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The Disadvantages of Bottled Water

The bottled water segment is perhaps the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. Its annual sales are estimated to exceed $11 billion. Bottled water companies have been known to employ slick marketing techniques in a bid to convince the populace that their water is not only clean but also healthy for human consumption. Unfortunately, this is not always true as the bottles are not only hazardous to human health but also pose a danger to the surrounding environment.

Bottled Water and BPA

What many people don’t realize is the fact that there is very little, if any, difference between tap water and bottled water. Bottled water, however, does cost much more. Additionally, the water is generally bottled in plastics that leach xenoestrogenic chemicals into the water that they hold.

The leaching chemicals are known to disrupt hormonal balances required in a person’s body. A good example is BPA (bisphenol A). The chemical has previously been linked to problems pertaining to neurodevelopment in young children. It can stimulate premature puberty or lead to the development of breasts in men. Additionally, it has been linked to prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.

Normally, plastic bottles come with labels on the lower part that can reveal the source of the plastic. The general consensus, however, is that all plastics are toxic. This is because they come with phalates that tend to be potent with the xenoestrogenic chemicals.

Plastic Bottles and the Surrounding Environment

Plastic bottles are today considered the leading environmental pollutant. Plastics make up a big portion of the mammoth garbage patch currently floating around the Pacific Ocean. The patch is estimated to be two times the size of the state of Texas and is growing by the day.

What Is the Solution?

For many, the solution is to acquire a high-quality home water filtration system. Again, there is a need to switch to mugs or glasses in residences and carrying stainless steel bottles when heading outdoors. Quality water filtration systems assist in the removal of Rx drug residue, disinfectant byproducts, pesticides, chlorine, and many other known toxins. Every homeowner should strive to acquire a quality water filtration system for the entire residence to eliminate prescription residue, chlorine, pesticides, and DBP from all the household water (toilet bowl, cleaning, and shower). 

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Dangers of Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water

Drinking water that contains lead can cause serious health issues. While this fact probably comes as no surprise to some people, many others are relatively uneducated when it comes to the specific issues that come about from drinking water contaminated with lead. They also may not realize that certain populations are particularly vulnerable to lead in drinking water.

Unborn babies, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable when exposed to lead in drinking water. (It should be noted that children can be exposed to lead in other ways, as well.) Further, a dose of lead that might have little effect on an adult could devastate a child.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a person who is found to have elevated lead levels probably got 20 percent of that lead from drinking contaminated drinking water. The EPA also estimates that infants who drink formula can receive up to 60 percent of their lead exposure from the unclean water they drink.

According to the EPA, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level for lead in drinking water to be zero. This is because the toxic metal can be harmful to humans even at low levels of exposure. Another issue with lead is that it can accumulate in the body over time.

Lead is a naturally occurring element. It is found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While lead has its uses, it can be toxic to humans. Most lead exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around homes. These include things like batteries, cosmetics, paint, plumbing materials, solders and more. Lead also can be emitted into the environment from industrial sources and contaminated sites.

When lead is released to the air, it may travel long distances before it settles into the ground and then sticks to soil particles.  settling to the ground, where it usually sticks to soil particles. Lead may move from soil into ground water depending on the type of lead compound and the characteristics of the soil.

So what are the specific effects of lead on the human body? What follows are a list of some of the significant ones:

Effects of Lead on Children:

·       Anemia

·       Behavior issues

·       Coma

·       Hearing loss

·       Hyperactivity

·       Impaired growth

·       Learning problems

·       Low IQ

·       Seizures

Effects of lead on Adults:

·       Decreased kidney function

·       Increased blood pressure and hypertension

·       Reproductive issues

Pregnant Women:

·       Premature birth

·       Reduced fetus grown

Again, these are just some of the symptoms of lead exposure and there can be many others, as well. Remember, no amount of lead in your drinking water is safe.

 

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Conserving Water in the Home

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average U.S. household wastes up to 180 gallons of water per week. And that is just known use. Additionally, various household leaks can waste 900 billion gallons of water each year.

Water is a precious resource in all parts of the world. Water.org states that one in nine people do not have access to enough water. Since humans require water to survive it is a critical resource that needs to be carefully conserved.

Most people do not appreciate the importance of conserving water in their homes. One way to make it a priority is to make the conservation of water in the home fun! This can be accomplished by making the task more fun. After all, when people have fun doing something, they are more likely to stick to it. What follows are some creative ways to save water!

  • Dance your way to using less water. Challenge family members to play their favorite song while they shower and to finish their shower before the song ends. With most songs only lasting a few minutes, this is a great way to save water.
  • Use recycled water to show off your green thumb. Leftover bathwater or collected rainwater can be used to water plants or gardens.
  • Make it a game. Compete with yourself or family members to see how many ways they can come up with to conserve water. You’ll be surprised at the creative ways people come up with to reduce water intake. Let the winner of the challenge choose a reward the whole family can enjoy.
  • Educate the kids. Kids are more likely to get involved with things they are interested in or know something about. Coloring pages about the need for clean water around the world or science experiments are a few examples of how to get kids to buy into the water conservation effort. Glasses filled with different amounts of collected rain water can be used as a makeshift musical instrument by tapping the glasses with a spoon.

Saving water is good for people in your own home and around the world. Why not having some fun doing it? Not only will the ideas above save water, they will save you money on your water bill, as well. Talk about a win-win!

 

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How Clean are Ice Cubes?

The importance of clean water is well-understood. Nevertheless, clean ice is equally as important even though people rarely think about the cleanliness of ice. The fact is; however, it is necessary to both be aware of the dangers posed by dirty ice in addition to methods for keeping it clean.

Dirty ice is particularly dangerous because outwardly the ice will usually appear to be normal. Even though it may lack a dirty outward appearance, the microscopic particles and organisms can find their way into ice can cause sickness.

People constantly come into contact with ice, especially at restaurants, but oftentimes, the procedures for handling ice are not nearly as rigorous as with other foods, even though dirty ice can be as harmful as any other type of dirty food. For one, workers often handle ice with their bare hands and letting this ice make contact with unhandled ice (that is, handling ice and then returning it to, for instance, a pale of ice), which can cause the dangers of a single contaminated ice cube to multiply to others. Ice is also touched by many different people and can also have the pathogens acquired through handling, for instance, money or dirty door handles, transferred to them.

The easiest way to not contaminate ice is to exercise common sense. That is, use the same caution when handling any other type of food when handling ice. The simplest way is to simply wash one’s hand if handling it or to wear gloves. The majority of ice contamination results from sick workers not washing their hands as they normally would because they are under the impression that ice is different than other types of food. It is not.

Additionally, there are certain ice-specific tips worth remembering. Ice is most often put in a bin and is scooped out of it. The scoop should remain outside of the bin. If not, it is possible that the scoop’s handle will come into contact with the ice. The handle, likely being under-washed and having had many hands touch it, will likely have a fair number of germs on it. Thus, making sure that this part of the scoop and the ice remain separate is imperative.

The dangers of dirty ice are often underestimated if not completely ignored. However, it can be quite dangerous. Keeping ice clean is generally a simple task if certain rules are followed and so long as the ice is handled like one would handle any other type of food.

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How to Combat the Cloudy Film on Glassware

Cloudy glassware and dishes are a common problem in many households. It is especially irritating when you pull dishes out of the dishwasher expecting them to be clear and bright only to find a dingy film on them.

There are several reasons for a cloudy coating on glasses and dishware but the likely causes are usually etching or hard water. Many people are unaware of what etching is, let alone what causes it.

If you have a dull, cloudy film on your glassware that you haven’t been able to get rid, your glasses may be etched. Etching is the tiny scratches and pits on glassware that occurs when glass has been worn away. It can be caused by a variety of thing including detergent, excessive pre-cleaning or too hard or too soft of water.

While there is no way to repair etching, there are ways to avoid it in the first place.

1.     Use a different detergent. Milder detergents which have a lower pH number or detergents that don’t contain phosphates are your best line of defense. Harsh detergents tend to increase the amount of etching.

2.     Use less detergent. Using as little detergent as is necessary to get your dishes clean will help decrease etching. If your home has soft water it will require less detergent than if it has hot water.

3.     Skip the pre-wash. Today’s dishwashing detergents contain alkaline salts to neutralize the food and oils on dishes. When you rinse your dishes off before loading them into the dishwater there is nothing for the detergent to neutralize. This results in etching because the detergent is harder on the dishes themselves.

If hard water is the issue, you are dealing with a few problems. Minerals in hard water cause detergents to be less effective. This means people use more detergent. Further, hard water doesn’t rinse off as easily so a film is left on the dishes making them look and feel less clean. Minerals in hard water also dry onto glassware which creates a film.

Water filtering systems are the best way to eliminate hard water issues in your home but to control hard water deposits you also may want to use more detergent. Of course, too much detergent may cause a soapy build-up so you will have to find the right balance. Rinse aids also can help. Finally, consider turning using the high-temp setting on your dishwasher.

 

 

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Keeping Pipes from Freezing

The cold weather is upon us. Unfortunately, this means that across America, from Lansing, Michigan, to Denver, Colorado, many homeowners will face the nightmare of frozen pipes.

While everyone needs clean water in their homes, when pipes burst, there are more immediate problems. Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t just people in cold regions that have to worry about freezing and burst pipes. Homes in warmer climates are also at risk for burst pipes since these homes are not typically insulated for cold temperatures.

In order to prevent frozen pipes this winter, which can burst and cause flooding, it is important to take the following precautions:

1.     Add insulation. Many homes have pipes in areas that are not properly insulated. In these cases, it is important to add extra insulation. Examples would be in basements or attics. Exposed pipes also can be fitted with rubber or fiberglass sleeves.

2.     Consider heating tape. If you have easy access to pipes you may want to consider heating tape. This tape is applied directly to pipes to keep them from freezing. Some types of heating tape sense when they need to turn on and others need to be turned on manually. Use this tape with caution and follow directions on the tape carefully.

3.     Keep your heat on at all times. Even if you will be on vacation, it is important to keep the heat on in your home. While you don’t have to keep it as high as you would if you were home, keeping it on will provide enough warmth to keep the pipes from freezing.

4.     Let a faucet drip. Allowing a slight drip from a faucet will help to relieve pressure in your pipes, helping to ensure that pipes don’t burst.

5.     Open cabinet doors. Many times, pipes are located in cabinets. By leaving cabinets open, they will be exposed to more heat. You also should keep interior doors open for the same reason. Heat should be allowed to travel throughout your home to prevent any cold spots from impacting pipes.

6.     Seal things up. If there are cracks or holes near pipes, caulk those areas up. This will help to keep warm air in and cold air out. You should make sure you seal up any cracks in interior and exterior walls for the same reason.

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Can Water Make Allergies Worse?

Allergy sufferers are affected by everything from nuts to cats to pollen in the air. Many people are surprised to learn, however, that their home’s drinking water also could be a culprit.

Research has shown that many allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma can be linked to chemicals which are present in tap water. That’s because these chemicals can interfere with a body’s immune system.

When it comes to chemicals in your water, chlorine is a major player. Chlorine is added to water to kill bacteria. However, chlorine can make allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Studies have shown that fumes from a steamy shower can set off an asthma attack. Chlorine also can cause eye and skin irritation as well respiratory issues. Dichlorophenol is another chemical that is used to clean tap water and has been linked to allergies. Finally, fluoride may cause negative reactions in children who have allergies or asthma.

One of best ways to make sure that your home’s water is not the cause of you or a loved one’s allergy or respiratory systems is to consider a water filtering system for your home. This will help eliminate any problems with water that may be causing or worsening allergy symptoms.

Home water filtering systems remove chemicals through a process known as reverse osmosis filtration. Through reverse osmosis, chemicals such as calcium, chlorine and lead, as well as any pesticides, are removed from a home’s water system.

What follows are some other ways to help relieve any allergy symptoms that you suspect may be linked to water:

1.     Avoid public pool. Public pools use chlorine to kill bacteria so are best to avoid. Try to find pools which employ non-chlorine alternatives such as bromine or pools that use ionization to keep water clean.

2.     Go organic. When possible, opt for organic fruits and vegetables that are less likely to have been exposed to chemicals and pesticides.

3.     Keep showers short. Long, hot showers are a no-no. Shorter, cooler showers will limit the absorption of chemicals.

4.     Opt for bottled water. Even if your home drinking water is safe, you aren’t always at home. In such cases, bottled water is a good alternative.

5.     Use distilled water in humidifiers. If you regularly use a humidifier, it is important to use distilled water to fill it. Tap water can form deposits that promote the growth of bacteria that is then released into the air.

 

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How Water Effects Home-Cooked Food

The holidays are in full swing and that means you will likely be doing a lot of baking and cooking. You may be surprised to find out that the quality of the water in your home can drastically effect the taste of the food you are making, however.

Many homes in the United States have hard water which contains hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium. While this can impact how water tastes when you drink it, it also can make your food taste and look different. For example, boiling or blanching vegetables in hard water may cause them to become tougher and even cause them to lose color. It also can cause rice to be tougher.

Cooking experts tell us that hard water requires additional cooking times because hard water takes longer to boil. This is because hard water actually increases the boiling point of water.

Hard water can also take its toll on people who are looking to create the perfect dessert. The minerals that are dissolved in hard water can change the structure of gluten. They also can affect how certain ingredients react. Yeast is one of those ingredients. Hard water can make dough more rubbery or even cause it to become tough. Hard water makes it harder for flour to absorb water, slowing down the process of fermentation and causing it to tighten up. Hard water also means your water will be more alkaline which influences the performance of yeast.

Hard water also alters the flavor of the things you drink. That includes everything from tap water to lemonade to coffee and tea. Remember, when brewing coffee or tea, for example, there are very few ingredients—with water being the largest. Hard water is less solvent so the flavor of the coffee or tea is hard to extract when using it. That makes it necessary to use more coffee grounds or tea leaves to avoid a weaker or less flavorful drink.

The water you use in your kitchen can make a tremendous difference in the taste and texture of your food. It also will play a part in how long it takes to make certain foods and drinks. Many cooks believe that it is only the ingredients and seasonings they use that determines how the food they prepare tastes. The biggest factor, however, often comes down to the type of water they are using. So keep in mind that if your food doesn’t taste right, it might not have anything to do with your recipe or cooking technique but rather problems with water in your kitchen.

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