We drink it every day, but few of us really know what is in the tap water we’re drinking…
The two main additives found in Australian tap water are fluoride and chlorine. Australia is one of the many countries that have water fluoridation programs currently operating. As of March 2012, artificially fluoridated drinking water is provided to 70% or more of the population in all states and territories. The government acceptance of the benefits of water fluoridation occurred in Australia in December 1953, roughly two years after government acceptance in the United States. Water fluoridation commenced in Adelaide in 1971. Fluoride is injected into drinking water supplies at various locations around Australia in the form of sodium silicofluoride and sodium hexafluorosilicic with the experts promoting its benefits in tap water as it protects our teeth against decay.
Chlorine is a simple, reliable, effective and relatively inexpensive way to protect drinking water supplies against contamination by micro-biological organisms. Above all, it has been deemed safe to drink as long as the level of chlorine does not exceed 5mg/L per the recommendation of our government health departments. However many medical practitioners and health professionals have raised their concerns about the efficacy and safety of water fluoridation and the levels of chlorine in our water. Recent international research has linked chlorinated tap water to birth defects and some health experts have warned that water sources may contain by-products, called trihalomethanes (THMs), which form when the chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water. Many THMs are generally referred to as ‘disinfection by-products’ and are considered carcinogenic.
The argument that fluoridated water is beneficial in preventing tooth decay, especially in children, is becoming tired. Research has now shown us that high levels of fluoride can cause fluoridosis or tooth decay. Fluoride and Fluoridation has also been said to cause cancer based on studies carried out in America in 1980. In 2010 the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) released information that dental fluorosis was a problem for 41% of children in the United States between the ages of 12-15. Although experts argue that fluoridation in our tap water at safe levels for human consumption; they do not take into account that fluoride accumulates in the body. It adverse health effects have been associated with arthritis, as well as impacting on thyroid and pineal gland function. There have been many government sponsored reports in the US, England and Canada that have reviewed the various aspects of fluoridation and all have questioned the practice. UNICEF warns of fluorides negative effects while the American Medical Association is NOT prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by water fluoridation.
There is some hope in the fight against water fluoridation in Australia. An outstanding ban on artificial water fluoridation has been upheld in the Australian coastal town of Byron Bay which was backed by local residents, scientists, dentists and city officials. The Fluoride Action Network reports that the Byron Shire Council ended up voting five-to-three to uphold the fluoride ban, relying on modern science which shows that fluoridation is both harmful and ineffective.
Flouride and chlorine may not be the only harmful components of tap water. Households may also find traces of heavy metals in their tap water, depending on the quality of the pipes the water is transported in. There may also be calcium carbonate levels which is what leads to the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ water.
So next time you poor yourself a glass of tap water ask yourself is this really the best choice of water for your health?
There are many water filtration systems available that are a long term solution other than buying bottled water.
We suggest investing in a higher quality filtration system as standard carbon filters will only remove up to 40% of fluoride in the water.
Aqua Safe are an Australian owned and operated water filtered company that provide water filtering solutions that will remove 90% or more fluoride in tap water.
For more information on water filter options visit their website at www.aquasafe.com.au
References: New research published in The Lancet by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS)