While the report on Walkerton released last week blamed insufficient water treatment for the E. coli outbreak, we in T.O. may in fact be over-treating our h2o. If the cocktail of pollutants getting into the system doesn't kill us, maybe the chemicals we use to disinfect our water will.
CHEMICALS THE CITY USES TO TREAT WATER
Ammonia: to prevent minute amounts of chlorine from evaporating and causing smells and associated tastes
Chlorine: to control bacteria, algae and viruses
Aluminum sulphate: to remove micro-organisms
Fluoride: to boost flourides found in the natural environment. City says it helps build enamel in teeth.
WHAT MEDICAL STUDIES SAY
Ammonia: combines with organic compounds to form chloramines, which damage red blood cells, particularly in dialysis patients
Chlorine: trihalomethanes (or THM), a by-product formed when water is chlorinated, has been linked in Canada to a 9 per cent increase in bladder cancer, 18 per cent increase in rectal cancer and a jump in colon cancer
Aluminum sulphate: has been linked to Alzheimer's; a typical glass of water contains one-quarter of the amount of aluminum sulphate considered dangerous.
Strange but true --- hospitals have to be put on alert when the city decides to boost the aluminum sulphate content in our drinking water.
Fluoride: linked to dental fluorosis (pitting, decay) in children, decreased bone density in adults, as well as reduced testosterone. Strange but true --- fluoride is considered an "unapproved drug" by the U.S. FDA, and it's no longer endorsed by tne American Cancer Society or UNICEF. Communities that do not use fluoride in their water show half the incidence of hip fractures. In Canada, more money is now spent treating dental fluorosis than cavities.
DOUBLING THE DANGER
The vast majority of chemicals used to treat water are themselves industrial by-products and contain high concentrations of heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, chromium and radium, all of which are carcinogenic.
WHAT THE CITY SAYS
Bottled water and filter devices are subject to little or no government regulation.
Tap water is the best and healthiest choice for drinking water.
WHAT T.O. RESIDENTS THINK
73 per cent have concerns about the safety of our drinking water.
81 per cent say water-quality legislation is not strong enough.
ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICAL TREATMENT
Ozone: has been used for decades in most parts of Europe
Stop using fluoride
WHY MORE CITIES AREN'T TRYING ALTERNATIVES
Why are our beaches not safe for swimming, but the water is supposedly OK to drink? 99.9% pure