What’s in Your Water?

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Image credit: PLOS ONE

Since we bought our 23-acre permaculture homestead in 2014, we’ve been planning on replacing our salt-based ion exchange water softener to avoid any further environmental damage.  But then we got busy with the bees, chickens, goats, gardens…oh, and working full-time, running a business and raising a 2-year-old.

After things calmed down for the winter, we bought a so-called “eco-friendly” whole house water softener and filtration system, only to be overwhelmed by the chemical odor emitted from the pre-filter housing. This prompted us to do the research we can only wish we had had time to do before making such an important purchase, which yielded this article from 2011 living in obscurity on the NIH website…

Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals, was published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2011.  And it turns out that there are a number of similar articles implicating even many BPA-free materials in the release of estrogenic endocrine disruptors into our food and water.

After conducting dozens of hours of research into the subject, while navigating through innumerable decoy websites owned by companies that sell these systems, and corresponding with several of these companies in person, I was dismayed to find that there are virtually no affordable, commercially-available whole house water filtration and softener systems that are not made of materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that leach endocrine disruptors into the water.

Most of them defend themselves by citing their WQA, GBC, NSF, ANSI, BBB, or any number of other alphabet soup certifications, and noting that all of their competitors use similar or worse materials.  Unfortunately, none of these independent organizations seem to be aware of the alarming, and now relatively well-established research.

There are a few systems out there that use high-quality, low-carbon stainless steel (316L or above), notably some of the Aqua Pure systems.  But unfortunately, their filtration media are made of some of the materials in question, like polypropylene.

There are a number of DIY sand filtration systems, but most of them are not designed for the type of residential applications that are typical in the US.

We do have a small Berkey countertop drinking water system made of stainless steel with only minimal use of plastic to connect the filtration elements to the housing.  Although this is great for our drinking water, it does little to protect our plumbing against scale buildup from our hard well-water.

I guess we should be grateful that we are no longer drinking city water, and the soup of chemicals it contains – including fluoride, which was recently linked to hypothyroidism in a study that only recently become controversial.

But, it shouldn’t be this hard to simply secure a supply of clean water for your family.

So, after some fairly extensive research on the subject, we have begun to develop an idea for a modular household drinking water system that can be customized for your household’s needs.  It would be made of only the safest, time-tested materials, without plastics of any kind, and including only natural filtration media that can be easily harvested from and returned to the Earth.

In line with our commitment to living in harmony with nature, our systems would be offered to the public using an innovative, gift-economy-inspired pricing structure – basically: cost of energy and materials + sliding scale donation.

If you would be interested in a revolutionary water system like this, please consider a donation to Resilient Health.

Let’s do this…

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