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.

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.

Does the Aquasana shower filter really provide the healthiest shower possible?

The Aquasana shower filter has been designed specifically to improve the health of all members of a family and really does provide the healthiest shower possible. A shower without the Aquasana system in place can cause untold damage to your health. For example, chlorine is commonly found in tap water and is suspected of having carcinogenic effects, particularly with regard to breast cancer as sufferers are found to have 50 to 60% more chlorine in their breast tissue. Other chemicals may also find their way into your system as your pores enlarge when you are in the shower and this encourages the absorption of chemicals. It is not just about those on your skin though, you may be breathing in water contaminants too because they evaporate and mingle with the steam.

The Aquasana shower filter can help prevent water contaminants because it has a two-stage filter process that removes chlorine in the first instance and then THMs and VOCs, synthetic chemicals that are added to water, in the second. The benefits are amazing because you will be showering in softer water that does not alter the chemical balance of your skin. By removing the contaminants, you can ensure that you are not at risk of inhaling them or having them absorbed into your skin, so Aquasana can definitely provide you with the healthiest shower possible.

Aquasana Drinking Water Filter Demonstration

Check out this demonstration of how effective Aquasana water filters are at removing contaminants from your drinking water. Putting his own health on the line, our VP of Marketing shows you how confident we are that our water filter systems remove chlorine and sediment from municipal water supplies. No humans were harmed in the making of this video.

What Should be on My Checklist When Shopping for a Kitchen Water Filter?

Spring water and groundwater are generally considered to be fresh and pure. Once upon a time, no one thought twice about drinking tap water because we trusted Mother Nature. That was then and this is now.

Today, things have changed. Today, the level of tap water contamination that comes into your home is nothing short of alarming and dangerous. Municipal water treatment facilities leave contaminants in the water despite their best efforts. Some people believe that the answer is to switch to bottled water. Bottled water, however, is sometimes no more then well-marketed tap water in a plastic bottle.

Today, pesticides used in farming can get into the public water supply. Chemicals from personal products used in homes also end up in your water. Add to that the poor disposal of prescription drugs and batteries whose harmful chemicals get into our water and the result is a serious water contamination problem in our society.

The modernization of our society has brought with it increased contamination of our water. Local municipal treatment efforts are not taking care of the problem completely. While they may be removing sediments, there are still particles and chemicals left behind that could be harmful to our health. These hazards pose a particular health risk for babies, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

Because your tap water is not as clean as it should be, water filters are now essential in every home. It is important that every family protects themselves by purchasing an efficient kitchen water filter system and only drink filtered water. Kitchen water filters are not just a fad. They are very much a necessity.

What kind of kitchen water filter should you purchase? There are several things you should look at and consider when buying a kitchen water filter. Listed below are some tips to help you find the best kitchen water filter for your needs.

  • Buy water filters that have been proven to be effective in dealing with all kinds of impurities in your water. These include chemical and biological pollutants, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and soil particles. After you install your new kitchen water filter, the water should not have any taste or smell because unpleasant taste and smell are indicators of impurities. Also make sure that the kitchen water filter you buy handles chlorine in the water. Some water filters are not equipped to remove all kinds of pollutants. Do your research to make certain that the kitchen water filter you buy does a good job of providing to your family pure and healthy water every day.
  • While the water filter you buy should be able to remove all kinds of pollutants, it should not strip the water of its natural minerals. It is good for trace minerals to remain in the water that you drink because your body needs them. Water should be clean but not demineralized. Some water filters overdo the purification process to the point that minerals like magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus are removed. Drinking water that has the minerals removed can be harmful to your body. This kind of water is a result of water that has undergone either a reverse osmosis or distillation process. If the water filter you are considering buying uses these methods, think twice about investing in it.
  • Your water filter must be easy to install and maintain. If the cost of the filter is low but it still requires you to hire a professional to install and eventually maintain it, you will still spend a lot of money. Also, water filter systems require routine replacement of the filter and you should be able to do this yourself.

If you only want the best kind of kitchen water filter for your home, purchase yours from Aquasana. Their water filters are safe, easy to use, effective, and affordable. Aquasana is an expert in the process of water filtration, so they will give you only the best.

Is There an Invisible Threat of Respiratory Problems in Your Shower Vapors?

Taking a shower should be a harmless activity. Although everyone agrees with this, some people have realized that there are risks involved in taking a shower. This has led to the market for shower handles and non-slip shower mats. Despite all the advertisements about the risks for falling in the shower, relatively few people realize the risk they take by showering with unfiltered water due to the contamination in their shower vapors. The chemicals in your shower vapors can represent an invisible threat which very few people take seriously.

One of the most pervasive chemicals found in shower water is chlorine. Chlorine is used practically everywhere in order to remove the bacteria and viruses from your water. Unfortunately, chlorine does not only kill harmful bacteria. Once it is done destroying bacteria, it looks for any other living tissue to attack. This means that by the time it comes out of your shower, the water you are using to clean yourself contains a chemical which have a detrimental influence on your skin. Obviously this is not ideal, but it is not your biggest problem.

The steam from your shower water contains chlorine vapors. Medical studies have linked constant exposure to these shower vapors to some extremely serious medical conditions. These conditions include asthma, damage to the lungs, and even lung cancer. By filtering your shower water, you can eliminate shower vapors as a source of chlorine exposure. Since the majority of exposure to chlorine is from showers and swimming pools, this will help non-swimmers to cut down their chlorine exposure significantly.

Filtering your shower water is the best way to reduce chlorine exposure in your home. With a high-quality shower filter such as those made by Aquasana, you can cut your chlorine exposure drastically. With a lower exposure to chlorine, you give yourself a much better chance at avoiding the invisible threat of water contamination in your shower vapors.

A high-quality water filter such as those made by Aquasana will remove the chlorine from your water, giving you a shower which will not poison your body. Along with that benefit, your Aquasana water filter will eliminate a wide variety of water contamination threats so you can be confident that the water used for showering, drinking, cooking and cleaning are all free of dangerous water contamination. That is a good assurance to have.

Which Common Water Purifying Technique is better, Boiling or Filtration?

Boiling water has long been acknowledged as the best way of making sure that water is free of bacteria water contamination and fit for drinking. This notion has been handed down from generation to generation and is one of the common water purifying techniques that is still held as absolute truth in society today.

Unfortunately, there is as much myth as absolute truth about this common water purifying technique. Although boiling water is a common technique, it has numerous disadvantages. Those disadvantages ultimately make filtering your water a far better option if you want to drink the purest water possible.

The common water purifying technique of boiling literally involves bringing water to a boil in order to disinfect it. In short, this particular technique kills many of the microorganisms that live within the water and could potentially cause illness in the individuals that drink it before the bacteria and other organisms are killed. For example, Giardia lambilia and Cryptosporidium are both microorganisms that cause disease and that are also killed by boiling the water. The latter is resistant to disinfection and so it is absolutely necessary to kill it via boiling, although it is possible to remove it filtering as well.

However, although boiling water may purify water by removing bacteria, there are disadvantages with the technique. For example, water has to be boiled for at least one minute to be effective and even at that level, boiling does not necessarily kill all bacteria.

Furthermore, boiling can only remove solids and bacteria. This common water purifying technique will not remove other contaminants and in fact, boiling simply serves to concentrate lead rather than boiling it off. Chlorine is another substance that will not be removed via boiling water. This is because the boiling points for these substances are far higher than for boiling water.

Aquasana filters are far more effective a method for purifying water than the common water purifying technique of boiling water. For starters, the water that evaporates during boiling is automatically lost. There is no water lost at all with an effective and efficient Aquasana water filter.

Similarly, contaminated water vapor may also boil off and thus fill the atmosphere in your home. An Aquasana filter will prevent all contaminants from getting in your drinking water because they are filtered out. This includes chemicals like chlorine and metals like lead. It also includes parasites like Giardia and Crypto. As such, filtering water can remove far more foreign particles and potentially harmful substances than boiling can.

Boiling all of your water is not very practical for most families. By installing a reliable Aquasana filter, you get that little extra peace of mind that your drinking water is pure and safe without any additional effort by you. Aquasana water filters can be fitted to individual showers or faucets, or even the whole house should you so wish.

Filtering your water will remove the vast majority of contaminants and chemicals, improve the taste of your water and will also ensure that no substances that come into your home via water will be floating around your bathroom as contaminated water vapor and get into your lungs. Aquasana most definitely offers a better option for purifying water than relying on the common water purifying technique of boiling it, so it is worth looking at the filter options you have sooner rather than later.

Questions and Answers About Aquasana Water Filters

1. Why are whole house water filters considered point of entry systems?

— The filtration system is installed at the point where the main water supply enters the home, delivering filtered water to all subsequent outlets.

2. What is hard water?

— Hard water contains a higher than average amount of dissolved minerals (primarily calcium and
magnesium), and a higher concentration of multivalent cations (Ca2+ and Mg2+).

3. Does having hard water mean it is contaminated?

— No, hard water is more of a nuisance than a health issue, and is not
considered contaminated. Most water sources in the USA are considered hard.

Is hard water safe to drink?

— Yes, hard water is healthy enough to drink.

4. What is soft water?

— Having soft water means you have a lower concentration of dissolved minerals and multivalent cations in your water. The most recognizable trait of “soft” water is how much more soap lathers, as opposed to hard water, in which soap lathers less.

5. Does having soft water mean it is clean water?

— Soft water does not mean clean water. Your water can be soft and still
have contaminants present in the water. Soft water simplly has a lower concentration of dissolved minerals and multivalent cations.

Is it safe to drink?

— Yes, soft water is considered potable as long as the water has not passed through a sodium-based water softener. Drinking water from a sodium-based softener increased your daily intake of sodium, which can lead to health problems in sodium-sensitive individuals.

6. What is a water softener?

— A water softener is a system designed to remove/reduce calcium and magnesium from the water by exchanging it with sodium (or sometimes hydrogen or potassium). This is done through an ion exchange resin that alters the molecular structure of the calcium and magnesium from a divalent ion to a univalent ion, making the water “softer.”

Do softeners reduce chemical contamination?

— Softeners do not remove chemical contamination themselves, but softeners sometimes have a carbon filter working in conjunction with the softener to treat contamination.

7. What type of filtration mediums do you use in the top tank of the EQ-1000?

— The EQ-1000 top tank contains a KDF-55 medium (A mixture of 55% copper and 45% zinc mineral alloy) for the reduction of chlorine and certain heavy metals*, as well as a crushed mineral filter stone to enhance the water’s pH and control scale* on internal plumbing. Both media are bacteriostatic*, which means they prohibit bacteria and algae from growing or developing within the system.

8. What is the difference between EQ-300 and EQ-1000?

— Both systems address the removal of chlorine in municipal water. The EQ-300 is certified by NSF to reduce chlorine by 97% for 300,000 gallons. The EQ-1000 is certified by Pace Anayltics at NSF standards. The EQ-1000 has an additional 5 lbs of carbonized coconut shell in the top tank, plus 2 additional lbs of KDF-55. It also contains premium brass components, a by pass valve for flushing water through the system, it also comes with a 10 year Warranty on the tanks.

9. What is KDF?

— KDF stands for kinetic degradation fluxion, which is a redox filtration medium. KDF uses a unique combination of copper and zinc that creates an electrochemical reaction. During this reaction, electrons are transferred between molecules, creating new, harmless molecules and compounds. Free chlorine, for instance, is changed into benign, water-soluble chloride, which is then carried harmlessly through the water supply. Similarly, some heavy metals* such as copper*, lead*, mercury* and others, cling to the medium’s surface, thus being effectively removed from the water supply.

10. What type of medium is used in the bottom tank of the EQ-1000?

— The EQ-1000 bottom tank contains a carbonized coconut shell medium that reduces synthetic chemicals* and VOC’s*.

11. What percentage of chlorine do Aquasana Whole Home Systems remove? And for how long?

— The EQ-1000 is certified to NSF standard 42 by an independent lab, Pace Analytic, for the reduction of >97% of chlorine for 1,000,000 gallons.

12. Does the EQ-1000 remove calcium?

— No. The KDF medium in the top tank of these systems change the structure of calcium into a form of calcium called aragonite, which has trouble sticking to the inner walls of plumbing and therefore reduces the possibility of scale buildup in plumbing.

13. What is the flow rate of the EQ-1000?

— All Aquasana Whole House Systems perform at approximately 7 gallons per minute (gpm).

14. Will I experience a drop in water pressure after installing the EQ-1000?

— As long as your home is less than 3500 sq. ft. and you have 3-1/2 bathrooms or fewer, you should not experience any noticeable drops in pressure. If you have a larger home, we can build a custom system to deal with the typical water capacity of your home.

15. What is chloramine, and does the EQ-1000 remove it?

— Chloramine is a disinfection agent used as an alternative to chlorine in some city water treatment facilities. They use chloramines for two big reasons: (1) chloramine is less reactive, so it does not create as many disinfection by-products as chlorine, and (2) chloramine is more persistent, and remains in the treated water through the distribution network all the way to the taps in the homes the treatment facility serves. The EQ-1000 is certified for the removal of chlorine, and the process of removing chlorine is similar in most respects to the process used to remove chloramine. The key difference is that chloramine exhausts the standard activated carbon in the bottom and top tank of the unit quickly, making the EQ-1000 a little less effective at removing it*. For customers with chloramine in their water, we have created a product with media that is more effective at addressing chloramines. The part number for this system upgrade is EQ-400, and it is available for purchase by calling the Aquasana Water Specialists at 866.662.6885.

16. Does the EQ-1000 remove bacteria or viruses?

— No, if you are concerned about bacteria or viruses in your water supply, we recommend that you add a 0.35-sub-micron post-filter and an ultraviolet light sanitation system after the EQ-1000. The AQ-UV-20 ultraviolet light sanitation system uses ultra violet radiation to sanitize drinking water as it passes through the system, which changes the DNA structure of microbiological contaminants and some cysts. UV light radiation also prevents bacteria and viruses from reproducing, and microbiological contaminants cannot survive without constant reproduction.

Important Note:

The AQ-UV-20 will not sanitize properly without a sub-micron filter. If sub-micron filter is not used before the UV system, microbiological contaminants can hide behind microscopic particulates, which will cause the UV radiation to lose its effectiveness. This is known as a shadowing effect. A 0.35-sub-micron filter must be used before the UV system to prevent the shadowing effect.

17. Do I need a licensed plumber to install the EQ-1000?

— Yes, it is necessary that you have a licensed plumber install the system for you, to ensure that the system is installed properly. Since most licensed plumbers carry insurance to cover any damages caused by an installation error, having a licensed plumber install the system for you will give you the security that the work was done properly and that the installation is backed up by the plumbing company’s insurance plan. Not having the system installed by a licensed plumber will void the warranty of the EQ-1000.

The Health Benefits of Using A Shower Filter

Aquasana Shower Filters

What is the first thing that goes through your mind when you see a filtration system designed for the shower?

Personally my first reaction was, why? At first I had no comprehension of the importance of filtering the water I shower in and thought it simply to be a nice luxury item. Only later did I learn that showering in filtered water is even more important than drinking filtered water……WOW!!! Curious and starving for information I decided to research the effects of showering in unfiltered water.

I learned that showering in unfiltered tap water exposes you to far more contaminants than drinking tap water does, 7-10 times more! When you drink unfiltered tap water, your liver and kidneys filter out some of the contaminants. But when you shower in tap water, the contaminants are absorbed directly into the skin and inhaled into your lungs, a much more direct route to the blood stream. Virtually all synthetic chemicals are “volatile”, meaning they vaporize faster and at a lower temperature than water. These “VOCs” (Volatile Organic Chemicals) are released into the air, creating somewhat of an invisible gas chamber in your bathroom.

Most cities use chlorine or chloramines to disinfect the water supply, which when heated evaporate into the air becoming a VOC known as chloroform or THMs. Chloroform gas is a strong irritant to the lungs linked to asthma and respiratory problems. THMs are known carcinogens that have been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer and bladder cancer. Our primary exposure to both THMs and VOCs are from tap water.

Some of the effects of swimming in chlorine are mentioned in this recent article published by MSN:

Swimming in Chlorine, Beware of hidden environmental risks while swimming.

More information on the risks of chlorine in drinking and shower water:

Water Contamination

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