The average adult human body is 55-60% water. When you break it down, the brain is made up of about 70% water and the lungs are closer to 90%. It only stands to reason that the water you drink has an enormous impact on the quality of your health.
Unfortunately good quality drinking water is increasingly difficult to come by in this day and age. We tend to thinking of poor drinking water and associate it with 3rd world countries, however drinking Irish tap water isn’t such a good idea either.
There are still many dangerous contaminants present in our water, even after it has gone through municipal water treatment facilities.
In fact, these water treatment facilities often actually contribute to the problem by adding dangerous chemicals like fluoride and chlorine to water as part of the treatment process. Additionally, much of the water travels through corroded pipes, which may leach toxic heavy metals into the water after it has been treated.
Here’s a rundown of some of the chemicals that are more than likely lurking in your tap water:
In Ireland, the country with the second highest levels of spina bifida in the world, chlorine is added to approximately 90% of the national water supply, excluded only from some private group water schemes and dwellings with their own wells. The most widespread disinfectant of water in the world, it was first introduced here in the early part of the last century as a powerful weapon against a host of waterborne pathogens such as salmonella, E-coli and viral diseases like polio and hepatitis.
In the ’60s and ’70s, however, concerns began to stir about the safety of chlorine when it came to light that even very low levels of the chemical and its by-products were extremely toxic to a wide variety of fresh water and marine animals and plants. Exposure to minimal amounts of chlorine was shown to kill fish, oysters and clams outright and also cause more subtle effects such as reproductive abnormalities and infertility.
In 1974, an American study revealed that virtually every chlorinated drinking water supply was contaminated with chloroform, a carcinogen which targets the liver and kidneys.
Chlorine works as a disinfectant because it is extremely chemically reactive. When it combines with organic matter in water, especially color, it forms trihalomethanes (THMs), toxic chemicals which are associated with stillbirth and cancer, and which are known to be present in some water supplies here.
According to a 1998 report by the Environmental Protection Agency, levels of THMs in Irish drinking water occasionally rise up to five times higher than the recommended safety levels in a number of regions, including north Donegal, Connemara and Drogheda. The reason for this is that colour levels in river water sources can rise dramatically, especially in times of flooding, providing greater quantities of raw material for chlorine to react with. In Dublin and other highly populated areas, water is dosed with aluminum, which removes the colour from it and thereby reduces the production of THMs.
While levels of fluoride and aluminum, the other main chemicals added to the Irish water supply, are regulated under EU and Irish Drinking Water legislation, no such upper limit exists for chlorine. Instead, it is left to the discretion of individual treatment plants to operate a code of practice whereby minimum doses of chlorine are added consistent with effective disinfection. This dose is known to vary greatly from plant to plant.
Chlorine is also associated with an increased risk of bowel and bladder cancer, diseases whose incidence in Ireland is among the highest in the world. A further Canadian study in 1995 found a 60% increase in the risk of bladder cancer for people exposed to high levels of chlorinated by-products for 35 years or more.
While the World Health Organization maintains that the advantages of chlorine still outweigh the disadvantages, growing numbers of scientists and water authorities are beginning to question the reliance on chlorine as a primary disinfectant and are concerned that the disease-countering benefits it offered in the last century are becoming increasingly redundant.
During the early ’90s, evidence emerged that a number of organisms, including strains of E.coli, cholera and the bacteria associated with Legionnaire’s Disease, had become resistant to chlorine. In July 1993, some 35,000 residents of New York City had to switch over to boiled water when it was discovered that E.coli 0157 had survived chlorination and made its way into the public water supply.
The Irish government has mandated that fluoride be added to the water supply to prevent dental problems. However, current research has shown that fluoride, a chemical that is used in rat poison, does a lot more harm than good. The fluoride found in tap water has actually been shown to damage tooth enamel, increase fracture risk, suppress immune and thyroid function, increase cancer risk and disrupt the function of the pineal gland. Many European countries have banned the use of fluoride altogether.
Lead, Aluminium and Other Heavy Metals
Lead and other heavy metals can make their way into your tap water through corrosion of the pipes in your plumbing system. Lead consumption has been linked to severe developmental delays and learning disorders in children. Aluminium and other heavy metals have been linked to nerve, brain and kidney damage. Many older schemes still run water through lead pipes.
It’s blatantly apparent that Irish tap water is nothing like what we evolved drinking, it’s nothing like what animals in nature drink, and it’s not good for us. One of the fundamental objectives of OBF is to create higher levels of consciousness among our clients, we achieve this through awareness and forming positive decisions around that new found awareness.