What You Need To Know About The Water In Your Home
The #1 moisturizer covers two-thirds of the earth. Of all the products out there, water is the ultimate beautifier. With proper water intake, dark circles dissipate, skin brightens, eyes are clearer and fine lines diminish. Toxins in our air and food can be hard to avoid. The water we consume is within our control, but it has to be the right kind of water. It has to be clean.
We asked CEO Todd Bartee of Aquasana to help us gain a better understanding of how clean water can impact our daily lives.
INTERVIEW WITH CLEAN WATER EXPERT TODD BARTEE:
What are the chemicals most commonly found in tap water?
A. The chemicals most found in your tap water supply are obviously the disinfectant agents like chlorine and chloramine. Tap water is also contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other types of things happening in our environment. The drinking water systems we use were designed years and years ago to remove waterborne diseases and not necessarily all these other things that we as a society have developed over the last 67 years.
There are 3 sources of water contamination to think about:
- The environment: industrial processes, crops, animals, and even pharmaceuticals that people flush down the toilet.
- The transit system: even if the water is perfectly clean when it leaves the treatment facility it still has to travel miles through pipes that were put down years ago. Some have lead and asbestos. I always ask people, when was the last time they saw a water pipe being laid near their house?
- The disinfectants: disinfectants are used to prevent water born diseases from spreading, which has to be done, but that disinfectant when it combines with organic materials creates a disinfectant by-product. Many of these disinfectant by-products have been proven to cause cancer. The Presidents Cancer Council Report states one of the top things folks can do to prevent cancer is to filter not only their drinking water, but also their bathing water.
There is also a new disinfectant that is becoming a bigger deal in the United States. Right now, about 80 million households are having their water disinfected with something called chloramine. Chlorine is used just like normal in the treatment facility, but as the water leaves the facility and heads to your house, ammonia is added. They do this is because the ammonia combines with the chlorine and becomes a more stable compound, so they use less chlorine. The problem with chloramines is that they are much harder to remove and it’s a more aggressive, corrosive compound.
Why is drinking water from glass best and is it better than anything else on the market?
A. We love glass. We are all about making health and wellness easy so we like to provide people with choice. We have steel and BPA-free bottles as well. However, our #1 seller is glass bottles. We are the #1 seller of glass bottles on Amazon.com. We sell a whole lot of glass bottles. If you are drinking water in an environment that supports glass, it’s the best possible way to drink water.
“It’s silica, it’s a natural occurring mineral that glass is made from, it’s really the right way to drink water if you can.”
It leeches the least back into the water and what it leeches back into the water is a natural occurring mineral. BPA-free plastic will leech some back into the water and steel will leech some metals back into the water, they’re non-toxic plastic and metals but still the best possible way to drink water is with glass.
Does quality water play a role in weight loss?
A. The quantity and the quality of the water we consume determine the body’s ability to metabolize and shed excess fat. Increasing water intake naturally speeds up metabolism and allows the body to better assimilate nutrients from the foods and nutritional supplements we consume, the result being natural weight loss. If the water we consume contains chemicals like chlorine, lead or agricultural and industrial pollutants, then much of the liver’s energy is spent on filtering contaminants instead of processing fat into energy.
“Many recent studies have shown a link between consuming chlorinated water and thyroid dysfunction, which can lead to weight gain.”
The quality of the water we drink also greatly impacts the body’s ability to achieve or maintain a certain weight. One of the main functions of the liver is to act as a filter and eliminate toxins from the body. The liver performs this vital process using water in a joint effort with the kidneys.
What’s one of your to-go resources that covers wellness, including the importance of water?
A. There’s a great book written by Dr. Maoshing Ni, who is a health expert, called “Secrets of Longevity,” and it’s a really fun read of Hundreds Of Ways To Live To Be 100.
#1 is flush toxins with water. He talks about the importance of water being your detoxification agent and you need to drink lots of water and oh by the way, that water needs to be filtered and he talks about filtering your shower water as well.
Are there any times that using tap water is recommended?
A. Yes of course, there are times in your daily life that using standard tap water is fine. When I wash off fruits and vegetables I turn on the tap and wash them just like normal with tap water and then I’ll rinse them off with filtered water.
What you are essentially trying to do when you wash your fruits and vegetables is you’re trying to get the dirt and chemicals off the outside of them. When you buy fruits and vegetables, it could have my hand-print, your hand-print, someone sneezed near it, it could have come in contact with viruses and germs and that chlorine in the tap water will kill the germs on the fruits and vegetables and then you just rinse with filtered water right after. Also, cleaning your sink or rinsing dishes is fine to use tap water.
Does boiling tap water clean it?
A. “When you boil tap water what you’re doing is removing the volatile compounds in the water, they will vaporize, so you are releasing those toxins right into your environment and right into your air. You’re not removing any leads or metals or asbestos. It will kill bacteria and virus, but it won’t decontaminate your water.”
When is it important to use filtered water while cooking?
A. When I’m cooking pasta or oatmeal, when I’m making products like that or lentils or beans, I use filtered water because then the food is absorbing great quality water so it not only tastes better but it’s more chemical free than the tap water.
How harmful are the materials leeching into water from plastic water bottles?
A. BPA-free plastic is certainly not harmful which is why it is used as a safe alternative. The other stuff that leeches out of plastic is not necessarily harmful, but it doesn’t taste as good and it’s better to get none of it, if you can. It really becomes an issue if the water is stored for a continued period of time in the vessel or heated. If you think of the transport of bottled water and how long is it stored in that bottle, especially in the summer when it’s stored in warehouses or trucks, it’s dangerous. When you heat things they become more active and that’s true with water as well. It starts to corrode more and leech more chemicals out of the plastic. If you just fill a BPA-free plastic bottle and carry it around for the day, you’re not really getting any contaminates from that plastic.
Are there some bottled water brands that are better than others?
A. There’s an excellent resource called the Environmental Working Group. They’ve done a great report on bottled water. The fact is, most bottled water is really tap water. What happens is the companies run tap water through reverse osmosis filtration and filled up bottles and package it. Some of the more expense bottled waters are actually healthier product than that and some actually come from natural sources.
Most bottled water is not regulated by federal law, it’s effectively just tap water. The more expensive bottle waters will taste more like filtered water, they add the healthy minerals back in and that balances the pH to something your body is ready for. I always tell people, the best possible bottled water is not as clean as the most basic filtered water. Filtering your water is always the best answer. Any filter is better than no filter. The other problem is the environmental impact. Brita has done a ton of ads on that, it’s just a massive negative impact to have a bunch of plastic bottles out there.
What’s the difference between something like Brita and Aquasana filters?
A. Again, any water filter is better than no filter. There are two groupings of drinking water products. The pitcher products use gravity to drive filtration and the other group uses pressure in your water line to drive filtration. The products that use the pressure in your water line will remove 10 times as many contaminates, cost less over time, and filter water much faster. If you’re using pressurized filtration, and we think Aquasana makes the best one (but there are several out there that are really good), it takes 1 minute to get the filtered water and removes sixty contaminates vs. six. A pitcher product like Brita is better than no filtration at all, but once you realize you want filtered water throughout your life it’s a no-brainer to move on to something that works more effectively.
Is the amount of chlorine in tap water different across the United States?
A. For the most part, the amount of chlorine in your tap water is about the same everywhere, it’s between two and three parts per million. It’s pretty much the same everywhere because that’s how you get healthy water to your house.
“Most tap water maintains a residual chlorine level greater than is recommended for swimming pools.”
The difference is in the hardness of the water, that affects how the skin and hair feel. Hard and soft water behaves differently when it interacts with shampoos, soap products and your skin. In regions with softer water, if you were to use a shower filter, even in those environments, you would notice a difference because you are still being exposed to the chlorines or chloramines that are effecting the hair-color, shine and body.
How does a shower filter improve hair and skin?
A. The skin is the largest organ in your body. You ingest as many chemicals into your skin showering as drinking water. Especially when dealing with hot shower water, anytime you are heating water in your house that has chlorine or chloramines then you are creating disinfected byproducts as you heat the water. If you read our reviews, the most passionate reviews we get are from people buying our shower filters. The biggest thing that people notice on the shower filter immediately is the feel of their skin and hair.
“The chlorine or chlormines in your water strips out the protective oils that are on our hair and skin. When it strips that out, what you get is a frizzy look in our hair or a dry feeling in your skin.”
Also soon as you remove the chlorine, within a week of taking a shower without chlorine that oil starts to come back and rebuild and all of the sudden your hair feels great and it has more body and less frizz. Your skin feels hydrated. Also anyone with any kind of asthma or skin issues or even small amounts of itching skin, it goes away almost instantaneously, as soon as you start filtering your water. Also, skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff and chronic dryness are all heavily effected by the moisture content of the skin. The other thing, if you do any kind of treatment to your hair whether coloring or anything else, when you shower in chlorine you are bleaching it out and it will not last as long.
Is it unsafe for women doing at-home facials, to use unfiltered tap water to steam their face?
A. It’s just like taking a really hot shower, you need to be in filtered water when you do it otherwise you are breathing in all those chemicals.
What products does Aquasana offer to create clean water?
A. Our drinking water product removes both chlorine and chloramines so you are covered. Our shower filter and whole house products have different systems, one to remove chloramines and one to remove chlorine. We have access to all the different treatment processes based on zip-code and source of their water supply; based on that information we offer them the product they need vs. what’s on the shelf.
We have a complete line of products – the products are all designed around carbon filtration. We think it’s the best type of filtration for health and wellness. Other types of filtration, including reverse osmosis and water softening, can remove stuff from the water that your body needs. If you start to remove healthy minerals from the water, we believe it’s not as good for you and it doesn’t balance the pH or taste as good. Each system is designed for its intended use, the drinking water system is designed differently than the shower system. Each removes different types of contaminants. Our drinking water filter removes more than any product on the market. Our drinking water systems all have the same technology, but they mount and install differently. We are all about making health and wellness easy and accessible. If you’re in an apartment you may not be able to install an under-the-counter drinking water system so you can have that same quality filtration on the counter top with our technology and it’s not a permanent installation. For home owners we have under-the-counter systems and whole house systems.
Todd Bartee is CEO of Aquasana and is leading the company’s charge to educate consumers on water wellness. A trained environmental engineer with an expertise in recycling, water and waste-water treatment, Todd has a deep understanding of the chemical impact our actions have on our vital water supply and natural resources.