» Indoor Health Matters

Winter Norovirus Outbreaks Linked to Drinking Water

Posted by John on November 1st, 2008

The Canadian Press reports that drinking water may be behind winter outbreaks of norovirus.

Norovirus, also known as “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis, infects people much more frequently during the winter. Canadian researchers found that outbreaks are more likely to happen the week after water temperatures drop below a certain point.

The findings suggest that certain environmental conditions allow noroviruses from sewage to find their way back into drinking water. Continue reading

Global Warming Increases Waterborne Pathogens

Posted by John on October 26th, 2008

While the different computer models of global warming don’t agree on everything, they do agree that warmer temperatures will lead to increased rainfall. This increase in rainfall will in turn lead to more disease-carrying agents in our drinking water.

Heavy rainfalls often trigger sewage overflows that contaminate drinking water. Consequences will be most severe in the nearly 1,000 U.S. cities (including New York, Washington DC, and Milwaukee, and Philadelphia) that have sewer systems which use the same pipes for storm water and sewage. When the pipes cannot handle heavy rain, raw sewage spills into drinking water supplies. Continue reading

EPA Decides to Let Rocket Fuel Remain in Water

Posted by John on October 3rd, 2008

I first blogged about perchlorate contamination in drinking water back in July with EPA Finds Toxic Rocket Fuel Ingredient in Water (this post includes a video).

Now, as reported by USA Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided that this dangerous chemical can remain in our water. Continue reading

10 Easy Pollution Solutions

Posted by John on September 22nd, 2008

Toxins abound in our world. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group recently released 10 everyday pollution solutions:

1. Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick. Chemicals in Teflon pose many health hazards. Continue reading

Pharmaceuticals Contaminate Drinking Water

Posted by John on September 21st, 2008

MSNBC reports that 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with a vast array of pharmaceutical drugs – everything from chemotherapy medications to hormones.

Scientists believe that most pharmaceutical contamination comes from drugs that are excreted by patients and then flushed down toilets. But U.S. hospitals and health facilities also flush an estimated 250 million pounds of drugs each year! Once these drugs go down the drain, they often end up in water supplies. Continue reading

Toxic BPA Found in Bodies of Nearly All Americans

Posted by John on September 19th, 2008

USA Today reports that Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen-like chemical in plastic, has been found in 93% of Americans tested. Recent studies suggest that BPA alters the development of the brain and prostate gland in children. This synthetic estrogen chemical has also been linked to a host of cancers, heart disease, early-onset puberty, obesity, and diabetes.

BPA is found in baby bottles, plastic utensils, dental sealants, food can linings, and plastic bottles. The longer a liquid sits in a container with BPA, the more BPA leaches into the liquid. Continue reading

Bottled Water and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted by John on August 5th, 2008

Have you seen those “eco-friendly” plastic water bottles? How ironic! Plastic bottles are anything but eco-friendly. In the past decade or so, as more people have become aware of the adverse health effects associated with soft drinks, bottled water has become enormously popular. But there’s a big problem: Plastic does not decompose quickly; in fact, in can take hundreds of years to degrade. In our quest for better health, we’re polluting our grandchildren’s planet with plastic bottles.

How big is this problem? It’s likely much bigger than you think. It’s actually bigger than the United States – literally.

Earlier this year, The Independent reported on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a “plastic soup” trash vortex in the Pacific Ocean that now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States. 90% of the waste consists of plastic, and the patch is growing at an alarming rate. Continue reading

EPA Finds Toxic Rocket Fuel Ingredient in Drinking Water

Posted by John on July 18th, 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found a toxic rocket fuel ingredient – perchlorate – in drinking water in at least 35 states, but they have no plans to regulate this dangerous chemical.
Continue reading

Scientific American Questions Fluoride in Tap Water

Posted by John on July 17th, 2008

In January 2008, Scientific American magazine shocked many members of the scientific community when it published an article that questions the practice of adding fluoride to municipal drinking water: “Second Thoughts about Fluoride.” Recent studies suggest that over-consumption of fluoride can damage teeth, bones, and the brain, particularly the thyroid gland. Continue reading