Are you getting Pure Water?

by Garnet McPherson Director Canadian Natural Health Association

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So what type of water should you drink? Bottled? Filtered? Straight from the tap? Today there are many questions about the effects of municipal water supplies on health and even many popular spring water sources can have purity issues. So what are our options? The Canadian Natural Health Association recommends distilled or purified water.

Municipal water can no longer be assumed to be healthy water. There are questions about the long term effects of chlorination and fluoride not the mention the nasties that can slip by the water treatment plants. Many municipalities like New York have adopted Ultra Violet water treatment as an alternative to the use of chlorine. Citizens can always install filter systems to remove chlorine and other impurities before one cooks or showers in municipal water.

"Spring water," sounds pure and healthy, but it's just water that comes from naturally flowing springs. It does not have the minerals removed (a selling point for some people), but the downside is that spring water is not yet required to be analyzed for chemical and bacterial levels. Distilled water has all the metals (both harmful and helpful) removed. Most people find this makes it taste flat. Purified water has either been distilled or forced through a membrane in a process, known as "reverse osmosis," which reduces the amount of minerals it contains but may leave organic impurities.

So what's the safest way to drink water? Although bottled water may be a step above what comes out of your tap, reverse osmosis with carbon filtering produces what is probably the purest drinking water that is easily obtainable. Effective filtration removes most of the carcinogens, pesticides, chlorine and lead, as well as bacteria (such as giardia, an intestinal parasite you definitely do not want to have visit you) that are commonly found in drinking water. The real purists take this filtered water and then run it through a distiller to eliminate virtually every contaminant.

We are just beginning to understand the dynamics of how our waste management policies are effecting our ground water reserves. If you are on a well it is wise to have your water regularly tested not only for bacteria but for potentially toxic chemicals that may have found their way into your water supply.

If you have concerns about your water quality take action. Remember the first step to good health is drinking plenty of clean water.

We live in the country. Our well water at home was hard and had higher levels of contaminants then I felt comfortable with. So I called SWS in Cobourg who installed a sediment filter followed by a softener and UV treatment before the water even entered our water system. Under our kitchen sink we installed a 5 stage reverse osmosis system for our drinking and cooking water. There are many benefits to filtration but the most important one for me is that my family now loves the way the water tastes and consequently drinks more of it every day which improves their overall health in many ways.

It is quite simple, ample and clean water helps to create and maintain optimum health and you deserve to be the best that you can be!

Garnet McPherson is the director of the Canadian Natural Health Association as well as the Green Planet Foundation. He works as an environmental health consultant and can be reached through Earth Walk at 905-355-3000.

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