The Right Water Filter Can Save Your Family's Health

Here's proof that with the right water filter, the safest and best tasting water can be had right at home and installation of an effective filter is easier and cheaper than you think.

We'll show you why a home water filter may be the best protection for your family from e-coli, chlorine, fluoride, cryptosporidium, arsenic, mercury, viruses, PCB's and on and on...

It's a sad fact of modern life that we must worry about the quality of something as essential as water. The tragic deaths and illness caused by drinking from the Municipal water supply in Walkerton, Ontario strikes too close to home for me. Had everyone been using a home water filter, this frightening situation could have been avoided. Unsafe water is obviously not just a third world problem.

Don't think that buying a drinking bottled water is a good alternative to tap water. I'll bet you didn't know that about 1/4 of bottled water sold in stores is bottled tap water! That and the fact that most of the small plastic bottles water is sold in are made of non-food grade plastic. That means that carcinogenic chemicals could be in the water by absorption from the container. And don't get me talking on the subject of all the non-degrading plastic bottles that end up in ditches and landfill sites.

You are far better off health-wise, financially and environmentally by installing a water filter system in your home for everyday use and simply filling a kleen kanteen or other, non-plastic container to take with you for the day.

Different filters are designed for removing different contaminants from your drinking water. Choosing the best water filter at a reasonable cost for home use can be a little tricky.

Carafe style water filters:

Carafe style water filters, that you fill and store in the fridge for drinking are very common and generally effective only for removal of chlorine and lead. To be effective they must be maintained, which means changing the filter every 2 weeks. Most people don't do this. They will definitely make your water taste better, but if your water source has other contaminants, it won't be successful at removing them, so don't rely on this as an answer to all water purification needs.

Carbon filters:

Carbon filters are commonly used and will remove bad tastes and odors, including chlorine but they don't do well on total dissolved solids or heavy metals. There are two types of carbon filter systems. The first is activated granular carbon and the second is solid block carbon. These systems have a long service life and include removal of up to 95% of VOCs, TOCs, chlorine, sediment and filtration down to 1 micron. Most often, this is the type of filtration method used in tap filters.

Ion Exchange:

Ion exchange systems use resin materials to clean the ions in the water. It is a physical process which uses ion exchange resins which bind to and filter out the mineral salts from water. They however fail to entirely remove most organics or microorganisms.

Reverse Osmosis:

A relatively cheap method at removing 90% to 99% of all contamination is reverse osmosis. It incorporates a semi-permeable membrane containing tiny pores through which water is forced. The small pores of this membrane are restrictive to such organic compounds as salt and other natural minerals, which generally have a larger molecular composition than water. These pores are also restrictive to bacteria and disease-causing pathogens. One of the disadvantages is its slow flow rate, that is why there is a recharge delay in home systems. Reverse osmosis is highly effective in eliminating asbestos, lead, turbidity and other toxic heavy metals, such as radium, and so being very efficient in purifying tap water.

Ultra Violet Light Filters:

UV filters are very common for well water and are inexpensive to operate. Most ultraviolet systems are combined with other forms of filtration, as UV light is only capable of killing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, molds, algae, yeast, and cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia. UV light generally has no effect on chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, and other chemical contaminants. Nonetheless, it is probably the most cost effective and efficient technology available to homeowners to eliminate a wide range of biological contaminants from their water supply.


There are actually more filtration methods than mentioned above, but for the purposes of this discussion, we only need to learn the best and cheapest system that will give you pure water to drink at home.

The most effective filtration method is a system using a combination of some of the above methods. For example reverse osmosis works best with activated carbon filtration. These are complementary processes and the combination that will ensure you are removing 99.9 percent of the above-mentioned contaminants, plus many more (the list is long!). Each component on its own will remove certain types of contaminants effectively, but together you get them all. This is the water filter we opted for.

Not to worry! These water filter systems are available in do-it-yourself kits at prices that will make you wonder why you haul those large bottles or put up with poor tasting, possibly contaminated tap-water. If you are the handy type, these are not a problem to install. If not, a plumber or handyman can do it for you.


For $250 or less you can buy a good quality, under-the-counter reverse osmosis/carbon/sediment system. I found that the best prices are often found at for reverse osmosis filters. Replacement filters are inexpensive and easy to install.

You will also wonder why you paid so much for so long for the bottled stuff when you can make your own crystal clear, perfectly safe drinking water right at your sink with your own water filter for pennies a glass.

Yes, an under-the-sink water filter can be hooked up to your fridge water dispensers and ice makers too.

Drinking clean water is the first priority. Drinking enough water to prevent dehydration is discussed below. Read on to learn more about why this is so important.

Water is the essence of life. Making up roughly 65 percent of our muscles and brain tissue, it is the most important nutrient in our body. Only oxygen is craved by the body more than water.

Unfortunately, most North Americans do not consume enough water every day to meet their bodies' most basic requirements, leaving them dehydrated. Dehydration itself is responsible for a wide range of common ailments experienced by just about everyone in today's busy world, including headache and fatigue. Just breathing releases moisture to the air every time we exhale - as much as two cups a day! Our bodies lose water through evaporation from the surface of our skin even without rigorous exercise, and of course, we also pass water in our urine. During the course of an average day, a healthy adult can lose eight to 10 cups of water. If you are exercising, and this number rises considerably.

If we fail to replenish the water we lose through these natural processes, we set off a physiological reaction that can have serious health effects. The following is the natural progression of dehydration and its effects on the body (symptoms):


  • Because your kidneys will begin to conserve water, your urine will become concentrated and will be amber colored as opposed to a normal light-tinted yellow color.
  • Constipation and/or bloating may be noticed
  • Dry skin, mucous membranes, and lips
  • Thirst, sometimes extreme, but strangely enough, as adults we don't always feel thirsty, even when mildly dehydrated.
  • Flushed face


  • Fatigue
  • Sunken eyes or sunken fontanelle (soft spot on head) in infants
  • Lack of tears in crying infant
  • "Doughy" skin that doesn't bouce back when pinched
  • Dizziness / vertigo / lightheadedness
  • Up to 30% decline in physical labor capacity, muscle cramping
  • Headache
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Problems concentrating
  • Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Impatience and extreme irritability
  • Major reduction in urine production


  • Weak irregular heart beat (often racing) and low blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Failure of body's heat regulation systems (sweating, for example)
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shock, collapse or unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma and death

To prevent dehydration, experts recommend that everyone drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Sales of bottled water in the U.S. and Canada have exploded in recent years, largely as a result of a public perception that it is pure, uncontaminated water, and an increased awareness of the health effects of common water contaminants.

But bottled water sold in the United States is not always filtered and not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water, according to a four-year scientific study recently made public by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The NRDC's study included testing of more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water. While most of the tested waters were found to be of high quality, some brands were significantly contaminated. About one-third of the waters tested contained levels of contamination including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic (at least one sample exceeded allowable limits under either state or bottled water industry standards or guidelines).

In fact, about a quarter of all bottled water is actually bottled tap water, according to government and industry estimates (some estimates go as high as 40 percent).

Unfortunately, all sources of drinking water, including municipal water systems, wells, lakes, rivers, and even glaciers, contain some level of contamination.

Contaminants range from naturally-occurring minerals to made-made chemicals and by-products, to biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and cysts. While most contaminants are found at levels low enough not to cause immediate severe health consequences, it is well documented in scientific journals that even low-level exposure to many common contaminants can, over time, cause severe illness including liver damage, cancer, and other serious ailments.

Even some of the chemicals commonly used to treat municipal water supplies such as chlorine and fluoride are toxic and are known to have significant adverse effects on the human body.

So what do you do?

Cindy and I recently purchased an under-the-counter, reverse osmosis water filter system. We had been drinking bottled, reverse osmosis filtered water for years and got tired of lugging and storing the bottles and having to refill a canister in the fridge for cold drinking water.

When we finally enquired as to the cost of an under-the-counter water filter system, we found out it would pay for itself within a year. I wish we had acted sooner. It was an easy job to install it ourselves and any do-it-yourselfer could do it. If you are not the do-it-yourselfer type, just call your friendly plumber for professional installation.

The purchase of a drinking water filter system should be viewed as a long term investment. A quality water filter system will last for many years with a periodic filter catridges changes, the only ongoing cost. Bottled water, however, is an ongoing expense - whether you lug water home from a store or have it delivered to you.

Health Risks of Unfiltered Water

Chlorine keeps water bacteria-free. But it reacts with organic material creating chloroform, trimethohalanes (TMHs) and other "chlorination disinfection by-products" (CBPs), all strongly linked with cancer.

A Health Canada Position Paper, Safe Drinking Water: A Public Health Challenge, states: "14-16% of bladder cancers may be attributable to water containing CBPs. The paper links CBPs with spontaneous abortions, low sperm count, birth defects, respiratory problems and spina bifida. It's amazing the things that a simple water filter can prevent!

Did you also know?... (I sure didn't), that more chlorine is absorbed through the skin during the average shower than by drinking six to eight glasses of tap water!

Skin is highly permeable - it is the body's way of excreting toxins and regulating temperature. Hot showers cause the pores of the skin to dilate, allowing chlorine and other free radicals to be rapidly absorbed. Further chlorine from unfiltered water is contained within the vapor that enters the air as steam, and is breathed into our lungs as we shower.

Furthermore, chlorine and other water contaminants reduce the effectiveness of many shampoos, conditioners, lotions, oils & skin creams, leaving your skin dry and un-nourished, not to mention the wasted money spend on quality personal care products.

Consider also getting a shower head filter to overcome these problems.

We found a well established and reliable company with reasonable pricing at for shower water filters

Drink up!

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