The Pure Water Occasional for January 2, 2017
In this first for 2017 Occasional, you'll read about sugary sodas, bathing in water with arsenic, telomares, trihalomethanes, dams in Alabama, and the hazards of commercial fishing. Then there are wells contaminated by road salt, rainmaking rituals in Zimbabwe, high and low ocean levels, and a $300 million chicken slaughterhouse planned for Nebraska. Read about the Belle Fourche pipeline, sodium and calcium hypochlorite, FilterSorb SP3, nucleation, Deepak Chopra, and, as always, there is much, much more.
The Pure Water Occasional is a publication of Pure Water Products, LLC.

A lifetime of sugary sodas may be 4.6 years shorter

By Lindsey Bever

You knew that drinking sugary sodas could lead to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks — but, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, it may also speed up your body’s aging process.

As you age, caps on the end your chromosomes called telomeres shrink. In the past several years, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, have analyzed stored DNA from more than 5,300 healthy Americans in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from some 14 years ago. And they discovered that those who drank more pop tended to have shorter telomeres.

The shorter the telomere, the harder it is for a cell to regenerate — and so, the body ages.
“We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight,” psychiatry professor Elissa Epel, senior author of the study, told CBS San Francisco.

According to the research, drinking a 20-ounce bubbly beverage every day is linked to 4.6 years of additional aging. You get the same effect by smoking, said UCSF postdoctoral fellow Cindy Leung, lead author of the study. About 21 percent in the sample said they drank at least that much soda per day. However, researchers say, a link does not mean causation.

“The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism,” Epel told Time. Scientists found no link between cell aging and drinking diet sodas or fruit juices. But Epel said the results might be different with more modern data.“We think that the jury’s still out on sugared beverages — theoretically they’re just as bad,” she told Time. “But 14 years ago, people were drinking a lot less sugared beverages. … They were mostly drinking soda.”

The authors said the study looked at each participant at only one point in time; it did not track them. The participants, ages 20 to 65, had no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

But, with or without sodas, telomeres naturally shorten over time.

Bathing in Well Water With Arsenic
by Gene Franks

Is it safe to shower in water that is contaminated with arsenic?
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds in a December 2016 Water Conditioning and Purificication article on arsenic got my attention in her beginning  paragraph: "Exposure to arsenic via inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption can lead to cancers of the lung, bladder and skin." I took note because I have been advising our customers for some time that arsenic in well water is mainly a drinking water issue and that there is little or no evidence that exposure to arsenic through bathing in water that is a few parts per billion over the current recommended limit of 10 parts per billion has any serious health consequences. Consequently, for customers with arsenic in their wells call, we usually recommend taking care of the drinking water, which is easy and not too expensive, and forgoing the much more costly, complicated and often unreliable whole house treatments for arsenic.

Arsenic is serious business and I don't want to get it wrong, so I did some internet research on the topic: does arsenic, in fact, enter the body through the skin and can it be breathed in during showering?
Most authorities who address the issue of the uptake of arsenic through the skin are pretty clear on the issue.  Here are some examples:
Unless your arsenic level is over 500 ppb, showering, bathing and other household uses are safe. Arsenic is not easily absorbed through the skin and does not evaporate into the air. -- (A publication of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs) [Five hundred parts per billion is 50 times the EPA recommended allowable for arsenic.]
Only a minimal amount of arsenic is absorbed through the skin.--   Virginia Dept. of Health.
Arsenic is not easily absorbed through the skin. -- Maryland Dept. of Health.
For most people, the largest source of arsenic is in the food we eat. Most foods, including vegetables, fish, and seafood, contain some arsenic. Arsenic in groundwater can enter the body by drinking the water or by eating food cooked in the water. Arsenic does not evaporate into the air and is not easily absorbed through the skin. -- Illinois Dept. of Public Health. 
If your skin contacts soil or water containing arsenic, only a small, harmless amount will enter your body. -- Delaware Health and Social Services.
If levels of well water are above 500 parts per billion, you may want to stop using it for bathing, cooking and washing clothes. --North Carolina Dept. of Public Health and Human Services.
Generally speaking, the main routes of contamination for people who are not exposed to arsenic in their work (occupational exposure) are drinking water first, followed by food. Absorption through the skin seems to be minimal, so arsenic exposure through hand washing, laundry, bathing, etc. is not considered to be a problem. -- University of Maine.

Neither the National Research Council (1999) or the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2000), nor the additional literature searches, identified any controlled studies of inorganic arsenic absorption through human skin.-- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The statements above are typical. Some sources do note, however, that trivalent arsenic (arsenite) can pass through the skin much more easily than pentavalent arsenic (arsenate). A couple of sources say, in fact, by a factor of as much as 60:

Dermal uptake of arsenic has been underestimated up to now based on low permeability of arsenate. A new study finds that uptake of arsenic as arsenite or dimethylarsinic acid is a factor of 29 and 59 higher than that of arsenate. -- Evisa. [Keep in mind that 29 to 59 times almost nothing can still be almost nothing.] 
Trivalent arsenic is well absorbed through the skin and is 60 times more toxic than pentavalent arsenic, which is well absorbed by the gut.[1] Arsine gas is highly toxic.--  Patient.  (A UK health professionals reference site.)No source is cited for the "well absorded through the skin" statement and the end-of-sentence footnote links only to the entry page for a pay-to-use website.Although it is not specified, the admonishment seems to be aimed at arsenic poisoning via industrial pollution rather than water. 
In spite of Dr. Reynolds' statement and other occasional dissenting views, I still feel good about my standard  recommendation to customers with wells a few ppb over the recommended maximum of arsenic that they fix their drinking water and leave the rest alone. As the picture above would suggest, however, if there is arsenic in your water common sense precautions should be taken.
Current Water News
Tests done by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality turned up dangerously high levels of trihalomethanes in the water supply for some residents in the Corpus Christi area.  Trihalomethanes are a group of volatile organic compounds that form when chlorine, added to the water during the treatment process for disinfection, reacts with naturally-occurring organic matter in the water. Those exposed to the compounds can experience liver, kidney, and central nervous system issues, along with a risk of cancer down the line.

North Dakota officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek in early December. The leak was discovered near the city of Belfield, which is roughly 150 miles from the epicenter of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps. 

A proposal that would jumpstart the chicken business in Nebraska has some residents concerned about the potential impact on the environment and water quality in particular. Costco, the warehouse retailer and grocery chain, plans to build a giant $300 million chicken slaughterhouse on the south side of the town of Fremont in eastern Nebraska.  Spikes in nitrate and phosphorous levels commonly result from chicken and livestock agriculture.

 Most  dams in the state of Alabama — nine out of ten — are privately owned. The state does not know the condition or location of many of them. Engineers and dam safety officials said recently that lack of knowledge about the condition, number, and location of dams in Alabama puts state residents at risk of injury or death. 

The Centers for Disease Control revealed that “commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States with a fatality rate 39 times higher than the national average.”
The EPA to Limit Inert Ingredients in Pesticides

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to remove 72 ingredients from its list of ingredients approved for use in pesticide products.

Manufacturers wishing to use these ingredients in the future will have to provide EPA with studies or information to demonstrate their safety. EPA will then consider whether to allow their use.

Most pesticide products contain a mixture of different ingredients. Ingredients that are directly responsible for controlling pests such as insects or weeds are called active ingredients. An inert ingredient is any other substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.

The list of 72 chemicals is available here. 

Residents of the Syrian city of Damascus faced days without water during the Chrismas season after the city's supply was allegedly poisoned with diesel fuel and other contaminats by rebel forces. Four million people were said to be without safe drinking water.

Residents of Beekmantown NY have complained of salt intrusion into their water wells caused by road salt. A 50-foot exposed sand and salt pile sits behind the town highway garage. Some residents believe heavy winds blowing at the pile is one of the causes of their well contamination.Some residents report that their well water is now unusable.

In a "growing crisis that no one is talking about,"  aid workers are increasingly concerned that 2017 could see a tragedy in Africa  brought on by combined droughts  and floods. Some parts of southern and east  Africa have not had a significant harvest for three years. Millions are at risk.

According to Hundustan Times,  the Madurai bench of the Madras high court has ordered an interim stay on the supply of water to Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s Gangaikondan plants. In the water-starved region, local protest is swelling against the two soft-drink giants accused not only of sucking local water supplies dry but also of extensive pollution.

Scientists in Hawai named a new fish discovered in the  Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which was created by President Bush and greatly expanded by President Obama, Tosanoides obama in honor of President Obama.

Ongoing, crippling drought in Zimbabwe has led to the resurgence of traditional rainmaking rituals and calls for a return to traditional values. 

Jackson Enright was named Northern California boys water polo player of the year.
High Water, Low Water

This is the second year in a row where the city of Venice has seen historically low tidal levels. Water levels 28" below normal have left gondolas high and dry and severely limited boat trafic through narrowed canals.Needless to say, income from tourism has shrunk.
Ramea, a small island community in southern Newfoundland, has been struggling to provide fresh water to its residents because of sea water intrusion into the public water system. Residents report the highest sea levels they have ever seen. Residents have been without drinking water for two weeks with no end in sight. 
The Three Types of Chlorine Used in Water Treatment

by Pure Water Annie

 Pure Water Gazette Technical Wizard Pure Water Annie Explains the Different Forms  of Chlorine Used in Water Treatment. This Isn’t Very Interesting, but It’s Something Worth Knowing

The most common use of chlorine in water treatment is to disinfect water, but it has other benefits. As a disinfectant, chlorine has drawbacks, but it also has benefits. Other

methods of disinfection such as ultraviolet and ozonation are effective at killing pathogens but they do not provide a residual to prevent pathogen regrowth as chlorination does. When treatment plants are distant from the point of use, chlorination is the best 
way to provide safe water to the end user. Municipal water providers usually rely on measurements of “chlorine residual”—the amount of chlorine remaining in the water after it reaches its destination—as proof of safety. Residual requirements vary, but a typical residual goal would be for 0.2 to 1 mg/L.

In addition to disinfection, chlorine is effectively used to oxidize iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide to facilitate their removal, to reduce color in water, and to aid in such treatment processes as sedimentation and filtration.

Chlorine and pH

In general terms, the lower the pH of the water, the more effective chlorine is as a disinfectant. A reason for dosing effectively is that chlorination raises the pH of water, so overdosing often raises the pH to levels where chlorine does not work effectively as a disinfectant. More is not always more powerful.  Chemically, this has to do with the relationship between the two constituents of chlorine that together are often referred to as “free chlorine”–hypochlorus acid and hypochlorite ions. Hypochlorus acid is the more effective disinfectant and it dominates at lower pH levels, so a lower pH is preferred for disinfection. Conversely, a higher pH is needed for water treatment strategies that depend on chlorination to oxidize iron and manganese.

Types of Chlorine Used in Water Treatment

“Pure chlorine” is seldom used for water treatment. The three most common chlorine-containing substances used in water treatment are chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, and calcium hypochlorite. The choice of the chlorine type to be used often depends on cost, on the available storage options and on the pH conditions required. Chlorination affects pH and pH affects results—a fact that is commonly overlooked in home water treatment.

Chlorine Gas

Chlorine gas is greenish yellow in color and heavier than air. Its high toxicity makes it an excellent disinfectant for water but also a hazard to humans who handle it. Chlorine gas, of course, is a deadly weapon when used in chemical warfare. It is a respiratory irritant and can irritate skin and mucous membranes and can cause death with sufficient exposure. Because of chemical changes that occur when it is introduced into water, chlorine gas is no more toxic to humans when used to treat drinking water than other forms of chlorine. Chlorine gas, which is actually sold as an amber-colored compressed liquid, is the least expensive form of chlorine and is, consequently, the preferred type for municipal water systems.

Calcium Hypochlorite

Calcium hypochlorite is manufactured from chlorine gas. It is best known as chlorine pellets and granules in residential water treatment. It is a white solid with a very pungent odor and it can create enough heat to explode, so it must not be stored near wood, cloth or petroleum products. Calcium hypochlorite increases the pH of the water being treated.

Sodium hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is a chlorine-containing compound most easily recognized as household bleach. It is a light yellow liquid that has a relatively short shelf life. It is the easiest to handle of all the types of chlorine.  Sodium hypochlorite also increases the pH of the water being treated. A lower concentration of chlorine in this form is needed to treat water than with calcium hypochlorite or chlorine gas.  Regular household bleach, “Clorox,” is usually about 5.25 percent chlorine.  That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s 52,500 parts per million, so a small amount of liquid bleach can treat a lot of water.
Products used to dispense chlorine in home water treatment include chemical feed pumps, solution tanks, retention tank, and static mixers for feeding sodium hypochlorite (bleach), and dry pellet chlorinators for calcium hypochlorite.

Reprinted from the Pure Water Gazette.
FilterSorb SP3
We now have a full offering of FilterSorb scale prevention units on our main website and we invite you to look at the new page. The FilterSorb units presented are our own formulation of residential sizes for up to 25 gallons per minute of service flow. Both standard (up to 25 grains hardness) and heavy duty (25 to 75 grains hardness) FilterSorb systems are offered. Our FilterSorb units contain more FilterSorb media per size than any other that we've seen.  All sizes are built in premium Vortech tanks for maximum media contact and use the reliable Clack upflow delivery system. All sizes are in stock and ready for immediate shipment.
Pure Water Products FilterSorb unit with Clack bypass.
An interesting feature of the page is that we dare link to the explanation of the "Nucleation" process of Deepak Chopra (yes, the real Deepak Chopra). Hats off to anyone who understands the explantion. We also feature the following disclaimer: 
Scale Prevention (and Your Dishes)
If your goal is to eliminate water spotting and discoloration on dishes and metal surfaces we still recommend a traditional water softener. Scale prevention systems are effective at keeping your pipes and appliances scale free, but because the mineral content remains in the water it often does not improve water spotting issue. We cannot guarantee aesthetic improvements with scale prevention systems. 
We add this because we want to be sure that people who buy the product do not explect it to be a water softener.  FilterSorb prevents scale buildup in pipes and appliances: it will not necessarily make your dishes sparkle, your towels fluffy, or your life in all ways wonderful.
 Please visit our RO Parts Page for tanks and accessories.  We also have dedicated parts pages for countertop water filters, undersink filters, and aeration equipment.  We stock parts for everything we sell.

Thank you for reading.  Please come back next week.

Places to Visit on Our Websites:
Garden Hose Filters.  Don’t be the last on your block to own one. And don't forget that National Garden Hose Day is just around the corner.
Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”
Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”