Archive for the ‘environmental working group water’ tag

Apr 23, 2012

Safe Drinking Water: an endangered resource

Posted by in category: biological

Our bodies are composed of 50 to 65 percent water. Without it – we die. Yet studies indicate that human beings are destroying this precious resource that is so vital to our very existence.

The Pacific Institute, in a 2010 report issued for Global Water Day, reports that every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water — the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.1

The UN estimates that the amount of wastewater produced annually is about 1,500 km, six times more water than exists in all the rivers of the world. (UN WWAP, 2003) .1 In fact, more people die from unsafe water annually than from all forms of violence, including war (WHO, 2002).2 This Gallup World News report provides a summary of water problems worldwide:

Some think that safe drinking water is easy to find in nations where supermarkets are packed with bottled water – a multibillion-dollar-per-year industry. Yet if you want to drink water that does not have harmful contaminants, the challenge of finding it remains great.

In fact, the CR Way, an international movement, whose members strive to extend their lives through low-calorie, optimal nutrition, issued a warning when one of our members found that the expensive, seductively packaged bottled water brand she was drinking had radioactive radium among its components. Another member found that his bottled water source contained minerals in concentration high enough to contribute to kidney-stone formation. So it became clear that finding pure, safe drinking water is essential for our anyone who strives for optimal health.

This motivated me to take a close look at the three sources people turn to for water: municipal, bottled, and well water. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) – a Washington-based environmental activist organization that works to protect kids from toxic chemicals in food, water, air and the products people use – has done extensive research on this subject:

Municipal Water in the U.S.

The EWG did a three-year study of water quality in U.S. municipalities of 250,000 or more. They gathered data from tests conducted by 47,667 utilities.

EWG found more than 300 contaminants, ranging from microorganisms capable of causing disease to radioactive substances – even rocket fuel known to be toxic to the thyroid gland. And only approximately one-third of the contaminants found are even regulated by the EPA.3

Then there is the addition of chlorine, the virtually ubiquitous anti-contaminant, as well as fluorine, which is added to 80% of the municipal drinking water in the U.S. LivingTheCRWay Blog has reported on the danger of high amounts of fluorine ingestion since it is linked in some studies to brain damage, Bromine and Fluorine—Thyroid Disruption , Living The CRWay Blog, Paul McGlothin, Meredith Averill, 2012

Bottled water isn’t better.

Bottled water manufacturers are not required to release results of analysis of their water. In a 2008 EWG study of 10 bottled water brands – disinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue, and pain medication were detected – 38 pollutants in all.

The EWG also evaluated 163 brands of bottled water, finding no bottled water brand that merited their “A” ranking. Op. cit., EWG3

Well water has its own set of problems.

Well water is unregulated, so homeowners must take it upon themselves to test it. Most do not test beyond the minimum requirements to get a certificate of occupancy. Yet naturally occurring contaminants, like arsenic and radioactive radon or radium, are not uncommon in well water. Nor are coliform bacteria, which cause gastrointestinal illness.

Assembling content that informs LivingTheCRWay members and the public of the problems with drinking water and how to solve them has taken several months. These resources provide more information:

Radioactive Drinking Water

Pure Water

Bromine and Fluorine—Thyroid Disruption . Living The CRWay Blog. Paul McGlothin, Meredith Averill, 2012

As a board member of the Lifeboat Foundation, I thought it important to write this blog post since the water on which our lifeboat floats needs protection desperately.


1. UN World Water Assessment Programme, 2003, IN: World Water Quality Facts and Statistics. The Pacific Institute World Water Day 2010. Available at


2. World Health Organization research, 2002, IN: World Water Quality Facts and Statistics. The Pacific Institute World Water Day 2010. Available at http://www.pacinst.org/reports/water_quality/water_quality_facts_and_stats.pdf

3. Environmental Working Group (EWG), Health/Toxics: Our Water, 2012. Available at http://www.ewg.org/ourwater