Type: Water filters, sink and whole house units (these are not addressed)

Description: Essential in this day and age, water filters remove impurities from water by chemical and/or biological processes. The physics of filtration are most commonly based upon sieving, absorption, and ion exchange. The most basic systems remove chemicals such as chlorine from drinking water, and the recommended, more advanced water filtrations systems remove heavy metals such as lead, iron, aluminum as well as hydrogen sulfide, parasites and bugs.

Most of us have heard the mantra, “drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. ” Though true, it is essential for this water to be pure and alive for us to experience vibrant health. Of equal importance to the amount of water one consumes is the quality of the water. We are made of 75% water with over 80% of the brain and 90% of the blood composed of water. Water is critical to every major function in the body as it regulates body temperature, cushions joints, and controls metabolic rate of biochemical reactions such as fat burning, digestion, and blood sugar regulation. Water is responsible for transportation of nutrients and oxygen to our cells, and removal of body wastes. It is clear that drinking quality water is a must to address health conditions such as diabetes, migraine headaches, arthritis, and heart disease.

What to look for: Look for reverse osmosis water filters that also utilize carbon and/or carbon block technology. Also look for ionizing water filters. The ionizing water filter is often a second stage in the filtration process. Water that has been cleared of dangerous contaminants may be passed through an ionizing or vortex water filter in order to further fortify the health value of the water. Ionized water is oxygen-rich, acts as a powerful antioxidant, and is more hydrating then tap water.

Uses: There are many different filtration systems, each with specific benefits and some with noteworthy limitations. Some common filtration systems include: charcoal block filters, reverse osmosis filters, ultraviolet light filters, and water distillation.

Charcoal block water filters utilize charcoal derived from coconut husk to effectively absorb impurities as water passes through. The charcoal filter improves taste and odor, removes chlorine, organic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. This filter has the potential to also remove some heavy metals, bacteria, cysts, virus, radioactivity and asbestos. Some specially treated carbon block units are excellent for removing lead, but many carbon filters leave heavy metals such as manganese, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and/or dissolved lead in the water. They do not remove fluorides, or dissolved solids such as salt, calcium/magnesium or inorganic minerals, phosphates or detergents.

Reverse osmosis water filters use a fine membrane to filter through the osmotic process and effectively remove everything from water. It is a continuous self-cleaning filtration system that removes up to 95% of undesirable water contaminants.

Distillers use electricity to heat tap water to a boiling point; the impurities are left behind in the boiling container and the purified water condensation drains into a clean container. The resulting water is free of all contaminants but also lacking the oxygen present in most drinking water. This raises concern as to the healthiness of such water.

Ultraviolet water filters use a UV light to kill the bacteria in water. Ultraviolet lamps disinfect water from harmful bacteria such as e-Coli, virus, and parasitic cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia) that have been found in drinking water.

Each of these water filtrations systems remove impurities from water, but none leave water ionized or “reprogrammed” to include mineral content that has been removed through the filtration process. Ionizers work by adding a negative charge to water. Water ionizers therefore counter the positive charge of potentially acidic water by producing negatively charged ions. This creates purified and balanced alkaline water.

Where to find: Find a local source if at all possible, a business that is selling a product specifically suited to the filtration needs of the water in the area that you live. Specialty stores and online resource can be excellent if they offer local technical support. Purchase filtration systems from knowledgeable and reputable companies that offer warranties and education regarding how the system runs. Buying the least expensive system from a big box store may not be the best choice when it comes to one of the most important aspects of sustainable health today – drinking quality water.

Avoid: Purchasing a generic purification system. The same filtration system used for a shallow well in the Appalachian Mountains will not work if you live in the heart of NYC! Avoid cheap purification systems that may not actually be filtering the toxins out of your water, and at the same time, avoid being taken by an overpriced system that costs more that necessary.

Avoid drinking distilled water on a regular basis. There is evidence to suggest that distilled water may leach nutrients and electrolytes from the body. Water softeners do not filter water. Do not drink unfiltered, water-softened water as this water may have a variety of undesirable contaminants.