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  • Groundwater Warming in Sync with Atmosphere

    Using a long-term data set of groundwater temperature measurements recorded around the European cities of Karlsruhe and Cologne, hydro-geologists have shown that groundwater is getting warmer, mirroring that of atmospheric warming. Their findings were recently published in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.

    "Global warming is reflected directly in the groundwater, albeit damped and with a certain time lag," says Peter Bayer, a co-author of the paper.

    The records also show that groundwater found closer to the surface, i.e. from a depth of about 60 meters upwards, has warmed significantly over the past 40 years in line with global warming. The pattern of groundwater warming follows a similar pattern to local and regional climate, which also mirrors temperature increases associated with global warming.

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    The groundwater reflects the sporadic leaps or "regime shifts" in atmospheric temperature recorded over the last few decades. The authors were surprised at how quickly the groundwater responded to climate change.

    Atmospheric temperatures have risen by 0.13°C (32.23°F) per decade over the last 50 years, but these temperature increases don't stop just below the Earth's surface. Soil samples examined in other studies conducted over the past twenty years have echoed this, however, these studies did not assess soils that contained groundwater, which makes this study unique. This study is the first to examine groundwater that has not been influenced to any extent by humans.

    The fact that groundwater is warming in line with climate change is quite plausible, says Bayer.

    "The difference in temperature between the atmosphere and the subsoil balances out naturally", he says. "The energy transfer takes place via thermal conduction and the groundwater flow, much like a heat exchanger, which enables the heat transported to spread in the subsoil and level out."

    At this stage it may still be a bit early to gauge what the consequences of groundwater warming will be. Warmer groundwater temperatures may affect subterranean ecosystems or biospheres that are dependent on groundwater, such as cold areas in river systems where the groundwater bubbles up. Groundwater heating could have a negative impact on certain aquatic organisms, including some species of fish, that thrive in low temperatures, which could threaten their survival.

    Warmer temperatures will also affect the chemical composition of the water, particularly the concentrations of carbonate and nitrate, as chemical reactions occur more readily when temperatures are warmer. Warmer water may also increase bacterial activity; the more favorable conditions may allow disease causing pathogens to multiply rapidly, increasing the risk on public health.

    However, the researchers acknowledge that there may also be some positive outcomes. For example, the excess heat could be used for geothermal heating, says lead author, Kathrin Menberg.

    Journal Reference:

    K. Menberg, P. Blum, B. L. Kurylyk, P. Bayer. Observed groundwater temperature response to recent climate change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2014; 18 (11): 4453 DOI: 10.5194/hess-18-4453-2014

  • Atrazine Fingered as Number One Drinking Water Contaminant in the US

    According to a video report by Global News, farmers across the US have been using atrazine, a toxic herbicide, extensively to control weeds in corn fields and other agricultural row crops for over 50 years now. This widespread use has allowed atrazine to leach through soils to contaminate groundwater systems or enter surface water systems through runoff, ultimately winding up in drinking water, where it is now a common drinking water contaminant.

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    According to Tyrone Hayes, a University of California Berkeley scientist: “Atrazine is the number one contaminant found in drinking water in the U.S. and probably globally.”

    Due to its known health effects, which after long term exposure include cardiovascular and reproductive problems, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set the drinking water standard for atrazine to 0.003 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or three parts per billion (ppb).

    The levels of atrazine in drinking water differ depending on where you are in the country and also according to seasonal fluctuations. In regions where corn is extensively grown, the use of atrazine tends to be more widespread, and thus there is potentially higher concentrations of the toxin present in runoff.

    Atrazine was removed from the European market in 2004 due to health concerns, yet in the US and Canada it is still one of the most common pesticides found in underground and surface water systems. In 2012, Syngenta, the company that manufactures atrazine, paid a $105 million court settlement to over 1000 US municipal water treatment facilities to help foot the bill for removing atrazine from municipal drinking water supplies.

    Health Effects of Atrazine

    According to Jason Rohr, a professor at the University of South Florida: “Atrazine is probably the most well studied pesticide on the planet, perhaps only rivaled by DDT.”

    Yet, while there have been extensive studies conducted on the effect of atrazine on amphibians and other wildlife, very little information in available on the effects of atrazine to human health. However, studies have shown a possible link between atrazine exposure and breast, ovarian and prostrate cancers; as well as low fertility and birth defects.

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    Removing Atrazine from Drinking Water

    If you are concerned that your water is contaminated with atrazine, you can check with your water utility to ascertain whether they monitor for atrazine, and how regularly do they test the water supply. To make certain that you and your family are not exposed to atrazine and other common drinking water contaminants, you can purchase a good quality home water filter like the berkeys equipped with the black berkey filters.  The black berkeys are capable of removing atrazine and other commonly used pesticides from the water to below detectable limits.

    Watch the video 'Pesticide Peril?' to learn more about the serious perils of pesticides on our health.

  • Coastal Mussels Contaminated with Pathogens Originating from Land-based Sources

    Mussels along the shore of California are found to be contaminated with Giardia duodenalis, a pathogen that originates from land-based freshwater sources as well as coastal beaches frequented by California Sea Lions.  This is according to a new study conducted by scientists from the University of California, Davis, which was recently published online in the scientific journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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    At least one of the Giardia strains found poses a health risk to humans, with two other strains present posing a risk to dogs who come into contact with it. The presence of these pathogens thus poses a health risk to people and their canine pets should they ingest contaminated water or consume uncooked shellfish, said Woutrina Smith, a co-author of the paper.

    According to lead author, Aiko Adell, the researchers hypothesized that if pathogens were entering the sea from land, then the genetic structure of Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites found in the mussels would be the same as the genetic structure of these parasites found in animals living on land.

    For their analysis, the researchers collected marine mussels from coastal mussel beds surrounding river mouths and from haul-out sites frequented by sea lions along the central Californian coastline, together with samples of sea lion feces. Using genetic PCR techniques -- where DNA is amplified by making multiple copies of the DNA structure -- and DNA sequencing, they examined the samples collected for the presence of Giardia pathogens.

    The researchers sampled mussels, not just to determine if they were contaminated by Giardia pathogens, but because they are filter-feeders they process large volumes of water, and thus pathogens tend to become concentrated within their tissue.

    "Testing the mussels enabled us to more quickly find the pathogens, rather like using a magnet to find needles in a haystack, instead of sifting through all that straw," says coauthor Patricia Conrad.

    Fluorescent microscopy revealed oocysts and cysts in the sea lion fecal samples that resembled that of both Cryptosporidia and Giardia, however the researchers were not able detect DNA for these pathogens after running PCR, which according to Smith, is likely due to low levels of parasites present in the fecal samples.
    For the mussels, however, the picture was somewhat different. While no oocytes or cysts were visible, the research team were able to detect Giardia DNA in some of the mussel tissue samples.

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    This research illustrates how useful filter-feeding organisms that accumulate parasites and pathogens can be for testing for the presence of pathogens in both freshwater and marine aquatic environments. If water samples were tested, the pathogens would be diluted and thus would not likely be visible in water samples collected. Similarly, testing fecal samples has limitations, because oocysts and cysts are typically only shed once infection is acute. The findings also enable us to better understand the fate of land-based fecal-transmitted waterborne pathogens once they enter the ocean.

    According to Smith, the public health risk to beach-goers and surfers is higher during seasons with high rainfall, when river outflow is higher. The increase in freshwater runoff during the rainy season can wash fecal material from land-based surfaces into freshwater systems, which then flow to the sea. Smith also points out that the Giardia strains that typically infect canines have also been known to infect humans on rare occasions.

    If these contaminants are flowing into the sea from land-based freshwater sources, it stands to reason that these freshwater sources are also contaminated, and thus pose a threat to people who swim in them or rely on them for their drinking water.

    Journal Reference:

    A. D. Adell, W. A. Smith, K. Shapiro, A. Melli, P. A. Conrad. Molecular epidemiology of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. in mussels (Mytilus californianus) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) from central California. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2014; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02922-14

  • Water Contamination a Grave Concern Amongst Consumers

    If you feel happy quenching your thirst by drinking a glass of water poured straight from your kitchen faucet, you are one of the few Americans who do. According to a recent study conducted by NSF International, most people living in the US, as well as globally, harbor concerns about the pollutants that could potentially be contaminating their drinking water. This concern is one of the reasons why purified bottled water is currently one of the most popular beverages in the US, topped only by soda.

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    Eighty-two percent of consumers interviewed reported they have concerns regarding the presence of emerging contaminants, in the water they drink. New forms of pesticides and herbicides are of highest concern to consumers, with 87% reporting concerns over these pollutants, followed by prescription drugs (34%) and detergents (24%), while other contaminants such as flame retardants (18%) and over-the-counter medications (14%) that have been consistently found in tap water are also of concern. While the health risks posed by the presence of these emerging contaminants at trace levels in drinking water is not fully understood, the fact that they are present at all has clearly left many consumers worried.

    Pesticide contamination of groundwater sources is not a new phenomenon, but because the use of pesticides has grown exponentially in order to grow sufficient food to feed an ever growing population, it stands to reason that more and more of these chemicals are leaching through soils to contaminate water in underground aquifers which provide drinking water to 50% of the American population.

    The study also showed that despite their concerns, only 28% of consumers return unused medications to their pharmacy or clinic to dispose of responsibly; the majority of consumers dispose of these emerging contaminants inappropriately, either by discarding unused prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication out with their trash (34%) or by flushing these contaminants down the toilet (19%).

    “NSF International’s survey results clearly show that consumers are very aware of and concerned about emerging contaminants in drinking water. While the industry isn’t currently aware of negative health effects associated with trace levels of these contaminants, many consumers understandably want to have the highest quality drinking water possible for themselves and their family. NSF International has developed a standard that tests the ability of home water treatment devices to reduce some of these emerging contaminants in drinking water,” said Rick Andrew, NSF International Drinking Water Treatment Expert.

    Previously drinking water contaminants fell into one of two groups: 1) aesthetic effects, consisting of contaminants that don't adversely affect health, but affect the taste, odor or appearance of water; and 2) health effects, consisting of contaminants that pose a health risk to consumers exposed to these pollutants in drinking water. Emerging contaminants is a new group of drinking water contaminants consisting of pollutants that are classified as contaminants whose impact on human health after long-term exposure is not well understood.

    Berkey water filters fitted with Black Berkey filter elements meet the NSF Standard 53 and NSF Standard 42 for chemical reduction. Berkey filters remove pesticides, pharmaceuticals and many other contaminants that are commonly found in drinking water, rendering your tap water safe to drink.

  • Black Berkeys Receive New Testing Results

    We are proud to announce brand new black berkey testing results that show the Berkey removes Chloramines, Pharmaceuticals, BPA, and much more from your water. This highly anticipated round of testing was just completed, and can be found here.

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    Black Berkey Testing Highlights:

    1) Bisphenol-A - Removed to greater than 99.9%. Many customers had the desire to pour their bottled water into their berkey, and had wondered if the system would remove this endocrine disruptor.

    2) Chloramines - Removed to greater than 99.9%. With many water municipalities switching to chloramine disinfection instead of chlorine, there was a growing chorus of existing and potential Berkey customers wanting the answer to this question.

    3) Pharmaceuticals - Removed to greater than 99.5%. This has been a hot button also. Many studies and articles have come out over the past 5 years showing how these pharmaceuticals are washing down our toilets and not being removed from our water supply by the local municipal filtration plant. The filters were tested for 17 different types of pharmaceuticals and they were all removed. No additional types of pharmaceuticals were available for testing at this lab, however the results should be similar for others.

    4) Petroleum Contaminants - Removed to greater than 99.9%. With the unfortunately too common event of oil spills and petroleum contamination of waterways and water sources, this has been on the mind of customers for some time, especially since the gulf oil spill.  The black berkeys would protect them from these contaminants.

    5) Methylcycohexane-methane - Removed to greater than 99.9%. This was the contaminant that was involved in the March 2014 West Virginia oil spill.

    6) Pesticides - Removed to greater than 99.9%. These had already been tested for before, however more pesticides were included in this round of testing.

    7) Heavy Metals - Removed to greater than 99.1%. These had already been tested for before, however a couple more heavy metals were included in this round of testing.

    8) Coliform and e-Coli - Removed to greater than 99.9%. These had already been tested for before and shown to be removed to over 99.9999%.  This could be considered as confirmation testing.

    Some additional testing notes:

    NMCL set the limit of 99.9% or Log 3 reduction with the lab before testing began. Each Log level (percent) reduction costs significantly more for testing and is typically not needed.  It boils down to a function of cost vs what levels they believed would be acceptable to customers & dealers. Log 3 (99.9%) reduction is significant and the testing costs are reasonable; that's why they settled on this level.

    You will notice in the test results that most all of the contaminates measured after running through the Black Berkey element, show "less than" as the measured contaminate level left in the water. This means that the actual reduction levels are "greater than" 99.9% - exceeding the target reduction level tested for.

  • Canine Contaminants in our Water: How big a problem is it?

    America is home to many dog lovers, and although they adore their dogs, they often don't love to clean up behind them quite as much. This poses a problem, as dog feces that is not disposed of correctly can get washed into our freshwater systems or leach through soils and contaminate groundwater sources. Dog waste often contains bacteria, some of which are antibiotic-resistant, that can cause people to become ill. Scientists have recently developed a genetic test that will ascertain just how much of the fecal contamination present in our waterways originates from our canine friends.

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    According to an article that was recently published in the American Chemical Society's journal, Environment Science & Technology, our freshwater systems are vulnerable to contamination from many fecal sources, including leaking sewage systems; agricultural sources, such as waste from livestock and manure added to crops to enrich growth; and wildlife droppings. While these sources all contribute an unsavory source of contamination, dog feces poses a particular concern, as it may harbor antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria such as E. coli, as well as parasites that pose a public health risk. Considering that the US is home to around 70 million pet dogs, the threat is substantial.

    Until now, scientists have had limited resources available to determine how much of the pathogens present in freshwater and coastal systems actually originates from domesticated dogs.

    "Current methods look for certain genes from gut bacteria that end up in dog feces", explains Orin Shanks, a co-author of the paper. "However, this is not foolproof — the microbiota of humans and the canine pets they live with often overlap, making the analysis complicated."

    To work around this, the research team set about creating a test that would be more specific and robust, and which would be able to detect fecal contamination originating from canines.

    By identifying 11 genetic markers that were present in most of the canine samples but absent in the human samples, the scientists developed a genetic technique that is able to test water specifically for the presence of canine fecal contaminants. In order to ascertain whether their genetic technique would be viable for monitoring water quality in a real-world situation, they tested water samples that originated from storm water collected from a rain-garden adjacent to an area that is frequented by dog-lovers walking their canine companions. Using this method the scientists successfully detected the same canine markers they identified in the lab as evidence for canine fecal contamination.

    Canine and other sources of fecal contamination in water can contain pathogens that can pose a health risk to you and your family. By filtering your drinking water with a good quality water filter you can successfully remove parasites such as E. coli that could cause you and your loved-ones harm.

    Journal Reference:

    Hyatt C. Green, Karen M. White, Cathy A. Kelty, and Orin C. Shanks. Development of Rapid Canine Fecal Source Identification PCR-Based Assays. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (19), pp 11453–11461. DOI: 10.1021/es502637b

  • 12 Reasons Why We Need to End Water Fluoridation

    With more and more countries choosing not to fluoridate their water, we have to ask why cities across the US still routinely add fluoride to their drinking water supplies. Dr Paul Connett, who is the director of the Fluoride Action Network, and co-author of The Case Against Fluoride, has put together a comprehensive argument supporting the need for citizens who care for their health to challenge this.

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    1.  Fluoride has no nutritional value - the human body does not require fluoride to meet any of its dietary needs.

    2.  Fluoride levels in breast milk is very low. Babies fed with formula made with tap water receive as much as 175-250 times as much fluoride than breast-fed babies.

    3.  Children in countries who fluoridate their water are being over-dosed with fluoride; there is a high incidence of dental fluorosis -- in the US, 41% of children between the age of 12-15 have been diagnosed with dental fluorosis.

    4.  Fluoride is a known toxin -- even low levels of exposure can pose health risks.

    5.  When drinking water is treated with fluoride authorities cannot control the dosage people receive -- everyone who drinks the water is exposed, no matter what their age or weight may be, and regardless of their health status or nutritional needs.

    6.  Adding fluoride to public drinking water equates to forced medication, and violates a basic human right as no consent has been given by each and every individual affected.

    7.  Fluoride that is ingested with drinking water builds up in the calcified tissue within the body and can cause calcium poisoning over time. Victims typically experience symptoms very similar to arthritis, and bones may also become brittle making them prone to fracturing more readily.

    8.  Many countries have opted not to fluoridate their drinking water, and according to WHO, the incidence of tooth decay in children is dropping at the same rate or faster in countries that don't add fluoride to their water compared to countries that do.

    9.  There have never been any randomized control trials conducted that effectively demonstrate that ingesting fluoride will reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.

    10.  There is very little evidence to support the notion that orally ingesting fluoride will prevent dental cavities, and the little evidence there is, is very weak.

    11.  Oral health practitioners around the world agree that the benefits fluoride offers in terms of dental health is achieved through topical application as apposed to systemic absorption of fluoride.

    12.  Fluoridation of drinking water was initiated to combat a disease (dental cavities), yet fluoride has never been officially approved as a drug by the US Food and Drug Administration, who still have it classified as an "unapproved drug".

  • Water Fluoridation: Why is the US still putting its Citizens at Risk?

    Water fluoridation continues to be a contentious health issue, with many disputing the notion that fluoride provides oral health benefits when it is ingested and suggesting that the opposite is true. In fact, due to health, ethical and legal implications, many countries around the world have taken steps to restrict the use of industrialized fluoride, and some have even gone so far as to ban its use completely.

    People who live in countries that still routinely add fluoride to their water have taken fight to the local levels.  Many of these folks have also taken steps to remove this additive from their drinking water with a fluoride water filter to protect their family.

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    The website, Fluoridation.com, provides an insight into the health issues associated with water fluoridation and fluoride ingestion, and also provides a list of countries that have rejected or banned fluoride -- one of these countries is China, which has the highest population in the world. According to Fluoridation.com, only 5% of the world's population fluoridates its water, of which 50% of this statistic is made up of people living in the USA.

    Fluoridation.com also points out that 99% of countries in western Europe have rejected or banned water fluoridation, and many of these countries have ceased adding fluoride to their drinking water. Some cities in Canada and the US have started to follow suit, albeit rather slowly.

    The websites ALThealthWorks.com and Fluoridation.com both provide further information on the countries that have rejected or banned water fluoridation, which include: Austria (does not add 'toxic fluorides'), Belgium (believes people who wish to take fluoride can do so themselves), Denmark, Finland (suggests there are healthier options to prevent tooth cavities), Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan (suggests calcium fluoride rather than sodium fluoride is beneficial, but still requires this to be regulated), Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, as well as certain countries in Africa.

    According to information obtained from the Fluoride Action Network and ALThealthWorks.com, only a handful of European countries still fluoridate their drinking water -- these include: Ireland (73%), the United Kingdom (11%), Spain (11%), Serbia (3%) and Poland (1%).

    Fluoridation of drinking water has been associated with several health issues, including dental fluorosis, an increased risk of cancer, and a reduced IQ in children. Yet many water utilities across the USA still routinely add this contaminant to their drinking water supplies. This contaminated water is then piped to your home, where you and your family are unwittingly exposed to this potentially harmful pollutant. If your water utility routinely adds fluoride to your drinking water, we recommend that you take measures in your own hands to protect your family's health by investing in a good quality drinking water filter that is able to remove this potentially harmful contaminant. By doing so, you will be empowered to have the final say in what you and your family are exposed to via your drinking water.

    As many of our readers are already well aware, the Berkey water filter systems filter out a wide range of drinking water contaminants, with the ability to be fitted with additional PF-2 fluoride filters to remove the fluoride.

  • Hepatitis A: What You Need to Know

    Hepatitis A is the milder form of hepatitis, which causes inflammation of the liver. The infection is caused by a virus, and is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food and beverages.  Water is a common transmission method, and the infection is often seen in places with poor sanitation, such as in developing countries. Regions with the highest rates of hepatitis A include northern and southern Asia, Africa, southern and eastern Europe, and some parts of South America.

    Most people in the US who become infected with hepatitis A, contracted the virus after traveling to a country where the disease is common. Transmission occurs via the stool-to-mouth route, or when a person ingests food or beverages contaminated by human feces carrying the hepatitis A virus (HAV).

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    Infection with hepatitis A, unlike infection with the other types of viral hepatitis (B and C), does not bring about chronic liver disease, and is hardly ever a fatal condition. Its symptoms, however, can be debilitating and include: loss of appetite, malaise, fever, nausea, abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, dark-colored urine, and/or jaundice. Only 10% of children develop jaundice, and those younger than six years often do not exhibit symptoms. More severe symptoms are often experienced by older children and adults; in adults -- at least 70% develop jaundice. Recovery may take several weeks or months, but most do not develop complications.

    In places where hepatitis A outbreaks are common, children are the most at risk of acquiring an HAV infection. Those who have not been infected before, or have not been vaccinated, including travellers to regions where HAV infections occur frequently, are also at risk of contracting the disease. Blood transmission can occur when a needle used by, or on, an infected person to inject drugs is reused by, or on, an uninfected person. Transmission through sexual contact is also possible when the HAV infection is acute. The most common mode of transmission is when food or beverage contaminated with an infected person's faeces is ingested by an uninfected person. In places where water is not treated properly or is contaminated by sewage, waterborne outbreaks are common.

    Treatment of hepatitis A mostly focuses on ensuring comfort, and adequate nutrition of the patient; those who require hospital care receive supportive therapy, including intravenous fluids and pain medications. The majority of people who get infected with HAV recover without complications, within a few weeks. Proper sanitation is also critical to prevent outbreaks. People who have already contracted HAV usually develop lifelong protection against re-infection.

    Vaccines for hepatitis A are readily available worldwide, and those who plan on traveling to high-risk countries should receive proper vaccinations beforehand. It is also advisable to only drink boiled, bottled, filtered, or chemically treated water when traveling in high-risk countries. Tap water should also be avoided when brushing teeth, as should ice cream, juices, unpasteurized milk, and ice from street vendors. Travellers should also avoid eating fruits, raw or undercooked vegetables, shellfish, and any other food that may have come into contact with contaminated water.

    Where tap water is the only water available for drinking and brushing the teeth, boiling the water is most effective way of killing pathogens. Alternatively, a traveler can buy chemical disinfectants and/or a water filter to purify tap water. When traveling in countries with a dubious water supply, we recommend that travelers filter drinking water using a good quality drinking filter such as the Travel Berkey, or a light-weight portable alternative, such as the Go Berkey Kit, which is perfect for travelers. Both these water filters will remove disease causing pathogens, as well as many other types of contaminants that may be lurking in the water and could damage your health.

  • Turbidity can Signify the Presence of Harmful Water Contaminants

    Have you ever wondered why at times the water flowing from your faucet looks so cloudy; and when this happens, are you concerned that it may pose a health risk? The level of cloudiness in drinking water is referred to as turbidity, which in essence is the measurement of relative clarity of water. Water contains suspended particulate matter, such as silt, clay and other particles, which refract light. When there are high levels of particulate matter suspended in the water, light can no longer penetrate into the water, and consequently it appears cloudy.

    How can Turbidity Affect Health?

    Turbidity affects the aesthetic quality of water, and as it does not directly impose any health risks, it is only considered a secondary water contaminant. However, cloudy water could indicate the possibility that other pollutants, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia which do pose a health risk, are present. Turbidity is caused by particles that are held in suspension in water. These particles serve as both a source of food and shelter for microbes. Water that is very turbid can reduce the effect of chemical disinfection treatments used to kill pathogens that may be present in the water. Therefore, it is recommended that if water is to be disinfected effectively, the levels of turbidity should be reduced before treatment.

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    Outbreaks of disease in the past have been attributed to sporadic incidents of high turbidity in water released from water treatment plants. While this association is not conclusive, based on the fact that when the water is turbid, micro-organisms are likely to be present in the water, and some of these micro-organisms can cause health problems, it is highly recommended that the necessary steps are taken to reduce turbidity in drinking water.

    Besides causing health problems, turbidity can also cause other problems in our homes, and in our environment. For instance, turbidity that is caused by inorganic materials can clog pipes, while turbidity stemming from organic materials can cause stains on clothes and other household objects.

    How Turbidity is Measured

    There are different devices that are used to measure turbidity, such as a transparency tube; a secchi disk, which is used to measure turbidity in deeper water; or a turbidity meter, which is an electronic device that is used to measure the clarity of the water. When measuring turbidity, nephelolometric turbidity units are used - as turbidity increases, the NTU also increases. While 1 NTU is the recommended standard turbidity level for drinking water, turbidity will only really be noticeable in water at levels greater than 5 NTU.

    Water Treatment Methods to Improve Water Clarity

    A good quality drinking water filter, such as the Big Berkey fitted with Black Berkey filter cartridges, can remove these suspended solids from your drinking water, producing clear appetizing water for you to drink. The Berkey water filter will not only improve the clarity of the water, but will also remove any pathogens that could be lurking alongside these sediments, to ensure that you and your loved ones suffer no ill side effects should the water be contaminated with other more harmful pollutants.

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