What’s in your “water?”

I recently read an article that indicated young children, over age 2, don’t need as much milk in their diets as previously thought. In fact, it was recommended that after age 2, their primary beverage be water. Interesting. According to most research, the majority of us are all dehydrated; therefore, everyone should be drinking more water.

Water covers the majority of the earth, our bodies are predominately made of and thrive in an environment of water and our basic nutritional foods require water. However, in this enlightened age of technology and health concerns, drinking water hasn’t kept pace – partially because of the large industry lobbyists for manufacturing and chemical industries and partially because we believe that the EPA is watching over us and bottled water is higher quality than tap water.

I remember when bottled water first came to the market. I was in disbelief that we should be paying for water which was available at home and work. However, it seems that 60% of the bottled water purchased today is being used in the home. And, I must admit that I started using the 5 gallon containers when the tap water in my city tasted odd. I am now changing that habit as I am questioning the quality of bottled water over my well water, which I am able to test annually.

Recently I signed up to support an EWG effort regarding water and received a copy of Seth M. Siegel’s What’s Wrong with What We Drink Troubled Water. Although I just started reading this book, the one fact that has me very disturbed is that we really don’t know what all is in our water (tap or bottled); we just assume that it is okay. According to Siegel “there are more than 120,000 chemical compounds, pharmaceutical products and plastics now in commerce and the EPA has only designated about 90 of them as problematic enough to be called ‘regulated.’ ” (introduction, page xv). In our technology age, why has water testing lagged behind?

Local water authorities are not tied to local health authorities. It would seem to me that this would be a natural relationship. Regardless, according to the 1996 amendment of the Safe Drinking Water Act (originally proposed in 1970 and passed in 1972), local water authorities were to provide an annual report to consumers regarding water quality and listing regulated containments.

Have you ever seen or requested one of these reports? I lived in a major city for over 20 years and never knew this was a possibility. Now, being on a well, I have my annual study conducted.

Water, like air, is a basic human need. Living well (without disease) requires that we have quality of both. When you think about it, not only do we “drink” water, but we also eat food that is grown with or lives in water. Therefore, drinking water, irrigation water, rain water all impact our health. Areas of water runoff into our streams, lakes and rivers, be they macadam (oil) roads, landfills or soil treated with pesticides and chemicals also play a major role.

The Clean Water Act has been under political pressure recently. Perhaps it is time that we let our government representatives (elected and appointed) know that these basic health requirements are not to be used for bargaining chips.

As I think about a resource cause that I could really get behind, my self-talking has led me to water.