within the 48 Contiguous United States
Most of us are aware of the risks of bad choices at the dinner table–too many carbs, too much sugar, too few green vegetables. A lot of us have even gone further, and now we research where our food comes from. We’re paying more attention to the quality of the things fueling our bodies.
Or are we?
While we can’t survive without water, how many of us are ensuring that we have quality drinking water?
While we certainly can’t go without breathing, have any of us given thought to air quality lately?
The effects of poor water and air quality can be seriously damaging to your health and may contribute to life-threatening illnesses. If you want to live your best, healthiest life, you’ll want to consider how your air and water sources are affecting you.
While tap water in America is generally considered safe to drink, public purification methods don’t make it completely clean. In your tap water, there may be over 2100 different contaminants present, including some known poisons.
Contaminants in your drinking water include:
Some of these contaminants only make water taste bad, but some of them can also be harmful to your body. Especially if your water contains bacteria or microscopic organisms that carry diseases, this essential H2O might make you sick.
Contaminated water may contain Giardiasis, a parasite that causes the illness Giardia, and can give a person affected diarrhea lasting up to six weeks. Another pathogen highly resistant to standard purification methods is Cryptosporidium. This pathogen is not removed by chlorine (the standard purification chemical used for public drinking water) and must be removed by a mechanical filter.
Another common contaminant in tap water is lead. Before the dangerous effects of lead were common knowledge, many pipes were made of lead, and lead solders were used to fuse pipe joints. When drinking water comes into contact with old pipework, sometimes lead can contaminate it, lacing your drinking water with a known carcinogen!
The air in our environment isn’t just necessary to basic human function; it’s something we can’t escape. We have to breathe, and in places with low air quality, that can means we have to breathe in pollutants.
Two of the greatest threats to our air quality are smog and particle pollution. Smog can cause irritation in the respiratory system, leaving us coughing, short of breath, and experiencing a burning sensation in our airways. Particle pollution is caused by microscopic liquids and solids that can get deep into the lungs and severely harm us, especially if we have pre-existing conditions.
Over time, increased exposure to air pollution can exacerbate asthma (particularly in children) and lead to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, or cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates as many as 2 million people die prematurely each year from the effects of air pollution.
The worst part is, air pollution can be as much as 1,000 times worse inside the home than outside. Especially if you’ve recently painted or removed flooring, the air in your home may be harming you due to volatile organic compounds found in paint, adhesives, and other things normally harmless in the home but disturbed by construction.
We can’t always control how our public water is purified, and it’s even more difficult to affect the air we breathe. However, in our homes, we can take steps toward better, healthier environments for ourselves and our families.
One first step might be to start using water and air purifiers to trap unwanted contaminants in air and water. This can dramatically reduce the unwanted pollution in your home, and it’s something that is under our control.
It’s necessary to make air and water a priority if you want to live your best, healthiest life. Prevention starts at home!