Cooperation is the theme for World Water Day 2013. World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of ...
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A broad range of national and local organizations, cities, celebrities, student groups and communities of faith in Canada and United States launched the THINK OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE PLEDGE, October 10th, calling on people to choose public tap over bottled water.
The Pledge supports the efforts of local officials to invest and build confidence in public water systems.
The explosive growth of the bottled water industry, fueled by misleading advertising, has contributed to a loss of confidence in public water systems. However, scientific studies have shown that bottled water is on average no safer than tap water, and may sometimes be less safe, containing elevated levels of arsenic, bacteria and other contaminants. What’s more, up to 40 percent of bottled water comes from the same source as tap water but costs so much more.
Bottled water also takes a toll on the environment and on city budgets. Furthermore, making bottles to meet demand for bottled water required the equivalent millions of barrels of oil and generate tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Support for OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE Pledge
“Water is a public trust, it belongs to everyone. But global water corporations are seeking to cash in on this precious resource. People around the world are rejecting the idea that water can be a commodity, including by thinking outside the bottle.” Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians.
“Today, it is clear the role of bottled water, and the bottled water industry, must be brought under the public policy microscope. Our Inside the Bottle campaign aims to transform awareness into action, to curb the bottled water trend and to support public water systems” Zoe Maggio, Polaris, Ottawa
“Bottled water corporations are changing the way that we think about water. We’re changing it back. Today, thousands of people and dozens of organizations are launching the Think Outside the Bottle Pledge. People are standing up to support the efforts of local officials who prioritize strong public water systems over bottled water profits. They are standing up to choose the tap over the bottle.” Gigi Kellett, Corporate Accountability International
“Climate recovery hinges on many things, including public rejection of false solutions of privatization of water services and the commodification of water itself.” Vicki Lee, Chair of the Corporate Accountability Committee, Sierra Club
In the established world of water treatment, producing ‘microbiologically safe’ water is considered to be of primary importance.
‘Microbiologically safe’ means water with no harmful bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
For community water supplies this is usually achieved by the use of chlorine, sometimes in combination with ozone and ultraviolet light.
For smaller, residential treatment, it can be accomplished by distilling water, by reverse osmosis (a process that forces water through a membrane) or by using new breakthrough filtration technology that efficiently removes bacteria and viruses from the water supply.
The water that results (containing no harmful bacteria, viruses or microorganisms) is referred to as ‘purified water’, and the process that achieves this state is called ‘water purification’.
Purification doesn’t mean perfect.
The trouble is that, although the term ‘purification’ implies perfect water, in fact these ‘purifying’ techniques may do nothing to remove a host of other harmful substances including chlorine itself.
In Canada, regulations insist that a community’s water disinfection process (usually involving chlorine) must take precedence over concerns about other harmful chemicals.
The prevention of outbreaks of waterborne disease like cholera and typhoid are considered of primary importance, overriding concerns about exposure to toxic disinfectant by-products.
‘Microbiologically safe’ water may not be safe to drink!
There is growing evidence , however, that there are very serious, long term health and environmental consequences to the use of chlorinated water.
As a result, if your water is municipally treated, you don’t usually need protection from bacteria but from chlorine and its by-products, among other health hazards.
Therefore, you may need an appropriately configured water filter, not a water purifier.
Unlike water purifiers, most ‘water filters’ do not deliver ‘microbiologically safe’ water. They are designed to be used with water that is already ‘microbiologically safe’, usually chlorinated water delivered by the community water supply.
Multiple stages of filtration target different contaminants.
Water filters range in capability from merely making water taste and smell better to much more sophisticated and thorough filtration of specific contaminants.
A properly configured water filter can reduce harmful chemicals that typical disinfection and ‘purification’ processes may either introduce or leave in your water. Learn more about filters for Vancouver .
For this reason, good water filtration usually involves multiple stages targeting different contaminants with specialized filtration media.
New breakthrough filter technology offers bacteriological barrier.
People who have weakened immune systems (such as the elderly, cancer and HIV patients) may want the added security of a bacteriological barrier included in their water treatment system.
Exciting new filter technology now makes this possible, right at your tap, without using chemicals or electricity, and without the traditional problems of premature clogging.
This is an important breakthrough in residential water treatment. It gives you the option to effectively filter bacteria and viruses and to ‘purify’ your water without having to resort to wasteful, mineral-stripping and energy consuming processes like reverse osmosis and water distillation.
This same technology is also now available in a portable form for traveling and emergency purposes. Learn more.
If you choose a system that removes bacteria and viruses, just be sure it is also protecting you from all of the other contaminants in your water supply.
As published in
American Journal of Epidemiology
Drinking, bathing or swimming in chlorinated water may increase the risk of bladder cancer, a new study shows.
The findings are the first to suggest that these chemicals can be harmful when they are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, as well as when they are ingested, Dr. Cristina M. Villanueva of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, and colleagues note.
Chemicals, most commonly chlorine, used to disinfect water can produce by-products that have been tied to increased cancer risk, Villanueva and her team point out. The most prevalent chlorination by-products, chemicals called trihalomethanes (THM), can be absorbed into the body through the skin or by inhalation, they add.
To investigate lifetime THM exposure and bladder cancer risk, the researchers matched 1,219 men and women with bladder cancer to 1,271 control individuals who did not have the disease, surveying them about their exposure to chlorinated water via drinking water, swimming pools, showering and bathing. The researchers also analyzed the average water THM levels in the 123 municipalities included in the study.
People living in households with an average household water THM level of more than 49 micrograms per liter had double the bladder cancer risk of those living in households where water THM concentration was below 8 micrograms per liter, the researchers found. THM levels of about 50 micrograms per liter are common in industrialized societies, they note.
Study participants who drank chlorinated water were at 35% greater risk of bladder cancer than those who didn’t, while use of swimming pools boosted bladder cancer risk by 57%. And those who took longer showers or baths and lived in municipalities with higher THM levels were also at increased cancer risk.
When THM is absorbed through the skin or lungs, Villanueva and her team note, it may have a more powerful carcinogenic effect because it does not undergo detoxification via the liver.
“If confirmed elsewhere, this observation has significant public health implications in relation to preventing exposure to these water contaminants,” the researchers conclude.
KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) is an alloy of copper and zinc that is used in shower filters and some drinking water filters. It removes free chlorine from water by reversing the electrochemical process that originally produced the chlorine. Chlorine is created by separating chloride ions from sodium in a brine solution.
Because copper and zinc are dissimilar metals, a molecular tension is created between the two metals as water passes through the KDF media. This galvanic action produces a mild electrical charge enabling the chlorine to combine with a metal ion, in this case zinc. The result is the formation of soluble zinc chloride which is washed out of the filter and is harmless to humans. Free chlorine is extremely reactive and seeking to re-unite with another element. In the absence of an electrical charge it combines with organic matter.
An excess of turbidity in the incoming water can interfere with this galvanic action, lessening KDF’s ability to remove free chlorine. For this reason, the life of a KDF filter is related to the particulate level of the water it filters as well as than the number of gallons that pass through it.
KDF has bacteriostatic properties which means that it does not support the growth of bacteria. It is not capable of killing bacteria (bactericidal).
KDF does not remove organic contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trihalomethanes. It can neutralize some heavy metals but not under conditions such as exist in a shower filter where there is insufficient media and a water flow rate that is too fast to provide adequate contact time.
KDF comes in granular and filament form.
On October 31, 2004, the people of Uruguay voted to amend their constitution to recognize water as a public good and an inalienable right. Their Constitution now guarantees that piped water and sanitation be available to all Uruguayans, and it bans for-profit corporations from supplying this public good.
Blue October celebrates this historic move by challenging corporate control of water through global action!
Today, one in 6 people lack access to safe, affordable water, and 2 in 5 lack access to adequate sanitation. The United Nations expects these numbers to rise–unless we act now.
Amid this crisis, some of the world’s wealthiest corporations–like Suez and Coca-Cola–are looking to profit, often at the expense of the poor. A vibrant international movement is challenging the corporate control of this precious resource, and protecting water as a public good and an inalienable right.
Blue October is an international month of action to challenge corporate control of water and to protect water as a shared natural resource available to all.
Blueoctobercampaign.org provides information about events happening all over the world in October 2007.