The Truth About Water Filtration SystemsBy: Chef Cristian Feher
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the owner of a company who makes water filtration systems - who actually started making state-of-the-art water filtration systems as a contractor for the Department of Defense. His company has been in place for decades and is on the leading edge of water filtration technology. So, I took the opportunity to pick his brain on the subject of water filtration, and what I learned, changed the way I look at water, and water filtration.
What is the question?
The first question I had about water and water filtration had to do with what is found in our municipal tap water. If you could send a sample of your tap water to a lab for analysis, you would find that there are significant amounts of chemicals, bacteria, and living organisms. And what is most troubling to me, is that our tap water is medicated - there are significant amounts of pharmaceutical drugs and even birth control hormones present.
Every time someone takes an anti-depresant, a heart pill, shoots heroin, crack, cocaine, a sleeping pill or even a birth control pill, they eventually flush it down the toilet. And guess where that goes? Yep. It finds its way back to your tap water. Not to mention factory run off and general chemical pollution.
Our water treatment plants seem to be only somewhat effective in removing harmful bacteria and living organisms from our water by use of chlorine and other such chemicals. But removing drugs from the water is either, not of much interest to them, or the technology (or cost thereof) is just not there yet. Yes, much of those chemicals are filtered from that water, but not nearly enough, in my opinion. So our water is medicated and poisoned. Conspiracy theory? Nope. Anyone can send a sample of their tap water to a lab and see the results for themselves.
The drugs and poisons are there. In small amounts - yes - but what do you you think the results might be of ingesting a small steady stream of drugs and poisons into your system over a period of months, years and decades? We are not exactly the healthiest people on Earth, and I think it's pretty obvious why - we ingest the most drugs and chemicals.
Would you collect all of the pills from your neighbors, put them in a big candy bowl, mix them up and eat a handful of them? No, or course not. That would be dangerous! Well, you're doing it in small amounts every time you cook with tap water, drink tap water, brush your teeth with tap water, bathe in tap water and swim in tap water.
So, back to my first question: Is there a filtration system available that effectively eliminates these chemicals from our tap water? Reverse osmosis? Boiling or distilling water? Charcoal filters? Electrolysis?
The answer, thankfully, was activated charcoal filters. And I say thankfully, because activated charcoal is cheap, plentiful, and accessible for most people. Apparently, activated charcoal can remove most chemicals and drugs from tap water to a significant degree. You can buy these to fit your sinks, shower heads and even in the form of charcoal filtered sports bottles!
Reverse osmosis does it too, but to a lesser degree than activated charcoal, and it has a big drawback.
The process of reverse osmosis removes minerals, like calcium and magnesium from water. So, why is this a drawback? Well, your bones and teeth are made of this stuff. And if you fill your body with mineral-devoid water, guess what? It creates an imbalance, and in order to balance itself out, the water will leach calcium and magnesium from your teeth and bones! This can be a big problem which may lead to pretty serious health issues. Distilled water can be harmful too, because it's also mineral-devoid.
I'm sure most of us who have health-zelous friends have hear all about the wonders of alkaline water, right? For those who haven't, alkaline water is simply water that has had its ph changed from acidic or neutral to basic, by various means.
So, my question was this: What (if any) benefits are there to drinking alkaline water? And, doesn't that water turn right back to acidic water within a couple of seconds of reaching your stomach (which is full of a very strong hydrochloric acid)?
The general consensus, which aligned with my own idea about it, is that alkaline water serves very little purpose as a health-increasing agent for the human body. And that it's more of a marketing strategy, than an actual benefit.
Here are some additional interesting facts about alkaline water. Most bacteria and microscopic organisms cannot live in alkaline water. So, by drinking alkaline water, you are more likely to be drinking water that has no living creatures in it. Which is good - you're drinking antiseptic.
However, your body has a very carefully balanced system which actually uses and needs the help of bacteria and microscopic living creatures. So, if you actually managed to make your body's fluids more alkaline (or more basic) you would actually be killing off the good bacteria, the good fauna and flora which help you do a million different little things inside your body.
In view of this, it is my opinion that alkaline water is for suckers! So is distilled water, and so is mineral-devoid water from reverse osmosis. You may be doing yourself more harm than good - by the way, some reverse osmosis systems are susceptible to black mold, which is a whole other can of bad-for-you worms.
The good news is that you can remove most drugs, chemicals, sediment, and organic compounds with a simple charcoal-based water filtration system. In order to remain strictly factual and impartial, I am not going to identify my friend's company or tell you that one brand of charcoal filter is better than another.
What I am going to tell you is that they are cheap, and very effective, and if you consume tap water, you should put some charcoal filters between you and it.