Lead: The Perilous Poison in Your Tap Water

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water_meter_contaminated_lead_drinking

lead_water_infrastructrure_jackson_flintLead is a killer.  To that statement, nobody is surprised.  The shock may be perhaps just how silently lead slips into our systems, not only in terms of its delivery often by aging public utility works or other modes, but also how it becomes absorbed into our human bodily systems.  More often than not, the serious harm of lead poisoning has long taken its toll on the physiology of a person before it exhibits itself overtly via a plethora of symptoms finally manifested in multiple forms of chronic illness.  It is a dastardly manner to get sick or die.  

So, as prepper’s intent on surviving this world’s outward disasters in the form of natural and unnatural events, how does one protect against the potential infusions of poisoning by lead sources?  First is to understand it, know it, then begin to practice cautions to guard against it, identify it, and recognize the threats and how to ward off its impact on our health and that of our family especially small children, who are more highly susceptible.  

Lead the Toxin

lead_poison_toxic_drinkJust for the sake of basic scientific information the chemical symbol for lead on the chart is Pb.  It is a highly toxic metal considered to be a very strong poison.  It builds up in the human body sometimes not exposing itself in terms of medical symptoms for months or even years.  Children are the most susceptible, because in their very youngest years they are still developing their brains and nervous system which lead attacks. Lead is primarily a neurotoxin in that it mainly targets the nervous system as well as the brain.  It causes a number of maladies and disorders within these physiological systems.  Lead poisoning can also cause blood disorders that can be equally terminal in nature.  

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

The list of lead poisoning symptoms in the human body is lengthy.  The listing includes abdominal pain, cramps, aggressive behaviors, constipation, sleep disorders, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia, and kidney dysfunction.  

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Additional symptoms often displayed are vomiting, muscle weakness, stumbling, seizures, coma, and encephalopathy, which is a form of confusion often combined with coma. The real trick is to not only to identify these symptoms or illnesses, but to prove the link of these ailments to actual lead poisoning.  Thank goodness for us, this can be proven by a series of appropriate specific blood tests.  In theory then the links to lead poisoning can be shown so that treatment regimens can be prescribed by the medical profession.  

Lead Delivery Threats

graveyard_water_towerRemember Flint, Michigan?  I am certain there are numerous other examples of both isolated and widespread excessive concentrations of lead having been delivered to the citizen population via municipal water systems.  Lead poisoning is after all caused by the ingestion of the material into the human body and thereby absorbed into the tissues. Though as we know, lead poisoning can also come from lead paint that was quite common in older residential housing construction as well as huge metropolitan housing complexes, apartment buildings and other dwellings.  Lead was also prevalent in older toys, and other items that children might have put in their mouths over extended periods.  Those sources of lead have now long been cleaned up and removed from society for the most part.  They no longer remain a threat to human health, but drinking water sources are another matter entirely.  

Lead sources can also exist within our soils, ground water, and surface waters and are considered environmental contaminates.  These are often quite prevalent in areas where lead is mined or exists within the earth structures naturally. Towns and cities all over the country are under the threat of aging water piping systems. These were constructed of lead pipes and soldiered joints and are still a widespread threat in America.  Rural water systems are not exempt either from lead poisoning.  Threats of lead in water also exists in private wells as well.  

Every drinking water source is subject to government regulations regarding the amount of lead registered as PPB’s or parts per billion.  The Federal Government’s EPA has established acceptable standards for lead and all chemicals in drinking water.  These sources are supposed to be tested and certified on a regular basis, but sometimes are not.  Are your sources tested?  Is the water coming from your tap right now safe to drink?  This, you better know.  

A Case in Point

sink_water_drinking_contaminationJust last year a municipality near my location, Jackson, Mississippi, experienced issues with elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water sources.  After extensive sampling of water in 58 city sample sites, 22 per cent of the locations showed lead levels exceeding the accepted Federal levels. The Feds say that a water lead test above 0.015 or 15 ppb exceeds safe levels.  Jackson’s water tested at 0.017 to 0.02 ppb, which is above the Federal standard for safe drinking water.  The source or blame was reported to be the individual home internal samples, not originating from the city’s water distribution network.  And who exactly believes that?  City officials reported that homes built before 1988 were susceptible to lead contaminated water.  Corrosive (city supplied) water can cause the lead in older pipes and commonly soldiered joints to leach out thus causing the excessive high lead levels in the water tests. Action by the city was to correct the inadequate corrosion control in the city water piping systems.  Water chemistry reacts to home pipes and fixtures thus increasing lead levels.  One suspects aging city water systems also contribute to the leaching lead.

It was also noted that the summer heat experienced in the south causes higher lead uptake than in the winter months.  One assumes the external environmental heat raises the temperature in the piping systems thus increasing the temperature of the lead in those pipes furthering the leaching potential into the drinking tap water.  

Treatment and Protection

red_cross_first_aid.svgThere are medical treatments for proven lead poisoning caused from ingestion and absorption.  Blood tests can reveal this as well as other medical tests to assess damage to tissue and organs. The human body can be purged of excessive lead levels.  The process is referred to as chelation therapy.  The treatment binds the lead to be evacuated from the body through urination.  One of the medicines used in the chelation process is known as dimercaprol.  Far be it from me to discuss the medical implications and complications of lead poisoning any further.  Consult other medical information, physicians, or medical experts on the subject.  

Protection is by working to prevent the ingestion of lead.  There are numerous lead filtering systems available for home use to reduce or eliminate the threat of lead in your drinking water.  Have your water tested professionally or purchase a home water testing kit to verify if lead is in your drinking water.  Just knowing one way or the other may be of some relief.  This should be done on a periodically recommended schedule as things change in water delivery systems, even a home well.  

Lead is a noxious substance.  It makes people sick and can eventually kill them.  Part of prepping is to also protect ourselves at home or work or life in addition to being prepared for other SHTF events.  If you have any reason to suspect your drinking water sources are contaminated with lead, then test it, then filter it to be on the safe side.  

Always monitor local area news reports and public service reports on municipal water system safety.  Make certain public waters are tested on schedule.  

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How To Get Water, Filter and Purify 101

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 How To Get Water, Filter and Purify 101 Water is essential for surviving more than a few days and will be your #1 priority in a survival situation. On average we can survive around 3 days without water. If SHTF and you don’t have a source for water or the means to purify it, you …

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Poison in the Water? Trace Pharmaceuticals and Your Faucet

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pharmaceuticals

Vicodin5mgThe issue of pharmaceuticals showing up in public water systems is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason—because it’s there! While it isn’t entirely clear what these drugs are doing to your endocrine system, it isn’t positive. Moreover, your exposure to trace pharmaceuticals is probably greater than you imagine. Consider these news articles:

I could go on citing more and more articles on the subject, but what’s the point? These are all legitimate news sources, not quack “fake news” and conspiracy theory sites. The issue is real. Do your own research and you will quickly see for yourself. Believe it or not, you are exposed to trace chemicals from the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. 

By Danger Dave, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

But what exactly are “trace pharmaceuticals”? Denver Water states:

Trace pharmaceuticals are sometimes called microconstituents or emerging contaminants. They are products that enter the water supply through animal-based agricultural runoff or from human sources. A high percentage of pharmaceuticals in wastewater enter the water supply when people dispose of medicines in the sink or toilet. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical products — whether used in animals or in humans — are used in doses at which some amounts are passed through the user and back into water systems. 

New York Legislator Burke (from the first article) said, “I heard someone make sort of a glib joke the other day that they’re feeling depressed, so instead of going to the pharmacy they’re just going to drink a cup of tap water.” Funny, but no laughing matter.

From Prescription to Drinking Water

glass_of_waterHow is it that when we turn on the tap water we get a refreshing glass of… drug-tainted water? Well, what do people do with unused and expired drugs? Chances are they get dumped in the toilet and flushed. The water system is a circular system. It all comes back around. What is more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the flushing of drugs is only part of the problem.

“The main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medicines and then naturally passing them through their bodies,” says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert at FDA. “Many drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body and can enter the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants.”

So drugs are getting into the water system simply by the fact people are taking drugs and then using the bathroom as they always do.

Drugs in our water is no easy problem to solve, and it’s the reason the FDA, in partnership with the DEA and community organizations, developed community-based drug “take-back” programs. (Click here to find a take-back program in your area.)

Dangerous?

doctor_medical_SWOT-2Everyone agrees that trace amounts of drugs are in the water. As we established, this is not “alternative facts” or theory. It is undeniable. What is not clear is to what extent it may cause harm to individuals consuming the water. According to WebMD, while scientists do not know the extent of the threat to our health, of particular concern is the presence of synthetic hormones, because “hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.” They go on to say, “We know that kids, including babies and toddlers, as well as fetuses, are more susceptible to environmental exposures because their bodies are still developing and their exposure on a pound-per-pound basis is higher. And they lack the detoxification system adults have. So it is not unreasonable to expect they would be at a higher risk.”

Soooo… if it is of particular concern for kids, and the science is still out on the effects their presence in water has on adults, I am inclined to err on the side of safety.

Solutions

So there is no denying the research and concern. Drugs in drinking water is very real. While solutions for preventing the drugs from entering the water system prove somewhat elusive, there are concrete ways to get trace pharmaceuticals out of your water.

“Boil it,” you say? Nope. Boiling it does not solve the problem. “Then bottled water,” you argue. Not likely. Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Your best bet at addressing the problem? Filtering it between when it leaves the tap to when it reaches your mouth.

water_pitcher_epicPreppers are familiar with a few of the common water filtration available to them because they have purchased them as insurance against an environmental or man-made catastrophe to allow them access to safe drinking water. But why wait until catastrophe strikes to use them when those very filters could be used right now to clean your drinking water for safe(er) consumption? If you own the products already, why not use them on a daily basis now? If you don’t own the products, consider getting one, for the sake of your family’s health. A few that we recommend for prepping purposes also remove trace pharmaceuticals:

  • Black Berkey Filters
  • Epic’s Filtration Pitcher

From my view, any “prepper” product that can get used now is a must get. It makes far more sense to purchase these products before products that will sit on a shelf for a “just in case” situation that may not come.

Lastly, you can do your part to help combat drugs entering the water supply by following the drug disposal guidelines from the FDA found here.

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How To Make a Improvised Charcoal Filter

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How To Make a Improvised Charcoal Filter If the SHTF, you get stranded in the wild or there is some kind of an emergency, clean water can be hard to find. In order to avoid being sick, you will want to be able to strain out any of the nasty stuff that can make you …

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Gardening Tip: Line Flowerpots with a Coffee Filter

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This idea came from this old house, and it works great for gardening, but in keeping my eyes open to solutions, it also works great for my zeer pot. When I made it, I used duct tape to seal the hole in the pot, but the quickly failed. If you line flowerpots and planters with coffee filters it will stop soil from falling through the drainage hole. See larger image BUNN BCF100-B 100-Count Basket Filter The BUNN BCF100B 100-Count Coffee and Tea Filters are specially designed to work with BUNN brewers. The selection of coffee filters is a vital step

The post Gardening Tip: Line Flowerpots with a Coffee Filter appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

3 Emergency Survival Tips!

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3 Emergency Survival Tips!

12-21-15 katrinaThere are many types of natural disasters in the world today. There are hurricanes, tidal waves, bush fires and floods. Most of these emergency disasters manifest themselves when you least expect them. Their effects can change lives and even kill people in the hundreds of thousands. If you are prepared for the event before it happens, there is a far greater chance that you and your family will be able to weather it out (no pun intended) and be safe and sound at the end of it all.

Whether you buy gold for prepping or food supplies to stockpile on,
there are going to be many ways you can prepare for impending disaster and not appear to be a doomsday nut to your neighbors. Here are a few useful tips you can follow to ensure that you are prepared for natural disasters and their aftermath:

Have breakout tools

If your region is prone to floods, make 12-21-15 emergency floodsure your home has the equipment necessary to deal with this on hand at all times. This includes an axe to clear out any obstacles as well as life vests and preservers for emergency situations. In hurricanes and major storms, people can get trapped in their homes. The rising water levels will then gradually reduce your breathing space until it runs out and you drown. With an axe in hand, you will be able to cut your way to the roof of your home and stay safe, high and dry until rescue comes for you.

Water will save your life

Water is one of the most important survival items that you can have. It is integral to your survival and your life. While you could live for days, and even weeks, without food, you wouldn’t last three days without water. If it is a hot climate, you will die in a day or two. Make sure that you have a gallon of water per day for every person in your family unit set aside, for at least three days. This is a lot of water, but it will definitely pay off when the going gets tough.

The minimum amount of water needed for a person to live during a normal day is about 1 quart. This means that there can be no physical activity either. You will still feel dehydrated, but in reality you will be at the very edge of that cliff looking over. Remember that during natural disasters like landslides and storms, water supplies can be contaminated and become undrinkable. You will be thankful for the disaster storage tank of water you have in your attic then.

Get a portable filter

Homespun 150x1501In order to ensure that you can have water to drink even after your supply of stored drinking water is over, get a water filter for your home. There are natural water filters that use layers of sediment and rock in order to purify contaminated water and make it good for drinking. While it won’t be as good as boiled and treated water, it will provide a low-toxicity supply of drinking water indefinitely. In addition to this, if you stock up on chemicals to purify water, you are going to be good to go for a few weeks if you want to.

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Clean Water, Liquid Gold!

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Clean water could be Liquid Gold!
DJ Cooper “Surviving Dystopia

Clean water homespunThis week I am pleased to welcome Russ Michaud from Homespun Environmental as a guest to talk to us about some of the icky things that can be found in the water you and your family uses and what we can do about them. Whether you’re at home or out on that family outing here’s a cost effective solution to keep the thirst away without the worries of making yourself sick… or worse.

Over the past couple of weeks I have spoken about pinching pennies and bulk buying and storage. Well this week let’s toss in a little water talk. Water is the one thing we can’t go without for very long, 3 days is all it takes without water before we are done for. Just as important, if not more important than food storage and stocking up is the need for clean water.

Clean water goldRight here, right now.. Clean water flows freely from the tap for most of us. We waste it while brushing our teeth or let it run down the sink to cool off for a nice cool glass of Clean water. But what if a single cup were to become like liquid gold? What if the water around you made you sick because it was polluted? Even your stored water runs out sooner or later… You’re left wondering “What now?”

Clean water warningJoin me with Russ of Homespun Environmental as we explore some of the problems with surface water and even ground water and determine the best means to filter make that water potable. Water is heavy and storage can be difficult. Russ will share with us some ideas for keeping your family well stocked with this liquid gold for much less than buying bottled water.

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