What does it take to get a non-toxic glass of water around here?

glass of water

No, I don't want any chemicals with that water!

I’m going to be blunt because I’m really, really angry: I’m terrified about drinking water these days—bottled, tap, still, you name it. Yeah, sure we all know how important it is to the functioning of every system in the body; this information is pretty well established. But I would prefer not to drink chemicals with my water, particularly cancer-causing ones. And with the news today from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C-based advocacy group, that most city water contains hexavalent chromium (or chromium-6), which … you guessed it … causes cancer  (stomach cancer and leukemia to name just a few), I’m throwing up my hands in absolute disgust and complete frustration.Where the heck can I get a non-toxic glass of water around here????

First, I got rid of my giant Poland Spring bottles (and dispenser) from my home because all were suspected of containing BPA, the cancer-causing chemical that leached into plastic (like the Poland Spring jugs) when heated up. Since I couldn’t guarantee where those jugs sat (and for how long), I essentially couldn’t guarantee that I wasn’t drinking (and that I wasn’t having my family drink) cancer-causing chemicals. Not to mention the possible eco-ramifications of using giant jugs of plastic (even if they were “recycled”).

So I put a filter on my home faucet—and on the pipes into my refrigerator water and ice dispensers—and cancelled my Poland Spring account. But I was always suspicious of how much junk was really being filtered out of my home tap water. And then todays’ report. Absolutely fabulous. Just lovely.

My first thought upon hearing this is: are you kidding me?! We can transmit images through satellite in seconds; we can send space shuttles up into the universe; we can develop smart bombs that can do extensive damage; we can get around a neighborhood by satellite-guided gps, but we can’t even friggin put a clean, fresh glass of drinking water on our tables?

Background here: hexavalent chromium was the chemical that Erin Brockovich fought against in real life (and in the movie)…and remember all the people who had horrific health side effects?. And guess what: there’s NO NATIONAL STANDARD for hexavalent chromium in drinking water, so that means…no one really regulates how much we’re drinking! This toxic stuff is the byproduct of steel and pulp mills, metal-plating facilities, and the erosion of natural deposits—according to various news sources.

So here’s the bottom line: most Brita filters don’t get rid of the stuff and neither do most faucet filters. Reverse osmosis filters on the tap are pretty much the only things that do—and they cost, on average, upwards of $300 (not including the filters you have to replace regularly). So what does one do if they can’t afford it? Well, that’s the billion dollar health-care question. I guess, for those who can’t afford it, they’ll just have to drink their tap water…and worry about the cancer later.

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Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.