Water filters needed where poor farming occurs
Water filters and water coolers are necessary for a home in so many situations. Most people think they will know when their water is contaminated and will determine whether they need a home drinking water system based on information they are given or how their water tastes. But, many people actually may not know when their water is contaminated, how it gets contaminated, or the harmful effects these contaminants may be having on their health. Contamination can happen near the tap, from minerals and naturally-occurring elements, or from poor practices in farming.
In fact, a recent online article explains just this problem happening in this country. Most of us associate water contamination with cities, factories, and all that stems from population. We imagine farms and country living with pristine water and good, healthy living. Unfortunately, the news tells us lately that some farming practices are leading to unhealthy and unclean water. The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. Their most recent report examines water pollution caused by farm runoff and details how treating the problem after the fact is increasingly expensive, difficult and, if current trends continue, ultimately unsustainable.
Water that runs off poorly managed fields that have been treated with chemical fertilizers and manure is loaded with nitrogen and phosphorus. These two potent pollutants set off a cascade of harmful consequences, threatening the drinking water used by millions of Americans. Without a water filter, this could be happening to you. According to the article, the health effects are serious! Nitrate, the most common form of nitrogen in surface and groundwater, is directly toxic to human health. Infants who drink water with high nitrate levels can develop an acute, life-threatening blood disorder called blue baby syndrome. High nitrate levels in water can also affect thyroid function in adults and increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
Phosphorus stimulates explosive blooms of aquatic algae, including the especially dangerous cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that produces toxins that can be deadly to pets, livestock, wildlife – and people. Toxins produced by cyanobacteria can harm the nervous system, cause stomach and intestinal illness and kidney disease, trigger allergic responses and damage the liver.
“Access to clean and healthy drinking water is a critical issue for Americans and the rest of the planet, ” says one EWG senior scientist. Every year, farm operators apply more than 12 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer and 8 million tons of phosphorus fertilizer to agricultural land in the U.S. Unless carefully managed, nitrates and phosphates are carried off their fields by runoff water or percolates into drainage systems, eventually ending up in streams, rivers, lakes, underground aquifers – and ultimately your tap water.
Although most American farmers do actually farm responsibly, the list of American waters imperiled by agricultural pollution grows daily and now includes the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers estimate that on two-thirds of the nation’s agricultural land, fertilizer use does not conform to scientifically designed best management practices. Growers spread too much fertilizer, spread it at the wrong times, and use methods that are prone to losing nutrients into runoff. In addition, installation of “tile drainage,” which is common across the Midwest, promotes the movement of nutrients into streams. To prevent the nitrogen and phosphorus in your water sources from running from your tap, look into an effective water filter or home water cooler. To read more from this article, click here.
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