What’s In Your Water? Why Bottled Water & Alkaline Water Are NOT the Solution
Ever wonder if you’re polluting yourself with the water you drink?
As alkaline water, such as Kangen, grows in popularity, I often get asked by my community which water filtration system is best. It’s hard to discern the truth from fiction when it comes to purifying water, so allow me to make it ridiculously simple.
When my husband and I remodeled a 1915 Craftsman to make it super healthy and eco, we had to choose the best water filter. The research process and upshot remain current now, and I want to share it with you. We ended up choosing a carbon system for filtration, and here’s why.
What’s In Your Water?
In an ideal world, you’d find out what you most need to filter out in order to pick the perfect filter. Makes sense, right? Send a sample for lead, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic and nitrates, sulfates, bacteria plus other microorganisms like parasites (ew!), herbicides, and pesticides.
Option 1: Test the tap water in your home.
If you like to test such things, use an independent lab because the free testing offered by companies selling water purifiers have a conflict of interest and just aren’t sufficiently thorough. State and local health departments often do free tests for bacterial contamination, but to find out about toxic substances, you’ll need the services of a private testing lab.
Testing for a range of common contaminants can cost more than $100, but the investment is worthwhile it if saves you the cost of a purifying system. Keep an eye especially on the two most common contaminants: chlorine and lead.
Chlorine is a strong oxidizing chemical that may increase the risk of heart disease and is linked to certain types of cancer. Water containing more than 10 parts per billion of lead is a health risk, especially for infants, children and pregnant women – and probably for everyone else. Even small amounts may result in organ damage and stunt the nervous system.
If you are using tap water for drinking or cooking, I suggest that you get in the habit of flushing your kitchen faucet daily by letting water run for three to five minutes in the morning (or after periods of disuse).
Why Not Just Bottled Water?
Bottled water is not a solution, as demonstrated by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an advocacy-based organization that serves as a watchdog of the environment and our exposure to toxicity. Bottled water is too expensive for regular use and exposes you to synthetic chemicals from the plastic bottle, and you cannot count on its safety.
According to NRDC’s investigation, bottled water is sometimes tap water in disguise – and even bottled spring water can be contaminated. They studied more than 1,000 bottles of 100 brands of bottled water and found that about one-third failed microbial impurity guidelines (i.e, contained bugs, usually from feces) or violated state rules. Some brands were contaminated with bacteria, and others contained chemical contaminants. The NRDC report noted that FDA rules exempt bottled water from some of the standards that apply to tap water.
Option 2: Home water purifiers.
Instead of buying bottled water, consider purchasing a home water purifying system like I did, but don’t fall for ridiculous claims now being made by purveyors of alkaline water. The systems vary greatly in effectiveness and cost.
I use an inexpensive carbon filter that I purchased online for less than $30. When I asked my friend Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife, Tana Amen, they quickly voted for carbon filtration too. Dr. Amen added: “I am opposed to the whole alkaline water thing. Why would we want to decrease the acid in your stomach to diminish how you can break down your food. Makes no sense.”
Just to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything, I queried Dr. Mark Hyman as well, and asked him if I was missing any of the good science on the benefits of drinking alkaline water. His reply: “Nope. While it’s possible that benefits of drinking alkaline water are not yet proven rigorously, I’d save your money while we wait and see if the science catches up to the many claims of benefits from alkaline water.”
- Inexpensive carbon filters are the way to go to keep your water clean and your detox in full gear.
Until there’s better data to support alkaline water, get your alkaline benefits from food – like leaves, flowers, stems, herbs, and superfoods – not from your water.