Clean Water Act Under Attack

Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has protected our streams, rivers, lakes, and other waterways from being polluted by industry. This legislation has served as a model for other countries since its inception. Now, there are forces at work in the U.S. that would dismantle this landmark law and make it easier for industries to discharge pollutants into our waters. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2018, the so-called Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, which gives states more control over whether restrictions of industrial sources are tightened or relaxed. If passed, federal oversight would be lessened, and those states that desire to give industry less restriction would have more leeway to allow pollution into public waters. Presently, when a certain state isn’t tough enough on polluters, the Clean Water Act allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in and police that state’s industries more closely. If H.R. 2018 passes the Senate and is signed into law by the President, (who has threatened to veto the bill) we could see a return to the state of affairs that dominated the U.S. prior to 1972, when our waters were grossly polluted.

The assault on the Clean Water Act doesn’t stop with H.R. 2018. A Senate committee has approved H.R. 872, with the partisan sounding title “the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011.” If passed, those who would spray pesticides into U.S. waters will face less restrictions and oversight than now presented under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act has protected the waters of our country for almost 40 years. Even with this safeguard in place, the quality of many waterways has continued to decline. Those who would see the Clean Water Act dismantled see this decline as evidence of the Act’s ineffectiveness and a reason to ease restrictions. If anything, this shows that greater regulations are needed.

Is Fluoride in Your Water Really Harmful?

Hazards of Fluoride in Water

The painstaking debate continues about whether or not fluoride in your drinking water is beneficial for your teeth and health. For years, we were not concerned about what was in the water we drank, unless we noticed something floating around in it. However, the particles you don’t see is the thing that sends a cross bone and skull warning sign flying in front of our water sources and receptacles.

We are inundated with reports about the effects of fluoride and its impact on tooth decay. Some dental researchers indicate that the benefits of fluoride are primarily topical and not systemic. While we are not attacking the dental industry, there are many reviews and studies that discuss the dangers of a high intake of fluoride which extends beyond cosmetic concern. When examining the possible health effects associated with fluoride in drinking water, the EPA noted that exposure to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to the likelihood of increased bone fractures in adults, along with pain and tenderness. They go on to say that children 8 years old and younger who are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride increase their chances of developing pits in the tooth enamel, as well as a range of other cosmetic effects to their teeth.

Many contaminants found in our drinking water warrants significant concern for purification and safety. If your water comes from a household or private well, be sure to check with your health department or local water systems that use ground water, for information on harmful contaminants in your area. There is a variety of filtration systems designed to help remove or reduce numerous waterborne contaminants. When asked about how to remove fluoride from your drinking water, the EPA gave the following statement: “The following treatment method(s) have proven to be effective for removing fluoride to below 4.0 mg/L or 4.0 ppm: distillation or reverse osmosis.”

Reverse Osmosis Systems (RO) will typically use carbon filters, sediment filters and an RO membrane to reduce and remove waterborne contaminants. Reverse Osmosis (RO) removes more contaminants at a higher rate of efficiency than other forms of water filtration. We recommend that you use a reverse osmosis system like the Aqua-Pure APRO5500 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter, the Pentek RO-3500 Monitored Reverse Osmosis System or the Aqua Flo E75TFC-3SFBP RO System with Booster Pump for removing fluoride. The reverse osmosis system is normally located or installed under the sink.

So what do you think about fluoride in your drinking water? “To fluoride or not to fluoride? That is the question!” We would love to hear your comments about this ongoing discussion regarding the trials and tribulations of fluoride in our drinking water. We also invite you to vote in our poll that you will find in the upper right-hand corner on this blog. Do you own a reverse osmosis system? If so, we invite you to share your experience with us.


EPA Develops New Water Quality Software

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a new water quality software to improve our drinking water systems and ensure the safety of our nation’s water supply. The software is named “Canary,” perhaps taken from the phrase “canary in a coalmine“; when one canary dies down below, miners are alerted to evacuate immediately.

The software works in conjunction with water quality sensors placed throughout the water supply that can detect a variety of biological and chemical contaminants like pesticides, metals and pathogens. When contamination is detected, a “Do Not Drink” alert can be issued.

Canary was piloted by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works utility in 2007. It is available worldwide and is currently being evaluated in four U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco – as well as in Singapore.

This innovative software is certainly an achievement. However, it will still require the use of disinfecting chemicals like chlorine to rid water of harmful contaminants. These chemicals give water a bad taste and are toxic over time. The safety of your drinking water can be further improved with the use of a water filter system that effectively removes chlorine, pesticides, metals and other contaminants. And if a “Do Not Drink” alert is ever issued in your city, you may not have to heed the warning.