Looking for Chlorine Alternatives to Disinfect Your Pool? Read On! We dealt with water filtration and purity in our last post. This time, we’re going to tackle chlorine alternatives. Water is vital for life, and it’s important that it be as pure as possible. Hopefully uou have some sort of filtration system in place. If […]
Water Filtration is Necessary for Clean Water
“It is estimated that there are over 85,000 possible contaminants in the water supply. Of these thousands of contaminants, water municipalities test for only roughly 120.”
~ Article in Healing Our World, a publication by the Hippocrates Health Institute
We’re talking about clean water. H2O. Pure aqua. It’s a necessity for life. And there are tens of thousands of possible contaminants potentially present in the water that reaches your home. Municipalities who supply water test for only 120 of those substances. That’s less than two tenths of one percent. Let that sink in. Water may be “tested” to be safe by your water treatment facility for those 120 items, but what about the other 84,880 contaminants?
If you are concerned about your health (and you should be!), filtering your tap water is an easy and cost effective way to decrease illness and increase wellness.
We often have clients ask why certain water filtration methods are not recommended. Many of you have heard about filtration methods or your health care practitioner has recommended a particular method. This article will be a good start toward helping you understand the different methods of water filtration and why we recommend ours over other popular methods. The methods we will discuss today include reverse osmosis, distillation, and our custom filtration.
About Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is the process of using high pressure to force water through a semi-permeable membrane. It is very effective in removing dissolved salts, minerals, bacteria, and pyrogens. Its pores will block large molecular structures but more dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water and may pass through. Additionally, because it strips the water of natural minerals that your body needs, it can actually leach minerals from your body (this is also the case with distillation, below). Finally, it wastes a large portion of water that runs through the system and is a very slow process facilitating the need for a holding tank especially if used for whole house filtration.
Distillation is like evaporation: water is heated to create steam and as the steam separates from the contaminants, it leaves the contaminants behind. This process removes contaminants that have a higher boiling point than water, which includes a majority of issues. It will reliably remove bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and minerals. However, there are some chemicals that have a lower boiling point than water (such as chlorine) and it will not remove those. That being said, this is our second favorite water filtration method because it is very effective at removing harmful substances from your water. However, it will also remove the healthy minerals (as discussed above) and, this is an incredibly slow method. It can take several hours to provide one gallon of clean water. This renders distillation nearly impossible to use for whole house filtration.
Custom Filtration: A Better Option for Clean Water
Our point-of-entry whole house customized filtration targets all the water entering your home so that you don’t have to bathe or brush your teeth in contaminated water. We do not sell you an “off the shelf” system. First we ask you to fill out a questionnaire regarding your needs and any health issues. Second, we obtain the water report from your local water treatment facility to check what issues there are with your water. Generally, at point of entry, you will have a carbon tank to remove chlorine, chloramines and their by-products (called THMs and HAAs). This will reduce these contaminants by at least 98%. Industrial chemicals are reduced by 80 – 95%. We can add heavy metal removing media to remove fluoride, arsenic, lead, copper, chromium and most other heavy metals by 80 – 90%. This will clean the water very effectively for bathing, brushing your teeth, etc. Then, additional filtration is placed at your kitchen sink (ceramic and other upgrades depending on your specific needs) for drinking and cooking which will further reduces, chemicals, parasites, VOCs, metals, and bacteria. Best of all, our kitchen sink filtration removes an incredible 99% of fluoride from your drinking water! This approach provides you with some of the cleanest, healthiest water possible.
What About Water Filtration for Businesses?
Lets talk for a minute specifically about commercial filtration. We are happy to see in recent years many offices and businesses providing water bottle filling stations. This is fantastic because research shows that if we have access to drinking water, we will drink more water. However, did you know, these stations use the word “filtered” but in most cases they are only filtering out only one thing such as lead? We feel this is misleading, but in building biology we feel any attempt to be healthier is progress worth celebrating. At least these stations are helping us to drink more water.
Vital Spaces offers not only systems for your home; we also offer systems for offices and businesses including commercial water bottling stations that offer excellent filtration!
We are a little obsessed at the moment with creating a healthier office environment.
Yes, its true: We’re obsessed with offices. In fact, so excited we can barely stand it. Did you know health is no longer something you pursue before or after work? That’s right, health can be obtained while you work. Are we loving the relationship between building biology and workplaces? You bet we are. It’s like getting married, except the marriage is between work and health. And the great news is, more research is being done to show the relationship between buildings and health (check out McGraw Hill Construction’s Smart Market report on how buildings affect health). If you are interested in higher productivity and employee satisfaction while reducing sick days, keep reading.
Lets talk about all the ways to make an office or workplace healthy.
Whether it’s new construction or renovation, you can ensure all the building materials and products used will not “toxify” the environment with a lot of off-gassing. In many situations an air flush (forcing air through a new construction building prior to occupancy) could be beneficial. And while we are on products, cleaning products will inhibit good air quality faster than most anything else. So once you make it healthy, don’t ruin it with unhealthy cleaning products. The healthy ones are everywhere, so that’s easy. Let’s also ensure there is not only a smoking ban inside, but one outside as well. Throw in some upgraded air filtration (or at least an individual unit in areas where there are machines like copiers which pollute the air), and your air will be much cleaner. A recent Harvard study showed that cognitive function and response rates are much increased with improved air quality.
The stuff is necessary for life. Research shows we humans still aren’t drinking enough of it; and particularly enough clean and healthy water. Research also shows people will drink more water if its easily accessed. Solution: place healthy filtered water stations at regular intervals.
Did you know lighting is one of the biggest ways your circadian system is regulated? The circadian rhythm is the biological mechanism for regulating the cycle of sleep and activity. Proper lighting, glare control, and exposure to daylight can dramatically influence eyestrain and productivity. It will also decrease eye related health issues such as headaches.
Exercise at work? Yep, you heard that right. We love incorporating walking and cycling desks. Why not burn more than three times the calories of sitting? Even a standing desk is better than sitting all day. Or, go ahead, ride your bike to work. Many offices are equipped with showers and bike racks. Maybe you are lucky and there is a gym in the office so you can grab a workout during lunch. Yoga classes onsite? Sure, healthy employees are more productive employees. If the above options are not present, at least take the stairs. Six flights a day is enough to offset the average annual weight gain.
Admittedly, this is a little more difficult to control with the demand of WiFi and other technologies. However, you can ensure workers are as far away as possible from routers and offices are not located adjacent to mechanical rooms. And did you know, a hard-wired system is more reliable for that super jazzed up conference room you use to impress your clients?
Work spaces are opened up. Gone are the days of the private office. Collaboration is key so work spaces are designed with more comfortable groupings to encourage teamwork. This is fantastic because we all know teamwork creates success and mental stimulation. Remember, the healthiest happiest societies are those where people are more (and more often) relational. You need a minute to revitalize? No problem, lets incorporate a meditation room. 15 minutes and you are nearly as good as new. Many offices also offer seminars about sleep support, stress management, or nutrition.
Are there onsite food options? Perfect! But lets be sure vending machines are free and clear of unhealthy items and plenty of fruits and veggies are accessible. Maybe there is a coffee bar. We suggest offering hot tea and healthy juices as a complement to the typical coffee with cream and sugar.
Ahhhhhhhh… so many fun ways to make an office healthier. Are you trying to recruit the best talent or the next generation of workers? A more collaborative, healthier office could be a key component. And why wait? In the future this will be the norm. Work, home, play, live — the lines are getting blurry. And that is music to our ears.
Mold Affects Indoor Air Quality
As building biologists, we take mold very seriously. The air quality of a home or office cannot be ideal if there is mold present. Just the other day in an office with PTAC units (the type of AC unit you see in hotel rooms), we asked the maintenance person to remove the cover, and…YIKES! The units had not been cleaned in quite some time and there was quite a bit of mold. Of course no one would see the mold since it was covered, but it was most definitely affecting the office air quality.
No one should have to breathe that kind of mold accumulation. If you have allergies, sinus problems, respiratory illnesses, or headaches, exposure to the mold could make you miserable. Or worse, if you are sensitive to mold, it could be causing major illness.
Why Is It Harmful to Air Quality?
Mold is highly toxic to humans. It releases mycotoxins (chemicals the mold releases to defend its territory) and mold volatile organic compounds/MVOCs (gases released by actively growing mold) so it packs a double whammy. Mold looks awful. But it’s not just sitting there looking bad — it is a living organism that is actively spreading toxins. And you are breathing them.
Where Do We Find Mold Growing?
Mold grows anywhere there is moisture: showers, front-loading washing machines, inside walls, inside HVAC systems, closets, etc. And, as a side note, if you have a pet who has ever urinated on your carpet, there is a high possibility mold is growing underneath the spot where the accident occurred.
OK, I Have Mold. Now What?
Don’t worry — it’s pretty common, but you can (and should!) do a few things to minimize your exposure and your risk.
- Be sure to keep the moisture low in your home or office. Fix a leak immediately (mold starts growing in 24–48 hours), and clean up excess water.
- Monitor indoor humidity. It should be between 40% and 60%, anything higher is contributing to mold growth. A properly functioning air conditioning system should be removing humidity so these levels are attained.
- Clean it up. Safely. As for cleaning up the mold, please do not use bleach. It is highly toxic and spreads mold spores. Use these natural cleaners:
- Tea tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle.
- Food grade hydrogen peroxide mixed with water in a spray bottle (this is our preference but take note — if it gets on your hands it may cause white spots but its harmless and goes away quickly)
- Borax and water paste. Spread it on and leave overnight; then rinse in the morning.
Vital Spaces wants you to have healthy air quality in both your home and office.
Join Us for a Shaklee Reset
On a different note, want to do a little holiday prep to ensure the season is better enjoyed? Join us for a Shaklee Reset November 7–11. A reset will help you jump start weight loss, overcome cravings, and balance & regulate your hormones. It can also realign your true appetite, boost metabolism, enhance digestion, bring radiance to eyes and skin and increases focus, clarity, and energy. Need we say more?
A simple Reset can be done with only Shaklee’s Life Shake and a multi vitamin but if you want to make it a true cleanse, these products are recommended:
Have a Happy Fall!
Did you know the toxins in water could be destroying your health?
Do you really need water purification? Should you even be thinking about it? If you haven’t considered water purification in the past, I hope you will after learning about all the toxins and chemicals that are added to your water, something so vitally important that most would die in a mere three days without it. Water treatment plants are not intended for purification; instead, powerful (and very dangerous) chemicals are added to disinfect the water. Read on.
In addition to industrial chemicals, things like heavy metals, chlorine, trace levels of heart medication, pain relievers, anti-convulsants, and other pharmaceuticals have been detected in drinking water across the United States. And it’s widespread that fluoride, an active ingredient in rat poison (yes, you heard that correctly), is added to water to protect against tooth decay. Sadly, proven research shows that fluoride works topically, not systemically. Even though tooth decay has decreased in the last 50 years, tooth decay has also decreased in countries where fluoride is not added to water. Fluoride is known to cause harm to brains in the way of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and lowered IQ. This damage is often untreatable and permanent.
Sure, tap water tastes okay in most cases, but research indicates there are over 500 different types of toxic chemicals in the U.S. water supply at any given time. Increasingly, common toxins in water include MTBE, a gasoline additive and perchlorate, a chemical found in both fertilizers and explosives. Perchlorate is particularly harmful to the thyroid of children and affects brain development. Chlorine, the disinfectant of choice for treatment facilities, is linked to cancer and heart disease among other illnesses. The crazy news is: it creates far more toxins than it eliminates, specifically trihalomethanes (THM’s), which increase bladder and colorectal cancer.
The things added to and found in water will weaken your immune system at minimum, and in addition to the above health effects, it can interfere with your nervous system and damage your cardiovascular and renal systems. We could go on but I think you get the message. The answer is yes, you really need water purification. It is definitely a necessity … if you want to live healthy, that is.
As certified building biologists, Vital Spaces has found the best purification available. We offer custom water purification for the whole house, whole building, or individual units.