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Australian Drinking Water some things to consider before you drink from the tap

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What is in Australian Drinking Water?

Water quality monitoring takes place before the water reaches your home, with the exception of the occasional monitoring at the garden tap. This is not going to tell you whether the water in your kitchen is safe after travelling in your plumbing system.

LEAD– In Australia common use of lead based solder on brass fittings and copper pipes up until as recently as 1989. As a result of corrosion, there is a potential for the lead to leach into the water after prolonged contact. It is therefore the consumption of first flush water – the first cup of tea in the morning – which presents a hazard.Dr Brian Gulson carried out a test for lead in 1992 in the Turramurra, Burwood, Epping and Broken Hill. The study revealed that the lead levels in first flush tap water in many cases exceeded the acceptable level. Further studies conducted in Perth (WA) in 1993 on cold water from kitchen taps have indicated that 5% of samples were above the acceptable lead level as defined by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2% were above the limit for cadmium and 12% above the limit for copper.

TREATMENT:

Reverse osmosis, ion exchange, distillation, catalytic carbon

Chlorine - The most widely used disinfectant, chlorine generates a number of different byproducts, including trihalomethanes (THMs). http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/eh33.pdf

President Obama's Cancer Research Panel report, titled "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risks: What We Can Do Now" states, "Filtering home tap or well water can decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals." The report goes on to highlight the added importance of protecting children. "To the extent possible, parents and child care providers should choose house products that will minimize children's exposure to toxics."

TREATMENT:

Carbon Filter, Reverse Osmosis, Distillation

COPPER- The normal adult requires approximately 2 to 3 milligrams of copper per person per day. More than 90% of your dietary needs for copper is provided by food. Drinking water usually provides less than 10% of your daily copper intake. Consumption of high levels of copper can cause nausea, vomiting, gastric complaints and headaches. Long term exposure over many months and years can cause liver damage and death.

TREATMENT:

Reverse osmosis, ion exchange, distillation, Doulton Ceramic UltraCarb

CHLORAMINES - Chloramine, is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. While chlorine dissipates and evaporates into the air relatively quickly, chloramine is more stable and will last longer in the water system. The goal is to provide increased protection from bacterial contamination. Chloramine also happens to be the cheapest and easiest of the options available to water utilities. Yet even though the use of chloramine is convenient, it may not be safe. Studies indicate chloramine causes more rapid deterioration of the municipal infrastructure and degradation of valves and fittings. In water systems that still use lead pipes or components, this causes lead and other metals to leach into drinking water and out of faucets and showerheads. Erin Brockovich

TREATMENT:

Reverse osmosis, catalytic carbon

FLUORIDE - Fluorine is an element, the 9th in the periodic table. When fluorine gains an electron (when it combines with other elements) it is called fluoride or the fluoride ion and is abbreviated F- (F minus). It is this form of fluoride that is found in fluoridated water. Fluoride in water is colourless, odourless and tasteless. In NSW fluoride is added to the water supply at a level of 1 milligram per litre (mg/L) in line with the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations.

TREATMENT:

Reverse osmosis, ion exchange, distillation, activated alumina.

CADMIUM - Natural mineral deposits. Used in leather and tanning and iron and steel manufacturing, coal mining, textile mills, gum and wood chemicals, pharamacuetical manufacturing, petroleum refining, rubber processing and foundries. Avoca in Tasmania has a high cadmium level in the drinking water – about 2-4 times more than Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Acting CEO Andrew Beswick – Ben Lomand Water.

TREATMENT:

Reverse osmosis, Ion exchange, coagulation with filtration, distillation.

CRYPTOSPORIDIUM and GIARDIA - Cryptosporidiuminfection (cryptosporidiosis or 'crypto') is an infection of the bowel caused by the parasiteCryptosporidium which can result in gastroenteritis (also known as 'gastro').

Giardiainfection is an infection of the bowel caused by the parasiteGiardia duodenalis, also known asGiardia lambliaorGiardia intestinalis.

The Cause:Run off from dead animals and animal faeces. When rainfall is received, the water runs through kilometres of cattle faeces and carcasses and into the dams.

TREATMENT:

1 micron absolute filter, Reverse Osmosis, Distillation

E. coli, Bacteria– Nerang residents on the Gold Coast are being warned to boil their tap water before drinking it after an E coli outbreak was detected during routine testing. It is believed high levels of E coli in the nearby water supply have put more than 2500 homes at risk. Residents are being advised to boil all tap water for the next three days while Gold Coast Water completes investigations and water testing. A Gold Coast Water spokesman said the bacteria e-coli was detected during routine tests.

TREATMENT:

Reverse Osmosis, Distillation. Doulton Sterasyl or UltraCarb

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