Here at Data Port headquarters we regularly receive a health news letter published by the Center For Science in The Public Interest.
The newsletter, Nutrition Action, is filled with information about the food we eat and the stuff we drink. The cover story this month is titled “H2 Uh Oh” and outlines in scary detail some of the bad stuff that may lurk in our drinking water.
“For years, people said that America has the cleanest drinking water in the world,” William K. Reilly, the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator under George H.W. Bush, told the New York Times last year.
“That was true 20 years ago. But people don’t realize how many new chemicals have emerged and how much more pollution has occurred. If they did, we would see very different attitudes.”
The risks from germs, contaminated surface water, leaking distribution pipes and plumbing (lead) are familiar. Happily, various disinfectants like chlorine can go a long way to make us safe. But according to Arizona State University’s Paul Westerhoff, director of ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering we’re still not home free.
Chlorine combines with organic matter naturally found in water to form “hundreds of compounds called disinfection byproducts, or DBPs.”
The Nutrition Action article goes on to say, “The EPA regulates the 11 most common and best studied DBPs. Nine of the 11 cause cancer in laboratory animals.”
So what do we do? We filter. Home filters offer varying degrees of protection, but anything would be better than nothing. Costs and efficiencies vary from the simple home ‘pitcher style’ to sophisticated reverse osmosis systems.
And for an entertaining look at outrageous, and potentially disabling examples of over-eating let me recommend the 2010 Extreme Eating Awards .