Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chlorine in Our Drinking Water

Back in May 2007 I posted information about the hazards of chlorine in our drinking and swimming water. I would like to revisit this topic with the following article. Although the other posts realte more to health issues related to chlorine, this post is about an answer to our aging water system.

In a time when we endlessly scrutinize the ingredients of our food and insist on pesticide-free peaches, why are we still mixing carcinogens into our children’s lemonade?

From herbicides to arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency has set standards for 80 different chemicals, specifying how much of each should be allowed in our drinking water. Yet no regulations exist for thousands of other contaminants that make their way into our drinking water.

These unregulated contaminants include industrial byproducts, agricultural chemicals, drugs and even most of the toxic compounds that are formed when we add chlorine for disinfection. The combined effect of these contaminants has never been evaluated.

There is nothing we ingest in greater quantities than water. In light of this, here’s a radical concept. Our drinking water should be water. Nothing more. Paradoxically, the best way to make that happen is to purify less of it. Here’s why.
The technology exists to remove all of these chemicals from our water. But the E.P.A. balks at insisting on the elimination of all hazardous chemicals and microbes from the 10 trillion gallons of water we use every year because the cost would be so great.

Merely maintaining our water systems will cost $274 billion over the next 20 years, according to the E.P.A. Upgrading our water supply to eliminate all public health risks from chemicals and microbes in our drinking water would be far more expensive.

But money is an obstacle to clean drinking water only because the E.P.A.’s assumptions rely on old ways of thinking. Our water infrastructure is old and decayed, and so are the fundamental ideas behind it.

Every drop of water produced by water treatment plants must meet E.P.A. standards for drinking-water quality. But we drink less than 1 percent of that water. Most of it goes down toilets, into washing machines, onto our lawns or down the drain.

The largest single consumer of water in most cities is not a consumer at all. Water pipes, often more than 100 years old, leak millions of gallons per day in every major city in the United States. Because of damage from Hurricane Katrina, the water pipes in New Orleans alone now leak 50 million gallons each day.

Right now, improving the quality of the water we drink requires extraordinary expense to improve the quality of the water we flush. This adds enormous costs to any effort to improve the quality of our drinking water and forces us to tolerate the presence of chemicals in our water that we would ban if they were food additives. It forces New Yorkers to drink unfiltered water even though 114 wastewater treatment plants dump treated sewage into the city’s water supply.

The underlying systems for our water supplies were laid out more than 100 years ago. Over the past century we have made incremental improvements to these systems, adjusting their design and operation as new threats to our health were identified. We now have terrific water for irrigating lawns and washing cars. Our drinking water, however, falls short.
To improve the quality of our drinking water, we need to rethink our entire approach to providing it. Our drinking water should have a different status from the water used to flush toilets.

Pure water will require filters in restaurants and workplaces and at the tap where children fill their glasses. Millions of homes already have these filters, but they are installed haphazardly. To avoid a two-tiered water supply in which safe water goes only to those who can afford it, these filters must become a universal, integral part of the water supply system.
Utilities should select, install and maintain point-of-use water filters. Design improvements can make the filters more effective. These changes are possible and affordable. Americans already spend more than $15 billion each year for bottled water.

The need to replace aging pipes and equipment over the next two decades offers an opportunity to reinvent the way we deliver our drinking water. We cannot allow the water we don’t drink to prevent us from purifying the water we do.

Robert D. Morris is the author of “The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink.”

Additionally

DO NOT USE UNFILTERED TAP WATER!

Do not drink tap water. Don't cook with tap water. Don't even bathe in tap water. Do not let your pets drink tap water. And, if you are growing vegetables in your garden, don't use tap water.

Boston Biosafety Cares

Microbes can survive for 100,000 years

Microbes can survive trapped inside ice crystals, under 3 kilometres of snow, for more than 100,000 years, a new study suggests.

The study bolsters the case that life may exist on distant, icy worlds in our own solar system. Living bacteria have been found in ice cores sampled at depths of 4 kilometres in Antarctica, though some scientists have argued that those microbes were contaminants from the drilling and testing of the samples in labs.

And in 2005, researchers revived a bacterium that sat dormant in a frozen pond in Alaska for 32,000 years.

Now, physicist Buford Price and graduate student Robert Rohde, both at University of California in Berkeley, US, have found a mechanism to explain how microbes could survive such extreme conditions. They say a tiny film of liquid water forms spontaneously around the microbe. Oxygen, hydrogen, methane and many other gases will then diffuse to this film from air bubbles nearby, providing the microbe with sufficient food to survive.

Thus, virtually any microbe can remain alive in solid ice, resisting temperatures down to -55° Celsius and pressures of 300 atmospheres.

Under such harsh conditions, the microbes would not be able to grow and reproduce, but they would still be able to repair any molecular damage, keeping themselves viable for more than a thousand centuries, the team says. "It is not life as we generally think about it," says Rohde. "[They] are just sitting there surviving, hoping that the ice will melt." To test their hypothesis, the researchers studied ice samples taken at various depths in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. They detected isolated microbes that they say must be trapped inside ice crystals.

Additionally

Just as microbes have been found to survive in a dormant state for thousands of years, mold also has been found in like states. Mold found in the Egyptian pyramids has been successfully cultured thousands of years after the tombs were sealed.

How does this apply to the average home owner? Well, sometimes when the weather is humid, people often complain of a musty smell in their homes. Once the humidity levels drop, the smell tends to go away or lessen. This is because mold needs water to flourish, so when it is humid, the mold thrives, when it is not humid, the mold can go into somewhat of a dormant state and the smell goes away.

So, unless you kill the mold, it will always be there just waiting for moisture (water) to spring back to life.


Thank you NewScientist.com for the article /Daniele Fanelli and Maggie McKee

Boston Biosafety cares about your health

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mycotoxic Foods - Top 10 List

Definition of Mycotoxic - Pertaining to or emanating from a mycotoxin.

Definition of Mycotoxin - Mycotoxin (from the Greek word (mykes) "fungus")

Definition of Toxin - A toxin (from the Greek word (toxikon), lit. (poison) is a poisonous substance produced by living cells or organisms

Courtesy of David A. Holland, M.D. (Thanks David)

Mycotoxins cause a wide range of health problems in humans when we are exposed to small amounts over an extended period of time, and can even be lethal if taken in large quantities over a short period of time. Given the large number of diseases linked to mycotoxins (see Dr. Holland’s list at the end of the article) and our tendency to eat a large amount of grains in our typical American diet, this is a very concerning problem. Dr. Holland states, "Grains are sources of carbohydrates, or sugars, and as such, they risk contamination by certain fungi. These fungi produce secondary metabolites, or mycotoxins."

1. Alcoholic beverages
Alcohol is the mycotoxin of the Saccharomyces yeast--brewer’s yeast. Other mycotoxins besides alcohol can also be introduced into these beverages through the use of mold-contaminated grains and fruits. Producers often use grains that are too contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins to be used for table foods, so the risk is higher that you are consuming more than just alcohol in your beverage (Council for Agricultural Science and technology. Mycotoxins: Economic and Health Risks. Task Force Report Number 116. CAST. Ames, IA. Nov 1989). Before you drink for the health of your heart, consider the other possible risks of drinking. There are safer ways of consuming antioxidants.

2. Corn
Corn is "universally contaminated" with fumonisin and other fungal toxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone and ochratoxin (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal and Human Systems. Task Force Report No. 139. Ames, IA. Jan 2003). Fumonisin and aflatoxin are known for their cancer-causing effects, while zearalenone and ochratoxin cause estrogenic and kidney-related problems, respectively. Just as corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, our food supply seems to be universally contaminated with corn--it’s everywhere! A typical chicken nugget at a fast food restaurant consists of a nugget of corn-fed chicken that is covered by a corn-based batter that is sweetened with corn syrup!

3. Wheat
Not only is wheat often contaminated with mycotoxins, but so are the products made from wheat, like breads, cereals, pasta, etc. Pasta may be the least-"offensive" form of grains since certain water-soluble mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), are partially removed and discarded when you toss out the boiling water that you cooked the pasta in. Unfortunately, traces of the more harmful, heat-stable and fat-soluble mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, remain in the grain. Regarding breads--it probably doesn’t matter if it’s organic, inorganic, sprouted, blessed or not--if it came from a grain that has been stored for months in a silo, it stands the chance of being contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins.

4. Barley
Similar to other grains that can be damaged by drought, floods and harvesting and storage processes, barley is equally susceptible to contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Barley is used in the production of various cereals and alcoholic beverages.

5. Sugar (sugar cane and sugar beets)
Not only are sugar cane and sugar beets often contaminated with fungi and their associated fungi, but they, like the other grains, fuel the growth of fungi. Fungi need carbohydrates--sugars--to thrive.

6. Sorghum
Sorghum is used in a variety of grain-based products intended for both humans and animals. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages.

7. Peanuts
A 1993 study demonstrated 24 different types of fungi that colonized the inside of the peanuts used in the report (Costantini, A. Etiology and Prevention of Atherosclerosis. Fungalbionics Series.1998/99). And this was after the exterior of the peanut was sterilized! So, when you choose to eat peanuts, not only are you potentially eating these molds, but also their mycotoxins. Incidentally, in the same study the examiners found 23 different fungi on the inside of corn kernels. That said, if you choose to plant your own garden in an attempt to avoid mycotoxin contamination of corn or peanuts, it does you no good if the seed (kernel) used to plant your garden is already riddled with mold.

8. Rye
The same goes for rye as for wheat and other grains. In addition, when we use wheat and rye to make bread, we add two other products that compound our fungal concerns: sugar and yeast!

9. Cottonseed
Cottonseed is typically found in the oil form (cottonseed oil), but is also used in the grain form for many animal foods. Many studies show that cottonseed is highly and often contaminated with mycotoxins.

10. Hard Cheeses
Here’s a hint: if you see mold growing throughout your cheese, no matter what you paid for it, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s a mycotoxin not far from the mold. It is estimated that each fungus on Earth produces up to three different mycotoxins. The total number of mycotoxins known to date numbers in the thousands.
On the other hand, some cheeses, such as Gouda cheese, are made with yogurt-type cultures, like Lactobacillus, and not fungi (Costantini, 1998/99). These cheeses are a much healthier alternative, fungally speaking.
Naturally, with this list coming from a group that opposes eating food that is merely contaminated with fungi, we’d certainly oppose eating the fungus itself! That would include common table mushrooms and so-called myco-protein food products.
Other foods that could potentially make our list are rice, oats and beans, given that these too are sources of carbohydrates. And occasionally food inspectors will come across a batch of mold-contaminated rice or oats. However, all other things being equal, these crops are generally more resistant to fungal contamination (CAST 1989).


*Diseases linked to fungi and their mycotoxins

AIDS
Alcoholic cirrhosis
Alzheimer’s
Amyloidosis
Anorexia Nervosa
Atherosclerosis
Balkan Nephropathy
Bechet’s
Biliary cirrhosis
Cardiomyopathy
Crohn’s disease
Cushing’s disease
Diabetes
DIC
Muscular Dystrophy
Encephalopathy

Ergotism
Familial Mediterranean Fever
Gout
Heart failure
Hyperactivity Syndrome
Hyperaldosteronism
Hyperlipidemia (high lipids)
Hypertension
Infertility
IgA Nephropathy
Kidney stones
Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
Inflammatory bowel disease
Mollaret’s meningitis
Multiple Sclerosis
Nephritis (kidney inflammation)

Obesity
Osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis
Precocious puberty
Psoriasis
Pulmonary Hypertension
Raynaud’s Syndrome/disease
Reye’s syndrome
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sarcoidosis
Scleroderma
Shoulder-hand syndrome
Thrombocytopenic purpura
(low platelets)
Vasculitis


Boston-Biosafety Cares

Friday, October 5, 2007

PUR Flavor Options (flavored water) Death Tonic

This is a little off topic for this blog, however there are a few things that burn my bottom that I must write about.

The other day I heard that the company named PUR introduced a new product to market that injects flavoring into your filtered tap water. Well, I figured unless you take fresh fruit and squeeze the juice into your water, the PUR system must be 100% artificial, full of chemicals. I instantly went to the PUR website (http://www.purwater.com/) to investigate.

Well, it was no surprise that when I found the ingredients, I almost choked. The first ingredient listed (besides TAP water) is PROPYLENE GLYCOL -15%.

Propylene Glycol is used in Antifreeze, you know...the stuff used in your cars....the stuff that can kill your dog if they drink it......

Most Common Uses For Propylene Glycol
Antifreezing Agents
De-icing agents
Heat Transferring Agents
Liquid-phase Transfer Media (Temps 0-300C)
Heat Transferring Agents
Secondary Coolants
Softeners in Cosmetic Emollient Moisturizers

Let's look at all of the ingredients listed.

1. Propylene Glycol 15%
2. Citric Acid
3. Raspberry/Peach/Strawberry Flavor
4. Alcohol 3%
5. Sodium Citrate
6. Malic Acid
7. Acesulfame K
8. Sucralose
9. Benzoic Acid
10. Sorbic Acid
11. Sodium Chloride

Let's now examine each ingredient.

1. Propylene Glycol - (see above)

2. Citric Acid - Citric acid is recognized as safe for use in food by all major national and international food regulatory agencies. However, what is the source/quality of the citric acid?

3. Raspberry/Peach/Strawberry Flavor - What is this? Well, is it from real fruit or is it artificial? Find out more about "natural" flavors at http://www.russellblaylockmd.com/

4. Alcohol 3% - Another vague ingredient, let's hope it's not Isopropyl.

5. Sodium Citrate - Sodium Citrate is used in ice cream to keep the fat globules from sticking together. It is also an anti-coagulant.

6. Malic Acid - Malic acid is the source of extreme tartness. It is also used with or in place of the less sour citric acid in sour candies such as Jolly Ranchers and SweeTarts. These candies are sometimes labeled with a warning that excessive consumption can cause irritation of the mouth.

7. Acesulfame K - READ THIS! From CSPI's web page:
... acetoacetamide, a breakdown product, has been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs. Administration of 1% and 5% acetoacetamide in the diet for three months caused benign thyroid tumors in rats. The rapid appearance of tumors raises serious questions about the chemicalÕs carcinogenic potency."

8. Sucralose - (Splenda) I could dedicate an entire website on the dangers of this ingredient. Do yourself a favor and just perform an Internet search, you will be sickened. Check out Dr. Mercola's website for more info. http://www.mercola.com/2000/dec/3/sucralose_dangers.htm

9. Benzoic Acid (Carboxybenzene) -Benzoic acid is used as an anti-microbial agent.

10. Sorbic Acid - Sorbic acid is used to inhibit molds, yeasts, and fungi in many foods, such as cheese, wine, and baked goods. Sometimes confused with ascorbic acid, (Vitamin C)

11. Sodium Chloride - Known as salt, table salt, sea salt, rock salt, common salt.

Sounds PUR to me! Anyone up for a nice glass of chemicals?

ENJOY!

Check out this great link for more about the dangers of the food "they" let us eat.
http://www.foodfigures.com/

Boston-Biosafety Cares