Water and Health
Arthur Hubbard, Ph.D

WHY WATER IS IMPORTANT TO HEALTH:

Our bodies are about 70 % water. Imagine! A person who weighs 140 pounds actually contains about 100 pounds of water! Fresh vegetables and fruits contain 70 to 80% water. This is abundance of water is important to maintaining balanced metabolism and other body chemistry in plants, animals and humans.
The functions of water in the body are very numerous. Water transports nutrients, minerals, and catalysts [enzymes, vitamins] to the places where they are needed in the body. Water is a “polar” molecule, having positive and negative poles that allow it to act as a solvent for a great many of the life-sustaining processes. For example, the blood, which is mostly water, delivers oxygen, nutrients and electrolytes to the brain, muscles, eyes, digestive system, bone marrow, all the organs, and in fact, to the entire body. In addition, water has a part in moderating the body temperature, as well as in disposing of toxins from the body.
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of drinking “tap water” from the faucet. Tap water is supplied for multiple purposes, and is mainly intended for agricultural and industrial uses, gardening, laundry and bathing. Because removal of pollutants by filtration is difficult, tap water often contains various toxic impurities resulting from industrial wastes, vehicle exhaust, agricultural chemicals, pesticides, sewage, bacteria, and metals and plastics leached from the system of water pipes. In other words, water contains the same pollutants as are present in the environments as a whole. Water is a powerful solvent for pollutants as well as for desirable substances. To make matters worse, many water supplies are intentionally contaminated with toxic chlorine bleach and fluoride compounds. Drinking tap water tends to transfer a wide assortment of harmful pollutants into the body.
People living in cities tend to be exposed to higher levels of pollution. The levels vary with time because the water sources fluctuate with weather, water demand, water system maintenance and other factors. Thus it is important to lower the burden of pollution on our bodies by searching for sources of clean water.

HOW TO OBTAIN CLEAN WATER:
Installing a water purifying system for drinking water is a most important investment in your health and that of your family. If cost is a problem, you may want to consider sharing a drinking water purifier among several families, as most purifiers are capable of supplying the needs of several families simultaneously.
The recommended type of drinking water purifying systems consists of four stages:

  1. The first stage, a “coarse” filter, removes particles of dust, sand, soil, rust and so forth.
  2. The second stage, a “fine” filter, removes germs, viruses and microbes.
  3. A third stage, a “reverse osmosis” or “RO” filter, removes a large percentage of the dissolved chemicals such as bleach, plastics and heavy metal from the pipes, and industrial/agricultural pollutants. A properly working RO system removes about 98% of the dissolved chemicals from your tap water.
  4. The fourth stage removes residual impurities that might affect the odor and taste of the water. A charcoal (carbon) adsorbent is usually used for this purpose.

Reverse osmosis is a relatively new and efficient technique for purification of water. It removes most types of impurities, it can handle large volumes of water, and requires little maintenance. Pollutants are continuously removed with the flowing tap water and do not stay on the membrane. This is unlike the usual “filters” that become clogged or saturated and thus ineffective after a period of usage. The contaminated tap water discarded by the RO filter is insignificant for a properly working system, although the discarded water could easily be collected and used for gardening or toilet flushing.
Clean water is also important for bathing because the skin and the mucous membranes can readily absorb impurities from water, and are very sensitive to toxic pollutants. Although an RO filter does not produce water in sufficient quantities for bathing, one can obtain a filter designed to remove chlorine from tap water prior to use for bathing. This “chlorine filter” is easily installed between the “shower arm” and the “shower head” in most cases.

COMPARISON OF WATER SOURCES:

Water purifiers based on distillation produce water of similar purity to that obtained from four-stage RO systems. However, distillation requires more energy to operate. One can purchase “pure” bottled water in stores, but bottled water is often expensive, the quality is uncertain, and the water may contain impurities from the plastic bottle, the bottle cap, and the apparatus used to bottle the water.

CLEAN AIR IS ALSO IMPORTANT:

Clean air is very important to health! Although a room air filter can improve air quality somewhat, the only reliable sources of clean air are in Nature. Thus, we should choose to live in a forest, or near a natural area where the wind direction is such that air flows from a clean wilderness area to our place of residence. We should avoid residing in industrial areas, near busy traffic locations, or where the wind brings air from industrial centers such as factories, non-organic farms, or golf courses. When it is not possible to build a home in a clean air environment, then it is a worthwhile investment to install a reliable home air purifier.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Q:        Neither distilled water nor RO water contain dissolved minerals; would this have any undesirable effects on the body?
A:        The useful minerals are found in foods such as whole grains, breads and noodles, beans, leafy green vegetables and roots such as carrots and beets. Thus, the key to good mineral supply is a balanced diet.

Q:        What is the correct acidity [pH] of drinking water?
A:        Natural water has a pH of about 5.6, which is slightly acidic, due to the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide from the air. Clean water should have a pH between 5.5 and about 8.5; many of the larger pharmacies sell “wide range pH paper” suitable for checking the acidity of water. [Incidentally, most residential four-stage water filters include pushbutton water quality testers so that the user can check to make certain that the system is working. Push the test button about once a month.]

Q:        What about mineral water?
A:        True, naturally occurring mineral water is extremely rare. The so-called “mineral water” sold in stores is usually just ordinary bottled water to which has been added commercial chemicals such as carbon dioxide, flavoring, coloring, sweeteners, preservatives, stimulants, and/or chemicals such as sodium bicarbonate. These commercial concoctions are not recommended. Genuine spring water from an uncontaminated natural spring is also a rarity. The “spring water” sold in stores is often nothing better than bottled tap water or filtered industrial water. Bottled water is preferable to tap water when nothing else is available, but in the long run GUARD YOUR HEALTH BY PURIFYING YOUR OWN DRINKING WATER!