most of the risk comes from naturally occurring contaminants and although our water is amongst the cleanest in the world it cannot be guaranteed safe. The greatest risk is from three contaminants, they are arsenic, disinfection byproducts, and radionuclides. Let’s take a look at these contaminants in more detail and how you can remove them from your drinking water.
This is a highly toxic chemical element found naturally in soil and rocks. It’s also a byproduct of certain mining and industrial activities, including copper smelting and coal burning. Arsenic can enter the water supply from these natural deposits or during agricultural and industrial pollution. Arsenic is hard to detect without laboratory testing, it has no discernible taste, odor, or color. Exposure to arsenic can lead to a number of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, brain development problems for children, congenital disabilities, and an increased risk of developing cancer.
2. Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs)
Many public water suppliers add chlorine or chloramine (ammonia and chlorine) to the water as a disinfectant. This has been an effective way to kill microorganisms that can cause waterborne diseases for many decades. But, during this process disinfection byproducts or DPBs are formed when the chemical comes into contact with organic compounds in the water. High levels of exposure to DBPs have been linked to the development of kidney, liver, intestinal, and bladder cancers.
Mention the term radionuclides or radioactive elements to most people and you will notice that they become concerned. This is a justified fear, radionuclides occur naturally or they could be man-made but in both cases they are carcinogens. Radionuclides found in nature such as radium and uranium can break down in surface and groundwater sources. Certain industrial and mining activities can also release radionuclides into the environment where they can enter a source of water during runoff, Radionuclides damage healthy cells and tissues leading to unchecked cell growth, and we refer to this as cancer.
What Can I Do About These Contaminants?
Switching to bottled water is not a viable alternative because this can also contain cancer causing contaminants. The most reliable solution is to install your own water filtration system to remove these contaminants from the incoming water supply. Modern filtration systems can remove a wide variety of contaminants including those shown above. If you want to switch to cleaner, fresher, and healthier drinking water for your home contact your local water treatment specialist today.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.