As many of you know and as this blog (hopefully) represents our family has been on a journey to eliminate everyday toxins from our dwelling, bodies and lives. Some toxins, like plastic are a daunting task. Plastic is in everything. Our quest to eliminating plastic is slow going at best. There are some basic things that we have done to help eliminate plastic in our lives:
- Using reusable cloth sandwich bags (like these from Bone’s Bags) and other storage containers (our baby step to this was switching from plastic sandwich bags to brown sacks that can be bought by the hundreds very inexpensively. We then brought them back home and they went into the compost).
- Eliminating plastic dishes: plates, cups, silverware (we are 80% complete).
- Using glass containers, such as mason jars or even upcycling empty glass jars for storing leftovers, homemade yogurt, individual sized snacks and likewise.
- Buying in bulk and storing appropriately.
- Reusable grocery bags and reusable fresh produce bags (like these Flip and Tumble bags on Amazon.com).
- Purchasing eco-friendly, concentrated products from Melaleuca. I happen to be an Independent Marketing Executive, I like to think of it more as being a Wellness Coach. If you’re curious on how Melaleuca can help detoxify your home, save you money and improve your life and vitality, please let me know.
- Properly recycling plastics that cannot be or have yet to be eliminated from our usage.
Honestly, I could talk all day about the dangers of plastic, but since I only have about ten minutes to blog today, that will have to wait. Instead I would like to address another danger that is in every single household in the country. One that you might not think about. In fact, is it one that is promoted each and every time you go to the doctor or dentist. Are you wondering what it is? Tap Water. Now I know what most of you are probably thinking. Tap water is closely regulated, tested and monitored to ensure that it is safe. So how could it be one of the most dangerous things in your house? Well you see, there is an interesting and very dangerous thing that happens in our country. We have this thing called government established to preserve and protect the rights, health and wellness of its countrymen, right? Well our current government has a little problem…no, actually it is huge. We have all of these wonderful organizations, regulatory offices and laws to help govern and protect our great nation. The problem is, who is governing them? Our water supply is just one little factor in the multitude of government control. Contaminated water is not just a third world problem as we are lead to believe. In fact it is very much an American problem, and a common and very dangerous problem among many industrialized nations. Let me break it down for you.
Our water supply is treated with chemicals that supposedly ‘protect’ us from harmful bacteria and disease. Things such as Chlorine, Fluoride and over 300 other chemicals are used to ‘cleanse’ the water. Let’s focus on this for a moment. These chemicals are purposely put into our water to ‘protect’ us, right? Our government has set up laws siting that this MUST be done to the water. You receive handy little letters in the mail informing you each time your city tests the water and they are under government obligation to report any discrepancies found. The interesting thing is, both independent and government studies show that these chemical are toxic. The reason they are able to use them is because they are in such small amounts that no ‘immediate’ danger can be ‘proven’ to the extent that would warrant change of current policy. Both Chlorine and Fluoride have been scientifically proven to be toxic to the human body with extended use. But wait, there is more.
According to ongoing research, most well and tap water in the US is now unfit to drink. We not only drink it, but we cook with it, bathe with it, clean our house with it. Water is very much a staple of human life. Is it just the chemicals they are treating the water with that makes it so dangerous? No. Americans regularly use over 35,000 pesticides that contain over 600 different chemicals compounds. Municipal water systems are only required to test for 6 of these. Six. These chemicals are known to cause a variety of health issues such as birth defects, nerve damage, sterility and cancer. There have been to date over 700 organic chemicals found in water sources that are known to cause cancer. Lets continue this further. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency, has admitted that our water sources cause health problems that extend to: bone disease and disrupt the immune system, thyroid function, reproductive systems and are known causes of hormone disruptors. They go on to report that the lead in our water supply has been linked to learning disorders in children and hypertension problems in adults. The General Accounting Office, again another government agency, released this report entitled DRINKING WATER: Unreliable State Data Limit EPA’s Ability to Target Enforcement Priorities and Communicate Water Systems’ Performance in June 2011 and can be viewed in full extent HERE.
The data states reported to EPA for measuring compliance with health and monitoring requirements of SDWA did not reliably reflect the number of health-based and monitoring violations that community water systems have committed or the status of enforcement actions. Using data from the 14 states EPA audited in 2009, GAO estimates that those 14 states did not report or inaccurately reported 26 percent of the health-based violations that should have been reported and 84 percent of the monitoring violations that should have been reported. GAO’s findings were consistent with the results of prior EPA audits. In addition, according to EPA headquarters and regional officials GAO interviewed and surveyed, state-reported data underreported the percentage of water systems with violations against which the states have taken enforcement actions. Survey respondents and other officials reported that numerous factors contribute to errors in reported data on violations and enforcement, including inadequate training, staffing, and guidance, and inadequate funding to conduct those activities. Unreported health-based and monitoring violations and incomplete enforcement data limit EPA’s ability to identify water systems with the most serious compliance problems and ensure that it is achieving its goal of targeting for enforcement those systems with the most serious compliance problems.
There seems to be a reoccurring problem with the government’s ability to regulate and enforce its own agencies that are designed to protect Americans. So, the question that remains is this, what can you do to protect your family? You can install whole house reverse osmosis filters. Honestly, they are expensive, with costs ranging up to $10,000. If you are scientifically inclined you can build one yourself. There are smaller cost options like single sink filters and shower filters for those of you who want a reverse osmosis filter but cannot afford a whole house filter. These range in cost from around $290 – $500. There are also gravity filter counter top systems, such as Berkey Filters ranging in prices from $230+.
I would also encourage you to speak about this issues. Bring it up during coffee with friends, co-workers and family. Contact your representatives and voice your opinion on this matter. We Americans need to remember that the government was designed to work of the people, for the people, by the people. If you don’t speak up for your family, who will?