Archives for the month of: July, 2013

An extensive new study confirms a long-suspected link between crippling birth defects and the nitrate contamination that threatens drinking water for 250,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley.

The study took place in the Midwest, but its findings hit hard in the Valley, where research last year showed farm-related nitrate pollution is extensive and expanding in the underground water of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties.

The birth defects involved include spina bifida, cleft palate and missing limbs.

Valley clean-water advocates say the study again raises the profile of safe drinking water as a human right. Bureaucratic and funding delays have slowed fixes for years in many small towns.

“This contamination is so dangerous,” said Maria Herrera of the Visalia-based Community Water Center. “Many towns need help with their drinking water, and we’re still not seeing enough.”

The study from Texas A&M was published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, making the strongest case to date about nitrates and birth defects.

Researchers looked at real-world situations, locating and contacting thousands of mothers using the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Participants’ addresses were matched to drinking-water sources.

“We went beyond other studies to find out how much water pregnant women were drinking at home and at work,” said lead scientist Jean Brender, associate dean for research and a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s School of Rural Public Health.

The study focused on Iowa and Texas where nitrate problems are found in the groundwater. Nitrates can come from farm fertilizers and dairy waste. Other sources include septic systems, sewage treatment and decaying vegetation.

The study says mothers of babies with spina bifida were twice as likely to have consumed 5 milligrams or more of nitrate from their daily drinking water than women whose babies had no major defect.

Spina bifida is among several birth defects that happen during pregnancy as the baby’s brain and spinal cord develop. In some cases, spina bifida can result in bowel or bladder problems — in others, paralysis.

Many people living in rural Valley towns buy bottled water to protect themselves and their children from nitrates, which also can cause a potentially fatal blood disease in infants.

Many are forced to use 10% or more of their farmworker wages to pay for both bottled water and suspect tap water. When they cannot afford the bottled water, they drink from the tap, residents say.

Two years ago, the United Nations came to Seville, a town of 480 in Tulare County, as part of a worldwide tour of communities where drinking water is chronically unsafe. The U.N. investigator’s tour included communities in Costa Rica, Slovenia, Uruguay and Namibia.

The U.N. investigator recommended that California move with more urgency to address the problems, and the state has funded some projects. Money has been granted to study a solution in Seville.

The California Department of Public Health, which doles out money to improve rural water systems, last month announced a plan to push investment of $445 million of unspent federal drinking water funding. The report was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which this year scolded the state for not spending the money.

Kathleen Billingsley, chief deputy director of policy and programs at the Department of Public Health, said, “The entire administration is committed to addressing the concerns outlined by the U.S. EPA.”

Back in Tulare County, some residents of small towns blame the water for unexplained stomach problems, hair loss and dizziness. Their biggest concerns are for pregnant women and infants.

“When I was taking care of my grandchild, I ran out of (bottled) water for the formula,” said Becky Quintana, a Seville resident. “I had to go buy more. I was not going to use the tap water.”

The nitrates problem is not just in Tulare County. A study released last year by the University of California at Davis showed the problem is widespread throughout Fresno and Kern counties in the Tulare Lake Basin, one of the most intensely farmed regions in the country.

Previous studies have suggested birth defects related to nitrate consumption, but the Texas A&M study went into more depth in looking at Iowa and Texas.

Researchers discovered about 25% of the participants in Iowa only drank bottled water, as did nearly half of them in Texas.

They compared birth defects among mothers who had very low exposures of nitrate from their drinking water to those who took in higher amounts of nitrate from water. Researchers took into account bottled water and tap water that either came from a municipal system or a private well.

The results might not be surprising. Researcher Brender said the women who drank water with low amounts of nitrates — bottled water, which was noted as having the least nitrate — were far less likely to have a child with birth defects.

Brender added that the research does not directly say nitrates cause the birth defects. There may be other chemicals, including pesticides, that have an impact. The researchers only examined nitrates in this study.

But she has advice for pregnant women and anyone else living in a rural area who drink water from a private well: “Get your private well tested.”

Water Of Life, Evanston, Wyoming. Rock Springs, Green River, Kemmerer Wyoming

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/15/5568213/birth-defects-linked-to-bad-water.html#storylink=cpy

by: Mark G.

 

Contamination / Drinking water / Nitrate / Wyoming

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Should I Be Concerned?

Arsenic is a potential concern to those that do not receive municipally treated water and live in an area with high natural deposits of arsenic, receive runoff from orchards, or receive runoff from glass and electronics production wastes. Arsenic is potentially a very harmful and even fatal contaminant that can cause damage with immediate consumption or over the long term.

The health effects of arsenic depend on its chemical form, how much is consumed, and for how long. Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause a number of harmful effects on the human body. There is increasing evidence that people who consume drinking water with high arsenic levels for many years can have health problems, including nervous system effects, skin changes, and several circulatory diseases.

Finding Arsenic in My Water

If you suspect you might have arsenic in your water, the safest approach is to talk to a local water treatment professional.  Because well water is particularly susceptible to arsenic, those not connected to municipal drinking water systems may want to consider this option.  You should also check with local health authorities about the possible presence of arsenic in your community.

Fighting Arsenic

There are several types of water treatment systems that can effectively reduce arsenic levels in drinking water. These include: reverse osmosis systems, specialty media, and distillation systems.  You can choose from numerous tested and certified water treatment products available to reduce arsenic in drinking water.

Contact Water of Life to treat your Arsenic problem : www.waterproblemsolvers.com

Appliance Longevity

 

A recent independent study has demonstrated what many experts already expected:  Water softeners can extend the life of your appliances.  That means saving you money and energy and keeping our landfills a little less full.

 

Softeners help preserve the efficiency of water heaters and major appliances, the report found.  The study was commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) in 2009 and conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute, a renowned independent testing and research facility dedicated to applied science and technology development.

 

Here are some key appliances that can have an increased life when run with softened water: 

 

Dish and Clothes Washers

 

Dishwashers and clothes washers were operated for 30 days and 240 full wash cycles on soft and hard water sources.  The washers using softened water were almost completely free of any scale build up.  As the report states, they appeared as if they could be cleaned to look like new with just a quick wipe down.  The appearance of the inside of washers using hard water, however, showed the need for deliming and cleaning due to the build up of scale and deposits.

 

Remember, with softened water, you can also use less detergent in your dishwasher and clothes washer and get better results.

WATER OF LIFE

Water of Life, located in Evanston, Wyoming specializes in water softeners, filters, and bottle-free water coolers. We sell, install, and maintain water softening and filtering equipment, including RO and UV filtration and purification. We proudly serve the Lyman, Rock Springs, Green River, Coalville and Kemmerer areas as well as points between. Whatever your water treatment needs, we would love to help.

Drinking Water Contaminants

Where does our water come from? How is it treated? How do we know it is safe to drink?

There are two main sources of water: surface water and groundwater. Surface water is found in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Groundwater lies under the surface of the land, where it travels through and fills openings in the rocks.

Consumers typically receive their water from one of two sources: a private well or a community water system. A household well pumps groundwater for household use. The source of a community water system may be either surface water or groundwater.

Approximately 15% of the US population relies on individually owned sources of drinking water, such as wells, cisterns, and springs. The majority of household wells are found in rural areas. Water quality from household wells is the responsibility of the homeowner.

The remaining 85% of the US population receives its water from community water systems. Community water systems are required to meet the standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Community water systems must ensure that the drinking water they supply does not have contaminant levels higher than the standards of the SDWA, the SDWA amendments, or state regulations.   The EPA generally delegates to the states the authority to enforce all federal drinking water standards, but can intercede when necessary. States must set standards that are no less stringent than the EPA’s.

The good news is that treatment options are available.  In most cases, these treatments have been rigorously tested and certified for effectiveness through the WQA Gold Seal program. Regardless of receiving water from a well or a community water system, you may notice odors, tastes, colors, or stains that are not appealing to you. In these cases, access resources on this Web site to find out more about the causes, effects, and possible solutions.

When you’re ready to act, there are trained professionals and certified products available to help you.

WATER OF LIFE

http://www.waterproblemsolvers.com               307.787.6800

SERVING – Rock Springs, Evanston, Green River, Kemmerer, Lyman and Coalville.