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  • Are Water Filters Worth It?

    Just thinking... our ancestors definitely weren't ingesting all the chemicals and hormones that are in our drinking water today. On the other hand, water filters might remove minerals and stuff that ought to be in the water... I have a Brita filter pitcher that I've used for years (although I recently read they don't actually do any good, right here) and to be honest I never noticed a difference in health or anything. I'm thinking of upgrading to a real activated carbon water filter like one of those Big Berkey things, but I'm starting to get cold feet about it. Have any of you noticed a real difference from water filters at all? Thanks.

  • #2
    Just to add to that, I've only recently started the paleo diet. Do you think I should wait until I'm more stabilized to make any changes to my water intake? I don't knwo, wouldn't want to screw up minerals and things while my diet is changing. Thanks

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    • #3
      Considering the sheer amounts of plastics, hormones and chemicals now found in most tap waters, I would definitely use a water filter. I myself live in a relatively pollution-free area, but our drinking water STILL has gotten polluted .. I use a big jerrycan filled with tapwater that has an amazing filter (down to 2 microns) that removes dirt, toxins, viruses and so on. Expensive? Yes. But when I got sick from various causes, I decided to tackle an easily-fixed problem, my drinking water. I drink unfiltered water in hot drinks like tea, and for cooking, but keep a water bottle next to my desk for the filtered stuff. To me, the removed minerals can be more easily made up than trying to work around "dirty " water.

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      • #4
        Yeah, that makes sense. My grandmother used to say A good diet makes cheap doctor's bills, justifying buying expensive food. I guess it applies to water filters too!

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        • #5
          There is a lot of misconception and misunderstandings being expressed here. How do I know? I was the Filtration Products Manager for a large distributor, once upon a time.

          First, most municipal water is NOT loaded with hormones and toxins. You can thank an effective (to date) EPA for that. Your city has all the test information that you can request. Where I used to live, it came once a year in the mail. Natural water in many locations have unique contaminants that in many cases, are removed by the municipal filtration. For instance, decades ago Kodak built a photo paper plant in Colorado on the Cache La Poudre River. The EPA had a limit on silver discharge, you know, film and paper use silver compounds. The funny thing is that the silver coming INTO the plant exceeded the permitted levels, due to silver in the mountains. In fact, I suspect that buying water in plastic bottles - shame, shame - has more risk of proto-hormones in the plastic than water coming from your pipes.

          The word "filtration" is bandied about carelessly. Let's first look at particulate filtration. This is the easy one. Think coffee filter. Liquid moves through, is stripped of particulates. Not many of us have to worry about particulates in municipal water except after water main repairs.

          Then, there is the removal of chemicals and organic compounds. OK, them's be chemicals, too. Typical undesirable are chlorine and hydrogen sulfide, organic unwanteds, heavy metals, and "taste and smell" types of chemicals. This is done by passing the water through activated charcoal. Preferably a lot of charcoal per water volume, and preferably slowly. Look at that last sentence, then look at the Brita filters. A joke. If you want to filter water at home, install the largest cannister you can find. Generally, you will find filters under a foot long, and fat, foot and a half? ones. You only need to filter water that will come out of a dedicated spout, not whole house.

          When you fill a quart or two quart container, you are removing water from the canister that has been sitting in close contact with the activated charcoal for hours or days. The oldest water is removed first, new water flows in.

          The third kind of consumer water filtration is reverse osmosis, or RO. Pressure forces water through membranes with sub-micron holes. Molecules of calcium, magnesium, iron, etc. are stopped just like your coffee filter stops grounds. But, guess what? The water still needs a charcoal filter to strip it of taste and smell chemicals!

          The vast majority of commercial bottled waters, spring waters, and distilled waters are made with RO. RO lets brewers make great beer with crappy city waters!

          I do not buy bottled water because of the many environmental damages. Plastic bottles from petroleum, the disposal problem of the bottles, the possibility of exoestrogens, the energy needed to make and transport.............water. For Pete's sake, for most of us, tap water is just fine. Did you know that NYC always wins or places for the quality of the water they provide?

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          • #6
            I think that my coffee tastes much better when it's made with charcoal filtered water. Tap water tastes better in some locations than others. If I lived in Chicago, I wouldn't bother to filter, but in SoCal, I filter.

            A few <s>dec</s>, uh, years ago, I took a chemistry class with an adjunct professor who worked for the city water department as his day job. He was super-offended by the idea that "his" water was contaminated.

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            • #7
              My well water is awesome

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              • #8
                I have drunk well water most of my life. We have also drilled and dug several wells during that time as water levels dropped, and contaminants slipped in. Snake soup, anyone? Filtration became necessary no matter where we lived. At one point, we invested in a UV filter, but it proved high maintenance., especially when the carbon pre-filter got clogged during certain times of the year. Our current well water comes from a community well in a rural area, and shows traces of contamination from animals. There is no pretreatment with chlorine, just filtration.
                Here is an article ob Mercola's site that may tickle our complacency over pure water just a tad:
                http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...Unhealthy.aspx
                Fortunately, I'm way past the age when either fluoridation and birth control hormones in my drinking water might prove useful.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paysan View Post
                  I have drunk well water most of my life. We have also drilled and dug several wells during that time as water levels dropped, and contaminants slipped in. Snake soup, anyone? Filtration became necessary no matter where we lived. At one point, we invested in a UV filter, but it proved high maintenance., especially when the carbon pre-filter got clogged during certain times of the year. Our current well water comes from a community well in a rural area, and shows traces of contamination from animals. There is no pretreatment with chlorine, just filtration.
                  Here is an article ob Mercola's site that may tickle our complacency over pure water just a tad:
                  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...Unhealthy.aspx
                  Fortunately, I'm way past the age when either fluoridation and birth control hormones in my drinking water might prove useful.
                  Originally posted by Paysan View Post
                  I have drunk well water most of my life. We have also drilled and dug several wells during that time as water levels dropped, and contaminants slipped in. Snake soup, anyone? Filtration became necessary no matter where we lived. At one point, we invested in a UV filter, but it proved high maintenance., especially when the carbon pre-filter got clogged during certain times of the year. Our current well water comes from a community well in a rural area, and shows traces of contamination from animals. There is no pretreatment with chlorine, just filtration.
                  Here is an article ob Mercola's site that may tickle our complacency over pure water just a tad:
                  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...Unhealthy.aspx
                  Fortunately, I'm way past the age when either fluoridation and birth control hormones in my drinking water might prove useful.
                  You indirectly prove what I was saying, municipal water is usually of very high quality and safety. Well water is far more likely to be contaminated, especially as we are finding that toxic blooms can cover wide areas.

                  UV filters don't filter anything. They kill bacteria. Typically well water does not have bacteria. They were tried on swimming pools for a while many, many years ago, but plain old chlorine was easier to work with.

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                  • #10
                    UV filters can only be used in conjunction with carbon filters and the like. Any dirt in the water shields the water from UV rays; but even so, killing germs and viruses makes sense for many situations. A nearby community water source from wells does chlorinate their water just for safety, but ours is too small for such measures. Nevertheless, I was raised next to one of the first treated waters in Canada (Brantford,ON), and the tap water was so disgusting from additives that restaurants had to use extra filters or forego selling beverages. Many people drove miles to fill up jugs from artesian wells next to my granny-in-law's place for years. AFAIK,, many still do. Brantford still gets some water from the Grand River, which is times less polluted now than in my youth, but I still wouldn't drink it if I had a choice.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the responses guys, some really interesting stuff!

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