Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More water for thought.

Following are three interesting e-mails which supplement my previous blog posting. The first one is from J., a Doctor of Osteopathy. There is more to water and Reverse Osmosis filtering systems than we realise. - Werner - Click on picture to enlarge!

1. Yes, I do have a few ideas on the subject. I used to manufacture high end filtration systems for colon hydrotherapy installations in the UK, so have had to cover much of this in the past.

Your son brings up some valid points with regards to tank water, and it being 'naturally distilled'. However, there is a world of difference energetically between rain water and that which has been distilled by electricity. Not only is electrically distilled water 'dead' energetically, it is also totally demineralised. This 'dead' nature can be dealt with by other technologies such as Grander or Plocher, or their many similes available these days to revitalise the water. Rain water on the other hand combines with many gases in the atmosphere as it falls to Earth, to pick up nitrogen / sulphur / carbon / oxygen and various other atmospheric gases which dissolve in water, thus partially remineralising the water. It will not pick up the earth-based minerals such as calcium, magnesium etc as they are by and large not present in the atmosphere, at least not naturally.

Rain water will of course also pick up atmospheric pollutants very well, as well as seeded chemicals in the atmosphere - to counter this rain water used for drinking or cooking should also be filtered through at least carbon block which will remove many environmental pollutants. Mankind has been living off rain water in many parts of the globe for tens of thousands of years - the fact it is demineralised largely is just not an issue - you will pick up those minerals from your food if you are eating fresh organically or biodynamically grown produce. They do not have to be in the water, as long as they get into your body somehow. Even quality supplements will do it, though personally I believe it is best to get them as nature intended - from food and water.

The water issue is a very important one, but it is always good to remember the big picture. Good water will not make up for poor nutrition from one's diet (assuming of course that one's bowel is working efficiently enough to even assimilate all those nutrients), nor bad lifestyle, which is frequently strongly demineralising in its own right.

Which brings me to the next subject - that of pH. Once again, big picture. It is worth considering a few things with pH. Firstly, many if not most westerners do the following:

-drink coffee, alcohol and carbonated beverages (all strongly acidic)-consume little fruit or vegetables (depending on mineral content, these are by and large alkalising)- consume excessive protein (strongly acidifying), particularly animal proteins whether meat or fish.- consume excessive grain-based carbohydrates, and processed grain products (also quite acidifying)

So the pH picture is more than just about water. If you have a strongly acidic diet, then drinking alkaline water may be of benefit to redress the balance to some degree, though is somewhat missing the point! Out of interest one of the easiest ways of alkalising water is to make herbal teas - most herbal teas are reasonably alkaline (from high mineral content). The degree of alkalinity will depend on the herb concerned, how it was grown, how it has been processed, whether it is fresh or dry, etc.

Most ground waters and bore waters tend to be alkaline due to the presence of large amounts of calcium and other minerals through which they naturally filter.

RO is not a panacea, though does produce clean water, and is one of the few techs that will remove fluoride. The big problem with RO is also that it is notoriously inefficient (usually around 20%), i.e. for every litre that an RO system generates, 4 litres go down the drain. If one is harvesting the 'waste' water for the garden or for one's vegetable patch, this could be tolerable as it is not really going to waste. If however it is just hooked up to go down the sewer, personally I don't know how such water waste could be justified in Australia, nor anywhere else. It is just unsustainable in the current climate of fresh water limitation.

There are some new filtration systems that are capable of removing fluoride, but but but ... The cartridge saturation point for fluoride may come in rather early in the cartridge life. E.g. say the cartridge concerned is rated at 10,000 litres before a replacement is needed - the fluoride saturation point may occur after only 500 or 1000 litres, after which it will not bind any more fluoride at all. I haven't yet seen or heard of any credible standard filtration systems that will remove fluoride. If a manufacturer is making such claims, it is worth asking them to provide data supporting their claims, with fluoride level check at various points in the cartridge life (i.e. when new, and at various points in its stated life). Any half decent filter cartridge manufacturer should have done these tests - they are not expensive nor difficult to do for a company involved in the cartridge business, though could be prohibitive for the average individual.

I am not sure if the above has helped clarify things or further confuse the subject, but hopefully it has opened a few possibilities. If I was to install a water system of my own, I would be collecting rain water assuming I was not living in a large metropolitan area, nor near any known aerial polluters (almost any heavy industry). But I would also do the following:

Firstly, the nature of the tank. Most tanks these days are either made of plastic or corrugated iron. Both of these have issues, as do liners for tanks. Plastic tanks may well leach unacceptable levels of plastic compounds into the water, especially if they are sitting outside in the sun as almost invariably happens here in Australia. Corrugated iron tanks may leach various metallic compounds into the water, unless they are epoxy lined. Epoxy lined tanks will leach their compounds too, so there is no clear answer here. Ideally one would use glass tanks, or glass lined tanks (not fibreglass) - if you can find them. If glass though, it will also need to be kept in the dark to prevent algal growth - some algal toxins are far more poisonous than fluoride! Next best bet would be surgical stainless steel tanks - but expensive if you buy new. Old dairy tanks may be a solution, but I suspect they are mostly made from the lower grades of stainless, which have issues with nickel release. Surgical stainless has much lower nickel release, but it is still present. But many of these compounds can be filtered out - see below. At the end of the day, there is no perfect solution. Also worth considering that every other species on this planet manages very well drinking water sitting on the ground, contaminated with all sort of natural products (bacteria and their toxins, aluminium in clays, plant toxins, faecal matter etc etc).

Secondly, remineralisation. Simple solution for this - throw some rocks into your tank!! This could be a slab of marble, or rock lime (calcium carbonate), or better still - a variety. Just avoid rocks which are known to contain toxic compounds such as malachite and many others. Some would choose to also add crystals in the tank, both for physical chemical effects, as well as energetic ones (assuming one believes in the energetic nature of rock compounds). That will deal with the pH issue, as well as mimicking to some degree the pick up of minerals as waters rise to the surface from aquifers.

Thirdly - filter your tank water. Personally I would use a simple three stage design of three inline cartridges. First one should be a sediment cartridge, probably 5 micron (these are cheap disposables, that will protect the life of your more expensive cartridges). Followed by an activated carbon block cartridge which will remove various organic pollutants. [Some choose to also use a granular carbon cartridge, which has slightly different absortive properties to carbon block]. Lastly I would put in a ceramic cartridge, with or without impregnated silver lining - these will usually filter down to 1 or 0.5 micron, and remove quite a few further pollutants. There are companies now doing cartridges that will include all of the above (without the sediment cartridge) in a single cartridge, but they are generally quite pricey. Note that if you include a ceramic cartridge, you may need to pump the water through the filter if you want flow at a faucet - if you have it plumbed into your house for example.

A couple of alternatives could be to use straight rainwater, then run it through one of those Nikken countertop filtration units, which purportedly remineralise (they have a heap of rocks in the bottom holding tank). They filter through an impregnated silver 'candle', which contains carbon block and ceramic media in one cartridge. You could also use any of the other countertop filtration units which use the same filtration technology (e.g. Stefani). Note that these methods are very slow filters, and will not give you running filtered water. Generally they will only filter about 1 to 2 gallons per day, so no good if you want a running filtered rain water tap.

Of course the nature of your roof that you are collecting from (what material is it made from?) will alter the quality of the water, as will the cleanliness of your guttering.

Another important consideration with rain water is stagnation. For rainwater collection to be worthwhile, one needs a reasonable size tank, especially if one has times during the year for months at a time when there is no rain. The larger the tank, the more the stagnation issue. I don't have a solution to this one, though if you are up in Cairns with regular rains, it is probably worth shedding some of your tank water (if full) prior to heavy rains to keep your tank water as fresh as possible.

To deal with water 'revitalisation', it may be worth also looking into some of the 'homeopathic' treatments such as Grander or Plocher. If you were to add such a device, probably best to do it as the final stage after filtration, though it may not matter that much. It is hard to quantify what these devices do, but if one believes in the concepts of homeopathy, one should have little trouble understanding the concepts of these energetic water conditioning devices.

This may all sound like overkill, and it is!! However, the cost to set up the filtration system should be under $500, maybe even half of that. If you need to pump your water, a pump may set you back a few hundred dollars. Grander devices are not cheap, and could be another few hundred dollars depending on which unit one used. Plus the cost of the tank of course, which could be anywhere between 100 and 10,000 dollars depending on size. If one already has a tank, just adding triple stage filtration will be a vast improvement, and I have seen these retailing on the net for as little as $200, including the first set of cartridges. Running costs are reasonable.

One last thing I will add concerning showering and bathing: there is nothing like rain water in the bathroom! Showering in municipal town water tends to release much of the chlorine unless it is filtered out, and this will be breathed straight in through your lungs. One may be reasonably safe from the fluoride as it doesn't off-gas like chlorine as far as I know. Bathing will also encourage absorption through the skin of these compounds, plus copper, lead, asbestos and various other materials that may come into direct contact with municipal water supplies. If one was to set up a whole house rain water system, it could be all filtered, or one could filter only the kitchen supply for drinking and cooking, and use untreated rainwater for bathroom use. All depends on how high one wants the running costs to be.

Outside of all the above discussion (and this is by no means the last word, just elements I have picked up and thought about over the years) there is one important thing to remember. BIG PICTURE! I can't emphasise this enough. For example it makes little sense to be paranoid about water supply if one uses fluoridated toothpaste, is a smoker, eats poor food, or if one is living in a house with new carpets, fresh chemical paint, chemical cleaning agents, etc etc. The off-gassing chemicals from many internal house environment products are much more toxic than fluoride and chlorine will ever be. It is all about total chemical load, and how good your liver and other organs of elimination are at clearing these out of the body.

Please forgive me if I have been overly verbose in this reply - unfortunately I have thought about this stuff for too long, so have come to realise the multiple levels of complexity in the question. If only it could be simple. But I do hope that it may be of some help. J.

2. This is an amazing lot of information, thank you. I of course am concerned at the lack of minerals in the R O water and of course, the terrible waste of water, using about 3 x the amount of water. My large dog drinks a huge amount of water, downstairs we leave a bucket of tank water each day, but upstairs I have no choice but to give him the r o water - it is painfully slow to pour out a huge bowl of water which as the weather warms up more and more, I have to change now about 4 – 5 x daily at least - I change the water again about 11 p.m. at night and by 8 in the morning, it is starting to go off - I was astonished that I noticed his bowel of water “stinky” and worsening as the weather got more humid and hotter - he is in an enclosed back veranda (upstairs with us) with 6 windows and a doorway of course.
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3.Water filtration systems are quite confusing. I myself use an under sink Reverse Osmosis. I have thought about a filter for the shower head but the chlorine in our water is not that strong – not like some areas plus my tolerance is now quite high. This could be an option, or go for the whole of house if you can afford the cost. Re loss of minerals these could be obtained from foods or natural supplements. Rain water is distilled but as soon as it hits a roof it is contaminated with dust, pesticides, diesel and car exhaust residue that has travelled in the air and deposited itself on the roof. Tank water is also contaminated with insects and droppings and will need to be filtered to take these containments out and boiled to remove bacteria.

Regarding acid vs alkali water – maybe we can eat more alkaline foods or occasionally dose on Sodium Bicarbonate as per Dr Mercola theories (helps fight infection if we are more alkali)

I found this article on the EI resource which may be worth reading – you may have already seen it:
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To read more on this subject, click on ”Older Posts.” And, for information on the “The Nikken water technology,” the finest water filter & magnetizer in the world. Go to item 6 in the post below.
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My thought for today. - Werner

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent. Marilyn vos Savant.


Jane California USA said...

Werner, re “More water for thought.” How interesting. I’m a regular reader of your blog and find that all your postings are very interesting, informative and even humorous. I have posted your blog address to all my family and friends as I’m sure they would enjoy reading it too. Keep up the good work!

Dr. Lei, Hong Kong said...

Hi Werner, you have interesting information on your blog, but I’m surprised to read that you are fluoridating the water in Australia.

China started fluoridating the water in1964 in Guangzhou, but it was discontinued in 1983 after a more than a six fold increase in dental fluorosis was observed with only a marginal decrease in dental caries. Other adverse findings by specialists in preventive medicine have also played a role in the decision, along with recognition of the importance of other sources of fluoride intake besides drinking water.

Chinese children drinking well water with very high levels of fluoride scored poorly on intelligence testing compared to those with lower exposures. This is one of the first studies in humans to find that too much fluoride is associated with low performance on intelligence tests. More information is needed to ascertain if the sum total amount of ingested fluoride from tap water, consumer products and other sources are enough to inhibit brain development in children living in the US and other countries where fluoridation is common.

Hong Kong's dental health is superior to the United States' even though U.S. children consume 1 ppm fluoridated water and brush with 1,000 ppm fluoridated toothpaste. And Hong Kong children use lower concentrated (500 ppm) fluoridated toothpaste.