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Do you know what’s in your water?

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — A typical glass of water from your tap can contain more than 2,000 contaminants including known carcinogens, xeno hormones — toxins that affect your hormones and nervous systems — and chemicals that are known risks to babies and pregnant mothers.

More and more women are suffering from the effects of pre-menopause earlier than usual and men from excessive estrogenic effects leading to prostate enlargement and erectile dysfunction.

Where do all these contaminants come from? How do they get into our water system? What are the risks they pose? What steps can you take to protect yourself and your family?    

Tap water contamination can come from any number of sources: pesticides, fertilizer, factory discharge, heavy metals and chemicals leaching from pipes and storage tanks and, of course, halogens such as chlorine and fluorides, which are deemed “safe”.

‘Disinfectant’ toxins   

Chemicals are deliberately added to the water to “protect our health.” We all know that water treatment plants nationwide add chlorine as a disinfectant to neutralise disease-causing pathogens in dirty source water.

Chlorine reacts with rotting organic sewage, manure, dead animals and fallen leaves to form potentially harmful chemicals.

One side effect of chlorinating water is the creation of chemicals called trihalomethanes or THM. THMs in your drinking water can be responsible for bladder cancer, colon and rectal cancer, neural birth defects, low birth weight and miscarried babies.

The best known of the THM family is chloroform. Many years ago it was used as an anaesthetic to render people unconscious during surgery. Now even the US government considers it a known human carcinogen.

Drinking chlorinated water is NOT recommended but how many will actually bother to avoid this toxin daily? Chlorine being higher on the periodic table of halogens clearly competes with iodine (which is lower in the periodic table and less reactive) and we are seeing a marked increase in thyroid function problems. On top of that we have another even more reactive halogen, fluorides being added into water and in toothpaste supposedly to improve our dental health.   

Some scientists are of the opinion that fluoride is just plain toxic. Fluoride is actually a by-product of the aluminium industry and is classified as a hazmat (hazardous material) for disposal purposes. Imagine that!

Next to that iceberg...

Lead pipes are some of the best sources for lead contamination, ie if you are looking to consume more toxins that bind to your bones in place of calcium.

Alum is added into water treatment systems as a flocculating agent to settle sediments and make water clearer. Add acid rain to the water system and you have the three most toxic heavy metals on earth to humans; mercury, lead and aluminium.

These are all associated highly with auto-immune conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s and skin problems from lupus, psoriasis, eczema, etc. A comprehensive hair tissue analysis will help to identify exposure and a suitable detoxification regime will help alleviate such conditions.

Nutrients when combined impart synergistic and compounded health benefits. Toxins when combined do likewise. The combined effects of multiple chemicals and heavy metals can do serious damage to our gut system and therefore our immune system. 

The planet is toxic and the food chain is completely contaminated. There is NO acceptable SAFE level for pesticides, weed killers, chlorine, MTBE (a fuel additive), and so on, in your drinking water. 

Farm runoff affects both city and well water, produces a cocktail of contaminants, and is a major contribution to our toxic planet. Dairy and other poultry farms produce four major contaminants: nitrates, bacteria (E. coli, etc.), antibiotics, and hormones. And unlike cities, such farms typically do not use treatment systems to remove them from wastewater. 

Worse, manure can (and does) spill from holding structures into nearby waterways when heavy rains lead to flooding. The spillage problem is compounded by poor construction or design. 

How dangerous are these pollutants?

• Nitrates. Manure converts to ammonia and then to nitrate. Exposure can lead to methemoglobinemia — a blood condition that hinders oxygen transport, and can be fatal in infants, where it is called “blue baby syndrome.” Long-term nitrate exposure is also linked to cancer, miscarriage, premature birth, impaired foetal growth, and more.

• Pathogens. Six of the 150 human pathogens in animal manure are responsible for 90 per cent of all human food-and-water-borne diseases: Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Cryptosporidium and Giardia. At least in theory, municipal water systems eliminate these pathogens before they reach you but would you assume that to be true?

• Bacteria can be resistant to antibiotics, increasing further risk to propagating the superbug.

• Hormones are routinely injected into livestock to increase productivity. Cows are injected with rBST (also called rBGH), a growth hormone. These physiologically active steroidal hormones leach into the water system.

• Exposure has been linked to an increase in hormone-related cancers and chronic illnesses, disruptions in foetal and child development and feminization of male fish.

• Antibiotics are used extensively in dairy, poultry and virtually all farms, not to treat or prevent disease but mainly to promote growth and milk output. These drugs can persist more than one year in the environment, imposing a major health threat for generations to come.

A suitable and adequate water treatment system at home and in your workplace is no longer a luxury. The necessity of drinking clean water does not mean distilled or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, which are essentially devoid of all minerals and are considered dead water.

These dead fluids will leach minerals from our body rather than contribute minerals towards our system. A typical mineral pot does not constitute a suitable treatment system but adds more inorganic “stones” to our system.

* Philip Yiin is a LivingWell certified wellness consultant and a cancer coach. The co-founder of the Institute for Functional Health Malaysia, he is also certified in anti-ageing medicine and a LivingFood specialist. He can be reached at livingwellclinic@gmail.com.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer.

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