As British Columbians’, we are fortunate to enjoy relatively clean, mountain spring water. However, with industrial pollution, rising pharmaceutical prescriptions, plastic products, contamination of arsenic and even rocket fuel in our soil – our water is at risk for contamination. As a doctor, I strongly believe that pure water is an essential element to staying healthy, next to a clean diet and an active lifestyle.

In April 2009, Health Canada initiated a research study into the quality of our drinking water. Sixty water treatment facilities are under review across the country and more than 100 different water quality parameters are being analyzed over two years (2009 & 2010). Some of the parameters measured include a variety of disinfection by-products (54 in total), some new and emerging contaminants (e.g., selected pharmaceuticals, personal care products, Bisphenol A, etc.), various inorganic substances, and general water quality. These results will not be released until 2011. You can read more regarding this research at www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Bottled Water & What We Know:
Up to 40% of bottled water is actually bottled tap water that may or may not be treated and filtered. Bottled water can contain chlorine and fluoride – chemicals proven to have deleterious effects in the body. The plastic used for bottled water is commonly polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – this material potentially leaches bisphenol A, antimony and other toxins into your water and then into your body – causing hormone havoc! All of this, in addition to the insult we place on our environment with landfills and oceans filling up on non-biodegradable plastic. If you must drink water out of a plastic bottle, turn it over and make sure it’s a #2, #4 or #5 – these are known not to leach harmful substances.

Other Concerns:
Reverse osmosis (RO) system, although not a bad idea, isn’t suited for Vancouver water. RO can be costly, makes water acidic, de-structures water, and can requiring up to 5 litres of water to produce 1 clean litre. However, RO may be the way to go in Kelowna, and certain systems offer RO where there is zero water waste during the process.
Brita and Pur – although inexpensive and good at removing chlorine – breed bacteria and leach aluminum.
Don’t forget the water you shower with! Our skin is our largest organ and often times, the relaxed, ready-to-go-to-sleep feeling we have after a bath or shower may be directly related to the sedating effects of chlorine. So I would recommend seriously considering a shower filter that often comes with many filtration packages.

Tap Water in BC – Ohh My!
Scratch what I said earlier about drinking relatively clean water. Known water contaminants in the greater Vancouver and Kelowna areas may contain the following hazards:

  • Chlorine – a biological poison
  • Trihalomethanes – (THM’s) and Haloacetic acids (HAA’s)
  • Cryptosporidium and Giardia – Parasitic cysts that cause intestinal and immune systems disorders.
  • Lead (especially in homes built prior to 1991) Not found in the water supply itself, but introduced into water from pipe fittings and plumbing fixtures containing lead

Even more contaminants exist if you live near agricultural land, pulp or paper mills and other industries.

I highly recommend the 2 following local options for Vancouverites:

  • For Filtrations Systems visit: www.yourwatermatters.com
  • For Alkaline Water visit: www.ionways.com
  • For Kelowna residents, visit: www.vitalwaters.ca

Remember – You are what you breathe, drink, eat and think!

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