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Water - What may be in your water?

Clean water is essential to good health
Water constitutes between 55% and 60% of our body. As a result the quality of the water we drink and the amount of water we drink is critical to our individual long term health. In 1997 Life Magazine declared that 'the filtration of drinking water plus the use of chlorine is probably the most significant public health advancement of the millennium'. For the past 100 years chlorine has been killing off fatal waterborne diseases and providing clean drinking water to millions of people around the globe. 

Water from the tap
The central water suppliers do their best to make safe the water that is delivered to your home but they are processing millions of litres per day and delivering this water through miles and miles of pipes of various ages. The water from the tap contains chlorine that has been added to kill bacteria and other contaminants. The chlorine and other filters may not do their job so your water may contain coliform bacteria, giardia lambia, cryptosporidium and hepatitis A.  Also water make contain iodine that is found naturally or from pollution and fluoride that has been added by the water companies to help reduce tooth decay. The following is a brief description of each of these contaminants and their possible effects on you.
 
Chlorine
Chlorine is, by itself, a yellow-green poisonous gas. It is an inorganic element that cannot exist by itself in nature but needs to bond to another element, the most common being sodium, hence, sodium-chloride, or salt. Chlorine has a corrosive effect on organic matter. Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. It can also destroy intestinal flora in the gut that help digestion of food and protect the body from harmful pathogens. It is not uncommon for chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema to clear up or significantly improve by switching to unchlorinated drinking and bathing water. In the chlorination process, chlorine combines with natural organic matter such as decaying vegetation to form trihalomethanes (THM’s) and haloforms that are known cancer causing substances.
 
Coliform Bacteria
Coliform bacteria include E-coli, Salmonella, Legionella, Cholera, and Salmonella Typhi (typhoid). They live in soil or vegetation and in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. The majority of coliform bacteria are harmless but if E-coli is found it is likely that the water supply has been contaminated with human or animal waste. If pipes become contaminated or the water companies do not adequately chlorinate the water at source there is a chance that coliform bacteria may be present and should be removed.

Giardia Lamblia
Giardia are flagellated protozoa that are parasitic in the intestines of humans and animals. A cyst can be ingested if present in contaminated water. Once the cyst enters the stomach, the organism is released into the gastrointestinal tract where it will adhere to the intestinal wall. Giardia causes giardiasis, a disease characterised by symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, weight loss and general gastrointestinal distress.

Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidium is spread by transmission of oocysts via drinking water which has been contaminated with infected faecal material. Once inside its host, the oocyst breaks into four moveable spores that attach to the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and eventually form oocysts again that can be excreted. Symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. For people with a compromised immune system such as infants, the elderly or those with AIDS, cryptosporidiosis may become life threatening. Water treatment processes that utilize coagulation, sedimentation, filtration and chlorination may remove it but due to its resistance to chlorination and its small size, these centralised treatments may not work.  

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an enteric virus that is very small. The virus is excreted by a person carrying it and if the sewage contaminates the water supply. The virus is then carried in the water until it is consumed by a host. Generally water systems utilize chlorination, preceded by coagulation, flocculation, settling and filtration to remove the virus. 

Oestrogen, Synthetic Oestrogen and other organics
There is increasing concern over the effects of oestrogen and synthetic oestrogen residues in the water supply. The activated carbon in our filters will remove both oestrogen and synthetic oestrogen. Because quantitative tests have not been carried out, we cannot state figures. 

Rust and other particles
The  source of rust particles in water is usually old iron pipework which is common where mains supplies date back many years. Our filters have an absolute filtration rating of 99.99% of microns 0.9 or larger.

Lead and heavy metals 
Lead can cause physical and mental retardation, behavioural problems and learning difficulties, high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease. It can also lower sperm count. The lead removal of the Ultracarb filter candle is 98.3%. This filter and the GWPHM will also remove other heavy metals such as aluminium, copper, cadmium and mercury though there have been no quantitative tests carried out.

Iodine
Iodine plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones. The human body usually contains about 10-15 mg of this substance. The larger part can be found in the thyroid gland. The recommended daily intake for iodine is between 150 and 200 μg. Generally this dose is achieved by eating kitchen salt, to which iodine is added.

Worldwide iodine uptake differs greatly between different peoples, because people that eat large amounts of fish take up higher amounts of iodine. Iodine may also negatively influence the thyroid gland. This is usually associated with hyperactivity. Sensitive people may develop an illness involving symptoms such as inches, bronchitis, sleeping disorders, rashes, etc, after long-term exposure to iodine. Skin contact with concentrated iodine may lead to pigmentation. Iodine fumes cause eye and lung irritation.

Iodine is removed from water by means of active carbon.

Fluorine and Fluoride
Fluorine has a high electron affinity and actively forms stable compounds called fluorides which have strong oxidizing properties. Fluoride occurs naturally in some waters, but is frequently added to municipal water supplies because of a widely held belief that it prevents dental decay.

Fluoride is more difficult to remove than most water contaminants. For practical purposes, there are three choices for removing fluoride from drinking water: distillationreverse osmosis, and filtration through a special fluoride/arsenic reduction medium called activated alumina.

Steam distillers remove a high percentage of fluoride, and virtually any good reverse osmosis unit will provide fluoride reduction of 95% or better. Activated alumina, called AAL, removes fluoride well, but requires a relatively large bed and very slow flow rates. Because it requires such slow flow rates, AAL is not practical for whole house filtration.

Fluoride is removed in the Undersink drinking water system either with activated alumina, distillation or reverse osmosis with activated alumina being the lowest cost in terms of water wastage (RO Systems) or power consumption (distillers)

Home filtration solution
When thinking of a water filter system to ensure against these contaminants you should consider either an RO (Reverse Osmosis) system or an undersink unit that uses a ceramic filter such as the Doulton Utracarb. Both of these systems have a filter capacity that will remove 99.99% of bacteria, giardia, cryptosporidium and Hepatitis A. Also ensure that any filter system you consider has been tested and approved by an independent body such as NSF.
 
Quality standards
Each of the manufacturers of the water purification products that we sell has had independent quality control approvals. These have been carried out by independent organisations such as NSF International, standard 42 and 53, and WRAS approval ensuring that product performance claims are verified to the highest standard. The testing is unbiased, fair and accurate. This gives us confidence in the products we are offering.

Filter reminder service
It is important to change the filter candles in your water filter system on a regular basis. We will automatically put your name onto our filter reminder service so that you can keep your water filter functioning effectively. We offer this service for the drinking water systems, the wholehouse systems, the shower filters and the bath dechlorinator.