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C - Is for Contaminants in Water

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While children need water as much or more than adults, it is important to remember that they are also more vulnerable to contaminants found in tap water. Unfortunately, much of today’s tap water is host to any number cancer-causing chemicals, mercury, and other substances.

According to an EPA audit published USA To day (9/2/99), nearly 90% of all violations of the Safe Drinking the government data base that alerts consumers and triggers legal action when water systems don’t meet federal health standards.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead. I first became aware of lead in drinking water when I had the water in my home tested 15 years ago. To my surprise, we had over twice the allowable level of lead. The government sets an action level of 15 parts per billion. In reality, no level of lead is safe. Our home had 32 parts per billion, which set me on a search for a quality filter.

Lead in drinking water can lead to a variety of serious problems for children—anemia, hyperactivity, irritability, learning disorders,muscle and joint pain, behavior problems, headaches, and even hearing loss.

Pesticides and chlorine related disinfection by-products may also pose serious risks to children, including cancer and other illnesses that may not become apparent for years. Chlorinated drinking water is also linked to an increase in miscarriages and birth defects.  Because infants and young children drink so much, these toxins are especially harmful to them.

A baby who consumes only formula or breast milk takes in about one-seventh of its body weight in water each day, equal to about three gallons for an adult.   The majority of contaminants—including lead—also pass through breast milk.

You should consider purchasing a good water filter to make sure your water is protecting your child, rather than harming him. Consult NSF International (1-800-NSF-MARK or for a listing of water filters which lists the contaminants they are certified to reduce.  Look under Standard 53 – Health Effects – for filters that reduce contaminants of health concern.  A solid carbon block filter reduces the broadest range of contaminants.  If you purchase a filter that is not NSF-certified, you have not guarantee that the manufacturer's claims are true.

People buy drinking water treatment systems for many reasons, and many buy a system simply to improve the taste of their water.  However, to protect your family, you'll want a system that will reduce harmful contaminants like lead, Cryptosporidium, pesticides, herbicides, and volatile organic chemicals.  With the NSF certification is your guarantee that the manufacturer's claims are true.

NSF is a non-profit testing lab which is recognized by the EPA to rest and certify water filters. 

When NSF certifies a filter, you can be assured that:

  • The contaminant reduction claims are true.
  • The system is not adding anything harmful to the water.
  • The system is structurally sound.
  • Advertising, literature, and labeling are not misleading.
  • The materials and manufacturing process don't change.
NSF comes unannounced twice each year to the manufacturing facility to make sure that all systems are in compliance.

With the water getting worse all over the country, the filtration industry is booming.  Unfortunately, many systems only reduce chlorine and not contaminants.

As of February 12, 2008, of the 5,365 filters that were NSF-certified to reduce all combinations of contaminants (cysts, lead, mercury, asbestos, MTBE, VOCs, PCBs, chlramine, and arsenic V).  All 20 systems are made by Multi-Pure Corporation. (

It's as easy as saying the ABC's!  Children need lots of contaminant-free water every day.  Help your child stay healthy, active, and learning by keeping him or her well-hydrated.

The ABC's of a Well-Hydrated Child by Deanna Delong is reprinted by permission

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