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So while we hit the gym or do our body work from home, count calories and read packaging, we tend to overlook the most important element in good health.
Water is the fuel, the oil, the very blood of our... Well, blood. Your body uses water from everything to circulation to controlling body temperature from thinking to lubricating joints. In essence the reason we are made up of so much water is because it's that important. As DaVinci said,"Water is the Source." And while I like this explanation an even simpler explanation is this; Water is Life. Plain and simple. Without it humans, animals, plants, EVERYTHING comes to an end. But I'm not telling you anything new. You already know these things. What you may not know, is what is floating around in your water, which in turn, what is floating around in you.
Now, I don't want you to think that the point of this is to "gross you out" or "shock" you into doing something, but I do have to warn you that what you are about to find out is both, in fact, gross and shocking. With that being said, let's look at the bigger picture.
Here in Albuquerque, our main source of water is the Rio Grande River. I know what your thinking, "Do you mean the dirty puddle I drive over when I'm on I-40 headed to Rio Rancho or the Westside?" Yep. That one. The one who's banks are frequented by equal parts garbage, pet and animal waste, and illegal dumping ? Uh-Huh. But they treat the water, right? You bet! So, after the water is collected from the River, it's next stop is to be pushed through a wire mesh and pre sedimentation pond who's purpose is to remove all large debris from the water. Rocks, garbage, dead animals, etc. Then it will be placed in a series of containers that use Ferric Chloride and Polymer to make any "waste" coagulate together, so most of it will sink to the bottom. Then it is treated with various chemicals like Ozone Gas to remove some of the surface water taste and smell, and then it is blasted with Chlorine to disinfect.
And all of that is pretty standard practice for municipal drinking water, so what's the problem? The problem is this, even after introducing all of those chemicals are added into your water, New Mexico (Albuquerque specifically) still has one of the worst rankings for tap water in the country! Why?
Because depending on where you live in the city the regular levels of contaminants spike and maintain a higher level then cities 3 or 4 times larger than Albuquerque. These contaminants are the focus of 37 current studies by various college and scientific institutions across the globe. That's not counting the studies that have already been completed that show evidence of pollutants in tap water being linked to higher risks of various cancers as well as behavioral issues like ADHD, depression and Autism. We rank in the middle of the country for "normal" tap water problems ( fluoride, manganese, etc) above average in concentrated levels of nitrates and chlorine, and off the charts when it comes to Arsenic. Yes, arsenic the poison. With higher levels than all but one state, it's surprising that more residents are not aware of this fact. In the Annual Water Report, a separate map is given of Albuquerque disclosing the different zones and their Arsenic content. Out of the 20 different areas the map is broken into, only a handful have a non detectable level of Arsenic. Over 75% of the city tests positive for the presence and most of those test above the acceptable health level. How can that be, you may be asking yourself. Simple. According to the Federal Government, all municipal water systems are required to disclose the test findings in an annual water report every year. But they also know, most people don't read them. So they post the results, use a little positive spin, and an official disclaimer that amounts to the city saying bluntly that it is aware of the problem, but it's just to expensive to fix, and voila, they have met the standards set out by the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972 (which has not been updated or amended in 43 years). But not to worry, if any of the contamination levels reach too high of a number, it is perfectly acceptable for the state to simply amend their "Acceptable Level" number, so they remain in compliance.
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Clearly something has to be done to insure the Health of you and your Family. It is simply a question of how. From where I'm at I see only 3 options;
1. Continue to use tap water. I mean, before you read this, there was a good chance that you had no idea what you were drinking, showering and cooking in. Out of sight out of mind, right? Most of us grew up in a time before bottled water was bought and carried by 87% of Americans on a daily basis, and water coolers were not an in home option but something more akin to office hallways. Hell, I remember drinking from the water hose outside as a kid! But there was also a time when smoking was seen as a health benefit and had Ads comprised of Doctor testimonials to that effect. It wouldn't be until many research studies and years later that we found out what it really was. Even though sticking out heads in the sand is a pretty terrible option, it is an option nonetheless.
2. $8.00 a gallon. That is how much option 2 would cost you, if you can even refer to it as an option. Expensive but effective, sort of. The $8.00 a gallon is the what it would cost to use bottled water for your daily needs. I know that you can go to Costco or Sam's Club and get a twelve pack of bottled water for $4, but even at that, it's still more expensive then gas (which you already complain about)! The average citizen in Albuquerque uses between 134-150 gallons per person PER DAY! Now that sounds like a lot but I want to applaud the efforts of the Duke City because they are well below the National average in this category! So, that means, if you were to replace the tap water you use with bottled water for your daily needs it would cost somewhere in the area of
$1,072.00 PER PERSON, PER DAY!!
$7,504 a week, $30,016 a month, $360,192 a year..... You get the picture.
When you take into account that almost half of the water bottle peddlers (Dasani and Aquafina) are actually comprised of filtered tap water from another city, your looking at closer to $2.99 a bottle if you want purified, contaminate free drinking water.
3. Last, but not least, water filters, softeners and entire home water purification systems .... I have studied them all. Whether it was consumer reports, third party reporting, or hands on testing, I have looked into what was best for me and my family. And not just our health, but what would or could positively impact the planet and not to mention, save me money. The last one doesn't sound as heroic as the other two, but it's honest. I, like most Americans, work hard for the money I have and protect it by investing in the best products I can afford. I can't tell you that I was taught at an early age that "You get what you pay for." No, I wish I had learned it when I was young but unfortunately like most people, I only learned this truth by buying cheap things and replacing them over and over again. But it's a lesson I have stuck by for my adult life and impart to any friend or family member that will let me show them the numbers. So,from the $25 Brita pitcher ( with the 2 for $40 filters) to the PUR faucet addition ( retails at about $40, lasts about 3 weeks with Albuquerque water). The Lowes water system specials from Pelican, Mortons, etc ranging in price from $299.00 to $1200.00. Each one cleans your water a little more than the last as you move up the price ladder, and to get truly pure water you are at the high end of the spectrum. My in store hardware expert told me that the systems should last about 20 years (the actual company's website says 2-4 years with regular maintenance) and they came with a full one year warranty! Even if it lasts for 20 years, I'm still in trouble! Almost everyone is in a 30 year mortgage, so I need it to last at least until the house is paid off ! And that is what led me to the world of whole home water filtration systems. I refused to keep replacing something I've already paid for. I want a product that performs as advertised and lasts as long as the house is standing. Let me tell you, there were no lack of options there! There are about 5 systems that I started with. The first two, I found out in short order, do not remove all of the contaminants but they were cheaper. The next two were very similar to one another and I tried their "FREE WATER TEST!" "LIMITED TIME"
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a water test. It's educational and interesting. It's like watching a high school science exhibit if they actually worked. BUT. The people performing the test, in my particular situation, were....interesting. It's a sales job. I get that. I have nothing against salesman, or ANYONES profession for that matter. But I'm not a person you have to "sell". If you have what I want, and you can show the value to justify the price you are asking, then I'm in. If not, I keep moving. I don't haggle, or sign my friends up for sales lists (they wouldn't remain friends long if I did) just to get a 20% off referral credit. I just want to speak to someone who is an expert that can give me the information I need to make an informed purchase. In the end, I opted for the product that had the best reviews, non-pushy salesman, and the best warranty available. It was cheaper than my cable, cell phone or Internet bills, or even my Starbucks habit. Things of value are not cheap, and cheap things have no value. Now my family and I drink, cook, wash our clothes and shower in 100% clean water. And it does make a difference!
Of all the options, 3, by far outweighs the value vs the price. To my family's health, my bank account and the environment. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and once you know something you can't go back. So now that you know, what will you do to protect the Health of you and your family?
Water systems across the state are turning up with hazardous levels of lead: http://ow.ly/10uG1f