Water is an absolute necessity of life. It takes about 60% of your body and is involved in many essential body functions ranging from regulating body temperature to flushing out toxins and protecting body tissues, joints as well as the spinal cord. Water also plays a critical role in carrying out many of the body’s chemical reactions. Without water, parts of your body such as the skin would lack its proper shape and fullness. This article will go into detail about the importance of water filtration so that you’re drinking the best quality of your water to keep you healthy.
Importance of Water Filtration and Purification
Due to the high risk associated with impure water, the demand for water filtration has never been higher. Our natural resources are also under pressure, as we grapple with pollution, climate change, and a rapidly growing population. Unfortunately, tap water, which is meant to be safe for drinking, can be quite harmful as contaminants affect overall water quality. Additionally, physical, chemical, and microbiological impurities from various water sources make water even more unsafe for consumption.
Boiling water used to be sufficient enough to kill many germs and bacteria, making it safe to consume. However, things have since changed as boiling water, even for more than 20 minutes will not get rid of new age contaminants such as pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that find their way into our water sources. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the importance of water filtration, and purification options to keep your family’s drinking water safe. Water filters remove bacteria and harmful chemicals which can cause diseases and poor health. Here are some of the reasons to filter your water:
Reasons to Filter Your Tap Water
Filtering water can result in not only better tasting, but also better smelling water by removing chemicals, pesticides, chlorine, bacterial contaminants and heavy metals.
Point-of-use water treatment filters remove a wide range of contaminants from drinking water including chlorine, chemicals, and up to 240 other volatile organic compounds.
Research has established that water filters reduce the risk of certain cancers including colon cancer, rectal cancer, and bladder cancer by ridding water of chlorine and chlorine by-products.
Carbon water filters are designed to selectively remove toxic contaminants from drinking water and still retain healthy mineral deposits that help to balance the pH of drinking water.
By removing giardia, e-coli and cryptosporidium, water purification systems like reverse osmosis technology have been shown to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease by more than 80%.
Filtered water is vital for children as it provides, clean, healthy water that’s essential for their immune systems.
Water filters act as the last line of defense against over 2,100 known toxins that may enter the body through drinking water.
Drinking clean, filtered water leads to general overall wellbeing and also helps to prevent disease.
Given the significance of water in sustaining life, it’s no surprise that access to clean water is a basic human right. Your body needs safe drinking water for it to remain healthy. Impure water, on the other hand, can be very deadly. That’s why the importance of water filtration is incredibly high. Water filtration experts at Clear Water Concepts will be able to help you with anything ranging from whole-house water filtration systems to water softeners to improve the water quality in your home.
Hobbyists who take proper care of their aquariums will rarely encounter sick fish but there is no guarantee that you will never have to treat your fish for 540. disease. Almost all health problems can be avoided by maintaining proper water chemistry and pristine water quality, feeding a varied diet of high-quality fish foods, and providing fish with an optimum habitat and suitable tank mates. Knowing how to prevent diseases as well as being able to recognize and treat problems before they become unmanageable will ensure years of success and enjoyment with your aquarium. Keep reading to learn how to keep your fish healthy, spot problems early, and treat common fish diseases.
Virtually all fish diseases can be traced to stress, which weakens their immune systems. Sources of stress include shipping, poor water quality, improper water chemistry, inadequate filtration, improper diet, overcrowding, leaving the light on 24/7, injuries, aggression from other fish, and inadequate habitat. To keep your fish in optimum health, perform regular partial water changes, be diligent about filter maintenance, feed them a varied high-quality diet, don’t overstock your aquarium, and put the light on a timer to simulate a normal day/night cycle. When performing water changes, always treat tap water with a conditioner before adding it to your aquarium.
Never purchase fish that have just arrived at your local aquarium store. New arrivals are usually stressed and moving them again will only stress them further. Let them settle in for a week or more before purchasing. Take new purchases straight home and acclimate them to your aquarium’s pH and temperature for at least 30 minutes, spending extra time with sensitive species or if the store’s water chemistry is significantly different from yours. Make sure there is plenty of cover for all your fish and rearrange decorations if necessary to deter established territorial fish from harassing new arrivals. After adding new fish to your aquarium, leave the light off for a few hours to allow them to adjust to their new environment. Do not tap on the glass or suddenly turn on the aquarium light in a dark room.
While most freshwater aquarium fish are raised in captivity today, some rarities and oddball fish are still collected in the wild. These fish may have a higher chance of carrying diseases and have typically gone through far more stress on their way to your aquarium. Extra care and quarantine measures should be taken when purchasing wild-caught fish. When keeping burrowing fish such as eels in the genus Mastacembelus and certain types of loaches, use sand instead of gravel to avoid injury to their bodies when they burrow into the substrate. Use smooth, rounded gravel to prevent Corydoras catfish, loaches, goldfish, and other species that like to forage on the bottom from injuring their barbels and mouths.
An effective way of maintaining a disease-free aquarium is to quarantine all new additions. While this may not be practical for every aquarist, it’s well worth the investment for those who keep high-value fish such as discus, rare fish or dedicated planted aquariums where the use of medications is not recommended. Quarantining new fish greatly reduces the chance of introducing a disease organism into your aquarium and allows you to safely treat sick fish if necessary, without introducing chemicals to your show tank. A quarantine aquarium can also be used to isolate bullies or fish that are being picked on.
A 20-gallon aquarium works for most situations. It should be filtered, heated, and maintained just like any other aquarium, and should be fully cycled with test fish before being used for new purchases or treatment. To provide cover for fish, decorate the aquarium with plastic plants or other non-porous decorations that are easy to sterilize and/or clean. Do not use porous rocks or driftwood as they can absorb medications. Different sized PVC fittings or sections of pipe can also be used as hiding places. Do not use gravel or substrate, as this gives parasites like Ich a place to reproduce.
Remove carbon and other chemical media from the filter, as they will adsorb medications, lowering their effectiveness. An aerator is recommended in addition to the filter, as some medications lower the oxygen level in the water. A light can be used but is not necessary, as dimmer surroundings will calm your fish and are also known to inhibit some disease-causing organisms.
Whenever you purchase new fish, place them in the quarantine aquarium for a minimum of 30 days to make sure they aren’t sick. Many hobbyists treat new purchases preventatively against parasites whether they are observed on their fish or not. Perform a 25% water change and filter with carbon for at least 48 hours before switching medications or introducing new fish to your quarantine station.
Have a separate net, siphon hose, an algae scraper, and other equipment for your quarantine aquarium, and never use them in your display aquarium. Doing so risks spreading diseases and defeats the purpose of the quarantine aquarium. Disinfect this equipment in bleach water and rinse well on a regular basis. After working in your quarantine aquarium, scrub your hands and lower arms with an anti-bacterial soap before working in your display tank.
Disease-causing organisms exist in virtually every aquarium, but they will not infect fish if their numbers remain low and the fishes’ immune systems are functioning properly. Ultra-violet sterilizers kill disease-causing organisms as well as suspended algae and help keep water healthy and crystal clear. Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizers are available in three sizes and accommodate aquariums up to 500 gallons. UV sterilizer lamps should be changed every 10 months or 7,000 hours of operation to maintain peak performance.
In order to recognize problems that may arise, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what “normal” appearance and behavior are for your fish. Observe your fish regularly – feeding time is a good opportunity to do this. Look for white spots, cloudy eyes, bloody patches, a white body film, or torn, ragged fins. Also, there are certain things fish never (or at least very rarely) do. For example, fish do not normally gasp at the surface. They typically do this because of poor oxygenation, high nitrate levels, parasites, or damage to their gills. Other behaviors that are cause for concern include loss of color, shimmying, rubbing against decorations or the substrate, cowering, refusing food, or dashing around the aquarium.
If your fish appear sick or exhibit abnormal behavior, consider speaking to an expert as soon as possible for assistance with diagnosis and treatment. Photographs or a short video of your fish can be extremely helpful when seeking advice, as verbal descriptions can be misinterpreted by aquarium shop personnel and other experts.
You can’t predict if or when your fish will get sick or what disease they might come down with, but it’s a good idea to be familiar with common ailments and their symptoms so you can quickly begin treatment if you think they may be infected. Being able to recognize problems and begin treatment early gives you the best chance of saving your fish!
“Ich” (Pronounced ICK) is short for Ichthyopthirius multifiliis, the most common aquarium parasite. The most noticeable symptom of Ich is small raised white spots on the body and fins, however rapid breathing, rubbing against the decorations or gravel, twitching, or darting around the aquarium can be early indicators of an infection. Common triggers for the onset of Ich are a sudden drop in temperature caused by heater malfunction or adding cold water during a water change or introducing new fish. Incoming fish can be carriers of Ich without showing signs, but your aquarium can also have a latent population of parasites that existing fish have become resistant to. New fish additions are typically stressed and have lowered immune systems, making them more likely to become infected. Scaleless fish such as loaches, catfish, and eels, as well as silver-scaled fish such as silver dollars, hatchet fish, and Bala sharks, tend to be more susceptible to ich, but all fish can be affected. If you think one of your fish might be infected, you will need to treat the entire aquarium, as Ich is highly contagious. The earlier you recognize Ich and begin treatment, the better your chances are of curing your fish.
There are several ways to treat Ich. If you’re relatively new to fishkeeping, the most effective and safest way is to use an aquarium-safe Ich medication. First, make sure the temperature of your aquarium is appropriate for the types of fish you keep (76° to 80° F for most tropical fish). Remove carbon and other chemical media from your filter and follow the recommended dosing instructions for the net gallonage of your aquarium. Remember that after adding gravel and decorations, your aquarium holds 10% to 15% less actual water than its stated size! If repeated treatment is called for, perform a 20% water change and vacuum the gravel to remove parasites before each subsequent dose. Make sure replacement water is the same temperature as the water in your aquarium.
Once you’re sure your fish are Ich-free, do another 20% water change and return carbon and other chemical media to your filter. Observe your fish carefully for the next few days to make sure they don’t experience a relapse. If white spots persist after 5 days of treatment, it’s possible that a secondary bacterial infection has invaded the lesions left by the parasite, and an antibiotic is called for. (See bacteria treatment below)
Another method practiced by experienced hobbyists and those who don’t like to use chemicals is to gradually raise the temperature in the aquarium to approximately 85° F and maintain it for up to two weeks. The heat speeds parasites through their life cycle, and they eventually die off. Adding an air diffuser to the aquarium is recommended when using this method, as water holds less dissolved oxygen as the temperature rises. NOTE: Only increase the temperature by 1 to 2 degrees per day and watch your fish closely for signs of distress. If they begin to gasp at the surface or show rapid or labored breathing, slowly lower the temperature until they recover and consider an alternate treatment method. Also, recent reports suggest that heat-resistant strains of Ich are becoming more common in the hobby, making this treatment method less effective.
Ich can also be treated with aquarium salt or unionized salt. Some species of freshwater fish are sensitive to salt, so it’s important to do research before deciding on this treatment method. In addition to killing parasites, salt effectively lowers stress by reducing ammonia and nitrite toxicity in freshwater aquariums and can help bolster freshwater fishes’ immune systems. For general Ich treatment, a ratio of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons should be used. To avoid stressing fish, dissolve small amounts of salt in water and add the solution to your aquarium gradually over a 24-hour period until the full dose has been administered. Observe fish closely and discontinue if they show signs of stress. When doing water changes, add 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water changed.
Treat only the replacement water, not the whole aquarium.
Raising the temperature in conjunction with the addition of salt is also practiced but remember that both of these measures lower the dissolved oxygen level in the water. Regardless of which treatment method you choose, be sure to vacuum the gravel every few days to remove incubating parasites.
This protozoan parasite produces similar symptoms to ick, such as labored breathing, gasping at the surface, clamped fins, heavy mucous secretion, and scratching on objects in the aquarium. An outbreak of Chilodonella is often associated with poor water quality. Discus and young fish tend to be more susceptible, but they can infect any fish. Effective treatments include formaldehyde, methylene blue, and acriflavine. Raising the temperature does not typically provide any benefit.
Also known as Velvet, Rust, or Gold Dust disease, there are several species of this dinoflagellate that attack fishes’ skin and gills. Symptoms include what appears to be a yellow to rust-colored dusting on the fish’s body, heavy mucous secretion, clamped fins, and/or labored breathing or gasping for air. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms are observed, the chances of saving the fish are limited and massive die-offs from this disease are not uncommon. The best treatment for Oodinium is Acriflavine. It should be noted that this product stains the water in an electric yellowish-green that persists for a long time. Water changes and the use of carbon in your filter will eventually clear the water. Copper sulfate can also be effective, but remember that it is lethal to shrimp, snails, and most live plants, and is not as effective in soft water. Raising the temperature to 86° F is also known to kill Oodinium, but this lowers the oxygen level in the water, which is not recommended with already heavily stressed fish.
Fish lice are crustaceans in the genus Argulus. They have a broad flat shell, four sets of swimming legs, and are easy to see. Infected fish may swim erratically or rub up against objects in the aquarium in an attempt to remove them. Upon close inspection, you may be able to see the lice moving around on your fish! Fish lice are usually brought into the aquarium on pond-raised or wild-caught fish. They occur most often on goldfish and koi, but they can infect any freshwater fish. Argulus attach to the fish’s body and begin digesting its body tissue. Severe infections are particularly damaging and can lead to secondary bacterial infections. Fish lice can be physically removed using tweezers, however, the aquarium should also be medicated to kill any eggs that have been laid. Dimilin is known to be effective against fish lice.
Lerner Coprinaceae, known as Anchorworm, is another crustacean commonly seen on goldfish and koi, but they can infect any fish. They have multiple life stages, but infestation begins as what looks like a pimple or red sore on the fish, then later the string-like bodies of females can be seen attached to the fish. Anchor worms bore into the fish’s body through the scales, attach using hook-like appendages and begin to digest body fluids. Anchor worms also invade the fish’s gills and mouth cavities. They can be removed using tweezers, but care must be taken to pull the entire parasite out, as they sometimes break off, leaving the head and “anchor” attached. When pulling Lerner out of a fish, a small chunk of flesh is sometimes removed, requiring the use of antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections. To prevent further infestations, the aquarium should be treated with salt or Dimilin to kill eggs and other life stages.
Fish flukes (Gyrodactylus sp.) are a group of parasites that invade the skin and gills of aquarium fish. They attach using a set of “hooks” and begin sucking blood and body fluids, thus weakening the fish. Symptoms include loss of color, difficulty breathing, excess mucus secretion, listlessness, clamped or tattered fins, flared gills, and small blood spots on the fins and body. Like most fish diseases, fluke outbreaks usually result from stress caused by poor water quality, improper diet, overcrowding, or aggression from other fish. They can also be introduced into your aquarium by new fish purchases that are not quarantined. The safest and most effective treatment for fish flukes is Praziquantel. Treating the aquarium with formalin can also be effective.
Lateral Line Disease (AKA: Head and Lateral Line Erosion or HLLE)
Also known as “hole in the head” this disease is caused by the protozoan Hexamita and is most commonly seen in the discus, Oscars, serums, and other cichlids such as angelfish, although it can infect any freshwater fish. Typical symptoms are cavities in the fish’s temples and along the lateral line. Another symptom is white, stringy feces. Hexamita often starts in the fish’s intestines and then spreads. Poor water quality is often a contributing factor to this disease. It is usually treated with metronidazole, also sold as Flagyl. The most effective treatment method is medicated food, but if the fish has stopped eating, metronidazole can be added directly to the aquarium.
Commonly referred to as roundworms, nematodes can have direct or indirect life cycles. Those with direct life cycles can be passed directly from one fish to another when the fish eat nematode eggs or larvae. Those with indirect life cycles need a secondary host such as an invertebrate or another fish to complete their life cycle before becoming infectious again. Roundworms can be difficult to accurately diagnose, and symptoms can be similar to many other diseases. Common signs of roundworm infection include hemorrhaging of the body, bloating of the abdomen or the opposite – wasting away even though the fish is eating well – cysts or lumps on the body, or the actual worm protruding from the fish’s anus. Another symptom is white feces, although this can also be caused by internal bacterial infections or Hexamita (see above). Effective treatments include levamisole, metronidazole, or praziquantel. Metronidazole and praziquantel are especially effective when used as foot soaks. Antibiotics such as nitrofurazone or erythromycin may also help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Read all package directions before using any medications and avoid mixing different medications in the aquarium.
Sometimes referred to as Fin and Tail Rot, bacterial infections are the second-most common diseases aquarium fish experience after parasites. They often follow parasite infestations, abrasions, or physical injury, but can also be brought on by chronic exposure to poor water quality and/or poor diet. Removal of a fish’s protective mucous membrane or scales during netting is another common cause.
Bacterial infections manifest in many ways, but common signs include a white film on the fish’s body or fins, cloudy eyes, tattered fins, and hemorrhaging (bloody patches) or open sores (ulcers) on the body and mouth. Also, if you still see white spots on your fish after 5 or more days of Ich treatment, your fish may have a secondary bacterial infection where the parasites bored into their bodies.
Treating for bacterial infections can be tricky and should be done with care, as some antibiotics can disrupt your aquarium’s biological filter. In addition, unless you have access to an incubator and are knowledgeable in fish pathology, correctly diagnosing what specific bacteria have infected your fish is nearly impossible. That said, some trends do exist and certain medications are known to be effective in specific instances. Always consult an experienced aquarium professional before treating your fish for bacterial infections.
True fungal infections in fish are less common than parasites or bacteria. They typically appear as white cottony or “furry” growths on fish but can also be internal. They can be induced by substandard water quality, infected food, or open wounds, but there are many other causes. Although fungal infections are not generally contagious, infected fish should be treated immediately with anti-fungal medication, preferably in a quarantine aquarium.
Viruses are tiny organisms that invade the fish’s cells and begin to replicate. They can be difficult to diagnose because they often produce similar symptoms to many other fish diseases. Viral infections are well documented in koi and goldfish as well as angelfish, but they can affect all aquarium fish. There are no known cures for viral infections. Fish that are suspected of having a viral infection should be removed from the aquarium promptly to prevent spreading to other fish. Treatment with antibiotics or anti-parasitic medications in a quarantine aquarium can be attempted in case the infection is a bacteria or parasite and not a virus.
Also known as “pinecone disease” or Malawi bloat, dropsy is more a set of symptoms than an actual disease. It can be caused by a virus or bacterial infection of the kidney that results in fluid build-up in the fish’s abdomen, causing the fish to swell and the scales to stand on end, giving it the appearance of a pinecone. Treatment is dependent on what the cause is. While dropsy is not always treatable, antibiotics or the use of Epsom Salt in a quarantine aquarium have been known to produce results. Infected fish should be removed from the aquarium to prevent transmission to other fish.
Disease outbreaks can be avoided by purchasing healthy fish, maintaining optimum water conditions, and providing your fish with a balanced, nutritious diet. Learn to recognize common symptoms and contact your local fish expert if you think your fish are getting sick.
Water is such an essential part of our daily lives that many times we don’t stop to consider where it’s being sourced or the quality of it. We assume we’re receiving the best possible output. For many, tap water is deemed undrinkable, which is where filtered water comes into play. The importance of water filtration is that it gives people access to clean water that is free of contaminants, that tastes good, and is a reliable source of hydration. Without it, there’s the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water or the alternative of drinking other beverages that may not be as good for your health as purified water.
There are different types of filtered water but all offer the basics of the water purification process. This involves water that has been strained of harmful chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate the water. Although public water systems have filtration protocols in place, these vary from state to state. It depends on where your water supply is sourced from originally, the way it is treated, and the quality of water pipes. For example, older water filtration systems that use lead pipes may be harmful to the final dispersal of water because of lead leaching from the pipes into the water.
The main importance of water filtration is to prevent water-related illnesses and diseases. Infants, elderly adults, and people with poor immune systems are more highly susceptible to experiencing adverse effects due to contaminated water from the tap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the top causes of outbreaks in public water systems include:
Any of these contaminants and heavy metals can lead to health problems such as kidney and respiratory issues, reproductive challenges, and cancer. A polluted water supply can also be harmful to your skin and hair. Lastly, depending on the quality of water, certain values may be outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended pH level. When this occurs, it leads to a chance of an increased measure of corrosivity that dissolves metal it comes into contact with and eventually becomes part of the water. Suffice it to say, the chance of drinking water that hasn’t been filtered of heavy metals and impurities isn’t a chance that many people want to take.
FILTERED WATER SOLUTIONS THAT REMOVE CONTAMINATION AND IMPURITIES
Fortunately, there are several ways people can get filtered water. A water filter has microscopic holes that remove sediment and pollutants from the water. The smaller the holes, the less it allows to pass through and the cleaner the water is. The way each type of water filtration system works is slightly different. The most common options are bottled water, at-home filters, reverse osmosis units, and alkaline water.
Billions of gallons of bottled water are sold yearly as demand for it continues to increase. Although perceived as an inexpensive, convenient filtered water option, it is more costly in the long run than other filtered water choices. The price of bottled water is nearly 2,000 times the cost of tap water and has vastly increased the amount of plastic waste affecting our environment.
Fortunately, many have begun to shift toward using reusable water bottles as an alternative. Having a filtered water supply readily available for use is a key factor in helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste filling up the landfills and oceans. People want clean water that tastes great and can be found conveniently at places where they frequent most often.
FILTER FAUCET ATTACHMENTS AND PITCHERS
These types of filters are easily obtained and are effective in improving the taste of tap water. They help to reduce lead and solids by using a filter screen to capture small particles. In some cases, these types of filtration solutions use a block of activated carbon that helps to remove unpleasant odors and tastes that might be present in your water.
When using either of these at-home options, it’s important to change the filter on a regularly scheduled basis. Failure to do so causes build up in the filters and the water that passes through may not be as clean as desired. Also, when it comes to the availability of filtered water using pitchers, they constantly need to be refilled and there is a period of waiting time until purified drinking water is available again. This is an inconvenience when used in larger households or in organizations where a large group of people is relying on a consistent source of filtered water.
REVERSE OSMOSIS UNITS
Reverse osmosis forces water through a semipermeable membrane using pressure. It ensures that the smallest of particles and chemicals cannot pass through, which leaves behind the purest of water. This filtration process can take a few hours to deliver a couple of gallons, which also can prove to be inconvenient. Additionally, the water used is approximately three times as much as what is treated and suitable to drink. It may remove more harmful contaminants than the average filter, but its efficiency is lacking.
For those who want to make sure their water is wholly free of toxins, this could be a valuable option. However, since it does such a good job of straining out all particles, it means any healthy minerals naturally found in tap water are often left behind as well. You get a pure water experience but compromise losing other benefits along the way.
Alkaline water has a higher pH level than typical tap water which helps to neutralize its acidity and effect on the body. There are DIY ways to make alkaline water, but the most common way is using a water ionizer. The purpose of this water treatment system is to raise its number on the pH scale.
A water ionizer uses electricity to separate water molecules into alkaline and acidic, keeping the former and removing the latter. People who suffer from acid reflux or want to reduce the acidity in their diet have found this type of water to be beneficial. However, health claims still lack solid scientific evidence that it works to improve health.
FLOWATER ADVANCED FILTRATION STATIONS
The technology of FloWater’s electric water delivery system tackles the importance of water filtration from several angles. It captures solids, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms from the water and filters them out. It also focuses on removing lingering odors and unpleasant tastes from tap water. Although these two filters work similarly to at-home filters, it captures up to 99% of harmful contaminants and is only two parts to a seven-step process.
The system also relies on an advanced osmosis filter to achieve the purest water possible. Plus, it neutralizes the water’s pH level through an alkaline enhancement filter. From there, it adds healthy components back to the water in the form of electrolytes and traces of essential minerals.
The process is then finished with a coconut carbon filter to remove any last odors or tastes to deliver a crisp, delicious finish. This extensive filtration process combines the filtered water benefits of other water treatments, adds to it, and provides it in one ready-to-go system.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
The majority of people drink some type of filtered water. It’s best to consider all the factors when deciding which will work best for you. First is the performance. How well does the filter work? What percentage of harmful chemicals and particles does it remove? Does it add anything back to the water to boost its quality? Not all solutions deliver the same level of water purification.
The second thing to consider is the maintenance involved. How often do you have to change filters? Are there any other components that require attention on a regular basis to achieve safe drinking water? With at-home pitchers or faucets, the filters can become clogged after filtering a certain amount of water, which then deems them ineffective. It requires diligence and a continual cost to change out these filters on a constant basis.
The low-maintenance aspect of our service Refill Station serves as another benefit that other choices don’t have. The setup is performed by a certified technician and the design has chemical-free, self-sanitizing features, such as a powerful drain pump and hidden catchment tray, to limit the amount of ongoing maintenance needed. The majority of customers who use the stations only require a filter change once per year. Third, of course, is the quality of the water itself. How does the water taste? How convenient is the system to use? The goal is to have the best-tasting water chilled to the perfect temperature available at all times. When servicing larger crowds in work environments, gyms, or other public areas, speediness is a factor and doesn’t have to come at the sake of taste. Our stations chill water to a crisp 42° and have a fast auto-replenishment feature that takes 9 seconds to dispense into a 24-oz. bottle. It hits all the marks: cool, quick, and convenient.
FILTERED WATER AT ITS FINEST
The importance of water filtration spans all industries and households. Everyone wants cool, crisp water without the fear of contamination in their water. Our service provides a convenient, environmentally-friendly solution to filtering water. It also adds back electrolytes and neutralizes the water for a well-rounded, high-quality product.
It’s no secret that staying hydrated is essential to everyday health. The better the quality, the more it encourages people to drink more water on a regular basis. It’s also important that the source of purified water is readily available on-demand. With so many options of filtered water available, focus on the one that meets the full range of what people want. You can control the quality of water by using a filtration system that delivers on all levels.
Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.
Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
Your body needs more water when you are:
In hot climates
More physically active
Running a fever
Having diarrhea or vomiting
Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat – especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.
Tips to Drink More Water
Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
Choose water over sugary drinks.
Opt for water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
Serve water during meals.
Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.
Of course there are many other beverage options besides water, and many of these can be part of a healthy diet. Beverages vary in their nutrient and calorie content.
Low or no calorie beverages Plain coffee or teas, sparkling water, seltzers, and flavored waters, are low calorie choices that can be part of a healthy diet.
Drinks with calories and important nutrients Low fat or fat-free milk, fortified milk alternatives such as unflavored soy or almond milks, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice contain important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, or vitamin D. These drinks should be enjoyed within recommended calorie limits.
This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally (3).
Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening, and it may even reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high intensity exercise. This isn’t surprising when you consider that muscle is about 80% water (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
If you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.
Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair your physical performance.
Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status.
Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function.
In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. It also increased the frequency of headaches (6Trusted Source).
Many members of this same research team conducted a similar study in young men. They found that fluid loss of 1.6% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue (7).
A fluid loss of 1–3% equals about 1.5–4.5 pounds (0.5–2 kg) of body weight loss for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kg). This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.
Research has shown that a headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration (14Trusted Source).
What’s more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.
A study in 102 men found that drinking an additional 50.7 ounces (1.5 liters) of water per day resulted in significant improvements on the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life scale, a scoring system for migraine symptoms (16).
Plus, 47% of the men who drank more water reported headache improvement, while only 25% of the men in the control group reported this effect (16).
However, not all studies agree, and researchers have concluded that because of the lack of high quality studies, more research is needed to confirm how increasing hydration may help improve headache symptoms and decrease headache frequency (17Trusted Source).
Drinking water may help reduce headaches and headache symptoms. However, more high quality research is needed to confirm this potential benefit.
This is because water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate.
Some evidence suggests that increasing water intake can promote weight loss by slightly increasing your metabolism, which can increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
A 2013 study in 50 young women with overweight demonstrated that drinking an additional 16.9 ounces (500 mL) of water 3 times per day before meals for 8 weeks led to significant reductions in body weight and body fat compared with their pre-study measurements (27Trusted Source).
Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
2. It forms saliva and mucus
Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.
3. It delivers oxygen throughout the body
Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
4. It boosts skin health and beauty
With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
5. It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
6. It regulates body temperature
Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. In sport.
Some scientists have suggested thatTrusted Source when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain.
Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise. However, more research is needed into these effects.
7, The digestive system depends on it
The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
8. It flushes body waste
Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.
9. It helps maintain blood pressure
A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
10. The airways need it
When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.
11. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible
These dissolve in water, which makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body.
12. It prevents kidney damage
The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems.
13. It boosts performance during exercise
Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity.
More research is needed to confirm this, but one review found that dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
14. Weight loss
Water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
15. It reduces the chance of a hangover
When partying, unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent overconsumption of alcohol.
If infections spread to the upper urinary tract, including the kidneys, permanent damage can result. Sudden, or acute, kidney infections can be life-threatening, particularly if septicemia occurs.
Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to reduce the risk of developing a UTI and to help treat an existing UTI.
Kidney stones interfere with how the kidneys work. When present, can complicate UTIs. These complicated UTIs tend to require longer periods of antibiotics to treat them, typically lasting 7 to 14 days.
The leading cause of kidney stones is a lack of water. People who report them often do not drink the recommended daily amount of water. Kidney stones may also increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.
In November 2014, the American College of Physicians issued new guidelinesTrusted Source for people who have previously developed kidney stones. The guidelines state that increasing fluid intake to enable 2 liters of urination a day could decrease the risk of stone recurrence by at least half with no side effects.
Dehydration happens if we use and lose more water than the body takes in. It can lead to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes. Electrolytes, such as potassium, phosphate, and sodium, help carry electrical signals between cells. The kidneys keep the levels of electrolytes in the body stable when they function properly.
When the kidneys are unable to maintain a balance in the levels of electrolytes, these electrical signals become mixed up. This can lead to seizures, involving involuntary muscle movements and loss of consciousness.
When asked for their secret to flawless skin, many celebrities — including Jennifer Aniston, Gabrielle Union, and Beyoncé — claim that it has to do with their water intake. And although scientific research has established that hydration is a crucial part of maintaining overall health, you may be wondering: Can you really hydrate your way to healthy skin?
The Potential Link Between Drinking Water and Improving Skin
Although you’ve probably heard that swigging H2O can give you glowing, clear skin, robust scientific evidence behind this notion is lacking. One small study published in 2015 in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology did suggest a relationship between hydration and skin health, though. Specifically, researchers found that in individuals with low daily water consumption — that is, those who were dehydrated to begin with — increasing water intake had a positive effect on skin appearance and helped maintain skin hydration levels.
But, the study notes, if you’re already well hydrated, drinking to a point beyond a balanced level of hydration may not have any additional impact. “Excessive hydration is unlikely to benefit the skin,” says Kathleen C. Suozzi, MD, director of aesthetic dermatology at Yale Medicine and assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. The skin is “hydrated” from the inside out by pulling fluid from the capillary blood flow in the skin, she explains, but if there isn’t enough water to pull from — say, if you’re dehydrated — skin can effectively dry out.
All the same, dermatologists including Dr. Suozzi say it makes sense to feature water in your healthy-skin routine.
“Skin hydration is a reflection of total-body hydration,” Suozzi says. “If a person is dehydrated, there is less water being transferred to the skin from the circulation.”
Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, adds that getting enough water can improve blood flow in the skin and body. She notes that the body’s cells and tissues are mostly comprised of water. “It’s important to stay hydrated,” adds Dr. Jaliman, who is also an assistant professor of dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “If you feel thirsty, that’s your body asking for water. Drink enough water throughout the day that your body doesn’t get a chance to feel dehydrated.”
Beyoncé and Union claim a gallon of water a day keeps skin dryness away (and, as Suozzi points out, maybe you’ve spotted those huge water bottles on Instagram that seem to promote “super hydration”). But drinking this much water is likely unnecessary.
Suozzi says about 13 cups of water for men and 9 cups of water for women represents adequate fluid intake, as outlined by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But “if a person has a lot of transepidermal water loss from sweat or heat, then this requirement increases,” she points out. Transepidermal water loss refers to water lost through the skin.
Other dietary factors, such as caffeinated beverages or water-rich foods, can also influence the body’s hydration levels. Generally, though, you want to aim for the aforementioned net intake, give or take a glass or two.
Drinking too much water may result in water intoxication, a rare effect, per a past article. When there is too much water in the body, salts and electrolytes become too diluted, causing a condition called hyponatremia, Medline Plus notes. “Excessive fluid intake can put a strain on the kidneys, which is the body’s filtration organ,” Suozzi says.
To improve your body’s hydration levels (and thus your skin’s), follow these expert-backed strategies.
Eat Your Water
When it comes to crushing your hydration goals, it can help to add foods high in water to your plate. (Not sure where to start? Try cucumbers, celery, zucchini, watermelon, strawberries and cauliflower, per the Cleveland Clinic.)
Limit Alcohol and Sweets
“Alcohol dehydrates your body and skin,” Jaliman says. This can make the skin look more wrinkled and dry. Many mixed drinks that contain alcohol are also loaded with sugar, which she notes will also “wreak havoc” on your skin. “People shouldn’t indulge in too many sugary sweets,” she notes, explaining that sugar stiffens collagen via a process called glycation, which ages the skin. “Too much sugar flares inflammation if you’re prone to inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and can lead to inflammation. It can aggravate conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema.”
“When topical products called humectants are applied to the skin, they can be absorbed and pull in water,” Suozzi explains. Hyaluronic acid, a common skin-care ingredient, is one example of a humectant. Suozzi adds that emollients like creams and ointments help retain moisture by reducing fluid loss in the protective outermost layer of the skin.
Exfoliate Your Skin
It might sound counterintuitive, but the process “gets rid of dead skin and allows skin-care products to penetrate more efficiently,” Jaliman explains. “Many think it can leave your skin too dry, but that’s only when someone exfoliates too often, which can end up irritating your skin.” The American Academy of Dermatology notes that red, irritated skin after exfoliation may suggest overexfoliation. Work with your dermatologist to identify the right type and frequency of exfoliation for your skin.
Add a Serum
Post-exfoliation, using a good serum will also help with the hydration process. She suggests trying Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair, a “great serum” boasting three active ingredients: retinol, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. “The hyaluronic acid plumps the skin,” she explains. “It’s super hydrating and has anti-aging properties. It’s a natural humectant. Glycerin really moisturizes the skin. This serum is great for mature skin.”
Hydrate Your Air
A humidifier effectively boosts moisture to the air, so “adding a humidifier to your home is also a great idea to add more hydration to the skin,” suggests Jaliman. “As the air becomes drier and cooler, your skin will need more moisture, because the dry air sucks the moisture out of your skin,” she explains. “Anytime you add moisture to dry air it will benefit your skin and for some help alleviate other issues such as allergies.”
Optimize Your Shower Routine
Nazanin Saedi, MD, the director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia, suggests avoiding hot showers or washing your face with hot water, as the heat “absorbs the moisture from your skin.” Lukewarm water is ideal for skin.
Finally, when you apply your products can impact skin hydration levels. “Moisturize right after coming out of the shower,” Dr. Saedi suggests. After getting out, lightly pat skin dry with your towel and apply a thick layer to increase absorption, she advises.
If you aren’t maintaining proper hydration levels, drinking more water may be beneficial to your skin health. But if you are already drinking the recommended daily amount of water and are sufficiently hydrated, drinking additional H2O likely won’t improve the health or appearance of your skin.
That said, incorporating hydration into your skin-care routine, via exfoliation and infusing a serum with effective ingredients directly after, could have a positive effect on your skin. Additionally, you can help your skin stay hydrated by avoiding contact with hot water, upping your intake of water-rich foods, and potentially using a humidifier in your home.
And a final note: If you have further questions, consider visiting a dermatologist to get specific recommendations based on your skin’s needs.
Our rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and seas are drowning in chemicals, waste, plastic, and other pollutants. Here’s why―and what you can do to help.
British poet W. H. Auden once noted, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Yet while we all know water is crucial for life, we trash it anyway. Some 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped—largely untreated—back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans.
This widespread problem of water pollution is jeopardizing our health. Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. Meanwhile, our drinkable water sources are finite: Less than 1 percent of the earth’s freshwater is actually accessible to us. Without action, the challenges will only increase by 2050, when global demand for freshwater is expected to be one-third greater than it is now.
Sip a glass of cool, clear water as you read this, and you may think water pollution is a problem . . . somewhere else. But while most Americans have access to safe drinking water, potentially harmful contaminants—from arsenic to copper to lead—have been found in the tap water of every single state in the nation.
Still, we’re not hopeless against the threat to clean water. To better understand the problem and what we can do about it, here’s an overview of what water pollution is, what causes it, and how we can protect ourselves.
What Is Water Pollution?
Water pollution occurs when harmful substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.
What Are the Causes of Water Pollution?
Water is uniquely vulnerable to pollution. Known as a “universal solvent,” water is able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid on earth. It’s the reason we have Kool-Aid and brilliant blue waterfalls. It’s also why water is so easily polluted. Toxic substances from farms, towns, and factories readily dissolve into and mix with it, causing water pollution.
Categories of Water Pollution
When rain falls and seeps deep into the earth, filling the cracks, crevices, and porous spaces of an aquifer (basically an underground storehouse of water), it becomes groundwater—one of our least visible but most important natural resources. Nearly 40 percent of Americans rely on groundwater, pumped to the earth’s surface, for drinking water. For some folks in rural areas, it’s their only freshwater source. Groundwater gets polluted when contaminants—from pesticides and fertilizers to waste leached from landfills and septic systems—make their way into an aquifer, rendering it unsafe for human use. Ridding groundwater of contaminants can be difficult to impossible, as well as costly. Once polluted, an aquifer may be unusable for decades, or even thousands of years. Groundwater can also spread contamination far from the original polluting source as it seeps into streams, lakes, and oceans.
Covering about 70 percent of the earth, surface water is what fills our oceans, lakes, rivers, and all those other blue bits on the world map. Surface water from freshwater sources (that is, from sources other than the ocean) accounts for more than 60 percent of the water delivered to American homes. But a significant pool of that water is in peril. According to the most recent surveys on national water quality from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly half of our rivers and streams and more than one-third of our lakes are polluted and unfit for swimming, fishing, and drinking. Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the leading type of contamination in these freshwater sources. While plants and animals need these nutrients to grow, they have become a major pollutant due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff. Municipal and industrial waste discharges contribute their fair share of toxins as well. There’s also all the random junk that industry and individuals dump directly into waterways.
Eighty percent of ocean pollution (also called marine pollution) originates on land—whether along the coast or far inland. Contaminants such as chemicals, nutrients, and heavy metals are carried from farms, factories, and cities by streams and rivers into our bays and estuaries; from there they travel out to sea. Meanwhile, marine debris—particularly plastic—is blown in by the wind or washed in via storm drains and sewers. Our seas are also sometimes spoiled by oil spills and leaks—big and small—and are consistently soaking up carbon pollution from the air. The ocean absorbs as much as a quarter of man-made carbon emissions.
When contamination originates from a single source, it’s called point source pollution. Examples include wastewater (also called effluent) discharged legally or illegally by a manufacturer, oil refinery, or wastewater treatment facility, as well as contamination from leaking septic systems, chemical and oil spills, and illegal dumping. The EPA regulates point source pollution by establishing limits on what can be discharged by a facility directly into a body of water. While point source pollution originates from a specific place, it can affect miles of waterways and ocean.
Nonpoint source pollution is contamination derived from diffuse sources. These may include agricultural or stormwater runoff or debris blown into waterways from land. Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water pollution in U.S. waters, but it’s difficult to regulate, since there’s no single, identifiable culprit.
It goes without saying that water pollution can’t be contained by a line on a map. Transboundary pollution is the result of contaminated water from one country spilling into the waters of another. Contamination can result from a disaster—like an oil spill—or the slow, downriver creep of industrial, agricultural, or municipal discharge.
The Most Common Types of Water Contamination
Not only is the agricultural sector the biggest consumer of global freshwater resources, with farming and livestock production using about 70 percent of the earth’s surface water supplies, but it’s also a serious water polluter. Around the world, agriculture is the leading cause of water degradation. In the United States, agricultural pollution is the top source of contamination in rivers and streams, the second-biggest source in wetlands, and the third main source in lakes. It’s also a major contributor of contamination to estuaries and groundwater. Every time it rains, fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from farms and livestock operations wash nutrients and pathogens—such bacteria and viruses—into our waterways. Nutrient pollution, caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water or air, is the number-one threat to water quality worldwide and can cause algal blooms, a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and wildlife.
Sewage and wastewater
Used water is wastewater. It comes from our sinks, showers, and toilets (think sewage) and from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities (think metals, solvents, and toxic sludge). The term also includes stormwater runoff, which occurs when rainfall carries road salts, oil, grease, chemicals, and debris from impermeable surfaces into our waterways
Big spills may dominate headlines, but consumers account for the vast majority of oil pollution in our seas, including oil and gasoline that drips from millions of cars and trucks every day. Moreover, nearly half of the estimated 1 million tons of oil that makes its way into marine environments each year comes not from tanker spills but from land-based sources such as factories, farms, and cities. At sea, tanker spills account for about 10 percent of the oil in waters around the world, while regular operations of the shipping industry—through both legal and illegal discharges—contribute about one-third. Oil is also naturally released from under the ocean floor through fractures known as seeps.
Radioactive waste is any pollution that emits radiation beyond what is naturally released by the environment. It’s generated by uranium mining, nuclear power plants, and the production and testing of military weapons, as well as by universities and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicine. Radioactive waste can persist in the environment for thousands of years, making disposal a major challenge. Consider the decommissioned Hanford nuclear weapons production site in Washington, where the cleanup of 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is expected to cost more than $100 billion and last through 2060. Accidentally released or improperly disposed of contaminants threaten groundwater, surface water, and marine resources.
What Are the Effects of Water Pollution?
On human health
To put it bluntly: Water pollution kills. In fact, it caused 1.8 million deaths in 2015, according to a study published in The Lancet. Contaminated water can also make you ill. Every year, unsafe water sickens about 1 billion people. And low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries.
Waterborne pathogens, in the form of disease-causing bacteria and viruses from human and animal waste, are a major cause of illness from contaminated drinking water. Diseases spread by unsafe water include cholera, giardia, and typhoid. Even in wealthy nations, accidental or illegal releases from sewage treatment facilities, as well as runoff from farms and urban areas, contribute harmful pathogens to waterways. Thousands of people across the United States are sickened every year by Legionnaires’ disease (a severe form of pneumonia contracted from water sources like cooling towers and piped water), with cases cropping up from California’s Disneyland to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Meanwhile, the plight of residents in Flint, Michigan—where cost-cutting measures and aging water infrastructure created the recent lead contamination crisis—offers a stark look at how dangerous chemical and other industrial pollutants in our water can be. The problem goes far beyond Flint and involves much more than lead, as a wide range of chemical pollutants—from heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury to pesticides and nitrate fertilizers—are getting into our water supplies. Once they’re ingested, these toxins can cause a host of health issues, from cancer to hormone disruption to altered brain function. Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk.
Even swimming can pose a risk. Every year, 3.5 million Americans contract health issues such as skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, and hepatitis from sewage-laden coastal waters, according to EPA estimates.
On the environment
In order to thrive, healthy ecosystems rely on a complex web of animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi—all of which interact, directly or indirectly, with each other. Harm to any of these organisms can create a chain effect, imperiling entire aquatic environments.
When water pollution causes an algal bloom in a lake or marine environment, the proliferation of newly introduced nutrients stimulates plant and algae growth, which in turn reduces oxygen levels in the water. This dearth of oxygen, known as eutrophication, suffocates plants and animals and can create “dead zones,” where waters are essentially devoid of life. In certain cases, these harmful algal blooms can also produce neurotoxins that affect wildlife, from whales to sea turtles.
Chemicals and heavy metals from industrial and municipal wastewater contaminate waterways as well. These contaminants are toxic to aquatic life—most often reducing an organism’s life span and ability to reproduce—and make their way up the food chain as predator eats prey. That’s how tuna and other big fish accumulate high quantities of toxins, such as mercury.
Marine ecosystems are also threatened by marine debris, which can strangle, suffocate, and starve animals. Much of this solid debris, such as plastic bags and soda cans, gets swept into sewers and storm drains and eventually out to sea, turning our oceans into trash soup and sometimes consolidating to form floating garbage patches. Discarded fishing gear and other types of debris are responsible for harming more than 200 different species of marine life.
Meanwhile, ocean acidification is making it tougher for shellfish and coral to survive. Though they absorb about a quarter of the carbon pollution created each year by burning fossil fuels, oceans are becoming more acidic. This process makes it harder for shellfish and other species to build shells and may impact the nervous systems of sharks, clownfish, and other marine life.
What Can You Do to Prevent Water Pollution?
With your actions
It’s easy to tsk-tsk the oil company with a leaking tanker, but we’re all accountable to some degree for today’s water pollution problem. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can prevent water contamination or at least limit your contribution to it:
One of the most effective ways to stand up for our waters is to speak out in support of the Clean Water Rule, which clarifies the Clean Water Act’s scope and protects the drinking water of one in three Americans.
You know you need water to survive, and you feel better when you drink it regularly. But what’s really at play in the body when you sip H2O?
In short, a lot.
Believe it or not, your body weight is about 60 percent water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, according to the Mayo Clinic: The climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems all affect recommended intake.
Here are the reasons why water is such a powerful element when it comes to your health.
1. Water Protects Your Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints
Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it keeps the tissues in your body moist, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.
2. Water Helps Your Body Remove Waste
Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. Water helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood and keep the blood vessels that run to your kidneys open and filter them out, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Water is also important for helping prevent constipation, points out the University of Rochester Medical Center. However, as research notes, there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation.
Water is important for healthy digestion. As the Mayo Clinic explains, water helps break down the food you eat, allowing its nutrients to be absorbed by your body. After you drink, both your small and large intestines absorb water, which moves into your bloodstream and is also used to break down nutrients. As your large intestine absorbs water, stool changes from liquid to solid, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber, per MedlinePlus. With the help of water, this fiber turns to gel and slows digestion.
4. Water Prevents You From Becoming Dehydrated
Your body loses fluids when you engage in vigorous exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re losing fluids for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase your fluid intake so that you can restore your body’s natural hydration level. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids to help treat other health conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with your physician about your fluid intake because your body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Ever feel foggy headed? Take a sip of water. Research shows that dehydration is a drag to memory, attention, and energy, per a small study on adult men from China published in June 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It’s no wonder, considering H2O makes up 75 percent of the brain, the authors point out. One reason for that foggy-headed feeling? “Adequate electrolyte balance is vital to keeping your body functioning optimally. Low electrolytes can cause issues including muscle weakness, fatigue, and confusion,” says Gabrielle Lyon, DO, a functional medicine physician in New York City.
6. Water Keeps Your Cardiovascular System Healthy
Water is a huge part of your blood. (For instance, plasma — the pale yellow liquid portion of your blood — is about 90 percent water, notes Britannica.) If you become dehydrated, your blood becomes more concentrated, which can lead to an imbalance of the electrolyte minerals it contains (sodium and potassium, for example), says Susan Blum, MD, founder of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, New York. These electrolytes are necessary for proper muscle and heart function. “Dehydration can also lead to lower blood volume, and thus blood pressure, so you may feel light-headed or woozy standing up,” she says.
It may be plain, but it’s powerful. In a study of more than 18,300 American adults, people who drank just 1 percent more water a day ate fewer calories and less saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol, according to a study published in February 2016 in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Water may help fill you up, especially if you drink it before eating a meal, a notion that was backed up in a small study of 15 young, healthy participants that was published in October 2018 in Clinical Nutrition Research.