Chemicals in Your Drinking Water That Could Be Wrecking Your Health
December 28, 2013
By Dr. Mercola
Every day, you lose water from your body through urine and sweat, and this fluid needs to be replenished. Clean, pure water is therefore one of the most important foundations for optimal health.
Unfortunately, most tap water is far from pure, containing a vast array of disinfection byproducts, chemicals, radiation, heavy metals, and even pharmaceutical drugs. Fluoride, which is still being added to many municipal water supplies, is yet another factor that can make the water you drink each day more harmful than healing.
The featured documentary, An Inconvenient Tooth,1 reveals the many problems associated with water fluoridation, and why it’s a practice that really needs to be stopped for the public’s greater good.
Amazingly, the debate over the dangers of fluoride and has been ongoing for more than six decades. Yet study after study confirms that fluoride is a dangerous, toxic poison that bioaccumulates in your body while being ineffective at preventing dental decay...
Unregulated Contaminants Found in Many US Water Utilities
Fluoride isn’t the only hazard that might be lurking in your tap water. In related news, federal scientists report finding traces of 18 unregulated contaminants in one-third of the water samples collected from 25 municipal utilities across the US in their most recent testing. As reported by the featured article in Scientific American:2
“Included are 11 perfluorinated compounds, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial compound, a metal and an antidepressant...
‘The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low,’ said Dana Kolpin, a research hydrologist with the USGS who participated in the study. ‘But,’ he added, ‘there’s still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?’”
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), 11 of which were found in this most recent government test, have become so ubiquitous that many of them are now detected in humans—including children. According to the CDC's “Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals” published in 2009,3 a dozen different types of perfluorinated compounds were detected in Americans tested.
The potential health consequences of ingesting PFCs are not a complete mystery. As reported in the featured article:
“The two most common perfluorinated compounds, PFOS and PFOA, in the utilities’ water have been detected in the blood of nearly all people in the United States.
A panel of scientists has concluded4 that there is a ‘probable link’ between PFOA in drinking water and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
The findings were based on people in Mid-Ohio Valley communities whose water was polluted with PFOA from a DuPont plant.” [Emphasis mine]
What You Need to Know About Perfluorinated Compounds
I've written many articles about one of the most common sources of these hazardous chemicals, namely non-stick cookware, but contaminated drinking water is another pervasive source. PFCs like PFOA and PFOS are part of an expanding group of chemicals commonly referred to as "gender-bending" chemicals, because they can disrupt your endocrine system and affect your sex hormones. In animal studies, PFOA has also been linked to:
- Infertility -- A 2009 study5 found that both PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), dramatically increased the odds of infertility. PFOS increased the risk of infertility anywhere from 70 to 134 percent, while PFOA was linked to a 60 to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.
- Thyroid disease – According to a study6 published in 2010, PFOA can damage your thyroid function. Individuals with the highest PFOA concentrations were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease, compared to those with the lowest PFOA concentrations.
Your thyroid contains thyroglobulin protein, which binds to iodine to form hormones, which in turn influence essentially every organ, tissue, and cell in your body. Thyroid hormones are also required for growth and development in children. Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis.
- Cancer -- PFOA has been associated with tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests (liver, pancreas, testicles, and mammary glands in rats), and has been associated with increases in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers. The EPA has ruled PFCs as "likely carcinogens," and has stated that PFOA "poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans."
- Immune system problems -- Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group7 (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression.
- Increased LDL cholesterol levels – A recent study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine8 implicates both PFOA and PFOS. Children and teens with higher PFOA levels had higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL or "bad" cholesterol, while PFOS was associated with increased total cholesterol, including both LDL cholesterol and HDL or "good" cholesterol.
Fluoride—A Stealth Source of Arsenic Contamination
Another common water contamination is arsenic—a powerful carcinogen that has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer. The level of arsenic in US tap water tends to be high due to natural groundwater contamination.9 But the biggest culprit is actually fluoride, as the most common form of fluoride used for water fluoridation (hexafluorosilicic acid) is frequently contaminated with arsenic. In fact, according to one recent study,10 switching the type of fluoride used to pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride would reduce the amount of inorganic arsenic contamination in drinking water by 99 percent!
For people living in areas with fluoridated tap water, fluoride is a part of every glass of water, every bath and shower, and every meal cooked using that water. It seems inevitable that the addition of contaminated hexafluorosilicic acid to the water supply by definition must also increase the cancer rate in the US because of the arsenic it contains...
Moreover, not only is there mounting evidence that fluoride itself poses grave health risks to infants and children—including reductions in IQ—arsenic exposure in utero and during early childhood is also particularly problematic, as it can cause lasting harm to children's developing brains, and endocrine and immune systems.
Water Filtration—A Must for Clean Pure Water…
I strongly recommend using a high-quality water filtration system unless you can verify the purity of your water. To be absolutely certain you are getting the purest water you can, you'll want to filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink. I currently use a whole house carbon-based water filtration system, in addition to a reverse osmosis (RO) filter to purify my drinking water.
You can read more about water filtration in this previous article to help you make a decision about what type of water filtration system will be best for you and your family. Since most water sources are now severely polluted, the issue of water filtration and purification couldn't be more important.
It is important to remember that once added, fluoride is very difficult to remove from water. The best way to remove fluoride from your water supply is to never put it in there in the first place. This is one of the reasons we are actively collaborating with Paul Connett and F.A.N. to help remove fluoride from the water supplies. To date, we have been successful at helping over 200 cities in North America to remove it from their water supply, including Portland, Oregon last year.
Ideal Water Sources
Besides purification, I also believe it’s critical to drink living water. I recently interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack about his book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor. This fourth phase of water is referred to as “structured water” and is the type of water found in all of your cells. This water has healing properties, and is naturally created in a variety of ways. Water from a deep spring is one excellent source of structured water. The deeper the better, as structured water is created under pressure. There's a great website called FindaSpring.com11 where you can find a natural spring in your area.
But you can also promote structured water through vortexing. I personally drink vortexed water nearly exclusively as I became a big fan of Viktor Schauberger who did much pioneering work on vortexing about a century ago. Dr. Pollack found that by creating a vortex in a glass of water, you’re putting more energy into it, thereby increasing the structure of the water. According to Dr. Pollack, virtually ANY energy put into the water seems to create or build structured water.
My own R&D team is working on a careful study in which we use vortexed water to grow sprouts, to evaluate the vitality and effectiveness of the water. We’ve already budgeted a quarter million for this internal research to develop the best vortex machine on the market, because we believe an ideal vortexer could be one of the simplest ways to improve your health and we hope to bring it to market in the next year.
Water Fluoridation Is Anything But Safe...
Most likely, water fluoridation remains a government policy because the government agencies that have been promoting it as safe for all these years stand to lose public trust. The thing is, the longer they wait to take corrective action, and the more people discover the truth about fluoride, the worse public trust in those agencies will get anyway...
Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health, and industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So I urge you to join the Fluoride Action Network’s efforts12 and your local anti-fluoride movements in the US and Canada to clean up our water.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
There's no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you're stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and it's very difficult to filter out of your water once it's added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the United States and Canada. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.