water contamination

  1. A shocking source of Legionnaire's disease

    There's a pathway to disease in your home right now -- an open door that lets germs flow into your food and drink and then directly into your body.

    And if you get sick from this hidden source of disease, you probably won't even realize where it came from.

    It's your own faucet, which is almost certainly overflowing with drugs, chemicals, metals and germs.

    U.S. drinking water is so dirty that nothing I read about it surprises me anymore -- not even a new study that finds ordinary tap water could contain the nasty germs that cause Legionnaire's disease.

    That's a horrific condition that's like the worst case of pneumonia you've ever had: fever, chills, cough, pain and more. It's debilitating and even deadly.

    And according to the new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the bacteria responsible Legionnaire's for this horrific disease could be lurking in the drinking water in as much as a third of all U.S. homes.

    Obviously, what's in the water isn't enough to make you sick in most cases. If it were, a third of the country would be at death's door by now.

    But if your or someone in your home is sick already, suffering from a weakened immune system or just susceptible to illness, this is a real concern.

    And it's hardly the only problem with your drinking water.

    U.S. treatment facilities can't keep up with everything turning up in the water -- including drugs (legal ones, such as antibiotics, as well as illicit ones such as cocaine), metals (aluminum, lead, mercury and more), bacteria and more.

    To help make up for the shortcomings of those treatment plants, they dump chlorine into the water -- but the chlorine itself is toxic, and in some places they use so much of it that a glass of "drinking" water smells like it came out of a swimming pool.

    Drink only filtered water -- and don't settle for the ones that attach to a pitcher or your faucet.

    There are just two systems that can filter out everything: reverse osmosis and water distillation. A reverse-osmosis filter attaches beneath your sink or outside your home, while a distiller sits on your countertop.

    Either one will set you back a few hundred bucks. Consider it money well spent.

  2. Water tests expose contaminants across U.S.

    Dangerous chemicals found in drinking water

    In some countries, you turn on the tap and brown muck oozes out -- and it's immediately obvious the water isn't safe to drink and may be contaminated water.

    Here in the United States, the water usually looks pretty good, but don't let that fool you.

    It's not safe.

    In many parts of the nation, our water is every bit as dirty as the brown muck -- with one new study of contaminated water finding at least 134 different chemicals, bacteria, viruses and microbes in our drinking water.

    Some of them are rare, but many are shockingly common -- with 18 dangerous and completely unregulated compounds found in a third of the water sampled.

    The list includes an antidepressant drug, two industrial solvents, an herbicide, the antibacterial chemical triclosan, the metal strontium and nearly a dozen perfluorinated compounds.

    PFCs, as they're known, are some of the most dangerous water contaminants of all, linked to disease even at very low levels of exposure. One of them, PFOA, has been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease and more. Another, PFOS, has been linked to thyroid disease in men and developmental problems in children.

    But since they're unregulated, they're allowed in your water. You could be drinking PFC Punch, and it would be considered "safe" by U.S. government standards.

    The EPA claims it may update those standards this year and regulate at least some PFCs, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

    Any action they take (assuming they take any at all) will be too little, too late -- because there are now hundreds, maybe thousands, of other unregulated and potentially dangerous compounds in the water -- including drugs, hormones, fuel residue and more.

    So don't wait for the government to act. If you want safe and not contaminated water for yourself and your family, invest in a quality water filter.

    Forget the filter pitchers and the little attachments that screw onto your faucet. They're wildly popular, I know, but they do little to remove the worst contaminants.

    I recommend either a reverse osmosis system or a water distiller. Either one will set you back a few hundred dollars, and some systems (especially a larger reverse osmosis system) will cost even more.

    But they're worth every penny, because you'll get something priceless in return: truly clean water.

  3. Arsenic in water linked to heart disease

    Exposure to arsenic in drinking water can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and death, according to new research.
  4. Chlorine in water linked to food allergies

    New research shows that chlorine in the water -- from both pesticides and water chlorination -- could be responsible for some of the rise in food allergies.
  5. Tap water can contain stomach-wrecking bacteria

    A fifth of all stomach illnesses in the nation may be caused by nasty bacteria lurking in your tap water.
  6. Tap water can turn deadly

    U.S. drinking water is often loaded with contaminants – and in Louisiana, two people are dead because of a brain-eating amoeba in their water.
  7. Autism linked to toxins in the water

    New research shows that common drug residues found in drinking water may cause autism in at-risk kids.
  8. Bacteria at the beach

    A new study finds that even beaches widely believed to be sparkly clean could be swimming with sickening bacteria.

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