Wading Through The Murky Depths Of Your Drinking Water


Are your 8-plus glasses a day of H2O doing you more harm than good? Depending upon the source of your water, the answer may well be yes. So what’s a thirsty, health-conscious, Earth-dweller to do?

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Water is essential to life. Crucial to flushing toxins from the body’s systems, water aids the body in metabolizing fat, facilitates the conversion of food into energy, regulates temperature, lubricates tissues, hydrates the skin, and aids the immune system in combating colds and viruses. Every body process, from digestion to elimination, depends upon adequate water levels. As little as a two percent drop in hydration can result in marked fatigue – as well as disorientation and temporary memory loss.

We’ve repeatedly been told that for optimum health it’s critical to consume a minimum of eight glasses a day.

drinking water

At the same time, study after study reveals that public water supplies often contain harmful chemicals such as arsenic, as well as radon, lead, copper, pesticide residues, parasites, nitrates, and an alarming array of waste materials. Acid rain falling onto the Earth’s surface is absorbed into water tables, joining with industrial pollutants to taint supplies at their very source.

Many of the substances – both mineral and biological – that occur in drinking water do so naturally. Others, such as chlorine and the highly controversial fluoride, are added deliberately in an effort to provide health benefits, or to disinfect and combat harmful microbes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for drinking water in the U.S., which are monitored individually by state and local governments. While these standards include Maximum Contaminant Levels that address an excess of eighty separate pollutants, the system is far from foolproof.

For instance, recent testing in forty-three separate states by the Environmental Working Group revealed the presence of high levels of perchlorate – an explosive used in the manufacture of rocket and missile fuel – in groundwater, soil, and drinking water supplies. Perchlorate is known to be highly toxic, may disrupt thyroid function, and is a likely cause of cancer. Amazingly, even though more than twenty million people in California, Arizona, and Nevada have had their drinking water sources contaminated by perchlorate, this toxin remains unregulated by either state or federal authorities.

Fluoride, proven to be more toxic than lead, has been rejected in most developed countries. Linked in both human and animal epidemiological studies to cancer, genetic damage and nervous system dysfunction, fluoride has even been recognized as a poison by the Food and Drug Administration, resulting in warning labels on fluoridated toothpastes. Despite these findings, it is commonly included in U.S. public water systems.

As an alternative, many consumers have turned to bottled water, believing it to be a safer choice. Unfortunately, many of the issues that contribute to the questionable conditions in public water supplies also apply to bottled water. In short, all bottled water is not created equally – many brands even contain fluoride. So, instead of assuming all is well when you twist off the cap, be sure to read labels and educate yourself regarding quality levels and ratings.

“Most water sources have been encroached upon by residues, nitrates, and acid rain,” says David Gilmour, founder and chairman of Fiji Natural Artesian Water. “Of the world’s water supply, ninety-eight percent is salt water. Of the remaining two percent, only 0.3 percent is drinkable, including tap water. Water is the most important commodity in the world. It’s intellectually unacceptable that such a small percentage of it is drinkable.”

Six years ago, while investigating possible water sources for his resort property in Fiji, Gilmour’s researchers found a pristine source in the Yaqara Valley on Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island.

“We’d been looking for a source for bottled water in traditional places such as Europe and North America,” he says. “In retrospect, that didn’t make a lot of sense, considering that these are highly industrialized areas. Lo and behold, just a hundred miles away from the resort, we found a hidden artesian aquifer.”

Aquifer sources are naturally occurring, protected geological formations found deep beneath the surface of the Earth. The Fiji source is continuously renewed by tropical rains, and naturally stored within an enormous volcanic chamber in a valley region protected by the Fiji government. Artesian water, which comes directly from such an underground aquifer, is geologically sealed and pressurized, with no surface porthole exposing it to air or industrial pollutants.

Gilmour’s bottling plant has been constructed to conform to strict, ecologically sensitive specifications, and supplies jobs to native peoples from five neighboring villages. Bottled directly at the source, the water is distributed in the highest food grade form of PET, the most easily recycled plastic available today. Gilmour has also established a foundation to improve living conditions and education in nearby villages.

As an added bonus, this particular water source happens to contain a unique amount of colloidal silica in its content. An easily absorbable form of this trace mineral, colloidal silica is an important antioxidant necessary for tissue repair; and also enhances arterial elasticity, strengthens hair and nails, stimulates the immune system, and counteracts the harmful effects of aluminum within the body.

Drinking adequate amounts of water, Gilmour reminds us, is not optional. It sustains life. And, just as we can choose not to smoke tobacco, and can remove ourselves from life-threatening and unhealthy situations such as buildings containing asbestos or lead paint, we can also choose to drink water free from contaminants.

These words spoken by Oglala Sioux Chief Flying Hawk, and recorded during the latter years of his life, remain true today: “Nobody can be in good health,” said Flying Hawk, “if he does not have all the time fresh air, sunshine, and good water.” It’s up to us, as individuals, to be vigilant about ensuring the purity and safety of the water we ingest.

In fact, it’s absolutely essential.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), www.epa.gov/safewater/wot; Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org/reports; Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone by Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D. (Traditional Wisdom, Inc., 2000); Complete Guide to Integrative Medicine, by Dr. David Peters and Anne Woodham (Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000).July/August 2003
Debra Bokur

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