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How to check purity of drinking water

Finding pure water today is almost as difficult as finding fresh air to breathe! and it could be the single most important item in your quest for long term health.

Thanks to water testing kits and water filters, we do not have to drink, bathe or even cook with impure water. You can check the purity of your drinking water and install the necessary filtration system to filter out all the impurities, leaving you with clean, clear, pure water. In order to check the purity of your water, you have two choices: you can choose to test your water yourself using one of the many in home water test kits available on the market today, or you can take or mail some of your water to a laboratory and have them test it for you. (Check with your water utility company, health department or your telephone directory for laboratory recommendations.) There is not any one kit that tests for every contaminant, so you may have to purchase several kits. Each kit range in price from $20 to $150, but some of these kits test for several contaminants and you may only need to purchase two. The lab testing is the better option as they are more equipped and thorough, but the test for each contaminant is separate and you will need to pay for each test which can range in price from $30 to $150. Either way, you will be able to know what contaminants are lurking in your water, if any, and subsequently able to do something about it. This is where filtration and distillation comes into play.

Filtration is the process by which undesirable constituents are removed from a liquid by absorption into a biological film grown on or in the filter medium. Distillation is the process whereby a mixture of liquids is heated to force components which have different boiling points into the gas phase, and then condensed back into liquid form and collected.

There are many different types of filters available for purchase today, and they all have various features. Some of them are activated carbon water filters, activated charcoal water filters, ceramic water filters, electrolyzed alkaline water filters, and UV filters. There is also reverse osmosis filtration system and distillation which are the two most thorough water purification processes.

Activated Carbon Water Filters

Activated carbon filters are excellent at removing organic contaminants and pesticides from water. They do not remove inorganic chemicals and heavy metals like lead. These require ceramic filters, which can also remove Cryptosporidium and Giardia, as well as rust and dirt. You need both filter types. Also, Carbon filters cannot change the pH balance of the water. If you have acidic water, you will still have acidic water after filtering, as the minerals causing the acidity will be dissolved and therefore pass through the carbon filter.

Activated carbon filters may also be susceptible to mold attack if left unused over extended periods. It is important to realize that a filter collects the impurities in your tap water, and the organic component combined with these impurities may cause the filter to rot leading to a mold attack. The taste of the water will suddenly change after the extended period of non-use, and this will alert you to change the filter.

Activated Charcoal Water Filters

Activated charcoal treatment systems are quite simple. The activated charcoal is normally packaged in filter cartridges that are inserted into the purification device. They remove metals that are bound to organic molecules. Activated charcoal removes vastly more contaminants from water than does ordinary charcoal. Water needing treatment passes through the cartridge, contacting the activated charcoal on its way to the faucet. Activated charcoal filters eventually become fouled with contaminants and lose their ability to absorb pollutants. It is important to follow the manufacturer's date to change the filter in the system, as not following their direction will defeat the purpose of having a filter in the first place.

Activated charcoal treatment systems are typically point of use installed where they treat water used for drinking and cooking only. Activated charcoal filters can be placed on the end of the faucet, on the countertop, or under the sink. Point of use systems often have a bypass so that water for purposes other than drinking and cooking can also be dispensed at the tap without being treated. This increases the life of the activated charcoal, reducing the time between filter replacements.

Ceramic Water Filters

Ceramic water filters are an inexpensive and effective type of water filter that rely on the small pore size of ceramic material to filter dirt, debris, and bacteria out of water. Ceramic water filters come as a cartridge that fits a normal bench top filter. At the core of the ceramic filter element is Diatomaceous Earth - a fossil substance made up of tiny silicon shells left by trillions of microscopic one celled algae called diatoms that have inhabited the waters of the earth for the last one hundred and fifty million years.

This filtration type does not remove chemical contaminants. The major risks to the success of all forms of ceramic filtration are hairline cracks and cross-contamination. If the unit is dropped or otherwise abused, the brittle nature of ceramic materials can allow fine, hard to see cracks and larger contaminants through the filter. Also, if the "clean" water side of the ceramic membrane is brought into contact with dirty water, hands, cleaning cloths, etc, then the filtration will be ineffective. If such contact occurs, the clean side of the filter should be thoroughly sterilized before reuse.

Electrolyzed Alkaline Water Filters

By using magnetic plates and a ceramic filament, water can be separated into two distinct streams, one alkaline and one acidic. These two distinctly different types of water - produced from one input stream - have separate applications.

Alkaline based water is mainly used for consumption, far healthier to drink and cook with. Most well known chefs insist that their cooking supply is as Alkaline as possible, as they consider the taste to be more pleasing.

Acidic water is used for cleansing, either the body or for general household cleaning. The acidic nature of the water means that it is in itself a natural antiseptic. Acidic water has been proven to be better for dermal application, causing healthier results than alkaline water.

UV Water Filters

Ultraviolet purification uses a UV light source (lamp) which is enclosed in a protective transparent sleeve (usually quartz). The lamp is mounted so that water passing through a flow chamber is exposed to the UV-C light rays. When harmful microbes are exposed to the UV rays, their nucleic acid absorbs the UV energy, which then scrambles the DNA structure of the organism. The cell is rendered sterile and can no longer reproduce. The cell is now considered dead and is no longer a threat.

UV water treatment offers many advantages over other forms of water treatment for microbiological contaminants. Most importantly, it does not introduce any chemicals to the water, it produces no bi-products, and it does not alter the taste, pH, or other properties of the water. Also, in addition to producing safe drinking water, it is not harmful to your plumbing and septic system. It is easy and cost-effective to install and maintain without any special training.

Organisms exposed for enough time to ultra-violet light will die, and this includes viruses - the most difficult microbe to kill. It is therefore necessary to have a UV filter on hand along with a carbon and ceramic filters.

Pitcher Water Filters

Pitcher Water Filters are an inexpensive, convenient and effective way to improve taste and color of your water while reducing up to ninety nine percent of the chlorine in drinking water. Some pitcher water filters can filter up to two thousand gallons of water on a single filter replacement cartridge and because they have multiple stages of water filtration, can remove hundreds of contaminants from water.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters

The Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration systems are the most effective in that they are able to remove both organic chemicals such as, pesticides, trihalomethanes (THMs) and radon, as well as inorganic chemicals such as, metals (including lead), asbestos, arsenic, chlorine, mercury, fluoride, salts, nitrates and minerals. They filter all impurities, contaminants, chemicals, and solids. There are several different types and models to choose from. Some types are countertop, portable, and pro series (different levels of filtration usually up to six stages). All models remove inorganic chemicals, but only the models that include carbon pre and post filters will get rid of the organic chemicals. The pre filter gets rid of the organic chemicals, while the post filter improves the water’s aesthetic properties. These filters ranging in price from $400 to $600 are usually good for a year and must be replaced annually or as often as recommended by the manufacturer. Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems range in price from $200 to $400, but for the benefit of providing you and your family with quality, clean, great tasting water, it is worth every dollar. The disadvantage with these extreme filtration systems, is that they get rid of many important minerals during the process. However, the impurities that are rid from the water are far more relevant to get rid of than the missing minerals, and can be acquired by eating more mineral rich foods.


This is the safest and most effective method of water purification, but it is also the most costly. It is a process whereby the water is boiled, and the pure steam re-condensed to water again, leaving behind all heavy metals and contaminants, and killing all bacteria and viruses. Home and office models are available now, and apart from their cost, the only other drawback is that distillation can demineralize the water, and thus make our bodies mineral deficient.

Whole House Filter Systems

wholehouse_product_300x250Since we cannot always control what goes into the main water supply that ultimately comes through our faucets, we can install approved water filters throughout our homes to filter water for cooking and body cleansing, and then purchase bottled spring water for drinking (a good thing to do - which could only help, is to run a test on the bottled spring water you have purchased, by filtering it, to ascertain its purity) OR you may purchase a more advanced water filter and filter your faucet water for drinking. This deluxe, high capacity EQ-300 Rhino Whole House Water Filter by Aquasana, has a 300,000 gallon over a three year period capacity. It comes complete with main filter unit, pre-filter, installation kit, shut-off valve and required hardware. It is pretty easy to install and should take approximately two hours. Proper installation guide is included in package. A whole house filter is very convenient; it allows me to drink, shower, cook and live in healthy water. With all the features it provides - for just under eight hundred dollars, it is one of my favorites and definitely one of the best whole house filtration system available on the market today.

How to make up for the minerals lost through distillation

When water is filtered or distilled it loses its mineral. We therefore need to make a decision between drinking water straight from the source - unsure of its purity - and getting the well needed mineral for our bodies OR filtering or distilling the water - ensuring its purity - and losing the mineral we need. The latter is more feasible as we will avoid the impurities that are in the water while having the option of getting the minerals lost through filtering and distilling from mineral rich foods or mineral supplements.

The most important facet of the filtration systems is the changing of the filters as directed by the makers of them. Not following the manufacturer’s recommendations will defeat the purpose of having the system installed in the first place, as the carbon filter will accumulate the contaminants it cleans from the water, and bacteria will undoubtedly breed on it after a period of time.

Whatever you do, do not jeopardize your health. Full maintenance of your body is your responsibility. Take all the steps necessary to ensure longevity and wholesomeness on this earth.

CONTRIBUTED by Empowerment Coach Eugénie Nugent

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