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What may be in your water and how to remove it

View drinking water filters here  or  view whole house water filters here

Clean water is essential to good health

Water makes up between 55% and 60% of our body. As a result the quality and amount of water we drink is critical to our individual long term health. In 1997 Life Magazine declared "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 water-borne diseases. It has provided 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. They are, however, processing millions of litres per day and delivering this water through 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 filtration systems may not do their job completely. Your water may contain coliform bacteria, giardia lambia, cryptosporidium and hepatitis A. Also water may contain iodine and fluoride both of which be found naturally or artificially. Fluoride is often 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:

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 element being sodium, hence, sodium-chloride, or salt. Chlorine has a corrosive effect on organic matter. Many 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 to clear up or greatly improve by removing it. These skin conditions include acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema. In the chlorination process, chlorine combines with natural organic matter such as decaying vegetation to form trihalomethanes (THM’s) and haloforms. These are known cancer causing substances. Chlorine is removed by the activated carbon in either the whole house systems or the drinking water units.

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. Contamination sources include human or animal waste. If pipes become contaminated or are not adequately chlorinated there is a chance that coliform bacteria may be present. Because of their size bacteria are removed by the ceramic outer shell of the UltraCarb and Super Stericile filters used in our drinking water systems. 

Giardia Lamblia

Giardia are flagellated protozoa that are parasitic in the intestines of humans and animals. Giardia infections can occur through the ingestion of dormant microbial cysts in contaminated water, food or fecal-oral route. Once the cyst enters the stomach, the organism is released into the gastrointestinal tract. Here it will adhere to the intestinal wall. Giardia causes a disease called giardiasis. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, weight loss and general gastrointestinal distress. Giardia Lambia are removed by the ceramic outer shell of the UltraCarb and Super Stericile filters used in our drinking water systems. 

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is spread by transmission of oocysts via drinking water which has been contaminated. This contamination comes from faecal material. Once inside its host, the oocyst breaks into four moveable spores that attach to the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. They 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 cryptosporidiosis may become life threatening. Individuals such as infants, the elderly or those with AIDS are particularly at risk. Water treatment processes that utilise coagulation, sedimentation, filtration and chlorination may remove it. However due to its resistance to chlorination and its small size, these centralised treatments may not work.  Cryptosporidium are removed by the ceramic outer shell of the UltraCarb and Super Stericile filters used in our drinking water systems. 

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 is known to remove both oestrogen and synthetic oestrogen. Because quantitative tests have not been carried out, we cannot state how much of these chemicals will be removed. The only way to remove 100% is either distillation or reverse osmosis.

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 issues. These include 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%. Heavy metal filters for the Gravity Water Filter will also remove other heavy metals. These include aluminium, copper, cadmium and mercury.

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. 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. After long term exposure sensitive people may develop symptoms such as itching, bronchitis, sleeping disorders and rashes. Skin contact with concentrated iodine may lead to pigmentation. Iodine fumes cause eye and lung irritation.

Iodine is removed from water by means of activated carbon.

Fluorine and Fluoride

Fluorine has a high electron affinity and actively forms stable compounds called fluorides. These have strong oxidizing properties. Fluoride occurs naturally in some waters, but is frequently added to municipal water supplies. This is due to 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. These are distillation, reverse osmosis, and filtration. Filtration occurs through a special fluoride/arsenic reduction medium called activated alumina.

Each system is effective at removing fluoride. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems have a high cost in waste water that is used in the filtration process. Distillers use electricity to boil the water so have a high energy cost. Activated alumina filters have the lowest cost since the fluoride is removed by a chemical process.

Steam distillers remove a high percentage of fluoride. 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 slow flow rates. As it requires such slow flow rates, AAL is not practical for whole house filtration.

To see whether your water may have added fluoride, view this fluoride map of the UK.

Removing substances that may be in your water

Water filtration systems offered by The Healthy House®

We offer a wide range of water filtration systems on our website. These include undersink and countertop drinking water filters, whole house systems and chlorine removal bathing filters.

Quality standards

All manufacturers of the water purification products we sell have independent quality control approvals. These have been carried out by independent organisations such as NSF International, standard 42 and 53, and WRAS. This ensures 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. When you order a water filter system from The Healthy House® we will automatically include your name in our filter reminder service. This helps you keep your water filter functioning effectively. We offer this service for all our filtration systems.

Filter Specifications

We have listed all the specifications for what is removed by the different water filters on our website. You will find the information on each specific unit.

www.healthy-house.co.uk/water

Refs: www.lenntech.com (iodine)
www.wikipedia.org; chemistry.about.com (fluorine and fluoride)

Other information from filter manufacturers and knowledge acquired over time from various sources.

Please note: Information included in this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner.

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