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Algae Bloom and Climate Change

Any serious beachgoer has seen it before. They’ve seen the light. On certain warm summer nights, you might have the chance to see it too. Waves breaking in the twilight with a froth that shines green, like a glowstick near the end of its lifespan. Stick around and watch, and they’ll grow brighter as the sun fades, their foam brilliant with what looks like captured moonlight. It’s an algae bloom.

It isn’t the moon or the sun that causes that light. It’s brought on by algae. As the world heats up, they’re growing in number, and they’re starting to show up in greater and greater concentrations in places where they previously were sparse or controlled. What does this mean for us and our shores?

Growing Concerns (No Pun Intended)

One rising concern reported recently by NPR is the incidence of algae in drinking water reservoirs. Salem, Oregon draws its water from a nearby reservoir called Detroit Lake; an algal bloom there mucked up the water so much that the tiny cells, and the toxins they produce, overwhelmed Salem’s sand filtration and were visible in the city’s water supply. The city notified residents of a civil emergency and ended up dumping millions of dollars of charcoal into the contaminated water to soak up the algae and toxins.

It’s not just Salem that’s facing down algae coming out the tap. According to the New York Times, a similar event saw Toledo temporarily shut down their water supply in 2014; according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the city’s water was so contaminated that citizens subsisted on bottled water for three days while municipals officials worked to disinfect it. Subsequent to that event, Toledo has taken a page from Salem’s book and begun to regularly test their drinking water for levels of algae and toxins – a practice that one expert quoted by NPR thinks will become more and more widespread as warming temperatures bring algae on to the radar of more municipalities.

This Year Alone

This summer saw algal blooms shut down tourism and fishing on Lake Superior and parts of Lake Erie. And ocean-borne blooms from Florida to China to the west coast of the Americas have been increasing in length, intensity, and size, fouling up beaches and waterways.

Are these events ramping up because of climate change? Like anything to do with weather on a global scale, that’s a difficult question to answer. Many inputs and confounding variables that muddy the waters and make causality difficult to prove. Still, there are a number of factors associated with climate change that would seem to create a more agreeable environment for algae to thrive.

Warmer weather causes evaporation, which means wetter weather, which in turn increases agricultural runoff into streams and bodies of water. That’s a boon for many types of algae, for whom the phosphorus in fertilizer is an important nutrient. One hallmark of our CO2-saturated atmosphere are summers that grow ever longer and warmer; that’s also good news for algae, who thrive in warm water and typically reach their peak populations during the heat of summer. As sea levels creep upwards, much of the low-lying terrain that’s found along our world’s coasts will be submerged. Where once was a beach, you’ll find a shallow, brackish lagoon. The water is quite warm and the perfect environment for algae and other pathogenic nasties to thrive.

Are We Seeing This More?

That means that those nights with glowing waves breaking on the beach might not be such a rare event. What you see in such events in a natural phenomenon called bioluminescence. Fireflies and deep-sea fish use this trick to generate light through a chemical reaction in the body. During the summer, temperatures in the northern hemisphere climb, and algae that live in oceans and lakes begin to multiply. There’re all different sorts of algae; kelp and seaweed are among the biggest. Cyanobacteria, another type, are commonly in the news for their toxin-emitting properties. Waves that glow with bioluminescence are a sign of a “red tide,” a massive spike in the population of a microscopically small type of algae called dinoflagellates.

A recent study examined this phenomenon:

“Climate change pressures will influence marine planktonic systems globally, and it is conceivable that harmful algal blooms may increase in frequency and severity. These pressures will be manifest as alterations in temperature, stratification, light, ocean acidification, precipitation-induced nutrient inputs, and grazing, but absence of fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms driving harmful algal blooms frustrates most hope of forecasting their future prevalence.”

The glowing waves of a red tide are more than a pretty show. For many millennia, the coastal peoples of California and elsewhere have known them to be a portent, a kind of message from the natural world to avoid shellfish for the time being. Algae saturate their environment with different sorts of toxins during a bloom. The toxins are potent enough to harm people. This means, in low doses, they cause symptoms like food poisoning. Some types produced by cyanobacteria can cause liver damage. In high enough doses, they can kill.

Filtration

Plankton filter toxins and algae from the seawater. From there, the toxins work their way up the food chain. Shellfish suck up the plankton or snapped up by one predator or another. The marine life we eat (like oysters and other shellfish) becomes so concentrated by toxins that they’re rendered unsafe for human consumption. During these events, government agencies restrict aquaculture, fisheries, and shellfish foraging. The government monitors the levels of algae and toxins in the water and in seafood. They also monitor recalls of products or temporary shutdowns of businesses are increasingly common.

So are cases of poisoning from algal blooms. Almost every year, there’s stories of cruises or seafood dinners that go horribly wrong from shellfish poisoning. One sort of toxin, called domoic acid, is particularly frightening. In mild cases, the toxin causes confusion and disorientation. But the toxin can, at higher doses, cause persistent short-term memory damage. Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal horror thriller The Birds? The inspiration? Domoic acid poisoning drove massive flocks of seabirds to apparent madness.

By: Sean McNulty, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 25, 2018
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Brain-Eating Amoebas: How to Keep Your Kids Safe in Freshwater Lakes and Rivers

“Brain-Eating Amoebas” – it sounds like something straight out of a horror movie. Honestly, it is just as horrific as it sounds. These brain-eating amoebas can enter the body through your nose when you are diving or swimming underwater in freshwater lakes or rivers. “The amoeba penetrates the brain and eats it via a feeding cup”, explains Dr. Karen Ross, infectious disease specialist and a neurologist at Indiana University Health. This feeding cup helps in ingesting blood cells and tissues from the host. It makes its way from into the brain. This scary bug literally devours the brain tissue as it goes up causing swelling and death.

Every summer, we hear about one or two cases of these brain-eating amoebas. The bacteria generally affects children and young adults. In August of 2010, 7-year old Kyle was having the summer of his life while vacationing with his family. He took a few dips at a river in Texas and within a week of the family’s return, Kyle was dead. He was exposed to the deadly amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

Summers are all about cooling off and enjoying the fun water days. But it is definitely not exciting to be worried about these deadly bacteria lurking inside your water. But how concerned should you really be? Here is a quick look on what these brain-eating amoebas are and what precautions you can take, to help keep your kids safer when they swim in freshwater lakes and rivers.

What are Naegleria Fowleri?

Amoebas are single-celled organisms. Naegleria Fowleri is a species that causes serious inflammation of the brain tissue called meningoencephalitis. Naegleria has several species but only fowleri causes illness in humans. All the subtypes of fowleri are equally threatening. The pathogen is microscopic: 8 micrometers to 15 micrometers in size. To give you an idea, our hair is 40 o 50 micrometers wide. It was first identified in Australia in 1965 by Dr. M. Fowler and R. Carter. Even though it was discovered in Australia, it is believed that it evolved in the United States.

Just like other amoebas, Naegleria uses cell division to reproduce. Amoeba exist in 3 different forms – free-living cysts, flagellated forms and trophozoites. When conditions aren’t favorable, it exists as inactive cysts and when they are right, cysts transform into trophozoites – the amoeba’s feeding form.

Mode of transmission inside human body:

The amoeba enters the human body by penetrating nasal mucosa. It is believed that forceful water like during diving can facilitate this penetration. The amoeba, now in active mode, travels to olfactory nerves to cause nerve cell death. They cross holes in bones and literally destroy all types of brain cells.

When will I be at most risk?

The most risk is posed during the months of summer, mainly July, August and September. They flourish and thrive in hot waters as hot (as 113 degrees Fahrenheit). They are most common in Southern states of US like Florida, Texas and Louisiana. A potentially deadly bacteria has been detected in a river in Louisiana right after the summer started in 2018. This was the third time the river detected positive for the bacteria.

The amoebas are found only in freshwater sources such as:

  • Warm lakes and ponds
  • Warm rivers that are deep and slow-flowing
  • Mud puddles
  • Untreated water in pools or spas
  • Hot springs, thermally polluted water or geothermal water sources

The bacteria can’t be found in saltwater. It also can’t survive in properly treated pools and municipal waters.

Surprisingly, the amoebas won’t infect you if they are on your skin or even if you drink it.  The only problem is when it goes up your nose.

Is the infection very common?

No. (Good News!) There have only been about 40 infections between 2007-2016. The infection, however, has an appalling fatality rate that stands at 98%. Only one person has survived the infection till now.

Symptoms:

Whenever any individual contracts this rare infection, they usually die because the amount of inflammation that the amoeba causes in the brain is difficult to both diagnose and treat. The incubation period of the illness is between 2 to 15 days. Symptoms are generally nonspecific and doctors often face difficulty while identifying the infection with the person’s symptoms.

According to William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, symptoms are usually characterized by nausea and an ill feeling along with brain impairment that leads to memory loss and thinking loss, which eventually lead to coma. There are other symptoms of the infection as well like:

  • Loss of control and balance
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A change is sense of smell or taste
  • Confusion in day to day activities
  • Sleepiness
  • Severe headache like migraines
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Stiff Neck
  • Fever

More often than not, these symptoms might be caused by some other conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is done by using microscopic visualization of CSF fluid and by specialized culture techniques. Most patients that are alive when they visit hospital have reached such advanced stages of diseases that they don’t survive even after extensive support and treatment.

The suggested drug for treatment is Amphotericin B, but there is no data proving this is effective. It is injected into a vein or the space around the spinal cord.

One of the survivors, Sebastian DeLeon, was 16 years old when he had intense headaches and was immediately taken to Florida hospital. The doctors immediately ordered a spinal tap for meningitis and one of the lab scientists found amoeba moving in spinal fluid. The doctors took action and lowered the body temperature of the teen to 33 degrees and induced a coma. They then inserted a breathing tube and gave him some medicine that successfully killed the amoeba.

Prevention: Keep Water Out of Your Nose

The prevention tip would be to prevent the amount of water that goes up into your nose. CDC recommends wearing nose clips or holding your nose while under water. Also, make sure that you don’t go too deep especially when the water is too hot. Avoid digging in or stirring up sediments deep under water in lakes or ponds.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 19, 2018
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Food Safety in the Time of Hurricanes

For many people across the United States, the end of summer means long, warm evenings, days that grow steadily shorter, and a changing of gears in anticipation of the fall. Schools are filling back up; Starbucks is debuting their usual suite of seasonal latte flavors; and sweaters are back in style.

There’s a flip side, of course. For many people living in the western United States, the end of summer means fire season – hot, dry days before the rains start again at the end of October. For people living along the east coast and the Gulf, the principal threat is water and wind instead of water. Put another way, it’s hurricane season. At least until November.

There’s much to be done in preparation for a hurricane, and if you live in an area that’s prone to them, you’re likely more than prepared to put up boards on your windows and tune your radios to the emergency broadcast channel. You have your bottles of water. And likely, you also have a watchful eye on how your roof has been doing as of late.

One important aspect of hurricane prep that sometimes goes neglected is food safety. That’s where we step in: we’ve prepared a list of steps to take and things to know in anticipation of a hurricane so that you don’t get sick from a foodborne illness during a storm or in its aftermath.

  • The first and perhaps most important thing to remember: Don’t eat anything that’s come into contact with flood water. Flood water is full of all sorts of microscopic living things: many of them are effectively harmless, but many others are pathogenic and dangerous to your health. During a major flood event, the waters will be mixed will runoff from rainwater collection, from the sewers, and from anything else they’ve come into contact with. They’re also liable to be tainted with all sorts of industrial chemicals and compounds from machinery and storage in people’s businesses and homes. You should consider flood water to be toxic, even if it looks clean, and act accordingly when deciding what in your fridge or pantry you’re going to save or throw out after a flood.
  • Consider the packaging: Not all food is packaged the same. If you’re sorting through food that’s been damaged in a flood, you’ll have to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. Those decisions will probably involve food that’s packaged in plastic, in cardboard, or in metal cans. Act decisively and err on the side of caution. Cardboard, cloth, plastic, and paper are for the most part permeable packaging – the floodwater can either get through the packaging itself, as is the case with the former three, or through spaces in packaging that’s not explicitly designed to be air- and watertight, as is the case with plastic. You should be able to see that the food’s water damaged. Chuck all this stuff out.
  • Consider the lid: Most lids that appear to be air or water tight aren’t robust enough to protect against the spread of biological and chemical contaminants through floodwater. Lids that snap, twist, crimp or flip aren’t going to be impervious to flood water. Throw these products out if you suspect that they’ve been damaged. Home-canned products should similar be binned. You can’t effectively disinfect these products, so it’s best to ditch them if you’re unsure.
  • If it’s in a can, it might be OK (BUT don’t necessarily trust it): Products that have been canned in a metal tin are usually more watertight than their metal- or plastic-packaged counterparts. Remove the labels, wash thoroughly with soap and water, and disinfect with bleach. Be sure to check to make sure the can’s integrity wasn’t compromised in the flood – you don’t want any floodwater (or bleach) getting inside if you’re still planning on eating it.
  • Disinfect the kitchen after: In the event that floodwaters reach the space that you use to prepare food, you’ll need to embark on a pretty serious disinfection regime after the fact to make it safe again. Get rid of anything wood, including utensils and cutting boards. Ditto for permeable plastic products like baby pacifiers. These products can’t be safely disinfected and will need to be thrown out. Thoroughly wash everything else: metal pots and pans, counter surfaces and sinks, and especially the hard-to-reach places where moisture can sometimes persist, like door seals and joints. All of these areas are potential breeding grounds for bacteria if you don’t attend to them.
  • Attend to your refrigerator: You’ve got about four hours of cold air in the event that your power goes out and your refrigerator stops running. Keep it closed for the duration of these four hours to maintain the cold air inside. You may be able to prolong cold air maintenance if you have some dry ice on hand. After your power is back on, open the fridge and check the thermometer: if it’s still below 40 degrees, you may be in the clear, although it’s probably still a good idea to get rid of perishable products like meat. If it’s above 40 degrees, you’ll probably want to get rid of basically everything inside the fridge. And if the floodwaters reach your fridge, it’s toast – it can’t be effectively disinfected and should probably be replaced.

By following these tips and tricks, you can reduce the risk that you’ll fall ill with a food-related illness during or after a hurricane event. Remember to exercise caution when making decisions about what to throw out: safe is better than sorry. Follow the adage, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Food does you little good if it makes you sick, and illnesses that would be treatable under normal conditions can be much scarier if the electrical grid is compromised, flooding has complicated access to medical facilities, or emergency services aren’t available. Be safe, exercise good judgement, and you should be more than prepared for anything a hurricane can throw at your food.

By: Sean McNulty, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 18, 2018
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Florence Flood Waters Could Carry Infectious Diseases

With the death toll nearing 20, Hurricane and later turned Tropical Depression Florence has been devastating for a large part of the east coast of the United States. Virginia has suffered flooding and tornados because of the weakened storm system, but the Carolina’s without a doubt were hit the hardest.

When dealing with flood waters which seem to be everywhere people turn, the question comes up how safe are they? The answers can vary, but in general the waters are not all that safe at all. The debris that gets washed from one area to another can become dangerous because they can cut people or even cause you to lose your footing and especially in rushing waters can cause drowning. There are also infectious disease concerns as pointed out by WSB Radio in a recently published article:

Diarrheal diseases

Drinking or eating anything that has encountered floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli infection, or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria.

Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea, and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer.

Wound infections

Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to flood water can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut.

Vibrio vulnificus, another bacterium, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water.

Other illnesses

People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness.

This leaves us with questions such as how you should go about working in flood waters. In June, we helped in some post-flood clean up, and I was very careful and used gloves especially when handling things that had been soaked by the waters because of mold forming so quickly. The clean-up was extremely messy and I wore old clothing that if they got stained I could either toss them out or get them straight into the washer when we got home. The CDC gives us some great tips for how to handle flood waters:

Although infectious diseases are a frightening prospect, widespread outbreaks of infectious disease after hurricanes are not common in the United States. Rare and deadly exotic diseases, such as cholera or typhoid, do not suddenly break out after hurricanes and floods in areas where such diseases do not naturally occur. Communicable disease outbreaks of diarrhea and respiratory illness can occur when water and sewage systems are not working and personal hygiene is hard to maintain because of a disaster.

Get the right safety gear

  • Hard hats
  • Goggles
  • N95 masks (or a respirator with a higher protection level)
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank)
  • Earplugs or protective headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
  • At least two fire extinguishers (each with a UL rating of at least 10A)

If sewage is involved, make sure to wear the following during your cleanup:

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles

To prevent mold growth:

  • Clean up and dry your home quickly after the storm or flood ends- within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
  • Air out your house by opening doors and windows. Use fans to dry wet areas. Position fans to blow air out doors or windows.
  • Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all wet items and surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent. For example, you’ll want to clean any flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.

Wash up with soap and water:

  • Wash up with soap and water once you’re done cleaning.
  • If there is a boil-water advisory in effect:
    • Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing); or
    • Use water that’s been disinfected for personal hygiene:
      • When using 5-6% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add a little less than ¼ teaspoon (16 drops or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
      • When using 8.25% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (6 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add 12 drops (or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
    • If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to flood water, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection.
    • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or sick.
    • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.

We are also warned that if waters are below 75 degrees F that you should wear insulated clothing and insulated rubber boots. You will want to take frequent breaks from the waters and change into dry clothing as soon as you can to prevent cold symptoms or even pneumonia. Just remember it is best to keep warm and dry.

No matter where Florence has affected you know that you do have a support system and reach out for help when needed. You are not alone in this. There are many different agencies helping with recovery efforts.

We at MakeFoodSafe are sending good thoughts and good vibes to our friends in the Carolinas and Virginia.

September 18, 2018
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You Might Think Raw Water is Safe, but You’re Wrong

I’m all for water collection from the source, as long as its filtered and purified. That means I’m not adverse to the idea of “raw water.” Here’s the thing, raw very rarely means safe. So, the raw water health trend produced a long, dramatic, shame-projecting, eye roll from me.

Yes, I’ve been camping enough times to know water from the source is super beneficial, but that comes with a few rules. Prior to chugging mountain or spring water, I’ll always take the purified bottled water first. If that’s not an option, I’ll follow the steps to do it myself. That’s because there are more than a few risks with undertreated water, and it’s important to weigh those risks with the benefits.

Raw does not mean clean. In fact, its oftentimes the opposite. I’m not saying everything raw is a problem, but I am saying the majority of raw items boast red flags. That’s why, you have to take precautions and you should expect food handlers to do the same. Raw needs to coincide with cleanly… And that is why I have a problem with the “raw water” craze.

“Raw” Water has festering problems.

Raw water can be the melting pot of pathogens and parasites. So, when I hear about a brand of raw water dubbing themselves as Life Water, you can find me screaming in response. Take this statement from Life Water for instance:

“Blasting water with ozone changes its molecular structure. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation uses synthetic ultraviolet light, different from our natural environment UV, to kill or inactivate micro-organisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. A difficult fact to swallow, but your drinking water might be considered a genetically modified organism. GMO seeds and GMO water don’t have the capacity to reproduce life. Perhaps this could influence human’s capacities also.”

Umm.. no.

If we are going to start taking shots at Ozone water treatment with natural process as a focus, we need to look at exactly what we are fighting. Life Water has pegged the wrong enemy. Ozone is the best buddy to water safety. When a water treatment is required, Ozone does the job. Okay, yes, filtration may need to coincide with Ozone treatment for certain man-made chemicals, but Ozone has some awesome fighting skills, and filtering is never a bad thing. If natural is what matters to you, Ozone is the good-guy who does the job and quietly packs up at the end of the day. What do I mean by that? Ozone has a short-life in water and in an exothermic reaction reverts to O2.  Ozone water treatment is not the new kid on the block. We’ve been applying the Ozone process for more than 100 years. Technology grows, and with it our skills in producing and stabilizing ozone at ground level. Good job, Ozone.

Now that we know a little bit more about the ozone process, let’s focus on this portion of a statement from life water, “…changes its molecular structure.”

No, Lifewater. That’s not what happens. For the sake of this argument, we’ll play pretend and say it is true. So, what does that mean? Not much. We change the molecular structure of water regularly. In fact, we do it so often we don’t even think about it. We do it for an extra perk in our soft drinks, slushies, lemonade, and countless other reasons. How? We make ice. Freezing water is changing the molecular structure of water, and ice is a natural process. Changing the molecular structure is not a scary thing, so don’t let it frazzle you.

My last qualm with “raw water” is the potential for human error. The most dangerous thing about this growing trend is how it’s enticing the public to collect their own raw water without offering education and training first. It’s a beautiful thing to see others out in the world getting their hands wet and working for what they want, but most people don’t have the experience to deem what water is safe.

A source of water may have been tested for pathogens in the past, but that needs to happen often. The water you drank from one day isn’t necessarily safe the next. That’s nature for you. Here’s some math to look at:

1 migratory pattern + upstream + wildlife feces = Contamination.

So, if you’re determined to drink raw water, it might be a good idea to take a knowledgeable eye with you on your adventure. Not everyone has an outdoor educated buddy who will take the trip, and that’s too bad. What I can tell you is most outdoor enthusiasts will say, if the risk is not worth the reward, skip it.

And, what’s so bad about economic advancements in water?

Science has excelled in the process of bringing water to us. It’s because of these technologies we aren’t a nomadic species. That change alone has given time. With time we’ve been able to focus on so much more. Adventure is wonderful, but for a society to thrive, access to clean water is imperative. I tip my hat at you, science, for bringing us kitchen taps, progressive filtration systems, and advanced water purifiers.

Before I end my “raw water” rant, I want to touch on the importance of safe storage. Many of these raw water brands boast moderately safe methods of storage, but we can’t expect the public to have the access to do the same. For those of you determined to try it anyway, remember filling up that bottle of water and tossing it in your closet is not going to keep you healthy no matter how clean the water is at the time of collection.

Here’s another math problem for you:

Warm + Wet = A bacteria threshold.

When it comes to water storage, always think clean and sealed.

I’ll advocate with raw water enthusiasts to go out there and learn how to forage. Just, please, learn the rules to make your water safe.

  • Bottled first
  • Consider the source and the possible contaminants
  • Boil
  • Filter
  • Disinfect
  • Store Safely

Think before you drink.

By: Heaven Bassett, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 7, 2018
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Could the Pursuit of Optimal Hydration Be Putting You at Risk?

We all know that we shouldn’t drink water from BPA bottles left out in the heat for fear of chemical leaching and build up of incubating bacterial backwash.  But did you know there may be danger lurking in the glass on your night stand?

In an effort to try to maintain hydration, or even just to minimize night time trips to the kitchen, many of us leave a glass of water on our bedside table.  “Just in case” we get thirsty.

But before you take a sip, let’s talk about dehydration and just as important, how dangerous that seemingly innocent glass on the nightstand can be.

Chronic State of Dehydration

Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. With 60 percent of our bodies being made up of water, it’s no surprise staying hydrated is an important part of living a healthy life.  Unfortunately, we often fall short of hydration status.  In fact, up to 75 percent of Americans consume the recommended 10 cups of water prescribed by the Institute of Medicine, leaving a significant majority of us functioning in a chronic state of dehydration.

Water is important for many different bodily processes.  From helping to digest foods and absorb important vitamins and nutrients from our foods to the detoxification processes performed by the liver and kidneys to flush the waste away.  The best way to keep an eye on your hydration status is to pay attention to the color of your urine.  Darkly colored urine is a good indication you are very dehydrated.  Normal urine should be a light, straw color.

When is the Best Time to Drink Water?

The body needs 8 to 10 full cups of water a day to function properly.  I don’t recommend guzzling all of it at once though.  That is certainly not a good idea for many many reasons.  But that is information for another post.  Did you know that there are specific times that are more optimal to turn that glass up and drink?

While drinking water anytime of day is a good thing.  Drinking at these specific times are best for your health.  Fill in the rest of your water intake spaced throughout the day.  First, you should drink one glass of water just after you wake up.  Drink water before and after a meal.  Another before a bath and finally before you go to sleep.

But why?

After Waking UpDrinking a full glass of water after waking up helps to activate your body.  It wakes up your internal organs and starts your day off right.  This will also help to flush any toxins before your first meal of the day.  Wake up.  Drink water…

Before a Meal.  Drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal will help your digestion.  Just don’t drink the water too soon before the meal so that your digestive juices do not get diluted.  Repeat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as necessary.

After a Meal.  Drinking a glass of water about an hour after eating a meal will help the body absorb the nutrients.  This will allow your body to get more out of the foods you are eating to fuel yourself.  Just as before the meal, repeat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as necessary.

Before a Bath.  Drinking a glass of water before a bath or shower will help lower your blood pressure.

Before You Sleep.  Drinking a glass of water about an hour before you go to sleep will help you replenish any fluid your body might need throughout the night.  Drink water, then sweet dreams.

Bedside Water Warning

Ideally you should drink water before bed, then again when you wake up.  Many people opt to leave a glass of water on their bedside table to get them through the night.  You might even think to do so in order to work towards “optimal hydration” as suggested in the tips above.  But you might want to reconsider.

Turns out drinking water left in an open glass overnight is not just unsanitary, but could cause serious illness.  In addition to unhealthy surface scum, dust, debris, and even the uninvited fly or mosquito that might find its way into your glass overnight, there are more things floating around in the air in your home than you dare to consider.  But since that is what we do here from time to time, I’m going to gross you out just a little bit.  Did you know that just standing in a room can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour.  Even materials from previous occupants can be stirred up from the floor depending on the flooring type in the room.  “We live in this microbial soup, and a big ingredient is our own microorganisms,” said Jordan Peccia, associate professor of environmental engineering at Yale and principle investigator of a study recently published online in the journal, Indoor Air.  “Mostly people are re-suspending what’s been deposited before.  The floor dust turns out to be the major source of he bacteria that we breath.”

Much worse could be lurking in the water if you have already taken a drink from it.  The backwash we inadvertently flush back into the glass.  This backwash contains fragments from in and around our mouth.  This consists of skin cells, sweat, dust, and even nasal discharge.  Yuck!  Not to mention the bacteria sloshing around in our saliva.  “If it’s allowed to incubate for hours, that could potentially contaminate the water, and make you ill by reintroducing the bacteria,” says Marc Leavey, MD, a primary care specialist at Mercy Medical Center in Massachusetts.  “Once you have put your lips to the bottle, you should consume that bottle in one sitting and then discard it.”  Otherwise, says Leavey, “avoid putting your mouth to the bottle.  Just pour it into a cup or pour it directly into your mouth.

If nasal discharge, mosquitos, skin from previous room occupants, and bacteria aren’t enough to sway you, what about carbon dioxide or carbonic acid?  When a water is left exposed to air overnight, it can absorb carbon dioxide.  This begins to change the pH of the water.  This pH change and addition of carbon dioxide promotes the formation of carbonic acid.  While the shift in pH from being left over just one night won’t be significant.  It will slightly change the taste, but this pH shift may make your water a better pool for harmful bacteria to grow in.

So, What’s the Solution?

There are many ways your can achieve optimal hydration AND keep your water at arms reach from your pillow.  If you are comfortable with it, use single-use bottles of water.  If you cannot consume the entire bottle in one sitting, make your way to the fridge to reduce the growth potential of that backwashed bacteria.

Pour water in a sealable clean cup.  If you have a cup with a lid, feel free to fill that baby up with water.  Just make sure the cup is clean and don’t be tempted to drink from it until morning.  Use another cup to take care of your night-time hydration needs.

You might come up with your own safe solution to use instead.  Whatever it takes, hydrate.  Safely.  Now, go drink up!

By: Heather Van Tassell, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 6, 2018
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Leptospirosis – The Waterbourne Bacteria You Have Likely Never Heard Of

Some 26 people died from the bacterial disease leptospirosis in the United States territory of Puerto Rico during the sixth months that followed Hurricane Maria, according to records obtained by CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo. Health authorities in Puerto RIco, however, have not yet recognized the sharp increase in leptospirosis fatalities as an outbreak.

An Outbreak in the Wake of a Natural Disaster

The total number of leptospirosis cases spiked dramatically in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria compared to historical averages. Puerto Rico’s department of health told CNN that some 57 lab confirmed cases of leptospirosis were registered in 2017. All but three were detected in the wake of storm. But what does this actually mean?

Those numbers represent a threefold increase of the number of leptospirosis cases in 2015 and a fourfold increase over the number of cases in 2016. The CDC, which keeps their own mortality statistics, paints an even grimmer picture of deaths from leptospirosis after Hurricane Maria. They counted 17 confirmed and probable deaths, plus 25 suspected deaths.

Accurate statistics regarding illness and death in the wake of Hurricane Maria are hard to come by, and how to gauge the impact of the storm has been the subject of much debate. Officially, only 64 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. That figure is limited to the month after the storm made landfall on September 20th.

Journalists, academics, activists and other watchdogs think that 64 deaths is far too low. Puerto Rico was devastated by Maria; much of the island’s power grid was completely offline for months, and essential medical infrastructure like hospitals were badly compromised by the storm. Cell phone coverage was sparse, and the distribution of aid was subsequently hampered by difficulties with logistics and communication.

Because of this, many Puerto Ricans were without clean water, electricity, or basic medical services for weeks or months following the storm. Hundreds or thousands appear have to have died during this post-hurricane blackout. A May 2018 study from the New England Journal of Medicine estimated the number of dead from causes related to Hurricane Maria to be between 800 and 8,500.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is an infection by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called leptospira. Leptospira are most common in tropical areas and is transmitted through the urine of infected mammals. Water, dirt, and food that’s come into contact with the urine of an infected animal are all potential vectors for leptospirosis.

Leptospira multiplies in wet environments. The more rainfall an area receives, the more leptospira can grow. They’re often found on riverbanks, in marshland, and in areas with standing water. Moving water in rivers or streams can transport leptospira from one place to another.

According to the CDC, people become exposed to this bacteria (typically):

“Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but is most common in temperate or tropical climates. It is an occupational hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals, such as:

  • Farmers
  • Mine workers
  • Sewer workers
  • Slaughterhouse workers
  • Veterinarians and animal caretakers
  • Fish workers
  • Dairy farmers
  • Military personnel

The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. As such, it is a recreational hazard for campers or those who participate in outdoor sports. The risk is likely greater for those who participate in these activities in tropical or temperate climates.”

The wet season in Puerto Rico, which runs from April to October, is traditionally the high season for leptospira. Hurricane Maria took Puerto Rico’s wet season and intensified it. The potential vectors for leptospira to breed and potentially come into contact with people were multipled in a country that was thoroughly soaked by the hurricane. Stormwater flows overwhelmed local watersheds and drainage systems, creating new streams and pools of standing water where none were before. Extensive flooding created breeding ground for leptospira where fields, roads, buildings, and other features once stood.

Extensive flooding created favorable conditions for leptospira to breed. Damage to the electric grid, roads, and hospitals effectively took Puerto Rico’s health infrastructure offline. The result was dozens of dead from a disease which is easily preventable and relatively simple to treat.

Prevention

Leptospirosis can be avoided by wearing latex gloves to keep the bacteria away from the hands, and by protecting one’s feet from potential vectors with a pair of good boots. Do your best to avoid rivers, streams, puddles, and ponds where leptospira breeds. If you can’t avoid them, then be careful not to expose any sores, lesions, or open cuts to water that might be carrying leptospira. Try not to get any water in your mouth, either. After you’ve been exposed to a body of water that might have the bacteria, wash up as thoroughly as you can with hot water and plenty of soap.

Other prevention measures are available, too. Doxycycline has sometimes been given as a prophylactic to reduce the incidence of leptospirosis in regions where the disease is endemic. The effectiveness of this measure is subject to some debate, however – it’s not entirely clear how well it works, and there’s the additional concern that overuse of antibiotics increases antibiotic resistance. Human vaccines for leptospirosis have been developed, but their availability is limited to a few countries. Animal vaccines do exist, although many of the animals that transmit leptospirosis, like rats, are found in the wild and not easily vaccinated.

The most effective way of preventing leptospirosis is controlling populations of rats and limiting the wet, soggy environments in which the bacteria can spread. The problem with this, and with all the preventative measures listed above, is that they assume a certain baseline functionality that cannot be assured in the wake of a natural disaster like Hurricane Maria. Controlling rat populations, vaccinating pets, cleaning up standing water and marshland, administering preventative antibiotics, using protective clothing and post-exposure disinfection techniques, avoiding cuts and scrapes, getting access to antibiotics after someone has fallen ill; all of these steps are difficult or impossible if the electric grid is down, roads are washed out, phones don’t work, and hospitals are non-functioning.

By: Sean McNulty, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

August 23, 2018
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We All Did It, But Was It Safe? Drinking from the Hose That Is…

On hot summer day, it may be tempting to drink some cool water from the garden hose or sprinklers.  As parents, there are many experience from our childhood that we would love for our children to experience.  A few of those things may seem like a rite of passage that we feel every child must do.  However, the many advances of science and technology have deemed several practices from our childhood as harmful or not safe.  One of my childhood memories is drinking from the garden hose outside the house. When I look back on it, it was an easy to access water source that all of us kids could rely on for those long, hot summer days playing outside. Let’s be real.  We all have done these things.  But is it actually safe to drink water from a garden hose?

I regret to inform you that, it isn’t.

DO NOT DRINK WATER FROM THE HOSE

Unlike plumbing inside the home, garden hoses are not designed or manufactured to deliver safe drinking water.  Usually, the water from your hose is the exact same water that is found inside your home.  The major difference is the way the water is carried.  The pipes and fittings in the home are designed to avoid contamination of the water because the primary purpose is to use it as a safe drinking source.  Garden hoses are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which monitors the nation’s public drinking water supply.  Water coming from a common garden hose is chock full of toxic materials that could be harmful to the human body, such as:

  • Lead
  • Antimony
  • Bromine
  • Organotin
  • Phthalates
  • BPA (bisphenol A)

Antimony and bromine are flame retardant chemicals.  Garden hoses use a common plastic called polyvinyl chloride, which may release toxic vinyl chloride.   BPA, lead, and phthalates are used to stabilize the plastic in garden hoses.  BPA is an industrial chemical used to make hard, clear plastic.  According to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health is concerned with the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.

The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, M.I., conducted a study that found lead levels exceeded the safety limits set by the Safe Water Drinking Act in every hose they tested. The study also found that 100 percent of the garden hoses sampled contained several plasticizers currently banned in children’s products.

One third of the hoses tested contained organotin, which disrupts the endocrine system.  Only half of the hoses contained antimony, which is linked to liver, kidney, and other organ damages.  During the random selection of the hoses, all contained extremely high level of phthalates, which can lower intelligence, damage the endocrine system, and cause behavioral changes.  The study also found levels of BPA at 20 times higher than those of safe drinking water levels.

According to a Huffington Post article, “Though you’d likely have to drink a fair amount of affected garden hose water to see health consequences, the Ecology Center warns that even low levels of lead may create health problems.”

REDUCING THE RISK

Think about it:  If the water from a hose is not safe for you to drink, then it’s also not good for your pets, and it might transfer nasty chemicals to garden produce.

There are steps that you can do to minimize the risk of the water in the hose.  To minimize adverse effects of becoming sick from the water hose, follow these tips:

  • Let the water run for a few minutes: Before using the hose to water your plants or fill a swimming pool, you should let the water from the hose run for a few minutes.  By doing this, you can reduce the toxins in the water.  It is not good for water to sit in a hose for long hours.  Letting the water run allows the hose to be flushed out before utilizing it.
  • Keep the hose in a dark and cool place: Never leave your hose under the heat of the sun.  Make sure it is stored in a safe area.  Warm temperatures plus the sunlight can increase the degradation rate of the polymer which can cause the chemicals to leak into the water.  By storing the hose away from the sun, you can slow down the degradation process.
  • Mind the Fixture: Brass is an unregulated metal which can contain lead.  Most outdoor fixtures are made of brass.  Even if you may think your outdoor fixtures are safe for consumption, it could still contain heavy metal contamination.  If possible, be mindful and change your fixtures regularly.
  • Choose a Safer Hose: There are safe alternative natural rubber hoses on the market.  Natural rubber hoses do not have any toxic plasticizers or any toxins like traditional hoses.  Before you buy your new garden hose, thoroughly read the product descriptions.  Select a hose that has a low environmental impact and safe for drinking water.  In general, this type of hose is safe to use and possible drink from.  However, it is still best to let the water run a few minutes so that any undesirable chemicals or pathogens are removed.

NOT SAFE

While there are ways to reduce the risk of contamination, it is not advisable to drink from the garden hose.  There are hoses that are labeled as ‘drinking water safe,’ but they are more expensive than the traditional hoses.  It might be very tempting and accessible to drink from the garden hose, but it is still best to walk into your kitchen to get a drink of water even if it is from the tap.  Try to invest in a filter to be installed on your tap water faucet.  Bottom line, drinking from the garden hose may have been fun when you were younger, but now we know better.  When you know better, you do better.

You can keep you and yours safe now. Stick to water bottles instead.

By: Keeba Smith, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

August 21, 2018
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Don’t Drink that Water You Left in the Car!

I’m not sure where I heard it first, but it has been ingrained in me.  “DO NOT LEAVE WATER BOTTLES IN YOUR CAR.”  It makes sense.  Plastic is made from chemicals.  When heated chemicals release into the environment. Water safety is definitely in question.

Maybe it is because I live in Houston, Texas and the temperature on the inside of a car literally gets hot enough to bake cookies.  I am not even kidding on this.  In fact, one bakery put an SUV to the test.  You can find out the fresh cookie results here.  All sweets aside, the inside of a car get H.O.T.

Additionally, I have also often wondered about the conditions that water bottle goes through before it reaches me and the potential for being left in a hot car.  From the distribution warehouse that is likely not air conditioned to the delivery truck that is likely not climate controlled.  There are quite a few variables outside of my control.

The “common knowledge” surrounding heated water bottles goes something like this…  The BPA used in making disposable water bottles causes cancer.  This BPA leaching into water when those bottles gets hot causes cancer.  More specifically, breast cancer.  Far and wide women were told to not keep water bottles in the car and to throw away half used bottles that have been left in the car.

Turns out, that the heat and BPA scare are minimal to other risks associated with disposable water bottles heating up in the car.  Let’s explore.

First, Let’s Talk About BPA

With bottled water being the most consumed beverage in the United States, there is quite a bit of concern over the safety of the containers we trust to hold this life elixir.  In an interview, University of Texas at Tyler professor Dr. Lance Williams cites a 2014 study conducted by the University of Florida.  “They left bottle of water at 158 degrees Fahrenheit for several weeks,” says Williams.  “Out of 20 brands we looked at, only one in 20 had trace amounts of BPA.”  The study goes on to explain that according to the Mayo Clinic, BPA is not harmful in small doses.  Williams explains, “if you’re leaving a bottle of water in a car for a day, there’s really no risk of any chemicals leaching into the water.”

As for longer periods of time?  Well, that might be another story.  He says, “If you left it in a car for weeks at a time, then there’s a small chance that some [chemicals] could leach into the water but it’s a very small probability.”

There are bigger and more serious issues that arise from leaving an opened bottle of water in a car.  These are by far riskier and faster to cause problems than the potential harmful effects of chemical leaching.

What’s in That Water?

Turns out, it’s not the chemicals that we should be worrying about.  It’s the bacteria.  Channel 2 Houston’s Consumer Expert Amy Davis posed this same question.  She enlisted the help of Envirodyne Laboratories to find out exactly what is in water left in the car.

She took two bottles to the lab for testing.  One unfinished water bottle and an unopened water bottle left in her car for the same amount of time.  She didn’t mention how long these bottles were in her car, only that both bottles sat for the same duration.

Regardless of timeline, the data was disturbing.  “We had total coliform counts greater than 2420,” explained Laura Bojonia of Envirodyne.  “We had heterotrophic plate counts greater than 73,000.”  That is significant.  This coliform count is used by the FDA as an indicator of the number of pathogens likely present in the water.  If this sample was part of the public water system, health warnings would be issued indicating residents should boil water until the problem was resolved.

While coliform isn’t always harmful, this unsafe level of bacteria indicates that conditions are ripe for other bacteria that are harmful to propagate in harmful numbers.  Bacteria such as Escherichia coli better known as E. coli can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.  To put this into perspective, for any positive coliform result in public drinking water required routine sampling the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires action.

But what about the unopened bottle?  Envirodyne reported that no coliform, E. coli, or any other bacteria was present.  That’s good news.  Bottled water is heavily regulated so I am not completely surprised.  The lab did not test for BPA on either sample.

Where Does the Bacteria Come From?

Take your index finger, turn it to yourself, and point to your mouth.  Yep.  YOU put that bacteria there.  We have low levels of all kinds of bacteria in and around out mouths.  Our great immune system does its job to keep these low levels in check, but when they grow beyond the protective ability of our immune system, that is where illness picks up.

When you take a sip from the mouth of the bottle, you inadvertently slosh some of the water that has been in your mouth, or at the very least “mouth adjacent,” back into the bottle.  Those not so nice hitch hikers hop a ride on that wave and travel into the bottle where it percolates.  The heat imposed on the bottle in the car creates a nice little incubator for these bacteria to grow to harmful numbers.

As if you needed more reasons to not keep unfinished water bottles in your car, I can add just one more.  Fire!

Less Obvious Risk – FIRE!

You heard me.  Fire.  Do you remember hearing that you can start a fire with nothing more than a magnifying glass?  It is the same concept.

David Richardson, of the Midwest City Fire Department located in Oklahoma explains, “The liquid and the clear material develop a focused beam, and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire.”  Depending on where the bottle is sitting in your car, this can happen pretty easily.

Boycott the Bottle?

So what can you do?  Boycott the bottle.  I am not promoting a mass exodus of bottle water drinking.  However you get this hydration is up to you.  If you do want to partake of the disposable bottle water receptacle option, take the unfinished bottle with you when you leave your car.  If possible, put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to drink from it again.  Refrigeration slows bacterial growth, reducing the opportunity for unsafe bacteria levels to form.

Personally, I play it safe.  Whenever possible I use reusable containers and wash them regularly.  I don’t usually leave them in the car, but I will make a much better effort going forward to pay attention to this safety risk.

By: Heather Van Tassell, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

August 13, 2018
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Moss Discovered that Removes Arsenic from Water

Let’s talk arsenic for a second. That may sound odd for a food safety blog; but, remember, we care deeply about water, too. No pun intended. There are some amazing things happening that could potentially lead to a healthier planet. I’m referring to a recent discovery in Sweden. Scientists from Stockholm University used water moss to remove 80% of arsenic from water. There is a way we could use moss to remove contamination from water! Think about the implications!

It is important to go back a little and understand why this research was done in the first place. We will look at what this moss is doing (don’t worry; I’m not a scientist either, so we will keep it in layman’s terms). It is important to touch on what arsenic really is and what it can do, as well. Then, we can venture into the unknown: thinking about applications for this in the future.

Who Knew Moss was So Awesome?

What would spurn a university to research ways to remove arsenic from water? This was the first question I had when I began reading about this new discovery. Further reading lead me to the fact that parts of Sweden are in serious trouble concerning their drinking water. Hmm, we are having the same concerns here in the United States, too!

For over a decade, mining has released more arsenic from areas where the only source of drinking water was wells. This will, obviously, cause a spike in sickness for the locals drinking this water. An article from Radio Sweden dated 2011 speaks to the dangers of high levels of arsenic found in drinking water. “In addition to water contaminated through damaged and leaky pipes, there is also a real problem with water from wells. Around 1.2 million Swedes get their daily water supply from wells. If those who use wells part time or summer and weekend houses are also taken into account, then that number doubles.” You can find the full article here. The concern was not only for those already sick but for the future. The water supply even back then was in trouble. Now, in 2018, that has all changed – for the betterment of all. Amazingly, all of this change is due to a moss growing in abundance in the country.

In line with food safety, it is important to mention not just drinking water is affected by releasing arsenic into the drinking supply, but water used for growing crops can be tainted. It’s no wonder the country has such an issue with arsenic poisoning.

And well, we need safe air to breath, food to eat, and water to drink…

What exactly is Arsenic?

For most of us, arsenic is not something we worry about from day to day. It is worth discussing what exactly arsenic is and how it affects us though. You never know when this kind of information could save your life.

Arsenic is a metalloid chemical (also called a heavy metal, no not like rock music) found everywhere in the earth. Don’t be alarmed, it is not dangerous in small amounts. It is when we disturb these metals it can become a problem. Hence, the mining issues in Sweden. An even smaller amount can be found in animals, plants, and seafood. These too are minute amounts and are not harmful to humans.

Exposure to arsenic would have to be in high doses and over a prolonged period for symptoms to show. Arsenic is a cancer causing poison affecting the: lungs, bladder, breasts, prostate, kidney, and liver.

According to Medical News Today, here are some signs and symptoms associated with more severe poisoning:

  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Excessive saliva
  • Problems swallowing
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cramping muscles
  • Stomach cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Again, be mindful if these conditions present themselves but always consult a doctor before panicking.

There are strict government policies concerning arsenic standards. Whether drinking water, air, or food; levels are watched and policed due to the dangerous side-effects in high doses.

What is this Moss Doing?

Here is a fun word to say: phytofiltration. Using plants to filtrate water is nothing new. But by using plant-life that grew around these high levels of arsenic to filter it out of the water is groundbreaking.

In a recent article, one of the researchers had this to say concerning moss:

“Our experiments show that the moss has a very high capacity to remove arsenic. It takes no more than an hour to remove 80 per cent of the arsenic from a container of water.”

That is fast! Consider the possibilities for a moment. In a place where arsenic contamination is a huge problem this could be the news Sweden has been waiting for. Of course more testing needs to be done but early results are showing promise.

The Future…

Because research is so new, there is little information as to where this breakthrough will lead. It will take time for more findings in other areas but I believe this could be the beginning of another positive step in food safety. By controlling the amount of dangerous substances in water irrigation, the impurities in our food could be greatly reduced. A scientist I am not. I can only imagine a step toward trying this method with other types of dangerous byproducts of what we are doing to Earth. Let me know in the comments if you can think of a way this research could be implemented in other ways.

Maybe it’s the nerd in me? Maybe it’s my eyes opening about the state of our food safety system? Maybe I just like the taste (and after effects) of only drinking clean, purified water? Whatever it may be, I am excited for the possibilities this research brings. Even though more research is needed, the simple fact a country is on the brink of cleaner water should give us all a sense of positive progress. Stay tuned to makefoodsafe.com for any updates to this exciting find.

By: Dwight Spencer, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

July 18, 2018
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