Water and Health

by W.J. Rea, MD

The health benefits of quality water are clear. Studies around the world have shown that individuals who drink hard magnesium water live longer and have less chronic disease and fewer heart attacks. Those who do have heart attacks in these areas tend to have fewer fatal ones.

Water is hard if it contains high levels of calcium or magnesium. At the EHC-Dallas, we believe individuals should not drink water that has passed through a water softener. The water will have little calcium or magnesium and lots of sodium. This is a set up for coronary heart disease.

Not only is clean drinking water important to maintaining health, also important is using uncontaminated water for bathing and showering. Pollutants can be absorbed through the skin via direct contact with bath water, and they can be breathed in as the hot water volatizes some chemicals and releases them into the shower’s steam.

The sources of household water used for drinking and bathing are springs, lakes, reservoirs, wells, and rain cisterns. Although clean at one time in the history of the planet, many of these sources are now polluted—the result both of population growth and of a lack of public policies to ensure water quality.

One might think that rain water, at least, is pure, but it is not. Studies at the EHC-Dallas show that rain water is contaminated with all kinds of organic chemicals, especially from car exhausts in cities, from pesticides in rural areas, and from chemicals in refining areas. The particles go into the air and then coalesce with moisture, producing contaminated rain that can become toxic. One of the far-reaching effects of this contaminated rain is that it then becomes the water for our crops, thus making 100% pure food difficult to grow.

Contamination of water sources in the South is exacerbated by organic and inorganic pollution originating in the north. Water pollution that begins in rivers and spreads to tributaries and streams increases as it travels south. Thus, those people in St. Louis whose drinking water originates in the top of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, for example, will receive water harboring the pollutants it has picked up as it travels south through the upper Midwest and those living in New Orleans will receive water contaminated by pollutants from all of the middle United States as the Mississippi River completes its course in Louisiana.

Although water is essential for health, it seems obvious that accessing clean water can be difficult. In addition to harboring manmade contaminants, many water sources may also contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites. City water, for example, frequently contains bacteria and viruses, while mountain water may contain parasites. Colorado mountain stream water often contains parasites such as giardia, which come from the wastes of wild animals and domestic sheep.

Community efforts to provide safe public water supplies can make water quality worse. Both chlorine and fluoride can contaminate water by forming trihalmethane, which is one of the most toxic substances found in water.

The best way to acquire decontaminated water is to filter it with ceramic carbon, to distill it, or to store water gotten from springs in glass bottles. If one chooses to use filtration, we suggest a whole house filter plus a kitchen filter. This series helps remove most contaminants. Filters must be of steel, ceramic, and carbon in order to insure removal of toxic hydrocarbons, pesticides, bacteria, and virus, etc. Plastic housings of the filters can produce contamination as these may leach chemicals directly into the water, making it harmful to human health.

Distilled water is the worst of the "good" waters because some toxic hydrocarbons have a boiling point almost the same as water. Therefore, some of the hydrocarbons will spill into the distilled water. In addition, one must use an all glass or steel filter or those with rubber and plastic parts will contaminate the distilled water. Those people with sensitivities to minerals do well with distilled water.

Ozonation and boiling are better methods to decontaminate water.

Lead, vinyl, asbestos, and copper pipes can contaminate water. Ceramic piping is the safest, but it may be difficult to obtain. Copper piping is the safest of the more commonly available pipes.

There are numerous spring waters from around the world that can provide excellent drinking water. Those with high magnesium content are the best because magnesium protects the heart and cardiovascular system. However, when purchasing spring water, one must remember that it is safest when stored only in glass containers. Plastic bottles contaminate good spring water by leaching phthlates, which can damage the liver, and bis-o-phenol, which is a known carcinogen, into the water stored in them. Mt. Valley and Evian are two of the best waters tested at the EHC-Dallas.

The following two case reports emphasize the importance of water and its contaminants. The first, a 60-year-old female with crippling arthritis, had no problems with her home or food or accessing clean water. We tested her for 4 days, using clean spring water. Her arthritis disappeared. Introduction of contaminated air and food did not affect her. However, reintroduction of water from her well resulted in a recurrence of her arthritic symptoms. Since changing her water to glass-bottled spring and filtered water, she has had years with no new symptoms.

The second case is of a young physical therapist who at 43 years developed uncontrollable heart irregularities, supraventricular tachycardia. All medications failed and he not only became incapacitated, but also his life was constantly threatened. He was placed in the environmentally controlled area of our hospital, where he was then fasted and given our intravenous solution. After 4 days on oxygen, his symptoms cleared. All water gave him heart irregularities. Challenge with phenol caused the arrhythmia. This substance is a natural contaminant from vegetation. Finally, an ultra pure spring water that was filtered did not cause arrhythmias. This patient has been well without medication for 10 years, enjoying a vigorous life.

It is clear that good water equals good health. Be sure to find and use it.