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Toxic Water Contamination Much Worse Than Originally Thought

Toxic Water Contamination Much Worse Than Originally Thought

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Recent research has revealed that around 75% of water sources that supply tap water to two-thirds of the population in the United States is contaminated with a cancer-causing substance.  It’s called chromium-6, and it only takes a minute amount to expose someone to serious health-risks.  Chromium-6 is also the same chemical that contaminated the water supply in the movie based on the true life story of Erin Brockovich. 

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What is It?

Chromium-6 is a toxin that is usually produced as a byproduct of manufacturing, industry, power generation, dye-making and steel production, and it’s everywhere.  Keep in mind that chromium-6 is not the same as chromium-3, which is an essential nutrient that our bodies need.  Chromium-3 is found naturally in the environment, where chromium-6 is formed largely through human activities. 

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Extent of the Problem

The EPA has been slow to regulate this contaminant until pressure from Congress as public concerns increased.  The agency finally asked water utilities to test their supplies for chromium-6, and samples were taken from 60,000 different communities around the country.  More than 250,000,000 people are at risk of high levels of chromium-6.  A growing number of research projects have uncovered that the health risks of repeated ingestion of contaminated water can lead to a wide-range of cancers and other serious conditions. 

However, the EPA has still not issued regulations or strict guidelines in order to protect the American public, despite the known health risks.  There are a couple of theories that are floating around as to why this is the case, and they are the usual suspects that most of us think about.  One is money.  It would take utilities and states tens of millions of dollars each to adapt to new technologies, testing and purification processes.  It would cost the EPA, states, and polluters billions of dollars to clean up sources of contamination. 

It would also place a lot of pressure on industries to prevent chromium-6 from entering the water supply, and that costs a lot of money that they don’t want to spend.  Combined, these examples point to why money is the biggest factor when it comes to explaining why the EPA is slow to act.  Unfortunately, not enough people are getting sick and dying to make it financially-viable to institute real reforms, and that’s the cold, hard truth.

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Dangers of Chromium-6

Exposures to chromium-6 can lead to lung cancer, DNA alterations that can cause numerous other forms of cancer, heart and respiratory disease, neurological problems and reproductive issues.  Furthermore, it can cause kidney or liver damage, a wide-range of skin and respiratory ailments along with tooth decay.  While chromium-6 is known to be most-dangerous when inhaled, research is starting to make strong connections with drinking and illness as well.

At the current time, the EPA sort of suggests, and I mean this in the loosest interpretation of the phrase, that concentrations be less than 100 parts per billion.  In contrast, California’s legal limit is 10 parts per billion.  However, the California government also says that the safest, optimal level is only .02 parts per billion, or five thousand times less than current regulations.  This is potent stuff we’re talking about, and over a lifetime of consumption, most of our population is at risk of getting sick.   Keep in mind that 1 part per billion is the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  This law was enacted, in large part, due to the Erin Brockovich scandal after people started getting sick from drinking tap water.   

This is a real problem that exists in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and in groundwater supplies across the country.  Chances are that anywhere where there is or was industry or power generation, chromium-6 is in the water below or downstream.  To make matters worse, the only effective way to remove chromium-6 from water supplies is by using a special filter that is not really designed for residential use.

Consequently, it’s up to communities and polluters to invest in these types of filters that are not cheap.  They also require ongoing maintenance and the special disposal of cartridges.  Consequently, even our own emergency water purification techniques can’t get rid of chromium-6.  At the end of the day, it is thought that 12,000 people a year get sick from drinking water that has levels of chromium-6 in excess of EPA suggestions. However, that number could climb into the hundreds of thousands if you apply California standards. 

Keep in mind that not everyone gets sick and dies right away.  In fact, the alterations of DNA as well as the onset of other ailments can take years and years.  This makes it difficult to see this as an immediate threat, and it makes it easier to attribute getting sick to other causes.  However, this threat is very real, and it is something that impacts all of us.  So, where can you go to find safe water supplies? 

We recommend doing your own research to find that answer, because once word gets out, a lot of people are going to want to move there.

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Vital Info to Understanding the Process of Rehydration

Vital Info to Understanding the Process of Rehydration

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Small Doses

The body absorbs water better when it is introduced steadily over time.  Drinking a gallon of water after spending a day in the hot sun is going to lead to more waste and potentially overwhelm systems in the body.  This particularly true when it comes to the kidneys.  Some people suggest that kidneys should be processing anywhere between 12-18 ounces of water per hour.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but introducing too much water in the system at once can cause it to go into overdrive, which can actually lead to kidney damage or even renal failure in some extreme cases.   The digestive system can also be thrown into chaos if too much water is ingested at one time after dehydration.

The best thing to do is to provide a steady supply of water that is consumed over time in order to allow the body to properly re-absorb fluids.  Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good while also wasting most of the excess water through urination.

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Sports Drinks

Sports drinks contain additives that are intended to replenish minerals and other nutrients that get lost through sweat.  However, many of them are also designed to make you thirsty so that you buy and drink more of their products.  Drinking a quart over the period of an hour is all you need to give the body an initial jolt back into rehydration.  Compliment additional fluid intake with water.

You can also make your own by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt with 6 teaspoons of sugar for every quart of water.  This will help the body to replace fluid that has been lost between and within cells.

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How Water is Lost

The best way to understand how to rehydrate the body is to see how it releases fluids in the first place.  The first way that the body produces water for sweat is by excreting it from the blood.  In fact, blood volume can decrease up to 25% during periods of exertion.  The body then releases water from spaces between cells to offset this reduction and provide additional fluid for sweat.  Finally, the body will release water that is within cells if necessary.  This is also where most of the water in the body is stored.

As you rehydrate yourself, the reverse happens.  The blood gets more water, then supplies are replenished in the spaces between cells before cells themselves get rehydrated.  While you will feel the effects of rehydration almost immediately, it can take hours for water to re-enter cells and levels to reach equilibrium.  Consequently, if you gulp a lot of water in one sitting, it may help to satisfy the need to replenish fluids in the blood and around cells, but fail to replenish fluid loss within cells.

This is where the sugar/salt mixture comes in to play.  This helps to unlock the membranes around cells  so that water gets reabsorbed.  However, it takes time.  So, even if you feel better and begin to perk up after being dehydrated, your cells will still be in the process of recharging depleted supplies long after you start drinking again.

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Urine is Misleading

The color of your urine can be a good indicator of when you are getting dehydrated as it gets darker when the body conserves water.  However, clear urine during rehydration is not necessarily an indicator that supplies have been replenished.  Frequent urination is not necessarily an indicator that your water levels are optimal after dehydration as well.

Remember that the body can only process so much water at any given point in time.  Any excess is removed through urination, and you can lose a lot of water before it is absorbed properly.  Think of how anti-freeze or coolant overflows from a radiator if you pour too much in at once.  It takes time for the water to enter the system and fill the internal chambers.  This is why the only way to really fill a radiator is to pour in fluid slowly.  The same happens with our bodies.  Frequent urination that appears clear may simply be a sign that you’re overflowing as opposed to absorbing water.

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Keep Cool

One of the best things that you can do to properly rehydrate yourself is to rest, remove excess clothing, take a shower and stay out of the heat.  This will reduce stress on the body, minimize continual sweating and allow the water that you are ingesting to properly work its way through the system.

Under normal circumstances, adults should be drinking between 8-10 glasses of water per day.  This can double or even triple when under periods of extreme exertion or exposure to high heat or intense sunlight.  However, it’s important to drink consistently throughout the day in order to maximize the body’s ability to reabsorb water.

Get into a cooler place, relax, and drink a couple of glasses of water per hour throughout the day in order to maximize the effectiveness of your rehydration efforts.  Remember that you may feel less thirsty, your eyes will be moist again, your nose will not feel dry and you will perk up after drinking a glass or two of water when you are dehydrated.  However, the body still needs time for water to work its way through the system and replenish depleted supplies.

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