Bottled Water Contaminants
In the past, municipal water supplies were monitored only for bacterial contamination and simply treated with chlorine. Most municipal water treatment facilities treated sewage and discharged the treated water back into streams and rivers, which were quite efficient at completing decontamination processes when contaminants remain below critical levels. There are two primary differences today. The first is that many cities recycle their sewage treatment water; the second is that individual users themselves unknowingly add contaminants that cannot be filtered out or otherwise neutralized.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has reviewed the records of municipal treatment facilities annually since 2004. By 2009, the EWG had identified 315 separate pollutants in the tap water that Americans drink, as reported by treatment facilities themselves. The “major” contaminants such as heavy metals – iron, mercury and others – and bacteria all can be dealt with quite well. Of greater concern today are other issues. Some of the newer contaminants are byproducts of pharmaceutical drugs passed in the urine of former water users and recycled for reuse in other homes. Metals are beginning to appear again, but in forms that existing water treatment facilities cannot properly remove. They are nano-sized particles of minerals and metals used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, either to assist in the action of specific drugs or to affect some physical property of the drug as delivered to the user. Food processing companies also use some of these nano-sized particles for preservation or stabilization of processed foods.
Of particular concern in matters of heart health are the minerals and industrial reagents used to enhance the action of “designer drugs,” which are pharmaceutical compounds that narrowly target specific conditions. These carrier compounds that later become water supply contaminants deliver compounds to the cell wall and “trick” the cell wall into accepting the compounds rather than rejecting them. The natural reaction of the cell wall is to defend the cell against the foreign molecule of the drug. The carrier agent provides a masquerade costume for the molecule and causes the cell wall to accept the molecule. This action is necessary to gain any benefit from the drug, but when it is recycled through city drinking water, it also affects the cell wall permeability of other people.
Countless numbers of people have turned away from tap water in the past several years, choosing to drink bottled water. Most producers merely use filtered municipal water supplies; some package pure spring water in plastic bottles. The end result for each is that by the time the package reaches the consumer, the plastic packaging has released xenohormones into the water contained in the bottle. A xenohormone is a man-made substance that mimics the activity of naturally-occurring hormones. The xenohormone that is of greatest concern relative to plastic water bottles is xenoestrogen. Clinics in developed nations have reported dramatic increases in treatment programs to counteract the development of male breasts resulting from estrogen-like substances in the food supply. Some of those substances originate with hormone-fed cattle, but likely the greater sources are the remains of birth control pills in drinking water and xenoestrogen released from plastic bottles.
Glass bottles do not release any xenohormones into the water contained within them. If they are filled with filtered municipal water, however, it is likely that water in glass bottles still contains xenohormones at some level. In 2009, German researchers analyzed commercially available bottled water for the presence of xenoestrogens. They tested twenty brands of bottled water available in Germany, nine of which were packaged in glass bottles. Though the water packaged in plastic bottles registered much higher levels of xenoestrogens, fully one-third of the water packaged in glass bottles did as well.
These chemicals are just some of the few pollutants found in drinking water that may have an effect on long term heart health. Therefore people should drink purified water to reduce any risk from water pollutants that can harm our bodies and our heart. Water is the most essential element for all living things, and drinking clean purified water on a daily basis will improve your overall health and recovery.
The bottom line for those concerned with their health and drinking water contamination is to consider an efficient water purification system. It will be years before existing water treatment standards will be able to meet today’s needs, and clearly bottled water is not the best solution.