Over the course of the past few months, I have grown to be a huge cheerleader for water testing, not just because I am on the marketing team for 120WaterAudit, but because it is a crucial and easy step in targeting health problems in the United States.
Water contamination continues to be a spotlight in the national news. As the media continue to report on clean water issues, I continue to wonder why people are so wary about testing their water. I’m not a scientist by any means, but if we have been trying to find answers to damaging health effects for decades yet lead, arsenic, barium and nitrate are leaching into our water without our knowledge, what would happen to these various health statistics if only we knew what was in our water? What would happen if we eliminated that contamination before repetitive consumption continued? These are just a few of the myriad of questions I have each and every day.
I was recently speaking with an executive of a health care provider about the importance of testing health care facilities – providing exceptional care to patients is their priority right? But as the conversation continued, he said something that stuck with me. While he is aware of water contamination as he mentioned, “I never drink our water because I have the feeling that there has to be lead in it,” he also is yet another person who doesn’t want to think about his water composition. “I just don’t want to actually know what is in the water – it’s easier that way.” I think I just had an Oprah aha moment.
People don’t want to know what’s in their water because they don’t want to face the challenges that come with fixing the plumbing if the contaminant is found. But what about the health effects if contamination is found? According to the EPA, “Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body.” These problems are amplified even more in children and pregnant women including behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, anemia, reduced growth of a fetus and premature birth. That’s lead alone, not to mention the cancers, muscle weakness, circulatory and nervous system damage and more from arsenic, barium and nitrate. And once you are exposed, there is no easy fix or prescription.
With these damaging effects, one would think that health care providers, schools and other facilities would want to know what is in their water. While so many people don’t want to know about the composition of their water because of the challenges (i.e. finances) it may take to fix the situation, isn’t our health more important? Our health has to be more important.
Maybe my opinions are the way they are because I google water testing news three times per day, read about the risks of lead and create messaging about getting to know your water. But honestly, I don’t think that’s it. I think we Americans aren’t aware of the health effects, aren’t aware of our aging infrastructure and want to believe that because we live in the United States of America, our water isn’t at risk. Flint was simply one big example of what is happening in pockets all across the country, and I’m here to tell you that your water is something you need to think about.
Don’t avoid thinking about the composition of your water. Your health is more important than your pocket book and so is your peace of mind.