Pure water shall always be the foundation of our health. It contains less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids (TDS). TDS is another way of saying impurities. So how pure is our water? In the USA for example, the maximum permitted level of TDS in tap water was 500. Today, the limit has been generally relaxed to 1500ppm! It gets worse. Whereas those water purity controls used to be called ‘maximum permitted levels’, they have now been changed to ‘prescribed concentration levels’. In layman’s terms, that means what used to be the maximum – and for good reasons – has now become the norm. Permitted impurities include metals, chemicals, oestrogens, herbicides, pesticides, nitrates, fluoride and, of course, chlorine. Why is this situation allowed? It is a simple question of economics.
‘Legally safe’ does not mean that water is pure. It simply limits the level of contaminants, a level that scientists think is acceptable through limited research and of course the financial limitations of water treatment plants. Over time the cocktail of chemicals and toxins that exist in small quantities within water will ultimately affect our health. For ultimate health you have to choose a purification system that is effective and readily available.
Water Related Diseases
In Ghana some identified unimproved sources of water are; vendor provided water, bottled and/or sachet water, tanker delivered water, and unprotected well, rivers and ponds. It is estimated that almost half the population are not using improved water. A report by WaterAid in 2014 mentioned that the three Northern Regions are particularly deprived, with one in ten children dying before the fifth birthday and 80% of all diseases in Ghana are caused by unsafe water and poor environmental health and sanitation.
The 2013 Report by Community Water and Sanitation Agency explains that ‘there are a number of water safety issues affecting the water delivery process which include high iron, fluoride and arsenic contents. It was also reported that contaminants in both pipe borne water and some sachet water produced in Accra and other places in the country are not within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard between a pH of 6.5% and 7.5%. The Weija Dam in Accra was constructed in 1929 using galvanized pipes which are prone to rusting and corrosion. Today, the water from the pump station contains debris forming foams which is discouraging people from drinking pipe borne water.
Drinking Contaminated Water
Sources of drinking water are subject to contamination and require appropriate treatment to remove disease-causing contaminants. Contamination of drinking water supplies can occur in (1) the source water as well as in (2) the distribution system after water treatment has already occurred. There are many sources of water contamination, including naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium), local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, concentrated feeding operations), manufacturing processes, and sewer overflows or wastewater releases.
The presence of contaminants in water can lead to adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people whose immune systems are compromised because of AIDS, chemotherapy, or transplant medications, may be especially susceptible to illness from some contaminants.
Bathing Contaminated Water
Many people bathe in unfiltered, chemical-laden water. They are unaware that multiple studies have found that disinfecting chemicals – such as chlorine – may be absorbed into the skin and lungs if not filtered first. The United States Cancer Panel released a report in 2010 titled ‘Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now’ which contained disturbing findings about the effects of bathing and showering in untreated water.
It notes that while the disinfection of public water supplies with chlorine has decreased incidence of waterborne illnesses, chemical by-products are created when chlorine and other disinfectants react with organic materials. “Long term exposure to these chemicals may increase cancer risk,” the report states. It adds that hundreds of disinfection by-products have been discovered. The most common are trihalomethanes (THMs), such as chloroforms and bromoforms, and also haloacetic acid.
The report states that people who are exposed to higher levels of these substances during bathing, showering, and swimming in chlorinated pools may have a higher risk of some forms of cancer. Some possible links may exist between THM exposure and the following cancers:
- Renal cell carcinoma
- Bladder cancer
|Did You Know? People absorb 100 times more chlorine in a 10-minute unfiltered shower than they do from drinking a gallon of water?|
What To Do
Minimizing exposure to harmful micro-organisms, minerals and chemicals in water is easier than ever. By installing Point-of-Use PoU) and/or Point-of-Entry (PoE) water treatment systems in your house or workplace, it is simple to have clean, pure, sparkling water for drinking, bathing, doing laundry and many more.