Water is vital to human survival, this much we know. However, water can also be harmful to our health if it isn’t clean, no matter how we use it. We use water in so many ways that can affect our health, more than just for drinking. We use water to clean our fruits and vegetables, to bathe, to cook with, and wash our clothes in. The food we eat, including plants and animals, is nourished by water as well. Our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, so we should take care to make sure that we are only using the cleanest water possible. Let’s take a look at the different ways water is essential for human survival and how it can also be harmful.
Water can Breed Harmful Bacteria and Disease
Dirty water can be more than just polluted or dirty – it can actually be deadly. According to the United Nations, more than 1.8 million people around the world die from preventable diseases contracted from dirty water such as diarrhea and cholera. On top of that, tens of millions of people worldwide become extremely sick from drinking and ingesting dirty water. Clean water is a basic human right, according to the United Nations, and should be available to everyone.
Excessive Harmful Metals and Contaminants in Water
Over the past several years in the US, we’ve been constantly hearing about extremely high, even deadly, levels of lead in our water. Schools test for lead in their water and many test higher than is considered safe by the EPA. According to the EPA:
“The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur with an adequate margin of safety. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs). EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time.
Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that public health actions be initiated when the level of lead in a child’s blood is 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or more.” EPA.gov
Drinking More Water Can Aid in Weight Loss
Increasing your intake of clean water can help with weight loss goals. Not only does it help flush out toxins, it also keeps you full. Drinking a full glass of water before and after every meal will help keep you satiated, preventing overeating and excess snacking. Drinking water also helps burn calories in what is known as ‘resting energy expenditure’.
So how much clean water should you be drinking daily? A general recommended guideline is roughly 4 to 8, 8-ounce glasses per day, or 1 to 2 liters, or 34 to 67 ounces. This is just a recommended guideline. Some people will require more water if they work out or are generally more active than most or are larger in stature and weight. What matters is that the water you drink is as clean as it can be.
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