Friday, May 6, 2011

Is your drinking water safe? - The many Hazards of Chlorinated water

Child: Mom I am thirsty!

Aunty (Child’s Mom): Wait, I will just get you some water.

Me: Wait Aunty! Is the water pure??

Aunty: What do you mean? Yes, of course! It’s from our water purifier! 100% pure!

If you can identify with the Aunty in this snippet, then its time you became aware, its time you gave a second thought… Read on…

Me: I don’t blame you for saying this. Many of us take on face-value the lucrative features promoted by the many water purifiers available in the market claiming to provide safe potable water but you may be surprised to know that, unfortunately, that is not the case! Have you ever thought what processes the water is being put through so as to ‘purify’ it, what types of chemicals are being used and is the quality of the end-product WATER that you are drinking actually safe?

Me: Most of these water purifiers use chlorine as an effective disinfectant for disinfecting water since it is currently the most economically acceptable chemical for bacterial control at this time.

Aunty: But if it cleanses my water then what is the problem?

Me: It’s not chlorine but the chlorinating by-products, also known as chlorinated hydrocarbons or trihalomethanes (THM's) many of which are mutagenic and/or carcinogenic, that is concerning the health officials. Some of the water purifiers are using TCCA generated chlorine which is not even approved by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for long term usage as a primary drinking water disinfectant to purify the water that we drink! It is also the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria that can be very hazardous to humans.

Here is what the experts over the years have said on the hazards of drinking chlorinated water -

"Cancer risks among people drinking chlorinated water are 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine." -- Dr. J.M. Price MD 

Science News, VOL. 130 - Janet Raloff
"The cause of atherosclerosis and resulting heart attacks and strokes is none other than the ubiquitous chlorine in our drinking water."

Water can undermine your health - Dr. N.W. Walker, D.S.
"Chlorine is the greatest cripple and killer of the modern times. While it prevented epidemics of one disease, it was creating another. Two decades ago, after the start of chlorinating our drinking water in 1904; the present epidemic of the heart trouble, cancer and senility began."

U.S. Council of Environmental Quality
"Drinking water that is chlorinated is hazardous, if not deadly to your health."

Bottom Line - August 87 - Dr. John Andelman, Ph.D..
"There was a higher incidence of cancer of the esophagus, rectum, breast, and larynx and of Hodgkin's Disease among those drinking chlorinated surface waters."

Munil Environmental Research Laboratory - Francis T. Mayo, Director
"Chlorine is used almost universally in the treatment of public drinking water because of its toxic effect on harmful bacteria and other waterborne, disease-causing organisms. But there is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that chlorine in drinking water may actually pose greater long term dangers than those for which it was used to eliminate.”

These fears about cancer and other lethal threats associated with chemical contamination from chlorination by-products in water have resulted in numerous studies and findings.

"Long-term drinking of chlorinated water appears to increase a person's risk of developing bladder cancer as much as 80%," according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"Chlorine itself is not believed to be the problem. Scientists suspect that the actual cause of the bladder cancers is a group of chemicals that form as result of reactions between the chlorine and natural substances and pollutants in the water. (organic matter such as leaves and twigs.)" St. Paul Dispatch & Pioneer Press, December 17, 1987

Scientific studies have linked chlorine and chlorination by-products to cancer of the bladder, liver, rectum, and colon, as well as heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), anemia, high blood pressure, and allergic reactions. There is also evidence that shows that chlorine can destroy protein in our body and cause adverse effects on skin and hair. The presence of chlorine in the water may also contribute to the formation of chloramines in the water, which can cause taste and odor problems.

Thus, it is actually ironic that the process of chlorination, by which we cleanse our water of infectious organisms, can create cancer-causing substances from otherwise innocent chemicals in water.

So Aunty, Be Aware and Know your water. Who knows? The water from your purifier may be infected with unregistered chemicals that can cause serious harm to your child’s health! Will you still give your child the water and be at the jeopardy of possibly exposing him to the lethal risk of various deadly diseases. Think before you drink!

Aunty (throws the water away): Thanks for opening my eyes!

Child: But Mom, my water… I am thirsty!

Aunty: Just wait, You are not getting any water till I verify all the details! It’s better to remain thirsty for sometime than to drink a slow poison… I can never see my child die a silent death everyday!

I have done my bit by making someone aware of the dangers of chlorine water purifiers by joining hands with Indiblogger and contributing for Bejon Mishra’s (consumer activist & founder of The Healthy You Foundation) “Crusade against Chlorine” campaign. What about you? Come and help spread the word by joining the campaign and blogging about the potential dangers of such water purifiers amongst unknowing consumers in interesting and innovative ways. And protect someone from consuming a slow poison! To know more, you can also call the consumer helpline no. 1800-11-4424

This is my submission to the ongoing Crusade Against Chlroine Contest at Indiblogger. If you liked this article, please give your inputs below and vote for it here!


Arti said...

Very in depth innovative article highlighting the hazards of the chlorinated water. You said it right - we take it on face-value the lucrative features promoted by the many water purifiers available in the market - without questioning which is very wrong on our part!

DS said...

Thanks Arti for your comment. Yes, it is our right that we ask the proper questions before buying water purifiers and know about these facts thoroughly before concluding anything on the actual purity of water.

scorpiogal said...

very well written article and very interesting way of communicating your subject. I did not realise earlier the issues with using water purifiers so I shall definitely think twice before using. The problem is for most of us advertising has a very powerful impact and the thing is to be able to critically evaluate what the advertisement is selling before taking action. Thanks and keep posting

DS said...

Thank you scorpiogal. Very rightly said. We habitually look for the capability of an ad to convince and influence us into buying a product. But we forget that the claims are mere statements until verified and analyzed for truth. We should never shy away from exercising our rights and always ask the right questions before purchasing any commodity from the market and especially when buying a product like water purifier which pertains to the very source of our life, we should be very very careful.

nrazdan said...

Chlorinate water is hazardous, the docs knew it all along, it has been public knowledge for years.Its all about the money, it always is.

DS said...

Thank you nrazdan. How true! Chlorinated water was always hazardous, we have heard about that since long. And still, people stick to these measures...why? Just for those few extra bucks! All that's needed now from responsible citizens like us is spreading awareness ..Just one word of caution to an ignorant/uninformed person can make a hell lot of a difference, can save many a lives!

Rajuda said...

An issue that deserves public awareness. Repeated exposure to Chlorine (through drinking chlorinated water, and swimming in super-cnlorinated pools) can wake up the dormant cancer cells in your body. Researches establish this. I hope more and more surfers read your blog. Thanks DS, for raising it.

DS said...

Thanks a ton Rajuda for that comment. research definitely proves that chlorine is not good at all for ones health...
I too hope more and more people read my post and understand the consequences of chlorinated water.

Anonymous said...

So.. what do you suggest is the alternative to water purifiers..?

How can we get safe drinking water..?


Shilpa Mudiganti said...

Thats really worrying. I think finally all would have resort to boiled water.