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Would you drink a cup of pesticides? What about a cup of chemical water? All your aquarium fish will die within a matter of minutes if you add tap water to your fish tank without also adding a de-chlorinator to remove the chlorine. Doesn't that tell you something about the danger of drinking chlorine? Chlorine in tap water results in cancer and many other diseases, according to researchers worldwide.
According to recent research in Europe, pregnant women in their first trimester who drink five or more glasses of chlorinated tap water a day may be at a much higher risk of miscarriage than women who drink non-chlorinated water.
Concerned that chlorine may cause spina bifida and stillbirths, the British government has ordered an independent study on chlorine-treated drinking water. Scientists from Imperial College, London University, are interested in this new research from doctors in Norway, Canada and the United States reporting higher levels of birth defects in areas where chlorine is used, compared with drinking water treated by alternative methods.
John Fawell, a leading specialist on water quality and an independent industry consultant, says: "The people who have done this work in Norway and in the United States are reputable researchers and the government and water companies have commissioned their own research from London University. All of Britain's and the United State's water companies chlorinate their public water supplies. The only people who use non-chlorinated water are those with their own water wells.
A Norwegian study of 141,000 births over a three-year period found a fourteen percent increased risk of birth defects in areas with chlorinated water. Scientists have already found an association between chlorine and an increased risk of bowel, kidney and bladder cancer, but it is the first time that a link has been verified with higher levels of spina bifida.
Dr. Per Magnus, the research scientist who carried out the Norwegian study, states: "This is an important finding because we know there are chemicals released by the action of chlorine on organic particles at treatment works. We have observed mutations in these chemicals that seem to tie up with mutations that are found in babies. We were in a unique position in Norway to make these observations because in some areas our water comes from the mountains and doesn't require cleaning with chlorine."
The Norwegian government has ordered more research be done. Concerned families have begun filtering their tap water. A popular method is to place sachets of coral sand, dredged from Norwegian fjords, into water before it is consumed, removing all traces of chlorine in tap water after fifteen minutes.
In Canada at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, researchers found that high levels of trihalomethanes, a by-product of chlorine in drinking water, significantly increased the risk of stillbirth.
Bladder cancer has been linked to chlorinated drinking water in an average of ten out of eleven studies. One of the studies in Ontario, conducted with funding from Health Canada, found that fourteen to sixteen percent of bladder cancers in Ontario showed a direct correlation to drinking water containing high levels of chlorine by-products. Chlorinated water has been linked to colon and rectal cancers in the studies, but the occurrences were not as common as those for bladder cancer.
Solutions? Dr. John Marshall, of the Pure Water Association, an American consumer group campaigning for safer drinking water, states: "It shows we should be paying more attention to the chemicals we put in our drinking water and should be looking for other alternatives to chlorination. A number of safe, non-toxic options exist, such as treating water with ozone gas or ultra violet light."
For now, investigate the purest "spring" water sources available in your region of the country. Keep a water jug close by and constantly full, sipping on "pure" water all day long. Use it for your coffee or tea, and teach your children the difference between pure water sources and chemically altered water. Investigate the safety of the piping in your home, and add a water filter to the house tap if possible. Place filters on icemakers, and don't drink from the garden hose. If you have access to a water well, have it tested for heavy metals, and place a filter on that tap, if necessary.
Pure water is a human being's primary survival mechanism. Don't take the importance of natural water lightly.
Posted September 2004 | Permanent Link
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