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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Close-up of tap water

Is your water safe to drink?

In the 1840's Great Britain had a Cholera outbreak, and in the 1970's Bangladesh dealt with arsenic poisoning.

In the US, there are reports of 5 Cholera cases per year, and 400 reports of typhiod. In 2000 25 States reported unhealthy levels of arsenic in the drinking water, as many as 56 million people are drinking that water. In 1997 the City of Cheney ranked number 35 of the highest arsenic levels in the US, finding 65.1 ppb. The EPA says that 10 ppb is the highest level you can have and still be safe.

The most comon types of poisions in your drinking water are as follows;

  • Arsenic -- The most common source of arsenic contamination in [ground water]] is the mobilization of naturally occurring arsenic on sediments.
  • Lead --The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water.
  • Fluoride --The weathering of primary rocks and leaching of fluoride-containing minerals in soils yield fluoride rich groundwater in India which is generally associated with low calcium content and high bicarbonate ions.
  • Toxins --Road salt, toxic substances from mining sites, and used motor oil also may seep into groundwater. In addition, it is possible for untreated waste from septic tanks and toxic chemicals from underground storage tanks to contaminate groundwater.
  • Heavy metal -- Years of mining for heavy metals has resulted in abandoned mines that are a source of ground- and surface-water contamination in many areas.
  • Pesticide -- Pesticide water contamination occurs through Non-degraded pesticides migrating to groundwater. 95 percent of the rural population world over relies on ground water to meet their drinking water need.
  • Antibiotics -Antibiotics are widely used in human and veterinary medicines for disease treatment. They are also largely used in animal operations for growth promotion and for disease prophylaxis. They are often partially metabolized after administration and a significant portion of the antibiotic can be excreted
You can find a list of Water borne diseass at the CDC website, here>>>

In an emergency you can purify your water by boiling it for 3-5 minutes. This will kill of the micro organisms, but not so anything to the heavy metals. You can also add a bit of bleach to your water, allow it to stand 30 minutes. This too will kill the micro organism but does nothing to your heavy metal problems. Even pouring the water into a clear bottle, capping it and sticking it into the sun for 6 hours will help kill off the micro organisms.

You can use cheese cloth, coffee filters or even your socks to filter the water.

You can store water safely, in a cool dark place for 6 months. Add a pinch of salt for every 1 gallon if it tastes "flat".

There are many water purification tablets and systems on the market. Do your research to find what is best for you

And by all means, have your water tested Contact your local extension office for more info.
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