3 Toxic Water Contaminants You Should Know About

Do you know what’s in your water? Do a little digging and it’s likely you’ll be disturbed when you discover the whole story. According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study of the country’s drinking water, 316 contaminants have been found in the nation’s drinking water.  Over 60% of these contaminants have no safety standards and are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Quite simply, government regulations and water treatment facilities haven’t kept up with the steady increase in contaminants resulting from new technologies like alternative disinfectants, increased use of pesticides, herbicides, natural gas drilling and the like.

So what’s the best way to ensure that you’re drinking the safest water possible? Bottled water is not a trusted alternative as it’s often unregulated, expensive and plastic waste is taxing on the environment. The EWG recommends that consumers use home water filters for the cleanest, safest water. Do a little research and you’ll find not all water filters are created equal. In fact, our Aquasana drinking water filter systems will remove up to 10X the amount of contaminants as the leading drip filter pitcher. In addition to filtering your water at home, it is important to educate yourself on what contaminants could be flowing into your home. Here are three of the worst offenders commonly found in municipal tap water.

 

Chloramines
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Water treatment facilities are increasingly using chloramines – a combination of chlorine and ammonia – to disinfect tap water. By adding ammonia to the mix, chlorine will not evaporate as readily, thus keeping the disinfectant chemicals in your water longer. This new chemical concoction is used to disinfect water for longer periods of time, from water treatment through delivery to your home. A nationwide study on water treatment contaminants conducted by the EPA reported that chloraminated drinking water had the highest levels of an unregulated chemical family known as iodoacids. Some researchers consider one of the iodoacids, iodoacetic acid, to be potentially the most toxic of all disinfection byproducts (DBPs) found to date based on its DNA-damaging capabilities in mammalian cell tests.

Lead
HN_201305_C2It’s common knowledge that lead poisoning can lead to a horrifying host of issues, including irreversible loss of IQ and developmental disorders in children. What’s little known is that chloramines – as opposed to the traditional disinfectant chlorine – corrode lead pipes, which can lead to the discharge of toxic levels of lead in drinking water. As chloramines become more widely used, lead contamination in water has increasingly become more of a threat. In 2004, Washington D.C.’s switch to chloramines — and the subsequent cover up of dangerous lead levels in drinking water by officials — caused a public health crisis and the eventual reversal of the use of the disinfectant.

Pesticides
HN_201305_C3_v2The widespread use of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture results in the chemical runoff of these toxic substances to lakes and rivers. In many communities these chemicals directly contaminate the source water supply.  Pesticides can affect human health and the environment depending on how much chemical is present and the length and frequency of exposure.  In large amounts, some pesticides have been shown to cause long-term negative health effects such as cancer and organ damage in laboratory testing.

 

These toxins may top the list, but tap water can also be contaminated with chlorine, other heavy metals and pharmaceuticals among others. The safest route for peace of mind — and the best shot at long term health — is to install a home water filtration system customized for individual issues. Home water test kits are easy to procure and advanced water filtration systems, such as our Aquasana drinking water filtration systems, can be customized to suit specific needs. Based on extensive research, Aquasana has developed water filtration systems that are NSF Certified to remove 97% of chloramines, reduce over 60 common water contaminants including lead and pesticides, while retaining healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Check out our line of Aquasana drinking water filters here.

Aquasana Hosts Green Garage Event in Honor of Earth Day

On Earth Day weekend, Aquasana Green Garage Initiative allows Austin and Travis County residents the opportunity to clear their garages, storage sheds and supply closets of common waste items, which should not be disposed of in residential trash or recycling. Household and car batteries, used motor oil, paint and anti-freeze will be collected at the Four Hands Furniture Outlet These materials will be reused or properly recycled.

Not properly disposing of household and car batteries, used motor oil, paint and anti-freeze is harmful to the environment and can lead to water pollution. Because Austin’s drinking water sources include our local lakes and aquifers, Aquasana wants to help the community reduce pollutants in our source water by preventing hazardous runoff.

The Aquasana Green Garage Initiative provides a convenient opportunity for North Austin residents to responsibly dispose of their batteries, oil, paint and anti-freeze. All other residents of Austin and Travis County are welcome to drop these items as well. The project also seeks to raise awareness of the City of Austin’s year-round programs to protect Austin’s environment and reduce, reuse and properly recycle household hazardous waste.

Austin-based Aquasana, a leading manufacturer of water filtration systems, created the Green Garage Initiative as a resource for Austin residents because they believe that healthy living starts with healthy water. For more information, visit aquasana.com.

Put a recycle bin in your kitchen and start recycling!

Placing a small, easily accessible recycle bin in your kitchen is an easy way to encourage you to recycle those plastic containers, bottles, cardboard boxes and other recyclables that you would normally just toss in your trashcan out of convenience. Most cities will provide you with a free recycle bin. I find that I just keep my big ol’ recycle bin out in the garage because it is too big (and unattractive) to keep in my kitchen. Unfortunately, by not having a designated recycle bin in my kitchen, I fail to recycle as much as I should. To remedy this, I recently added a small plastic bin and designated it for recyclables only. My kitchen recycle bin fits neatly next to my fridge and I’ve noticed a huge change in my recycling behavior!

I have recently been poking around online to find a more attractive and innovative recycle bin idea. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Get the classic steel recycle bins in the picture above. They are great for separating out paper, glass and plastic recyclables.

These Kangaroom Recycle Bags are a fun twist on the boring old recycle bin.

Naturally whiten your clothes without chemicals.

For those of us looking to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals we keep in our homes, finding an effective natural solution for whitening our white clothes and linens can be difficult. Concentrated chlorine bleach is toxic and can be harmful to our health; it can also destroy clothing over time. Here is an excellent way to gently and naturally whiten and brighten your white clothes without using chlorine bleach or other harsh chemicals.

What you’ll need: lemon slices, water (chemical-free, filtered water for best results) and a clothing line or spot to hang your clothes to dry in direct sunlight.

1.  Start by filling a large pot with filtered water. Bring water to a boil.
2.  Add lemon slices. I usually use one normal sized lemon all sliced up.
3.  Turn off the heat and add your white clothes to the pot. Let soak for at least two hours.
4.  After soaking, gently ring out clothes and hang out to dry in direct sunlight. Note: If you do not have a place to hang clothes in the sun, you can always use your regular dryer on a low heat setting.

Why this works:
Lemon juice has been used as a whitening agent for years. The citric acid in lemons gently and effectively fights stains and unlike chlorine bleach, is even safe to use on colors. Sunlight is also a powerful and completely natural bleaching alternative. Drying your clothes outside on a clothing line with not only brighten and refresh your clothes, but it will help cut down your energy bill and save you some money. As always, we recommend using Aquasana filtered water to clean and wash your clothes. Unlike tap water that is ridden with chemicals including high amounts of chlorine, Aquasana filtered water is virtually chlorine and chemical-free. Clothes washed in filtered water last longer and stay brighter than those washed in unfiltered, chlorinated water.

Click here to check out our home filtration solutions so you can start filtering your water.

Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/tusnelda/

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/tusnelda/

In many communities across the country, the disposable plastic shopping bag has been banned. You don’t need to wait for a mandate to make this super simple change that goes a long way to reduce plastic waste. Gather up all those paper and re-usable bags lying around the house. Place a stash in in the trunk of your car so you can “BYOB” wherever you go, significantly reducing your contribution to plastic waste.

Prefer a shopping bag that reflects your personal style? Just follow the easy instructions below for making your own re-usable shopping bags or lunch bags.

How to Make a Reusable Shopping Bag

Materials you will need:
• 2/3 yard of fabric
• Sewing Machine
• Thread
• 40” of nylon strapping for handles

Cut out the following 5 pieces:
2 pieces: 12 inches by 15 inches (front and back)
2 pieces: 6 inches by 15 inches (sides)
1 piece: 6 inches by 12 inches (bottom)

If you want to make a bag of different size, adjust the measurements above accordingly.

Step 1: Place the front and bottom pieces together, right sides facing in and sew together

Step 2: Take the back piece and place it together with the other side of the bottom piece, right sides facing in, and sew together. You should now have a long rectangle of fabric: front-bottom-back.

Step 3: Place a side piece against the front of the bag, right sides facing in, and sew together.

Step 4: Bring the back piece to the open side of the side piece, right sides facing in, and sew together

Step 5: Sew the bottom of the bag to the bottom of the side piece.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 to attach the other side to the bag.

Step 7: Fold a section of the top of the bag in towards the inside of the bag. About ½ inch. Pin fabric and sew around the top.

Step 8: Cut the 40 inch strip of nylon material in half. Attach one end of the strap to the front of the bag and the opposite end to the back of the bag. Make sure strap is secured in the same location on each side of the bag. Attach the other strap in same manner, leaving at least 6-8” between the straps.

Recycled Container Gardens

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/mikecogh/

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/mikecogh/

We all have items we have stored away in the shed, garage or simply discarded in the yard somewhere. Now that Spring is upon us, now is the perfect time to find a new use for these items. Do some Spring cleaning and set aside items that can be used for planting instead of being hauled off to the landfill.

The following items make fabulous new homes for plants and flowers and can add an element of interest to your yard or front entry:

1. Plumbing fixtures
Sinks and bathtubs make great planters. Drainage is already accommodated for and the addition of some gravel in the bottom of the piece is all that is required to prepare the fixture for planting.

2. Furniture
Old chairs, benches, vanities and dressers can be transformed to interesting yard art. Cut holes in the tops of chairs or vanities to hold recycled plastic pots. Make sure there is drainage beneath the planters. Coating the exposed surface with an eco-friendly sealant is recommended.

3. Plastic containers
Even though many plastic containers are recyclable, it can be fun to find new uses for things instead of just discarding them. Any plastic container including milk jugs, water bottles and storage containers can be used for plants and seed-starting. Clean the plastic container with soap and water and add drainage holes. The rest is up to your imagination. Try starting some seeds. It’s a super cost effective way to start herbs and veggies all year long.

4. Old dishes
Be it a favorite dish that has broken or a super interesting find at a flea market. Old dishes make beautiful containers for flowers and herbs. If drainage holes are not possible, line the bottom of the dish with gravel for drainage.

5. Tires
According to the EPA, more than 290 million scrap tires are generated each year. Fortunately, used tires make long-lasting, inexpensive raised beds.

Imagine all the garden design possibilities by using recycled and re-discovered items in your own home and yard. Enjoy!

MTBE: From Clean Air to Toxic Water

What is MTBE?

MTBE(methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a chemical compound that is produced in large quantities as a fuel additive to help gasoline burn more effectively to reduce air pollution. So what’s it doing in our drinking water?

MTBE has been used in U.S. gasoline at low levels since 1979 to replace lead as an octane enhancer. Since 1992, MTBE has been used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. MTBE was used across the US up until the last decade as a gasoline additive to make the fuel burn more thoroughly and reduce air pollution. Anytime this toxic chemical leaks or spills on to the ground, the toxins seep into the ground and contaminate natural ground water sources.

MTBE is now a commonly found contaminant in drinking water across the United States. The EPA reports a growing number of studies have detected MTBE in ground water throughout the country; in some instances these contaminated waters are sources of drinking water.The MTBE gasoline additive is now banned in many states due to the elevated risk of brain tumors, liver cancer, blood cancer, and kidney cancer when inhaled or ingested from tap water.

Who is affected?

Almost everyone in the United States breathes in or drinks some MTBE. However, some states have seen dangerously elevated levels of MTBE contamination and have banned its use. New York and California banned MTBE use in 2004, and twenty-three other states followed suit by signing legislation banning MTBE by 2005. The current court battle in New Hampshire alleges pollution of 40,000 wells with 5,590 of them reaching levels that make the water unfit for human consumption.

What you can do to protect yourself from MTBE:

If you are concerned about MTBE in your water make sure you are using a water filter that removes this harmful toxin. Aquasana water filters are certified to reduce MTBE in tap and well water. For more information on the specific impact of MTBE on your local water source contact your local EPA drinking water office for more information.

Chloramine on Tap

There’s a threat in the water, and it appears only as a single word on your water bill: chloramines. It’s the combination of ammonia and chlorine that’s added to the water to disinfect it before use. However, when added together, ammonia and chlorine create toxic, cancer-causing disinfection byproducts.

For many years, chlorine has been the primary chemical used to eradicate the risks of waterborne diseases. In the last few years many municipal water treatment plants have switched to chloramines due to their ability to disinfect water for longer periods of time. When these disinfectants interact with the organic materials in water, disinfection byproducts are created. Many of these byproducts are thought to cause gastric or liver cancer, or pose other health risks such as increased asthma symptoms, danger to mucous membranes, digestive problems and skin irritation. Kidney dialysis patients cannot use water that contains chloramines in their dialysis machines because it will cause hemolytic anemia.

While chloramine poses a risk to everyone, there is an increased risk to populations with weakened immune systems, including children younger than 6 months, the elderly, those on or who have had chemotherapy, people with HIV or AIDS and organ transplant patients.

The use of chloramines is growing. The EPA estimates more than 20 percent—or 1 in 5—of Americans use water treated with chloramines. More states are adding chloramine to water supplies because it is a more stable and longer-lasting alternative to free chlorine. Free chlorine is chlorine before it combines with other chemicals, but it can evaporate quickly, while the stability of chloramine means it lasts longer in the water supply and the harmful byproducts reach the consumer in higher levels.

Washington D.C. witnessed another side effect in 2004 when chloramines were introduced. Officials say lead contamination resulted from chloramine-related pipe corrosion. The city discovered lead levels at least 83 times higher than the accepted safe limit while performing research into premature pipe corrosion. They found that the decision to change from using chlorine to chloramine as a treatment resulted in a spike in lead levels. A report released in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the water supplied to almost 15,000 homes might still contain dangerous levels of lead despite the partial replacement of lead pipes at the homes from 2004 to 2008.

As consumers, we need to be aware of the dangers posed by these byproducts in our water. In a recent study conducted by water filtration company Aquasana, it became apparent that our country doesn’t know the risk associated with unfiltered water. More than 70 percent of respondents were unaware of the health risks connected to drinking and bathing in unfiltered tap water, and 91 percent did not know that one of the President’s Cancer Panel’s top three recommendations to reduce environmentally-based cancer is to filter tap water.

The EPA does not force any state or town to use chloramine as a disinfectant. Additionally, they recommend many alternatives to the toxic mixture, including removing organic contaminants through coagulation or sedimentation. However, the use of more and more chemicals in water treatment underscores the need to regulate what goes into our water supply in the first place. By limiting toxic materials and enforcing regulations, the need for such harsh chemical disinfectants diminishes.

Along with Washington D.C., Tennessee has completely banned chloramines from water. This is the best possible outcome for consumers, but in the meantime, filtering your water has never been more important. When shopping for water filters, make sure that the company has a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification to remove chloramines.

Aquasana Leads the Fight Against Chloramines

The Home Water Filtration Company Releases Two New Chloramine-Reducing Products

(AUSTIN, Texas, March 2, 2013) – Aquasana will make a splash at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 2-5 with the introduction of two groundbreaking filtration products. Both represent industry leadership for chloramine contamination reduction.

Aquasana is the first consumer water filtration brand to alert consumers about the need to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the mixture of chlorine and ammonia, known as chloramines. Many states have begun to use chloramines to treat water, as it is a cost-effective method and more stable than pure chlorine.

To combat this threat, Aquasana is unveiling a groundbreaking filter pitcher system and an under-the counter system. The pitcher represents a game-changer in the water filtration industry. Not only is it the fastest pitcher on the market, it also features the industry’s only NSF certification to remove harmful chloramines, reducing 10 times the contaminants of the leading drip pitcher filter

“This pitcher is the result of years of research into the proliferation of chloramines in the United States,” said Aquasana CEO Todd Bartee. “We are pleased to offer a full line of chloramine-reducing products for the home.”

Consumers will no longer wait for water to drip through a filter. The system can filter one half-gallon in about one minute. The system fits on the countertop and can be stored in the refrigerator once filtered. Aquasana’s sleek design means contaminants stay in the filter, so consumers only see healthy, clean water.

Aquasana’s under-the-counter system, the AQ-5300, is the brand’s most powerful water filter. What the brand calls the most cost-effective, filtration system in the D-I-Y segment is NSF-certified to remove 97 percent of chloramines and chlorine. The eco-friendly cartridge exchange system features filters that reduce more than 60 contaminants for up to six months. This system has also been independently tested to reduce pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, the EQ-400 whole-home system, based on a research partnership with the University of Texas School of Engineering, reduces 90 percent of chloramines and 97 percent of chlorine.

For more information, please visit www.aquasana.com.

About Aquasana
Aquasana is a leading water filtration company, based in Austin, Texas focused on providing best-in-class water filtration products for residential and commercial use. The company’s consumer products include drinking water filters, shower filters and whole-home water filter systems that remove over 60 harmful contaminants from water including chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents, lead and mercury. All Aquasana water filters are engineered to be environmentally friendly and to preserve the healthy minerals in water.
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Alamo Drafthouse To Stop Selling Still Bottled Water

Austin Area Theaters Replace Bottled Water With Superior Quality Filtered Water Using New Filtration Systems From Aquasana.

Austin, TX — Friday, February 1, 2013 — The Alamo Drafthouse is pleased to announce that effective immediately the cinema eatery will no longer sell bottled drinking water at any of their Austin locations. Through a partnership with Aquasana, an Austin-based company, they have upgraded the water filtration system at all of their theaters in Austin and will instead serve superior-quality filtered water at no cost to guests.

“I’ve never liked the waste associated with bottled water service,” said Tim League, founder and CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse. “Thanks to the partnership with Aquasana, we reduce the impact of the Alamo Drafthouse on the environment and provide a benefit to our customers.”

All of the drinking water at the four Alamo theaters in Austin have been 100% updated with the new systems from Aquasana, and during the first three months of this new partnership Alamo guests can visit any show page on drafthouse.com to receive a promotional code worth 20% off home filtration systems from Aquasana.

About Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse is an entertainment brand comprised of the acclaimed cinema-eatery chain, the largest genre film festival in the United States and a collectible art gallery. Named “the best theater ever” by Time Magazine, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of offbeat cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including the launch of Drafthouse Films, a new film distribution label and plans to extend its theaters and unique programming philosophy to additional markets across the United States. More information about Alamo Drafthouse franchise opportunities are available on the official website www.drafthouse.com.

About Aquasana
Aquasana is a leading water filtration company with the sole focus of providing best-in-class water filtration products so everyone can enjoy great-tasting, healthy water. Based in Austin, Texas, the company markets drinking water filters, shower filters, and whole-home water filer systems that remove over 60 harmful contaminants from water including chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, industrial solvents, lead, and mercury. Aquasana water filters are engineered to preserve the healthy minerals in water which include calcium, magnesium and potassium resulting in healthy, great-tasting water. For more information visit www.aquasana.com.

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