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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Chlorinated water can give blonde hair a green tint, much to the display of many women who spend a fortune on their prized locks. A de-chlorinating shower filter will help stop this from occurring. Both KDF shower filters and Vitamin C shower filters are great for neutralizing nasty chlorine, which is very hard on eyes, skin and lungs as well as hair.
Chlorine is a gas which vaporizes in the heat of a shower causing it to be inhaled through the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream through the pores of the skin, our largest organ. In fact, we are exposed to far more chlorine in our daily shower than we are from drinking chlorinated water.
A KDF shower filter may also put an end to blue-green staining that can occur in homes with copper pipes in areas like Metro Vancouver where our water supply tends to be slightly acidic. Once a KDF shower filter is installed and the old staining is scrubbed away, the problem should not re-occur.
Preparing for an earthquake isn’t anyone’s favourite activity. Who wants to spend time and money collecting gear and provisions for something that we hope will never happen! Here in coastal British Columbia we are overdue for the ‘big one’. The quake that struck last month
(on Sept 9, 2011) was a wake-up call.
If you haven’t got an emergency kit prepared yet, one very simple step you can take to get started is to store emergency water. It won’t cost you anything except perhaps the cost of the emergency water storage containers. This one easy step may help get the ball rolling toward gathering other necessities for an earthquake preparedness kit for you and your family.
A major earthquake could damage municipal water supply lines, making tap water unavailable and/or vulnerable to contamination through ruptured pipes. Don’t take adequate water supplies for granted. If you store ample water in advance you’ve already greatly increased your family’s ability to respond to an earthquake.
How much water to store
At very least, you should store one gallon per person per day for three days. Extra if you have pets. A three-week supply is preferable.
Water storage containers for an emergency
Look for sturdy, re-usable one- to five-gallon plastic containers made of number 2, 4 or 5 plastic. Yes, plastic for portability. Glass is too heavy for emergency use. Best not to rely on one or two gallon containers typically found in grocery store as they aren’t designed for long-term storage and may leak after six months.
Home owners may be well advised to also store water in large food-grade plastic drums.
Sanitation and six month replacement schedule
Make sure the containers are sanitized before filling them with chlorinated tap water. Yes, chlorinated. Hopefully you will never have to use this water but if you do, better that it be sterile than bacteria-ridden. Make yourself a reminder to replace the water in these containers every six months.
Alternate emergency water sources
Water from the following sources should be disinfected if needed for drinking in emergency conditions. Berkey water purifiers will disinfect water from these last-resort sources as well as making it taste better.
- Hot water tank
Turn off the power that heats it, and let the tank cool. Then place a container underneath and open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Don’t turn the tank on again until water services are restored.
- Toilet tank
The water in the tank (not the bowl) can be used to drink in an emergency unless chemical treatments have been added.
- Water pipes
Release air pressure into the plumbing system by turning on the highest faucet in the house. Then drain the water from the lowest faucet.
- Outside the home
Rain water, spring water, and water from streams, river, lakes, and coiled garden hoses can be used after it is disinfected.
Emergency water purification methods
Here are four methods to disinfect questionable water in emergency situations:
- Berkey water purifier – gravity filter requires no electricity.
- Aquatabs – add prescribed number of pre-packaged water purification tablets to water. Wait 30 minutes.
- Liquid chlorine bleach (unscented) – add eight drops per gallon of water. Double this amount if the water is cloudy.
- Two percent tincture of iodine – add twelve drops per gallon of water. Double this amount if the water is cloudy.
- Boil the water vigorously for several minutes.
Note 1: If emergency use water is very murky, it is best to strain it through several layers of cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter before applying one of the above treatments.
Note 2: Most drinking water filters are meant to be used with municipally treated (disinfected), microbiologically safe tap water only. They do not remove bacteria and will not protect you adequately in an emergency situation.
Becoming prepared is an intelligent act of self respect.
- Hot water tank
Since the catastrophic tsunami and nuclear accident at Fukushima on March 11, 2011 watermatters has been in repeated contact with all levels of government, health authorities, academics, scientists and lay people seeking current local test data concerning radionuclide levels in Metro Vancouver’s water. It has been of particular concern to us as Metro Vancouver is supplied by surface water from snow and rain (not ground water), collected in three open reservoirs – Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam.
Testing for radioactivity in Metro Vancouver’s drinking water
Shortly after the initial incident at the Fukushima power plant on March 11, Metro Vancouver started water sampling to test for various radioactive isotopes. These samples were taken from the intakes at each of our three reservoirs and sent to the Saskatchewan Research Council. The SRC is one of only two facilities in Canada with the equipment necessary to do this specialized testing – an expensive process. The test results are posted on Metro Vancouver’s website.
By early May 2011, local authorities deemed it unnecessary to continue this sampling (and posting of results) because test results were indicating that any changes in radioactive isotopes levels were negligible. This decision appears to have been made by provincial health authorities, probably in consultation with Health Canada, local scientists and radiation specialists.
Radiation continues to leak from Japan
Meanwhile, it was coming to light via alternative media and professional sources that the state of affairs in Japan was (and continues to be) far from stable. Earthquakes and typhoons continue to threaten Japan. Radioactive waste continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean, raising questions about how much of this contamination might affect radioactive levels in fish.
Testing for radioactivity in Canadian fisheries
In August the Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested twelve fish from different sources and reported all were below Health Canada action levels for radioactivity. We contacted the CFIA for more details and were told that of the twelve fish tested in total, ten were salmon, two were tuna. The species tested were Pink, Sockeye, Chum, Coho and Spring salmon, and Albacore tuna. The twelve fish tested were all wild. These fish were taken at various points in the coastal waters off of Vancouver Island including the Georgia and Juan de Fuca Straits, from deeper waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and from various mainland rivers.
Casual local rainwater testing shows no recent unusual levels of radiation
We recently contacted the SFU nuclear scientist whose samplings for radioactivity in local rainwater and seaweed made the news in March. He evidently continues to casually test radionuclide levels when it rains. (This activity is not part of his professional mandate.) We spoke with him shortly after the last very heavy rainfall in September about which he reports that he found “nothing”, referring to detectable radionuclide levels. He expresses no concern about the situation, saying that we already live with a significant level of radioactive isotopes inherited from nuclear testing in the sixties. Also contributing to ambient levels is background radiation from naturally occurring ores in our environment and from cosmic radiation.
Official positions based on points of view or actual local data?
All local, provincial and federal government and health authorities with whom we have spoken regarding this issue have consistently asserted that we are not at risk here in BC. It has been our impression that most of these individuals have no in-depth understanding about nuclear radiation. Even with those trained in radioactive impact, their stance relies heavily, if not entirely, on the position and findings of remote official sources beyond their own jurisdiction. The situation is complicated by the mind-bending equations needed to interpret radioactive measurements in Bequerels and Sieverts.
Japan incinerating Fukushima’s nuclear debris
Most recently we have learned that rather than containing the radioactive debris from Fukushima, the Japanese government is now planning to transport massive amounts of it to other parts of Japan to be incinerated. There are serious concerns that this will expose the rest of the Japanese population to radioactive contamination and increase the possibility of radionuclides reaching the Canadian west coast via air currents.
On-going potential for radioactive contamination warrants continued local testing
People around the world are fast losing their trust in the decisions that officials make on our behalf – a powerful unravelling that especially characterizes this year, 2011. Given that the situation in Japan is not stable, that contamination continues to leak from the site of the accident and that Japan is planning to incinerate massive amounts of contaminated nuclear debris from the Fukushima accident, we feel that continued local testing of our water supply is warranted, if simply to show people that there is, indeed, no current spike in radiation levels.
To this end we have been in touch with various local, provincial and federal departments pointing out that it would be in the interests of all concerned to continue to test our local water supply and to publish scientifically based local data showing that there continues to be no need for concern. If the test results don’t support this then we need to know that too.
The Japanese people can certainly use all the support we can give.
Citizen’s group initiates radiation monitoring
Frustrated by the lack of satisfactory data from official sources, the following citizens action group has initiated its own radiological testing:
Canadian Collaborative for Radiation Awareness & Monitoring
Nuclear scientists concerned about lack of disclosure
- Arnie Gundersen
Mr. Gundersen is a nuclear engineer and a former nuclear industry executive, US expert on nuclear energy and nuclear industry problems.
- Professor Chris Busby
Busby sits on the European Committee on Radiation Risk. He is personally testing for radionuclide levels in Japan, reports that his detection methods are finding dangerous levels of plutonium, strontium 90 and uranium in Japan that are not being reported by the Japanese government.
- Finnish scientist’s theory about Fukushima
Some government officials and health authorities involved in decision-making and public relations regarding radioactivity and drinking water:
- Dr. Patricia Daly
Chief Medical Health Officer
Vice President, Public Health
Vancouver Coastal Health
601 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC., V5Z 4C2
- Richard A. Taki MA,CPHI (c)
Regional Director, Health Protection
Vancouver Coastal Health
#1200-601 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC., V5Z 4C2
P: 604.675.3809 F: 604.736.8651
- Dr. Abderrachid Zitouni, PhD
Provincial Radiation Protection Specialist
Environmental Health services/Radiation Protection
British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
655 West 12th Avenue, BC V5Z 4R4
- Lauren Bergman
Environmental Impact Specialist
Radiological Impacts Section
Radiation Protection Bureau
- John Lynch
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division
Radiological Parameters in Drinking Water
Water samples may be screened initially for radioactivity by measuring Gross Alpha and Beta activity. Compliance with the Canadian drinking water guidelines may be inferred if measurements for gross alpha and beta activity are less than 0.1 Bq/L and 1 Bq/L respectively. If the measurements exceed the limits, additional radiological testing for natural and manmade isotopes such as Cesium 137, Iodine 131, Lead 210, Radium 226 and Strontium 90, as listed in the guideline may be required and can be carried out by SRC Analytical.
Health Canada’s Radiological Guidelines and Parameters
Health Canada’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality
Health Canada’s radiological monitoring data
How radiological guidelines are calculated
The formula for calculating the Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) is provided as:
MAC (Bq/L) = ________ 0.1 mSv/year __
730 L/year x DC (Sv/Bq) x 1000 mSv/Sv
0.1 mSv/year is the dose constraint used for drinking water
730 L/year is the drinking water consumption rate for Canadians
DC (Sv/Bq) is the dose coefficient for ingestion recommended by the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) 72 (1996)
In order to calculate the dose from a given activity in Bq/L, you have to re-arrange this equation.
To calculate dose, you would use the follow equation:
Dose (mSv/year) = Activity (Bq/L) x DC (Sv/Bq) x 730 L/year x 1000 mSv/Sv
- Arnie Gundersen