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Healthy Habits: Drink Pure Water

Water is a fundamental nutrient for human life. It is necessary to every system of our bodies. Not only does it play host to the millions of chemical reactions that happen in our bodies every second, but it serves to keep our joints moving, our nutrients flowing, our body temperature regulated, and acts as a solvent to remove waste products from the 70 trillion or so cells constantly at work within us. And you thought water was just for quenching thirst or washing down Aunt Trudy's chocolate cement cake!

Roughly 70 percent of our body weight is water. In an adult this boils down to about 12 gallons, requiring consumption of about 10,600 gallons over a lifetime to maintain.1

A rule of thumb for knowing how much you should consume each day is to divide your weight by two. This reflects the total number of ounces. Divide this by eight to get the number of glasses. It is a fact that the average American may well be chronically dehydrated and not even know it. Why Drink Pure Water?

We do need a steady supply of good old H2O to keep our systems functioning at peak performance. However, when it comes to keeping our bodies well supplied, not just any water will do. In this section we will tell you why.

Pollution
In the United States today, much of our water comes from polluted sources. Here are just a few of the hundreds of examples that could be cited:

  • 9.7 billion pounds of industrial chemicals are legally released into U.S. waters every year, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.2
  • In a recent EPA survey, nitrate (a carcinogen) showed up in more than half of the drinking-water wells tested across the country.3
  • Seventy-four different kinds of pesticides have been found in drinking wells in thirty-eight states.4
  • Four out of every five of the nation's one thousand worst hazardous waste dumps are leaking toxins into the ground water.5
  • As many as 25 percent of the country's 2.5 million underground gasoline storage tanks, the kind found at every neighborhood gas station, are leaking gas into the local ground water, according to EPA estimates.6
  • The 30 million acres of lawn in this country receive two and a half times more pesticides per acre than farm crops. These toxic chemicals find their way into local water supplies.7
  • New York City dumps 1 million gallons of raw sewage a day into the Hudson River (an improvement from fifteen years ago when it was 450 million gallons a day).8
Chlorine
Ironically, in order to kill some of the live microorganisms in our water before we drink it, even more dangerous chemicals are added. Perhaps the most troublesome is chlorine.

First added to drinking water in the United States in the early 1900s, chlorine was used in an effort to control the spread of deadly diseases like typhoid and cholera. However, in the 1970s chlorine was identified as a potential health hazard. It was discovered that this potent chemical reacts with organic material in water, such as leaves and other decaying vegetation, to produce hundreds of chemical byproducts known as "trihalomethanes," or THMs. These are suspected of causing birth defects and certain kinds of cancer if consumed regularly in drinking water.

According to a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, "Drinking chlorinated water may as much as double the risk of bladder cancer, which strikes about 40,000 people a year."9

Fluoride
Dean Burk, chief chemist emeritus of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, states that "fluoride causes more human cancer death, and causes it faster, than any other chemical."10

Dr. Allen E. Banik, author of The Choice Is Clear, contends that "fluoridation not only hardens teeth, it also hardens the arteries and brain." He goes on to say that "Fluoridation of public drinking water is criminally intolerant, utterly unscientific, and chemical warfare."11

Nevertheless, the debate goes on. Should we continue to put fluoride in our drinking water or not? When it was first discovered in the early twentieth century that fluorides could help prevent tooth decay, adding it to our water supply seemed like a good idea. But do we really know what the accumulation of fluoride in our systems is doing to us?

In his book Choose to Live, Joseph D. Weissman, M.D., writes:

The amounts of fluorides added to most water supply systems do not approach toxic levels. . . . However, in addition to fluoride from drinking water, we get fluorides and fluorine compounds from other sources, at levels that are usually not measured, with effects that are impossible to predict. Since fluorides exist throughout nature and have proliferated through industrial use in superphosphate fertilizers, plastics, refrigerants, toothpaste, and medicinal products, it is quite possible that people are exceeding safe levels of intake.12

Fluoride is a very potent poison that is suspect as a factor in bone diseases, including cancer13. New studies are also beginning to surface that seem to indicate that long-term, low-level consumption of fluoride in drinking water may be linked to increased susceptibility to hip fractures in older adults.

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From HEALTHY HABITS: 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health by David J. Frahm as used by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2003 by David and Anne Frahm. All rights reserved.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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