By now, most people have heard about the Flint water crisis. This is an ongoing drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, in the United States.
In 2014, the City of Flint switched its water supply from the City of Detroit (which had supplied it for nearly half a century) to the Flint River. The move was an effort to save costs. It was viewed as a temporary fix, given the river's long history as a dubious source of water. An ultimate switch to a permanent Flint water supply would be provided after the Karegnondi Water Authority's construction of a pipeline from Lake Huron, thereby eliminating Flint's long-time dependence on Detroit city water.
After the change in water source, the city's drinking water had a series of issues that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of lead. As a result, between 6,000 and 12,000 residents had severely high levels of lead in the blood and experienced a range of serious health problems. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
Symptoms associated with excess lead are vague, but include: loss of appetite and body weight, poor memory, fatigue, constipation, headaches, inability to concentrate, and decreased coordination.
Sources of exposure to lead include: welding, old leaded paint (dust/chips), drinking water, some fertilizers, industrial waste, lead-glazed pottery, manufacture of stained glass, and newsprint.
Why I don't drink tap water?
- Fluoride-One of the most toxic substances we know of is fluoride and yet it is found in almost all brands of toothpaste. It's added even though there is no data to support its effectiveness in the fight against tooth decay. Today you can find fluoride in bottled water, and even baby formula. Tap water is actually fluoridated, meaning it's added to water deliberately, notwithstanding it's almost as poisonous as arsenic is, and more toxic than lead. This substance is so toxic until the fluoridation process has been banned in several countries. Even some U.S. cities have caught on and started rejecting the process of fluoridation since 1990.
- Chlorine-We have all heard of chlorine; not only is it found in our water, but also in most swimming pools. In both uses, it is called upon as a disinfectant as it effectively kills microorganisms. The trouble is that chlorine does not know when to stop killing organisms, which leads to toxic effects for the body. Chlorine has been identified as a leading cause of bladder cancer, and has been associated with rectal and breast cancers, asthma, birth defects and premature aging of skin.
- Arsenic-a very toxic heavy metal classified by the International Academy for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Category I carcinogen, which means it is definitely a cancer causing agent. Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment but humans have a hand in its presence as well. The EPA set the acceptable standard for arsenic at 10 parts per billion in tap water. Several US states in the Midwest, New England and western area exceed this standard from time to time. If you live on well water you better check it yearly.
- Pharmaceuticals-Tiny amounts of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, hormones, mood stabilizers, and other drugs are in our drinking water supplies. In an investigation by the Associated Press, drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas were found to include drugs. According to the investigation, the drugs get into the drinking water supply through several routes: some people flush unneeded medication down toilets; other medicine gets into the water supply after people take medication, absorb some, and pass the rest out in urine or feces. Some pharmaceuticals remain even after wastewater treatments and cleansing by water treatment plants, the investigation showed. Although levels are low reportedly measured in parts per billion or trillion and utility companies contend the water is safe, experts from private organizations and the government say they can't say for sure whether the levels of drugs in drinking water are low enough to discount harmful health effects.
Fluoride, chlorine, and bromide are all well-known halogens that will push the essential mineral iodine out of the body. This is a major issue in northern states like Michigan, where 90% of people are already deficient in iodine. Through testing, we find a lot of heavy metal toxicity in patients, not only with children, but adults as well. A hair analysis is a vital key when checking for exposure. Further testing can be done through bloodwork for more acute exposure. One of the biggest reasons I choose to drink reverse osmosis water is the estrogenic effect of trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in our tap water. These xenoestrogens (false estrogens) are affecting everyone, young and old. Xenoestrogens cause a variety of problems. They will push women into breast cancer, men towards prostate cancer, create infertility problems, and feminize our youngest generation of children. Early puberty is not as uncommon with younger girls as it was once before. We live in a sea of estrogen and the environment is taking a toll on us. The bisphenol (A) that is found in many plastic containers contributes to this problem as well. I highly recommend watching the documentary "The Disappearing Male." It will further explain what you are seeing around you on a daily basis.