Archive for the 'Environment' Category

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March 22: World Water Day

World Water Day 2011March 22 every year is World Water Day. And what is World Water Day? Not another Hallmark holiday, I can assure you. World Water Day is an education and awareness program that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference. World Water Day 2005 marked the beginning of a Decade of Action, between 2005 and 2015, during which Word Water Day each year would focus on a specific problem facing global water supplies. 2010 was “clean water for a healthy world,” 2009 was “transboundary waters: sharing water, sharing opportunities,” but my personal favorite was 2001’s discussion on “water for health – taking charge.”

World Water Day 2011 is about water for cities and the many issues and challenges facing cities regarding sanitation, waste water and drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005 40% of the world’s population did not have access to even a simple pit latrine, and 20% did not have access to a source of clean drinking water. I hope advocacy and education programs like World Water Day have improved those numbers, but the situation for so many people is so grim.

There are World Water Day events going on in a lot of cities worldwide today, with the main event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn about the issues and challenges, and take part in some local events if you have the time.

Aquasana on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Did you see Ellen this morning? We sure did!

Waves for Water Spotted: Aquasana made a flash appearance on Ellen this morning with Pam Anderson, actress and spokesperson for Waves for Water. Waves for Water is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting clean water to every single person who needs it. We believe so strongly in their mission and vision to provide families the world over with healthy and clean drinking water that we donated $10,000 to the organization. Pam accepted our donation to help get clean water to people in need on behalf of Waves for Water.

Find more about Waves for Water on their website.

5 Ways to Determine if You Need to Worry about Tap Water Contamination

You may have heard the reports of the 60,000 chemicals from our industries that sometimes make their way into our drinking water supplies; the press keeps us abreast on what contaminants affect your water. You’ve no doubt heard all the dramatic warnings concerning the dangers of heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, cow pee and fairy dust. Depending on the amount of unfiltered tap water you consume and the specific contaminants, you and your family’s health may be at risk.

Contaminants everywhere
The Gulf Oil Spill. Lead and giardiasis in city water. Water boiling warnings. You’ve seen this stuff all over the news, especially when the media run stories on local water supplies showing that this or that contaminant has been found. In these circumstances, your concern is probably justified. You may begin to worry, sniff the water that comes out of your taps, run water for 30 seconds before using it to cook or drink, or even make plans to buy bottled water or a water filter. Get the facts before you act. Consider the following:

1)    Contact your municipal water supplier. You have the right to review their annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for ongoing water quality issues. If there is a widespread, short-term problem, your municipal water supplier will have some sort of statement prepared, and will likely have it posted on their website along with instructions on what to do.

2)    Contact local news and media outlets. If there’s a problem, they will more than likely know what’s going on. And if you are the first to bring it to their attention, they will probably investigate it!

3)    Contact local hospitals or a trusted doctor. If there’s been a spike in recent cases of water-borne illnesses or sickness related to contamination, they will know about it and be able to tell you what the danger is to you and your family, what symptoms to look out for and how to avoid it.

4)    Check the EPA’s website for information on contaminants that are prevalent in your area. This can be a good guide, but is rarely specific enough to really tell you enough information on your home or neighborhood. (Or try the Water Quality Association’s Interactive Problem Solver.)

5)    Have your water tested. This is only applicable if the problem persists and the local water treatment supplier is unable to correct the levels of contamination. Find out what, exactly, the problem is so you can take steps to correct the problem yourself.

Now, what to do if there is a problem? And worse yet, what if the problem is persistent? You can go the bottled water route, but that leaves you vulnerable while bathing. I’d go with a water filter, for both drinking and bathing water, with a carbon filter that is certified by one of the two main independent certification organizations: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Also, check out this guide for how to choose a water filter.

Treat the problem, not the symptoms
We all have to work together to keep the federal, state, and local government accountable for how they treat the nation’s water supply. This is not an issue that lobbyists should be deciding, but sadly it does come to that from time to time. Make your voice and your opinions known. Write your regional and state representatives, let them know you feel water contamination needs more attention, help set the agenda and get out there and vote on Election Day.

Tap water contamination isn’t a hoax, and it’s no laughing matter. There really are contaminants in your drinking water. Small amounts of those pollutants aren’t usually harmful, but exposure to large portions of impurities affects your health.

For more information, check out some of the stories out there on water quality and the issues that surround it.

Are Your Denim Jeans a Water Contamination Threat to the Environment?

Denim jeans have long been a staple for many people’s wardrobe. However, could they be a water contamination threat? They certainly can be and that is a problem in many areas. For instance, lack of proper water treatment and the dyes used in coloring jeans are a concern as far as water quality.

The issue is more of a concern in some third-world countries. They don’t have the same resources for water treatment as other developed countries. However, much of the production of denim jeans often takes place in those third-world countries. Manufacturers find that they are able to get the labor done for less money by outsourcing However, the risks of this being a water contamination threat have caught the attention of many government officials around the world.

Other issues that lead to water contamination threats through the making of denim jeans have been identified. For example, the various types of dyes that are used to give them different shades of color can create a problem. There are also acid-washed jeans that are very stylish but they certainly introduce a variety of harmful chemicals to the water of the community near the facility that makes the jeans.

In response to this, the manufacturers are looking at some alternatives. They certainly don’t want to halt the production of denim jeans. There is a huge demand for them and that is a great money-making endeavor for them to be involved with.

For one thing, they are looking at alternative methods for how they grow the materials to make denim jeans. For example, the use of organic cotton is one possibility. Yet it is also one that will increase the cost of the jeans you buy. The process for growing anything organically means that no chemicals are used. Therefore, runoff from the crops can’t pollute the waterways. This process is more labor intensive and so it increases the overall costs relating to production efforts.

Another option is to look at recycling old denim. This could cut down on the amount of water used to create new denim jeans. It can also help to reduce the amount of contamination that occurs in our waterways in order to get the products that people are after. While you may love the look and feel of your denim jeans and other garments, the fact is that they are harsh for the environment.

Some of the companies that manufacture denim jeans are working to find good alternatives. They want to offer customers the same quality and look with the jeans that they have in the past. However, they are exploring the use of products that are eco-friendly in place of harmful chemicals.

Denim jean manufacturers have been identified as one of the water contamination threats out there. It is up to all of us to make positive changes that will help the environment. This may be one change you need to make when it comes to the clothing you wear. With more than 520 million pairs of denim jeans sold annually in the United States, you can see how the issue of a water contamination threat needs to be closely examined.

What Myths Should You Be Aware of Concerning Water Contamination?

Everyone needs water that is free from contamination. Many people keep their ears open to any news about water contamination. If you are paying attention to water contamination issues in your community, that is the right thing to do. It is important to stay informed regarding these things. You must be careful not to be swayed by myths lurking around. Here are some of the most commonly misunderstood myths that you should be aware of concerning water contamination:

Myth: Lead water contamination is caused by water treatment plants.

Truth: Lead usually does not come to you from water treatment plants, but from your own home plumbing. The pipes that carry your tap water to you may have lead in them and the lead in the pipes can easily be absorbed by the water going through them. If you want to know if you have lead in your water or how much lead you have, ask a professional laboratory to test your water for its lead content. If your lead content is more that 15 parts per billion (ppb), then you must take action. Lead is a very harmful chemical that can have an adverse impact on the health of young children and infants as well as pregnant and nursing mothers. Lead affects early childhood development and the result can be permanent health damage to their bodies.

Tip: Water that is left standing in lead-based plumbing can absorb lead even faster. Before using water, especially for cooking or for serving to your family, let the pipes flush by simply running the water until it becomes cold.

Myth: Once water goes down the drain, it is out of your life forever.

Truth: The water that you use today went down the drains of hundreds of other people before it reached your home. Actually, it might just be the water you flushed down the drain a few weeks or months ago. Some water might be used again the same week, while some water might remain unused for years. Water is not newly created every day. It is recycled and used again and again. It is another common myth that we have an endless supply of water. It is a limited and very precious resource.

Tip: Use water wisely and conserve water.

Myth: Water purifies itself.

Truth: Water goes through highly technical processes before it reaches your home. The community you live in processes water to catch some very basic forms of contamination. Public water processing, however, is in no way equipped to handle the thousands of forms of water pollution and contamination that enter the water supply every day. Every contaminant that we throw away, including chemicals, medicines, batteries, fertilizers, and industrial waste, finds its way back into our water.

Myth: Any home water purifying system will make your tap water healthier and safer.

Truth: Not all home water purifying systems will produce healthy and safe water. Some water filters will make your water’s taste, odor, and color better. That step of producing water that is clear and tastes good can give you an illusion that the water is healthy and clean. Just because your water is tasty, odorless, and clear doesn’t mean it is truly pure and safe to drink.

Tip: When buying a home water filter system, choose one that has been inspected and tested by industry professionals. This should be easy to identify on their labels and boxes. Aquasana has been tested and recommended by many industry professionals to provide you with pure and safe drinking water.

The Value of Healthy Drinking Water

Few people worry very much about what they drink. If most people are thirsty, they open a can of soda pop, drink it, and feel satisfied. The caffeine rush gives them an extra boost as they go about their day, and it tastes delicious! However, soda is not the ideal drink for anyone trying to stay healthy or get in shape. The best drink for your health is pure water. Why is this? It’s simple. You need water to live. Your body is 72% water!

Without water, you would quickly die from dehydration. Soda pop and energy drinks have water in them – that’s why you can quench your thirst temporarily with them – but they’re not a substitute for the real thing.  Soda contains a large amount of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Both of these are very high in calories. By adding a large amount of calories, you are increasing your chances of quickly becoming overweight. Water has no calories, and hydrates far better than any soda pop.

Sugar and caffeine are also diuretics that cause your body to excrete water and lead to dehydration. Pure, filtered water provided by Aquasana water filters is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Water is used to carry food to your cells in order to be converted into energy. You lose water many ways: Breathing, urinating, sweating, and digestion all require and use water.  If you are walking around dehydrated, you will need to eat more food in order to get enough energy to make it through your day. Though there is no magic amount of water for everyone, your body knows how to tell you when you need more water: you become thirsty. If you are thirsty, then you are probably already dehydrated to a negative extent.  Because of water’s importance to your body, it is essential to have a good source of clean water to drink.

When you know your water is pure and tastes good, you will naturally drink more and be healthier as a result.

A water filter provided by Aquasana can be the perfect way to start your healthy lifestyle.

Rep. Edward J. Markey Battles To Improve Drinking Water For All

U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., is currently the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Environment Subcommittee and is also the author of a bill to establish a federal ban on Bisphenol A, a chemical used in all food and beverage containers that is an endocrine disrupter. The recent hearing entitled “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Drinking Water: Risks to Human Health and the Environment” provided a lot of food for thought and identified numerous other problematic chemicals that are in our drinking water, including triclosan. Triclosan definitely deserves a lot more scrutiny than it currently gets, so what better place to look at the effect it has than here?

According to Markley, “…triclosan has been shown to interfere with the development of the brain and nervous systems of laboratory animals,” and that in itself should provoke concern over our health. It can cause disorders like infertility, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and various other disorders and health concerns that are largely long term and incurable. Although you can live with these disorders, they will severely disrupt your good health. So how does triclosan get into the drinking water anyway, I hear you ask? Well, it is actually put into the water system by us! It comes from toothpaste, soap, and other such antibacterial products and thus goes down the drain via our own hands. Everything that goes down our drain eventually winds up in our drinking water supplies.

Although Markley has asked the FDA to look into triclosan and its effects with a view to reducing its presence in drinking water, you can help yourself in the meantime and make sure triclosan is not in your drinking water. Aquasana water filters remove triclosan completely from drinking water, so you can be sure that you are not running the risk of developing health conditions like those listed above. Filtering your water is the only solution right now because you never know what you are drinking unless you do.

What is the State of California’s Department of Health Services Water Treatment Device Certificate?

When makers of water filtration systems claim that their treatment device is capable of removing contaminants from drinking water or makes other claims that are related to health, it must get certified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). A certificate from the CDPH, as stated on their website, means that “the device has been tested by an independent, state-approved laboratory (1) to verify the manufacturer’s health-related performance claims, and (2) to ensure that materials within the device do not add contaminants to the treated water.”

The Water Treatment Device Certificate given to the water filtrations systems provide by Aquasana, certificate number 06-1792 for the AQ-4000 model, was officially issued on July 28, 2006. It certifies that the independent tests of the filtration system done by a laboratory approved by the State of California’s Department of Health and Services proved the claims by Aquasana that the system removes at least 54 common contaminants. The AQ-4000 drinking water system from Aquasana was tested and has received this certificate.

These contaminants include lead, cysts, MTBE, all VOCs, the four major haloacetonitriles, and trihalomethanes, just to name a few. Aquasana filtration systems were rated a Best Buy in Consumer Digest for 6 years in a row for this reason as well as its exceptional value and convenience. Aquasana simply produces the best water filtration systems available on the current market.

The Clean Water Act Is Not Good Enough, According To the EPA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has severe concerns with the state of the nation’s water if a New York Times report is to be believed. A Circle Of Blue article states that the report has declared that it is all the fault of the Clean Water Act and the provisions it makes against polluting, or rather, the lack of provisions!

The Clean Water Act has long governed the state of the water supply that goes to American homes, or at least most individuals that are aware of the act believe that this is what it does, but there is a major problem with that right now. That problem is that the Clean Water Act is nowhere near transparent about the waterways it protects and the Supreme Court has never clarified this information. As such, according to Circle Of Blue, “thousands of known polluters have contaminated waterways by spilling oil, carcinogens, and dangerous bacteria” and there is little that we can do about it.

The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 without giving clear information about what does and what does not meet federal regulation requirements. This means that around 117 million Americans may have drinking water provided to their homes that does not come under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. Just imagine what people may have dumped in the water in that case and exactly what might be in it as a result. It definitely does not provide any comfort. The best thing, or worst thing depending on how you look at it, is that you have no way of knowing which category you fall into.

This is why having a water filter at home, like the highly reliable models Aquasana offers, is so important. These filters remove most common  water contaminants so you can rest assured the water that you drink is completely clean and safe for your family.

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