Public Water Supplies Could be Making You Sick

Tainted Tap Water Sickens 1.1 Million Each Year

Viruses Creep Into Public Water Supplies Through Leaky Pipes

Sept. 14, 2012 – The pipes that ferry drinking water from public wells to home taps may let in viruses that cause more than a million cases of stomach illness every year, two new studies show.

“This is a really big deal,” says Jeffrey Griffiths, MD, MPH&TM, a professor at Tufts University and chair of the drinking water committee of the U.S. EPA’s science advisory board. “This research is very important.”

“Our delivery pipe system is old in many parts of the country and leaky and not being replaced,” says Griffiths, who was not involved in the studies.

Griffiths says the research “really documents that it’s possible for people to get viruses that make them sick through their drinking water.”

The studies stem from the same government-funded research project. It is one of the largest ever to look at illnesses tied to public water supplies.

“The drinking water that we have in the U.S. is very, very good relative to other countries,” says researcher Frank Loge, an environmental engineer at the University of California at Davis. “But in terms of what we expect from our drinking water, in terms of health and safety, I was alarmed,” he says.

Looking at the Safety of Public Water Supplies

The project compared 14 public water systems in Wisconsin. Like more than 147,000 towns in the U.S., all the communities in the study pumped their public water from underground pools called aquifers. And like the majority of communities that rely on groundwater, the 14 in the study didn’t disinfect the water after it left those large wells.

For the first year, eight of the communities installed powerful ultraviolet (UV) lights to clean the water as soon as it left the underground pool. The other six continued to have no disinfection.

Scientists sampled water each month from the underground pool, from an area that was just past the UV disinfection, and then from six to eight home taps. The second year, the towns swapped. The eight towns that used UV disinfection turned their systems over to the six that didn’t have them. That let scientists compare how well the UV systems worked to clean the water.

After the two years of watching the water, researchers found that no community had consistently clean or consistently contaminated water.

When they plugged their measurements into models that estimate risk, they found that nationwide, drinking water that’s tainted as it travels through pipes to people’s homes could be responsible for as many as 1.1 million cases of acute stomach illness each year. That’s a level of illness that’s 559 times higher than what the EPA considers acceptable for public drinking water supplies.

Mark A. Borchardt, PhD, a microbiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, says that normally, the average person can expect to get sick with a stomach bug once or twice in a given year. People who drink water from public systems that aren’t disinfected can expect to see that risk climb by about 30%. Looking at the numbers another way, that means as many as 1 in 5 cases of stomach illness each year may be caused by contaminated water. That number may be as high as 2 out of 5 cases in kids.

Public Water Infrastructure Problems

Researchers were concerned about what happens to water on its way to the tap because much of the public water infrastructure in the U.S. is in a state of disrepair. In a 2009 report, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s drinking water systems a D- grade and stressed the need for more money to replace crumbling facilities and plumbing.

To make matters worse, Borchardt says many pipes that carry drinking water are laid close to lines that carry untreated sewage. Like the water pipes, the sewer lines are also often not in great shape.

“If you dig up soil around drinking water pipes, you can find all sorts of pathogens that come from leaking sewer lines,” Borchardt says. Pressure changes may then suck some of those disease-causing germs into the drinking water.

Advice for Safer Tap Water

Smaller towns and rural areas are more likely than larger cities not to disinfect their water. To find out if your water is disinfected or not, contact your municipal water supplier.

If you live in a community where groundwater isn’t disinfected, Loge says there are home systems that can be installed to clean water before you drink it.

Those systems range from $100 to $500 in price and usually need to be professionally installed.

RainSoft Drinking Water Systems

Bottled water quality without the bottle. You’ll enjoy deliciously fresh drinking water all the time with one of our reverse osmosis systems. And with RainSoft drinking water purification systems, there are no heavy bottles to lug or deliveries to schedule. Just turn on the faucet and enjoy. You’ll also be doing the environment a favor!

Coffee, tea, ice, soups, juices…you name it! Anything made with water from RainSoft home water filtration systems will taste noticeably better. So will your prepared foods. After all, water is the number one ingredient in your kitchen. You’ll taste the difference every time you use water from your RainSoft drinking water system.

Home Water Treatment

With two premium drinking water systems, RainSoft water treatment delivers a higher quality and better tasting drinking water experience. Not only will the water from a RainSoft drinking water system in your glass taste distinctly better, but so will all of the food and beverages you make with it.

Ultrefiner reverse osmosis water systems are RainSoft’s premier drinking water system. Using advanced RO technology, the Ultrefiner provides highly polished drinking water that filters out smaller particles that can be missed by less refined drinking water systems.

For out-of-the-way convenience, Hydrefiner drinking water systems deliver a continuous supply of clean, fresh water from right under your sink. Utilizing a compressed carbon-block filter, the Hydrefiner eliminates bad tastes and odors from home drinking water.

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Phone: (954) 709-6014

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5 Steps You Can Take to Limit Indoor Air Pollution

Breathe Easy: 5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality

By  | Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
WebMD Feature provided in collaboration with Healthy Child Healthy World

We tend to think of air pollution as something outside — smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air, especially in summer. But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.

In that mix, you’ll also find microscopic dust mites — a major allergen — plus mold and heaps of pet dander, says David Lang, MD, head of Allergy/Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic. “Even if you don’t have pets, you’ve probably got pet dander,” he tells WebMD. “It’s become what we call a community allergen. Pet owners carry it around on their clothes and shed it throughout the day. You can’t get away from it.”

Children, people with asthma, and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but other effects on health may appear years later, after repeated exposure.

Indoor allergens and irritants have become much more important in recent decades because we’re spending more time indoors, Lang says. And because modern homes are airtight, these irritants can’t easily escape. “We’re all exposed to a greater degree than we were three or four decades ago,” he says.

5 Simple Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

1. Keep your floors fresh.

  • Suck it up. Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. By using a vacuum with a HEPA filter you can reduce concentrations of lead in your home. You can also get rid of other toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter ensures that dust and dirt won’t get blown back out in the exhaust. In high traffic areas, vacuum the same spot several times. Don’t forget walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture, where dust accumulates. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.
  • Mop it up. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens. New microfiber mops (and dust cloths) reportedly capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibers and don’t require any cleaning solutions whatsoever.
  • Keep it out. Put a large floor mat at every door.People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. A door mat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. If the mat is big enough, even those who don’t wipe their shoes will leave most pollutants on the mat — not the floors in your home.

Read the entire article…

RainSoft Has Air Purifying Systems

RainSoft air purification systems treat the entire home, not just one room. Our systems mount directly into the ductwork of your home, providing cleaner, fresher air throughout the entire house. With advanced UV light and ozone lamp technology, the AirMaster Ultra system eliminates airborne contaminants in your home.

RainSoft of Florida

1394 NE 48th St
Pompano Beach, FL 33064

(954) 709-6014
www.rainsoft-fl.com

Or locate a RainSoft Dealer near you.