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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Although it is not really the new kid on the block, public awareness of giardia, and giardiasis, has become more pronounced in recent years. Giardia is a protozoan, which is actually a very tiny animal, and it is quite happy to take up residence in your intestines. Giardia moves by means of flagella and will breed in the small intestine, causing symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, repulsive burps, cramps, and dehydration.
   
Contaminated water is the easiest way to acquire a giardia infection, and while it is much more common in less developed nations, the United States has its share of giardiasis, too. For years, beavers were blamed for spreading giardia as the percentage of infected beavers was high. However, further research has now shown that beavers and other animals pick up giardiasis from humans. Wild animals inhabiting areas downstream of camp grounds are heavily infected with giardia.
   
Giardia has two forms, the active, swimming form, which is called a trophozoite and a tough cyst. Both forms are passed in the stool, but usually only the cyst survives to cause trouble with another living organism. If a cyst is swallowed in water, it will migrate to the small intestine and ‘hatch’ into a trophozoite. Trophozoites reproduce by the simple process of splitting in half. Trophozoites absorb food from the contents of the intestine, and eventually move down into the large intestine where most of them will become cysts, ready to be passed on to another victim.

Treating and Preventing Giardiasis
   
Not everyone who swallows a giardia cyst will actually become ill, and these people can become carriers without even knowing it. Those who do become ill will usually get over the infection in a week or two, although antibiotic treatment can also be used to help the body return to health more quickly. Anyone who is ill to the point of dehydration should see a physician immediately.
   
Both camping expeditions in the wilderness and travel overseas can heighten your chances of becoming ill with giardiasis. However, securing a safe water supply is easy as long as you treat your water before drinking it. Water purification tablets that are iodine based have been found to be effective for killing giardia cysts as long as the cysts are exposed to the iodine for half an hour. Chlorine tablets are not considered to be reliable at eliminating giardia and should not be used for this purpose.
   
Other than boiling your water, the best option available for removing cysts is to use a water filter designed to remove pathogens. Whether you choose a camp filter that will be hung up to use gravity, or one that actively pumps water, always be sure that you check the specifications to be certain that giardia cysts will be filtered out. Bottle filters and countertop gravity filters are also good choices when camping or traveling and by simply putting your drinking water, from whatever source, through the filter you will be assured that what you drink will not make you ill.

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by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Radon is a gas that is released when rocks and soil containing thorium or uranium decay. These two radioactive elements are found in tiny amounts everywhere in the United States, and the radon gas that they release has neither taste nor odor. Most homes contain some radon gas, it is nearly inevitable, but it is radon’s concentration in the air that can cause problems. Radon is considered to be the second greatest cause of lung cancer, which means that people who have never smoked a cigarette in their lives are also susceptible to this disease.

You may well be wondering why radon has anything to do with water at all, since it’s a gas, not a fluid or particulate solid, but radon can cause problems with water, too. Because radon is constantly being released, some of it will inevitably find its way into water. If you get your water from an ‘open’ water source, such as municipal water from reservoirs, lakes, rivers, or streams, there will be no radon problem. Open surface water simply allows the radon to be released harmlessly into the atmosphere.

Those who have well water, however, could be facing a radon problem. Because well water has been confined beneath the ground, there has been no way for radon to off gas – that is not until it reaches your taps. As soon as you turn on the kitchen or bathroom taps, you are introducing radon into your home. Radon gas will leave the confines of the water and circulate throughout your home, exposing you and your family to possibly serious health effects. Most of the health problems caused by radon are long in developing, which can leave you unaware that you even have a problem at all.

Getting Rid of Radon

As about 15% of American households depend upon well water, about 50 million people are being exposed every day to dangerous radon gas from their drinking, cooking, and bathing water. However, there are ways to deal with radon gas so that it will be trapped and prevented from entering the home air supply.

Water filters are the answer to radon off gassing in homes. Granulated activated charcoal is a magnet for radon and passing your drinking water through charcoal will render your home safe from radon gas. The most effective carbon filters will, of course, be whole house filters which will prevent radon from being released anywhere in the home. The filters must be changed periodically to keep them effective.

Undersink or countertop filters that attach directly to the faucet are also very good at removing radon. If you want to prevent any radon from entering your home, always keep the unit filtering water, rather than using the diverter switch. It would be far better to change the filters more frequently than to allow the release of radon into your living space.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
A kidney stone “attack”, when one of the tiny accretions slips down to temporarily block the tubes connecting your kidney to your bladder, is about the closest to an exact opposite of fun as can be found in this world. The pain persists for hours, sometimes days, and can be intense enough to cause vomiting and uncontrollable writhing.
   
Even at their most polite, kidney stones are unwelcome guests, causing assorted aches and pains and requiring expensive treatments to remove them. Though there are many causes for kidney stones, one possible source of these nasty little renal maces is excessive mineral and sediment content in your water. Minerals in solution can accumulate into stones in your kidneys when these perform their natural role of filtration – which is why a good reverse osmosis water filter can be useful in areas with high mineral content in the drinking water supply.
   
Drinking ample water (though not enough to cause you to float away) is one of the key methods of preventing kidney stones, and of keeping them from growing if you already have them. However, if you have hard water, it can raise the risk of stones calcifying in your kidneys, and is especially likely to cause recurrence of stones after they've been removed if surgical removal is necessary.
   
“Hard water” is water with a high mineral content. This mineral “contamination” occurs naturally in certain regions and can only be avoided by living where softer water is present. However, a good reverse osmosis filter removes approximately 90% to 95% of minerals, enough to greatly soften the water and remove any risk that drinking liquids will cause kidney stones.
   
Reverse osmosis water filters operate on a simple principle, although plenty of science and technology goes into designing them correctly. Most reverse osmosis filters require water pressure to operate – that is, they must be hooked up to a home's water pipes, rather than operating by gravity feed. The water pressure forces the fluid through a membrane that allows only water to pass while blocking most dissolved salts, minerals, and other contaminants.
   
Only cold water can be filtered properly by reverse osmosis, so the filter is hooked into the cold water supply running to a sink. The filter features a storage tank, often of several gallons capacity, and a drain line that connects to the drain pipe that draws grey water away from the sink basin. Not all of the water is forced through the membrane – a fraction of it is sent out the drain line to flush the blocked contaminants away.
   
Reverse osmosis water filters are “serious” water filters, since they are installed directly into the water piping system running to your kitchen sink. However, their filtration of contaminants in solution is second to none for those who need to get excessive mineral loads out of their water – such as those who want to keep their kidney stones from returning for a second act.


by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Everyone has an interest in keeping the Earth's environment as clean and functional as possible, since all people live on the planet and depend on it for their comfort and survival. While it is true that we are often forced to take shortcuts in daily life that are less than ecologically sound, due to constraints of time, money, and convenience, getting a water filter is a method that improves your health and well-being, is more convenient, and is good for the environment, too.
   
In the absence of a good water filter, you have basically two options only. To drink the water straight from the tap, or to drink bottled water, are the only alternatives to filtering water for your consumption. Drinking straight from the tap puts no additional burdens on the environment, but does put you at risk in both the short and long term.
   
Drinking bottled water, as many people do, as a solution to the risks of waterborne pollutants, carries its own share of risks and downsides. Though controversial, there is some evidence that BPA and other plastic chemicals leach out of the bottles into the water they contain. This acts like estrogen, disrupting the hormonal systems of people who drink more than an occasional bottle of the contaminated water.

The effects of bottled water production
   
Production and transportation of bottled water is itself environmentally catastrophic. The water is pumped out of lakes and aquifers which also keep important areas of agricultural land watered, increasing the risk that large swaths of vitally needed farmland will eventually dry up and become arid or semi-arid (as happened near the Aral Sea when the Soviets pumped it dry to grow fields of cotton). The low water levels of the Great Lakes may be partly due to bottled water production.
   
Manufacturing water bottles uses up petroleum, releases carbon dioxide, and adds more chemicals to the environment. Even worse, water is extremely heavy, so large amounts of fossil fuels are burned moving bottled water to its destination. This is particularly unfortunate because the water is used up almost instantly after being bought, meaning that the carbon footprint of each swallow of bottled water the buyer takes is enormous.

Garbage and plastic islands
   
Landfills are full of the empty, transparent husks of discarded water bottles, adding to waste disposal problems. Furthermore, many bottles are thrown from car windows, discarded on the ground, or tossed into a nearby watercourse when emptied.
   
These bottles often find their way to the ocean along the river system, where they disintegrate into flakes or chips. These form floating “islands” of plastic which damage the ocean ecosystem, kill fish (that humans may need for food) and birds, and inflict various other damage on the environment.

Water filters to the rescue
   
Though water filters certainly aren't a perfect solution, since they, too, are made of plastic and must be moved to their final destination, they are hundreds of times more ecologically efficient (and don't fill your water with estrogen equivalents, either). A water filter lasts for years, perhaps decades, and may be partly made of metal in any case. A miniscule amount of plastic is used to make the filter, compared to the equivalent in water bottles.
   
Though the cartridges need to be replaced, this is also infrequent, and the environmental footprint is much lower. Water is brought to the filter by pipe from the local water utility, rather than being pumped from crucial aquifers, lakes, or rivers and then transported for hundreds or thousands of miles by rail and truck. The water itself is higher quality and much safer to drink – underlining how superior water filters are both for you and the environment.


by: Chris Tracey

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